History Of The Adal Empire of The Horn Of Africa

adal-emipre1 Awdal or Adal Empire of the horn of Africa, occupied most of current Eastern Ethiopia, all of the Republic of DJibouti, and Northern Somalia(Somaliland). It enjoyed long prosperous civilizations that lasted for centuries. But during early twentieth century, the Crusaders, in collaboration with the European Colonial forces, dissected Awdal in to three equal regions and annexed each region to one of the neighboring countries of Somalia, DJibouti and Ethiopia. The division of Awdal was part of the western crusaders efforts to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in early Eighteenth century. At that period, Awdal had both religious and political relationship with the Ottoman Empire which ruled the Balkans, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Awdal’s division and its annexation into the three different countries diluted the once powerful Awdal community politically and economically. They became a minority that does not have any say of their personal and political affairs in everyone of these countries.  Moreover, since Awdal was a conquered nation, its citizens were not allowed to participate in the new colonial administration at a higher level for fear of retaliation. They were only promoted to, as high as a sergeant in the police force, and as a clerk in the civil administration. Nonetheless, during the colonial government, the region was well cared for in every aspect, because the colonial administrators were aware that Awdal was an occupied country and were very careful with their governing policies.

However, after the independence, only Somalia accepted it’s portion of Awdal to be integrated into the rest of the country. But everything fell apart, because the tribal governments that took over ignored Awdal, because the new tribal chiefs were aware that Awdal was divided and that its people were not powerful enough to challenge these tribal government leaders. And in tribal governments of Africa, only the powerful tribes take all the government resources.  Just imagine if one’s State or Province was not represented in the appropriation committee meetings where regional fund allocation of one’s State or Province is decided. One’s State or Province would end up with nothing, like Awdal did for over forty years.

Every infra-structure built by the colonial government has deteriorated for lack of maintenance, or was taken by the governing tribes Two hundred years later the crusaders achieved their goal of taking over this World, but the people of Awdal are dying and are about to be extinct.

After years of suffering, a new generation of Western educated Awdalites  created this forum to expose the matter to the World, in the hope that one kind hearted, God fearing World Leader can understand this unintentional horrific outcome of the Christian Crusaders’ conquest, and can correct the wrong that was done to Awdal community.

Ancient civilization

Awdal civilization started long before many other ancient civilizations and continued to the 21st century. It traded with pre-Egyptian civilizations, ancient Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula of the present countries of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. They also traded with the Far East countries including India and china. Unlike the other ancient civilizations that emerged and vanished, Awdal continued to prosper and sustain itself with amazing adaptability to new beginnings. They embraced several religions through the civilization’s reign and outlasted them all.

That history is not written in any place, but is kept in the form of poems, short stories and old sayings, and is passed on from generation to generation in that way. They also keep their genealogy the same way. As a matter of fact Awdal people are the only people in this World who can recite their paternal ancestral line to their 40th great grandfather; that dates back the BC calendar. And if you ask the people about this genealogical practice, they will tell you about their relationship with the Pharaohs. The oral history tells that when the ancient Egyptian Empire was defeated, the Pharaohs and their clique escaped into the following three different Empires that they were familiar and had traded with:

1.  Central West Africa, (around present countries of Mali, and Niger; (The Fulanies) and helped them create the Mali Empire.

2.  South on the Nile, (around present countries of Rwanda, and Burundi; Bah Tutzi.

3.  South on the Red Sea, (around present countries of D’Jibouti and Somalia), where they joined The Adal(Awdal) Empire: The Gadabursi.

The Pharaohs named Awdal “The Land of Punt” (The Land of God), and traded with as late as 450 BC. A trade between the Adal(Awdal) Empire and Pharoah Hatsepshut is the only documented piece of that whole history, because the Pharoah insisted that her trade with Adal(Awdal) Empire, be put on her tomb; anyone who is interested in this documentation can visit Hatsepshut’s Deir el-Bahri tomb in Egypt and read it for him/herself.

Early World historians did not write about or study the history of these parts of the World, because it did not conform with the stories they wanted to tell the World back then; and the contemporary ones did not bother to tell the story for the same reason. Therefore, it was never got included into the World history.

The stories of the above mentioned three regions are amazing, but what is even more mysterious are the cultural, physical, and the behavioral similarities of the people of these three distant and unrelated regions of Africa.

1.  Female circumcision which was an Ancient Egyptian culture is practiced in all three regions.

2.  The authentic female dresses resemble those of the female Pharaohs.

3.  They all have an unexplainable admiration and passion for each other and the country of Egypt, even though they live thousands of miles apart, and believe in different religions

4.  These three regions have paternal family lines, while most Africans have maternal family line.

Unfortunately, because of the early invasions of the Christians in early Ad, followed the Muslims invations, and culminated by the European Crusaders’ colonization of Africa in the nineteenth century, much of that history was lost. However, some of it was salvaged and is available to be studied by anyone who wants to learn more about ancient civilizations’ science and sociology. All one has to do is visit Awdal, everything is out there in the open.
Islamic Civilization

Introduction of Islam


Much is not known about the history of Awdal from 100 BC, after the fall of ancient, Egypt to 615 AD when Islam was first introduced by a number of Prophet Mohamed’s (PBUH) followers. These followers were running away from Mecca’s powerful, reactionary Quraysh tribe and sought refuge in Awdal. Among this group was the Prophet’s (PBUH) wife and cousin. They were welcomed warmly in Awdal, and later protected from Qureysh emissaries that wanted to take them back to Mecca and prosecute them.

And when the Prophet (PBUH) heard about the incident, He (PBUH) thanked and blessed Awdal by saying ” May Allah bless the Habasha”; the word “Habasha” means “black” in ancient Arabic language and all East Africans are black, and fit the description. Unfortunately, that word “Habasha” was later, erroneously translated to mean “Ethiopia” by contemporary Ethiopian writers, and that is the reason many Ethiopian writers write about the Prophet Mohamed’s (PBUH) blessing of Ethiopia.

IF the Ethiopian writers’ claim is true;

1.  Why didn’t Ethiopians embrace Islam at the time(615 AD) like Awdalites did?

2.  And even if the Ethiopian writers claim that Ethiopians were already Christians, why did seventy percent (70%) of the Ethiopian population converted to Islam between 1450 AD and 1500 Ad, when Islam was actually introduced to Ethiopia for the first time?

3.  Furthermore, since Ethiopia is a land-locked country, the Muslim followers had to go through Zaylac (Zeila), the main seaport of the time and the capital of Awdal Empire, to get to Ethiopia. In fact, this geographical fact alone annuls Ethiopia writers’ claim.

Awdalites embraced Islam immediately, because, even though the people of Awdal practiced many different religions through their Dynasty, they realized that this new religion of Islam is the truth and accepted it. Moreover, In order to understand the new religion thoroughly, they started learning Arabic language so they can practice and live the teachings of Islam. And when they witnessed the holly Quran revelations they became staunch believers and started changing their names to Arabic ones. Even today, most newborns are given Arabic names.

This new relationship and trade with the middle east marked the beginning of Awdal’s millennium of peace and prosperity. It lasted for about 1300 years, longer than any civilization at any time including this current one.
Awdal Empire of 600 AD –>2000 AD

Right after the Prophet’s (PBUH) death, an influx of religious teachers and merchants from the middle east, Oman and Yemen poured into Awdal and started doing business with the Empire. The Empire expanded. And, at the height of its power and prosperity in the sixteenth century, Awdal, under the leadership of Sheikh Ahmed Guray, extended from Zeila to as far west as the city of Akxum; what is now western Ethiopia.

Even though the colonial anthropologist I.M. Lewis intentionally gives a distorted image of Skeikh Ahmad Guray’s origin, calling him the issue of a Coptic priest and a Muslim harlot, the Sheikh is from the Abrain sub-clan of the Maxaad Casse’ clan of The Gadabursi people. In fact, his offsprings still live in the city of Zeila where he once ruled. There are many writings in several different languages about this long and peaceful era, but I chose to include some excerpts from the US Military Strategic Handbook of Somalia written after the Black Hawk Down in 1993 by the US CIA.

The military wanted to learn everything about Somalia and be prepared for future occurrences if any. So they offered grants to ten US universities to study Somalia from the beginning to the present, (everything there is to know ). And the best beginning these researchers found was Awdal. These researchers found out that the place where the word “Somali” was spoken for the first time was Awdal. That alone emphasizes Awdal’s importance in the history of the Horn.

Here is what the US military wrote about Awdal

Emergence of Adal

In addition to southward migration, a second factor in Somali history from the fifteenth century onward was the emergence of centralized state systems. The most important of these in medieval times was Adal, whose influence at the height of its power and prosperity in the sixteenth century extended from Saylac, the capital, through the fertile valleys of the Jijiga and the Harer plateau to the Ethiopian highlands. Adal’s fame derived not only from the prosperity and cosmopolitanism of its people, its architectural sophistication, graceful mosques, and high learning, but also from its conflicts with the expansionist Ethiopians. For hundreds of years before the fifteenth century, goodwill had existed between the dominant new civilization of Islam and the Christian neguses of Ethiopia.

One tradition holds that Muhammad blessed Ethiopia and enjoined his disciples from ever conducting jihad (holy war) against the Christian kingdom in gratitude for the protection early Muslims had received from the Ethiopian negus. Whereas Muslim armies rapidly overran the more powerful empires of Persia and Byzantium soon after the birth of Islam, there was no jihad against Christian Ethiopia for centuries. The forbidding Ethiopian terrain of deep gorges, sharp escarpments, and perpendicular massifs that rise more than 4,500 meters also discouraged the Muslims from attempting a campaign of conquest against so inaccessible a kingdom.

Muslim-Christian relations soured during the reign of the aggressive Negus Yeshaq (ruled 1414-29). Forces of his rapidly expanding empire descended from the highlands to despoil Muslim settlements in the valley east of the ancient city of Harer. Having branded the Muslims “enemies of the Lord,” Yeshaq invaded the Muslim Kingdom of Ifat in 1415. He crushed the armies of Ifat and put to flight in the wastes along the Gulf of Tadjoura (in present-day Djibouti) Ifat’s king Saad ad Din. Yeshaq followed Saad ad Din to the island off the coast of Saylac (which still bears his name), where the Muslim king was killed. Yeshaq compelled the Muslims to offer tribute, and also ordered his singers to compose a gloating hymn of thanksgiving for his victory. In the hymn’s lyrics, the word Somali appears for the first time in written record.

By the sixteenth century, the Muslims had recovered sufficiently to break through from the east into the central Ethiopian highlands. Led by the charismatic Imam Ahmad Guray (1506-43), the Muslims poured into Ethiopia, using scorched-earth tactics that decimated the population of the country. A Portuguese expedition led by Pedro da Gama, a son of Vasco da Gama who was looking for the Prester John of medieval European folklore–a Christian, African monarch of vast dominions–arrived from the sea and saved Ethiopia. The joint Portuguese-Ethiopian force used cannon to route the Muslims, whose imam died on the battlefield.

At early nineteenth century, Awdal was one of the most civilized Empires in the World. The city of Zeila was the biggest commerce center on the red sea, catering to the inlands of Africa, the Middle east, the Far east, and southern Europe, and the city of Harar was the pillar of Islamic education in Africa, rivaling Timbuktu university of west Africa. The British navy intelligence officer Richard Burton who was sent to spy on Awdal on 1855, wrote a lot about the Awdal city of Harar’s academic advancement, and about the city of Zeila’s economic prosperity. He was amazed with the region’s sophistication, and reported his findings back to England. That report, coupled with the people of Awdal’s complacency and trusting nature , and the Christian Crusaders’ commitment to destroy the powerful Muslim civilization, eventually triggered Awdal’s downfall.

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