The Dir (Somali: Diir, Arabic: دير), or Theyr bin Abdalla as mentioned in the book "Futuh al-Habasha", is a Somali clan. Its members live mostly in northern, southern and central Somalia, as well as in Djibouti and the Ogaden.
The main subclans of the Dir are the Issa of Djibouti and Ethiopia, as well as the Gadabuursi, Akisho, Biyomaal, Surre and Gurgura. The Isaaq are also sometimes classified as a Dir sub-clan, but this designation is rejected by Isaaq members who maintain that they represent a clan of their own.
Dir had four sons named:
- Haytham "Madahweyne"
- Salah "Mandaluug"
- Nuur "Madoobe"
- Khalid "Mahe"
According to others, Dir had a fifth son, Qaldho Dir.
The Northern Dir consist of the Gadabuursi (Samaroon Siciid), the Issa Madoobe Dir of Djibouti, and the Isaaq. The Southern Dir and Western Dir of Ethiopia number over eleven clans who mostly come from the Madahweyn Dir or Mehe Dir.
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The Dir in Ethiopia are represented by the Madahweyn Dir. The subclans of the Madahweyn include: Gariir, Gurgura, Guure, Layiile, and Akisho. Other Dir clans in Ethiopia are Issa, Garre-Quranyow Maxamed, Gadabuursi, Gadsan, Fiqi Muhumand, Qubey (Fiqi Yahye and Fiqi Cumar), Agoon-Fiqi Khayre, Mandaluulg, Layiile, Guure, Baajimaal, Jiido and Wardaai.
Most of the Dir clans in Ethiopia live in the Dire Dawa area, the Jijiga Zone, and along the Awash River. The rest of the Ethiopian Dir clans live in southern parts near the Somali border near Dolo Odoand as far as Guure Dhamoole and Negele Boran where the Quranyow Maxamed Xiniftire subclans of Garre live. Also the Guure are the dominant Somali clan in the Liben Zone at the extreme south of the Somali Region.
In the Bari and Mudug regions of Somalia and all the way to Hiiraan region is another cluster of Dir clans known as the Surre Qubeys or Abdallahs. The Suure have been associated with spreading theIslamic faith in Somalia and the Qadiriya Sufi tariiqa in southern Somalia. They left the Lafaruug area of Awdal where their founder was killed during the clashes with the Ethiopians and they were the defeated. That last defeat forced the Biyomaal to flee to the Lower Shabeele region while the Qubeys and Abdalle's fled to Mudug and Bari. The Suure are among the most influential Dir groups in Southern Somalia, and their territories include large areas of the Mudug and Galguduud regions. Also the Suure have founded major trade cities in the Hiiran area including Alaabay and Kamhanley.
The majority of western scholars (both Italian and British) simply referred to the Surre as the "Dir of central Somalia" without differentiating them, but recent studies in Somalia reveal that the majority of the Dir in Hiiran, Gedo, Jubba and Bakool are divided into two branches, the Qubeyes and Abdalles, both descendants of Surre.
Other branches of the Dir include the ancient Biyomaal clan, which occupy an area from 35 km from Mogadishu south to Jilib and Kismaayo, not far from border with Kenya. The Biyomaal of Marka fought against the Italian colonial rulers of Southern Somalia in a twenty-year war known as the Biyomaal Revolt, in which the Dir assassinated several Italian governors.
Fiqicilmi is one of the main subclans of Biyomaal. The Fiqicilmi clan inhabits Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. And the Fiqicilmi has the following subclans:
- Omar Faqi
- Adan Faqi
- Abdirahman Faqi
- Ibrahim Faqi
- Mohamoud Faqi
- Diini Faqi
Gaadsan, a subclan of Biyomaal, is one of the largest clans of the Dir. Their homelands are divided amongst three countries: Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. In Ethiopia, Gaadsan clan reside in threeworedas: Liben (Jarrati, Waladaya, Doolow and Guuredhamole), Gode (Iimey and Boola), and Misraq Gashamo (Nusdariiq, Marsin, Kabtinuur and Qabridhare). The Gaadsan in Somalia mainly live inBakool, Gedo and the Lower Juba Regions. In Kenya there is a third division of Gaadsan, known as Gaadsan-Kenya, the brother of Wardey Clan (subclan of Madaxweyne Dir). Both Gadsan and Wardey have settled on the largest and wealthiest lands of Somali Kenya such as Bangal, Garseeni, and Hoolla.
The Gurgura Dir is a sub-clan of the Madahweyn. The Gurgura, Madigaan (Gasaare subclan) and the Barsuug Madaxweyn Dir are among the Somali Dir clans mentioned in the Fatuh al-Habash, the account of Imam Ahmed Gragn's campaigns against the Christians of the Ethiopian highlands in the 16th century.[page needed]
Political groups associated with the Dir clans include the following groups in Somalia and Ethiopia:
- Gurgura Liberation Front led by Abdelasis Ahmed
- Western Somali Liberation Front, led by Abdi Ismail and representing the Gadabursi
- Horyel Democratic Party, also representing the Gadabursi
- Issa and Gurgura Liberation Front of Ethiopia.
- Somali Democratic Alliance of the Gadabursi Dir clan.
- Southern Somali National Movement of the mostly Mohamed Xiniftire Dir Clans (Bimaal, Mandaluug, and Gadsan) of Jubba, Gedo, Bardheere, and Shabeellaha Hoose region.
- Democratic Liberation Front supported Central Somalia Dir groups.
- Alliance Ahlusunna Wal-jam'a in central Somalia (Fiqi Mohamed)
There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.
In the south central part of Somalia the World Bank shows the following clan tree:
- Habar Je'lo
- Habar Awal
- Habar Tol
Surre sub-clan is local to mostly Puntland state districts such as Mudug (Galkaiyo, Jariiban, and Hobyo) in particular Towfiiq, Ceeldhanaan and Cowle of the Golol Valley which is dominated by the Reer Agoon and Dabac segments; Nugal (Eyl); Bari (Qardo, Bosaso, Qandala, Alulo); and Sanaag (Laasqoray), the Laasqoray Surre clan called locally Reer Cabaas or Urdudub and live side by side with Warsangeli. In Galgudug, the Surre sub-clan of Cabdale occupies territory extending 180 km from approx 20 km of Abuqwaq to Balanbale parallel to the Ethio-Somalia boundary. The centre of the Surre in Galgadud in the district of Xeraale which is located between Dhusamared and Abudwaq (The heartland of the Dariqa sects Ahlu-Sunna Wal Jameeca). Southward, the Surre is also an integral part of the Hiiran region communities. The base of the Surre is the commercial and farmland villages of Kabhanley and Defow. Perhaps the most important region for the Surre remains Luq district of Gedo. The border town of Boholgaras to the limits of the river Jubba banks of Luq is dominated by Surre dir sub-clans of mainly Fuqu-Muhumed sub sub-clan. In the Jubba regions, Jamame is an important homeland of the Surre accompying their Bimal brethren whom are vastly dominant in that area. The farmland town of Bender-Jadid is solely domiciled by the Surre. The Surre are allocated 5 MPs among the Transitional Federal Parliament namely: Mahad Abdalla Awad, Jeylani Ali Kediye, Nasra Abdisalam Alim, Sh. Mohamed Sh. Yusuf Direed, and Qamar Adan Ali.