Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The Issas somali is a people living in the Horn of Africa, mainly in Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia (De Galilé, Dire Dawa to Awash), and speaking a language couchitique. They come from one of four major confederations clan of Somali people, Dir.

Mapping and demography Issa

The Issas are a people aware of its existence as a nation. The contract, which brings them together, the Xeer is not a bond of blood but a legal contract that defines the roles of institutions (Ugaas, Gande and Guddi). The Xeer defines as we have seen that share the persons to whom the Xeer applies: the same history (past) the same territory and the same project.


Thus, the territory Issa is it organized so that it is divided into two main regions (degmos), dadar (East coast) and Galbeed: these two regions are divided into 12 departments (gallin) are: 1 . qorax-joog 2. biniin-joog 3. jidi galee 4. Casa-joog 5. jaah-ma-garato 6. garas-joog 7. biyiic-joog 8. Ilka box 9. dayn 10. galool-joog 11. dhuun Yar 12. cadaad-joog This organization of space allows the Issas to lie. The nomads do roam the area without knowing where they are located. And by the way, the diversity level of cultural production and way of life of people Issa is due to the territorial scope. The inhabitants of each of these departments have particularities that are laughing and amaze others. Demography What is the exact number of people Issa? This question may seem absurd to those who have prejudice against the nomads. Indeed, how could we identify people constantly moving in search of the rain? That is not counting on the ingenuity of nomads who not only organized the space, but also manage to make a reliable census of their population. The census is done primarily during exceptional circumstances as paying blood money (boqol). This price is paid by the whole clan or sub clan which a member has committed a murder. Here's how the procedure census carried out:

- back on the branches of the tree-on identifies reer and jilibs that match subdivisions of the genealogical tree, we therefore identifies how many such families account jilibs, then such reer, and within Families records on individuals.

This file forget person even if a person emigrates to the bottom of the World, he and his descendants are recorded on the register of census. Thus to know the number of issas living in different jurisdictions, there is this method adapted to the handheld.

The Philosophy of Xeer

The law is a set of rules that companies have prepared to normalize relations between individuals, between nations and to prevent and resolve conflicts. The Xeer Issa was born also the sixteenth century this need. We will study the philosophy of Xeer. The Issas, to translate the importance of law in a humane society, have produced this maxim "meel aan xeer lahayn waa lagu xooloobaa, ie without the right man is an animal. In other words, man conquers his humanity and animals differs from the face of laws that establish and respects it.

The law is for men the equivalent of force as the animals (the law of the jungle). For the Issas, IL are two kinds of laws: 1. "Xeer ilaah" or God's law. These are all natural governing the universe (day and night, seasons, birth and death ,...). But the Xeer Ilaah is also the revelation that God made men through his prophets and messengers. So God proclaims the permit (xalaal) and forbidden (xaraam) and many other rules.

2. "Xeer oday" or the right established by men. This is the set of rules that men have created to prevent and resolve problems that may come in a given community. It is therefore a right opted to the needs and specific patterns of the society to which it is established. Only connoisseurs of this nation have been able to enact, for the community of clear laws and in accordance with the wishes desired.

Recalling that the Xeer Issa was established in the town located between Aicha'a Sitti and Hadha-gaala in Ethiopia in the late sixteenth century. So for 12 months, 44 sages discussed under the direction of a certain Hassan Gadiidshe on all matters relating to penalties, articles and chapters laws, the courts and their functions, the areas which we must legislate ... They elected the 1st Ugaas in the person of Ugaadh makaahil. During these 12 months assize sages have raised fundamental questions:

1. What is the xeer? 2. Which community will it apply? 3. What are the objectives of xeer?

They responded to each in detail. What is the xeer?

The founders of Xeer have an answer to this question through a multitude of proverbial maxims which are articles of laws. The Xeer is primarily what differentiates human animals: "meel aan xeer lahay waa lagu xoloobaa" or "dad aan xeer lahay waa xoolo." Once humanity founded by the invention of Xeer, it must then establish clear laws that govern the community. And that each individual is convinced of its usefulness. The sages have from the outset a few principles: "xeer ninkii dhigay waa darajo u", the Xeer is a provision of prestige for the founders, "ninka ku dhaqmana wa dayr u", it is a bulwark for those who respect him and the applies, "ninka ka danaystana waa danbi ku" and one who transgresses commits a sin. In the same vein they said "Xeer diid waa diid Allah," one who refuses to obey the laws is a mécréant. The wise founders have been careful teaching to explain and show each member of their community that the Xeer is a tool, an indispensable means to preserve his person and his property (physical and moral). Thus, for the metaphor of the shoe, they wanted to educate those who know the protective role of the latter: "Xeer waa kab lagu socdo", the Xeer is like a shoe that you will well and who protects you. It must be remembered that the shoe unlike modern society no matter any, was made to measure and depending on the type of soil on which we lived. By extension, so this maxim means that the law is tailor-made for a given society. The Xeer also has an egalitarian aspect according to the proverb "Xeer looma xoola yara", the law is not based on wealth. Indeed, the Xeer applies with equal rigour to all irrespective of birth, wealth and social status under that it would lose its value. The Xeer and injustice are so contradictory that annoys one another. This notion of equality before the Xeer is reinforced by another maxim which says "Xeer waa GED jeerin ah", the Xeer is like the tree Jeerin. This tree is characterized by its short size and width that makes it impassable. Metaphorically so it shows that the law is inviolable. Those who have neither promulgated more right or more privileges than the others. The Xeer refuses favouritism "xeer waa xeer", the law is the law but does not prohibit mutual "xaagaanna lagama tago," but we do not forget compassion. There are, and what is legal, common to all citizens, and what emerges from the initiative of individuals. It may in no circumstances use, for example, community property for personal purposes, as the rigour of the law should not deprive us, individually, to be generous even with those who are in dispute with us. But with the xeer itself prescribes the social in these terms: "dad xeer lihi caydh my '," where the law exists, there is no poor people. This reflects concern of the founders to allow each member of their community to live independently with dignity and the economic level. A law with a human face, tell-t-on. This generosity is a bulwark against the temptations of those who have nothing. Indeed, the Xeer protects the lives and economic assets. Without law there can be prosperity. Thus follows the maxim "Xeer la'aani wa xugun iyo xoolo la'aan" without law there is neither wealth nor progeny. In a world or rule the law of the jungle, humanity risk of extinction and no sustainable economic development can not be considered. Enter now the second fundamental question raised by the wise founding.

What the community Xeer will it be implemented?

The Xeer is prepared for a community whose members share three things:

1. Wada 2 deg. Wada DED 3. Wada duulan

Each of these concepts to a double meaning here is that

1. wada deg:-people who share the same territory "degmo" and live within the same borders (the equivalent of the state, nation)-a group that has the same ancestry and a common ancestor (idea of daadeg, down from ...) which is the clan, like the Issas, for example

2. wada ded:-c 'is a community that is united to confront all the problems and resolve them (delete, hide, to eliminate)-the second meaning to a religious connotation (bury the dead). So a community that shares the same religion and the same moral values.

3. duulan wada-a company which organizes its common defence (individual and collective destiny)-a community which shares the same project company (a pooling of expertise and resources to meet all).

The wise founders have based the effectiveness of Xeer on unity and homogeneity of the group to which it applies. In other words, the members of this community have the same history, the same territory (g) and the same values (duulan). These are the foundations that underpin the modern nations, including the Republic of Djibouti. What are the evils against which the Xeer should protect us?

Knowing that all kinds of crimes are committed by men and it would be illusory to hope to eradicate these evils, they replied that the Xeer is a bulwark against crime: damac duul dil dhac all starts by damac (covetousness) property of others. Then comes the duul (the attack) to seize and unjustly by force property of others. The violence of the attack and the resistance has the dil (murder) and dhac (taking the loot). And so the vicious cycle of revenge is engaged. That is why the penalties for the culprits are severe in order to discourage all actions that troubleraient the tranquillity of the community. A modern law

Ultimately this Xeer was founded by men and for men. It has all the characteristics of modern law. It is witnessing a civilization earlier than the West. At what time or Xeer was founded, the notion of the right did not exist in Europe feudal absolute monarchy. The Xeer, as it appears in his philosophy is not tribal. On the contrary it applies to an entire community of destiny, whatever its shape and composition. It is a contract that brings together all those who are accepted.

The number 12 among issas

The figure is 12, among a number Issas fetish. Indeed, very often they are found in several areas. From the start, Issa community consists of 12 aqal (12 families) after 12 founding members. Each of the latter had two children: aqal (home) which is the home of Issas itself has 12 elements: 2 kabdo, 6 habar (woven straw) and 4 alool (a kind of wooden mats). The figure 12 is found in the Xeer. The latter was established by sages who siégés for 12 months. It comprises 12 kabood ie 12 pounds (codes), each of which is devoted to a field of law. Cases in dispute may also be brought before geed 12 (trees) or ten (wadi) ie that so many complaints and appeals are possible to the satisfaction of the complainant and the resolution of conflict. In their mapping issas are divided into 12 degmos (region) that allows them to get to know their territory and power lie in relation to each other. The figure 12 is still in the assessment of the values of animals. For example, the horse is 12 camels and camel itself is equivalent to 12 sheep. Finally the letters that make up the title of Ugaas in Arabic are a total of 12, according to specialists (alif: 1, "jiin" = 3, and "za" = 7, or a total of 12) . This figure must have a meaning that it will pierce the secrecy by thorough research.

Procedures of Xeer

The Xeer, we have seen, east institute to settle matters in dispute and convince each member of the community in the interest of saving.

The Constitution of Guddi

Cases that Guddi (court) Treaty three kinds, in general: Dhiig (murder, murder) to be repaired by the blood money (boqol), Dhaqaaqal (on property) and which is set by the compensation (mag ) Dheer (Matrimonial), which ends by repair (maydh)

The jurors who make up the Guddi are at least 6 and their member may move 12 and over 20. The figure 101 is reached, in an exceptional trial, which surpassed the 12th appeal. Then the Guddi consists of jurors 1000 and Ugaas (boqolka iyo boqorka) We saw in a previous article categories of men who are admitted to Guddi (habar doobireed) and those who are excluded from office (habar masiibeed) Before starting the trial, away from the tree habar masiibeed and Maaheys (people regarded as minors), ie women, children, the mentally handicapped). These people are excluded to avoid letting resentment in their hearts not healed the cases which are sometimes hard. You must be immune as those accustomed to "geed". A court (Guddi), stands in the presence of the complainant, Mudici and the accused Mudacaali.

The trial process

At the opening of the trial on pronounces these words:

Nin su faraa Ninna su fasaxaa Nin su furaa Ninna su falanqeeya Nin su gooyaa Ninna su gudoomiyaa Nin way u go'daa Ninna way ku go'daa

Whether one translated:

One convenes The other case presents One opened the meeting Another presents facts One presides Another tranche One loses The other wins

The 6 people are jurors who are conducting the trial while the latter two are the complainant and the accused. The trial began. The two men which is handling the case are déchaussés. The two men have the right to speak, each twice, to expose the facts and convince the Guddi. Before starting there is agreement on rules of the game to avoid and prevent disputes sterile. The complainant as accused select and appoint their father (aabo), not the parent but their guardian, spokesman or lawyer they can trust. And the latter must clearly give his agreement to play this role. He will accept the verdict in his protégé, having defended. It asks a script to write anything said. The mudici (the plaintiff) presents facts and makes his testimony. Then the mudacaali (the accused) goes. In turn the script is requested to check in the presence of both parties if each recognizes what she said, if it is correct, or confirm it. After that, calls on both men away and prepare to present their witness or swear, if a witness. It must be remembered that swear (dhaar) is not a trivial act. In a symbolic ceremony the individual is subjected to psychological pressure: it is inserted into a hole (a tomb) and clothing in a shroud (kafan) and he swears the truth. Jurer a lie is a curse. That is why we say: 'dhagar soo hooyo, dhaar ha soo hoyn "which means" it is better to commit murder instead of swearing false. " Indeed how many families and clans have disappeared because of this false oath. And once the case is closed it can not remain nor resentment or sense of revenge (biili). That is why we teach this principle, all members of the community: "Ciise buulo, baane iyo boqol maahe biili my leh" which means that the Issas knows the trial, pay compensation and blood money but no one knows not revenge. As the trial ends with reconciliation and the entente cordiale. The magic of the word has managed to calm things down, to lower the hearts and avoid the cycle. C'st several centuries later that Europe discovered the virtues of this human justice. The boards of mediation and reconciliation plays this role with the courts.

The educational and moral Xeer

Creating is one thing to pass is another. The founders of Xeer did not neglect this aspect. On the one hand all individuals in the community must know the rules of Xeer but more must implement to the letter. So how successful these two missions in a nomadic society or little permanent institutions exist (apart from that of the Ugaas, others are moving in time and space)?

The pedagogy Xeer

Any pedagogy aims to teach members of a community a set of values for integrative ensure group cohesion. The Issas have introduced a number of occasions or young, from childhood to adolescence and adulthood, become familiar with the Xeer.

The school Gande

We have seen that the institution of ganda was a training school for juveniles in late adolescence. These teenagers is a great opportunity especially since the Gande is sedentary and that gives himself time to know (that is the only activity allowed) the workings of Xeer. The father, a master

But the young learn, also, his father during the night vigils around the fire. The oral society is a society where the floor is the tool of transmission. The head of the family and tells his son matters which took place: the origin of the case, the debates during the Guddi, the conclusion of the trial. In listening to the details of these cases, the young accumulated a body of knowledge that will enable it in turn to be part of guddi. But when a case unprecedented happens it will give an answer as unprecedented. Exercise intelligence

As for children, from an early age riddles (hal xidhaale) allow them to test their intelligence. Here are two riddles well known:

1. What are the three males who are more values than their mother and three males who have less than their mother? respectively, the first three are men (ninka), the dromedary (awrka) and the non-castrated sheep (wanka sumalka) and the other three are the calf (dibiga), the donkey (dameerka) and Capri (orgiga) . This response reflects the classification system of nomads whose wealth is the main herd and we must know the value of cash to properly settle disputes.

2. a man, having chewed sap (maydhax) from the bark of a tree, was abandoned on the spot. A second person has gone through there and was content to weave a rope (xarig soohay) before the throw. Then a third, in turn, made a node (surgin) and followed his path. The fourth came from the node and attaches to sex (halbowlaha) a sleeper. A fifth from the other end attaches to the leg of an ox seated with the sleeper. Finally, the owner of beef with nothing out ordered him to stand and pull the rope, he pulled the sex sleeper who died immediately. So which of these 6 men will have to pay blood money (boqol)? following the following maxim "shantaada farood waxaad ku geysatoo shan fiqina kaama saaran", ie that is responsible for what happens to his hands, is the fourth man who will pay the price blood. These riddles, while entertaining children, instruct and prepare them for their role as adults. Sagesses proverbial

On the other hand a number of proverbs consolidate the education of children so that research in all circumstances be permanent. Here are examples of maxims against falsehood:

-- "Beenaale markhaati my galo" liar's testimony is worth nothing. Therefore, a sub-humans - "beenaale sahan looma diro" is not sending a liar, prospecting for a better place to pasture.

Indeed, this is an essential role and we need reliable information. It was also protect men against favouritism and inculcate their impartiality. So we pray to God to avoid "eexo gar," ie that it is wrong and make a judgement tendentious. In the same vain, it says "gari Allay taqaane nin my taqaan" to show the protesters that justice is a divine requirement that can not satisfy those who want to divert it to their advantage. The moral of the Xeer

The Xeer issa as among other Somali clans, does not have police responsible for ensuring its implementation (search and capture of the culprits, enforcement of sentences ...). No such force exists. So how Xeer happen to function effectively until today, even in the city? To succeed in creating a society living in peace and harmony to the founders and successors, from the outset and then with experience, focused on the psychology of members. They managed to ethical behaviour of individuals so that everyone is master of itself. A number of proverbial maxim were depending on the individual foster adherence to Xeer even when it was unfavourable.


First, the sages have relied on faith. The Issas, Muslims hundred per cent, could jeopardize the life of the afterlife for a few pleasures on earth. Thus this maxim: "xeer did waa Alla diid" one who does not obey the law is a mécréant. And what is the individual who will opt out of the community?

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