Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rise of Axmed Ibrahim Garaad

The Rise of Axmed Ibrahim Garaad

Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim Garaad is nowadays known by many names.   In the Fatuux al-Xabasha he is given the laqab of al-Ghaazi or The Conqueror, an appropriate laqab for a book that is literally about his conquest of much of Ethiopia.  The Christians of the Ethiopian highlands give him the epithet Gran or Left-Handed, which is a translation of his Somali naaneys of Gureey.

Axmed was born the second son of the Garaad Ibrahim, Garaad of Hubat, a small principality that was part of the Sultanate of Adal  (see the abtirsi of Garaad Ibrahim).  His cousin Abuun Cadaadshe (see abtirsi) was Garaad of Karanle, and was briefly Sultan of Adal.

Axmed lived in a time of great uncertainty.   The king of Adal, Suldaan Maxamed Caashar (see abtirsi), desired to live in peace after nearly a century of devastating warfare with Abyssinia, but Amir Maxfuuz of Harar was determined to make war with Abyssinia and constantly sent his soldiers to recapture territories lost to the Abyssinian kings.  This led to war in 1516 between Adal and Abyssinia and Neegusaa Naagaast ’Aanbaasa Saagaad Dawit  (Leebnaa Deengeel) invaded and destroyed the armies of Amir Maxfuuz and Suldaan Maxamed.  Amir Maxfuuz fought a suicidal rearguard action allowing the Suldaan to escape back to Adal.  Portuguese warships attacked and savaged the virtually undefended town of Zeila.

The devastating loss had great political implications, as the Suldaan was murdered soon afterwards, and Adal descended into civil war.  Three men claimed the throne; Amir Maxamed Abuubakar Maxfuuz (the grandson of Amir Maxfuuz and Amir of Harar), Garaad Abuun Cadaadshe, the Garaad of Karanle, and the “rightful” heir of Suldaan Maxamed Cashar, Abuubakar Suldaan Maxamed.

The first to seize the throne was Maxamed Abuubakar Maxfuuz, but he was defeated and killed by Garaad Abuun Cadaadshe, who then seized the throne for himself.  Garaad Abuun Cadaadshe was himself defeated and killed by Abuubakar Suldaan Maxamed.  The vengeful then-Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim avenged his cousin’s death and killed Abuubakar, but instead of continuing the cycle he decided instead to put Abuubakar’s brother Cumardiin Maxamed on the throne as puppet king.  Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim was already married to Bati del-Wambara Maxfuuz, the daughter of the former Amir of Harar, so Iimaam Axmed Ibrahim managed to bring peace to the nation by uniting all three warring factions together under his leadership

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