THE HISTORY OF THE DISTINGUISHED SHEIKH WHO BECAME WELL KNOWN AS AN ANTI-ITALIAN SHEIKH AFTER THE BIMAAL REVOLT ENDED.SHEIKH XASAN BARSAME :A SOMALI BANTU PROFESSOR ENO AND WRITER GIVES A DIFFRENT VERSION OF HISTORY ABOUT THE HERO SHEIKH AND SEES HIM AS PRO-SLAVERY: BANTU PERSPECTIVE:
Sheikh Hassan Barsane’s Resistance to the Abolition of Slavery
One Sheikh who was exaggeratedly honoured as a hero in Somali history, Sheikh
Hassan Barsane of the Gaal-Jecel sub-clan of the Hawiye clan, has resisted abolition
of slavery to the extent of misinterpreting the Holy Scripture – the Qur’an, by writing to
“All our slaves escaped and went to you and you have set them free.
We are not happy with the [Antislavery] order. We abandoned our
law, for according to our law we can put slaves in prison or force them to work.”
And what law was the ‘respected’ Sheikh referring to?
“The government has its law and we have ours. We accept no law
other than our law. Our law is that of God and of the prophet….
“God has said: The few can defeat the many. The world is near its end;
only 58 years remain…It is better to die following Muslim law. All Muslims are one.31
In the preceding statement, Barsane has made not less than three discrepancies contrary to the Islamic faith. But a Jareer poet who was against enslavement of Muslims, an un-Islamic practice, sets the main response in this verse:
* Ninki Ashahaato Adoon ma Ahaado
Amar Eebe diidi yaa kaa Aqbalaayo32
Whoever announces the oneness of Allah in submission, no longer remains a slave;
So, nobody abides by your orders regarding what Allah has illegitimated.
Sheikh Hassan Barsane is one of a few heroes honoured in the history of Somalia. He is, as far as we have seen in the history curricula of schools in the country, dignified as a sharp protestant against the Italian colonialists, and one who died for the cause of nationalism. But on the contrary, he died due to his rejection to free Muslim lives in the campaign to the abolition of slavery and of slave trade. As far as Islam is concerned, a good model is Abubakar who paid money to purchase Bilal’s freedom after the latter converted to Islam. In this case, the two acts of Abubakar and Sheikh Hassan Barsane are contrary to each other, but the former’s gesture accommodates well with the harmonious tenets of Islam. Barsane’s, in retrospect, amounts to a villain’s misuse and abuse of the Holy Scripture.
Previously, many scholars have written concern over the obstruction of the truth about Somali historiography, ethno-anthropology, culturology and other areas, with the focus and scope of criticism succinctly directed onto the nomadic pastoralist in the north. In fact, it is now in the south that we learn about religious scholars engaging in both misuse and abuse of the Islamic faith for personal gains. And rather than condemining their ill effects to society, the Jileec pastoral authorities have eulogized their villainy by building monuments and naming academic institutions after the great sinners.
Drawing from an archival evidence, Sheikh Hassan Barsane and a large number of the Somali people of his day and even today, have been correctly described by colonial officers as people who corrupt and contaminate the Islamic faith by twisting it for personal goals. An extract of the nature reads:
1. With reference to attached - in my opinion the Somali…accepts the Sheria just as far as it suits him.
2. He claims to be a Mohammeddan but during my service…both Sir Reginald Wingate – Serdar and Major General Von Slatin Pasha, told me that they did not consider the Somali as a true Mohammeddan…33
That this is a persistent paradigm of Somali attitude can also be seen in recent events in the civil anarchy period when the so-called Islamic courts discriminatively arraigned the unarmed and ethnically oppressed communities like the Jareer.34 Suffice it to say that many religious scholars have used their Islamic knowledge as an income generation project rather than preach the doctrine of peace and equality for all muslims. (See Chapter Two, The Barawaan.)
After the war of words, a number of confrontations took place between the Galjel (Gaal-jecel) tribe of Hassan Barsane and colonial forces, which pressed the former into submission. Eventually, the so-called religious leader was captured, as his kinsmen could not save him in their plea at submission. They were disarmed while Barsane was taken to the dungeons in Mogadishu and sentenced to death. Later the death sentence was revoked to life imprisonment where he remained incarcerated till his death
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