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Notables belong to the Biimaal clan.jpg
Regions with significant populations
Somali and Arabic
Islam (Sunni)
Related ethnic groups
Gadabuursi, Issa, Surre, Gurgura, Bursuuk, Garre(Quranyow), other Dir clans

The Bimaal or Bimal, official name: Jamal, (Somali: Biimaal, Beesha Biimaal, Jamal, or Beesha Jamal, Arabic: بنو جمال, بنو بيمال‎) is one of the sub-clans of the major Dir clan family. This clan is widely known for leading a resistance against the colonials in southern Somalia for decades which can be compared to the war of the Sayyid in Somaliland.[1][2][3] The Biimaal mainly lives in Southern Somalia, the Somali region of Ethiopia, which their Gaadsen sub-clan mainly inhabits and in the NEP region of Kenya.[4][5]


The Bimal are the dominant clan in Lower Shabelle and make up the majority as well as in Lower Jubba mainly in Jammaame and nearby districts, but they also live in the NEP region of Kenya and especially in large numbers inhabit the Somali region of Ethiopia. The Bimal are a war-like clan that was known for their struggle and long resistance against the Italians.

As Dir sub-clan, the Bīmāli have immediate lineal ties with the Gadabuursi, Surre (Abdalle and Qubeys), the Issa, the Bajimal, the Bursuk, the Madigan, the Gurgura, the Garre (the Quranyow sub-clan to be precise as they claim descent from Dir), Gurre, Gariire, other Dir sub-clans and they have lineal ties with the Hawiye (Irir), Hawadle, Ajuraan, Degoodi, Gaalje'el clan groups, who share the same ancestor Samaale.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]


Historical image of notable Bimal elders.

Merca was established in the 7th century by the Bimaal clan. Lineages of the Biimaal of the Dir clan arrived in present-day Lower Shabelle in the 6th century and began to establish a Sultanate. They quickly gained control of the city and trade of the region.[13] The Biimal also revolted, and defeated the Sultan of Ajuran, during that time. Later, they had engaged in multiple wars with the Sultanate of the Geledi. The Biimaal Sultanate had defeated the Geledi and killed their Sultan during their 30-year conflict in the latter half of the 19th century.[14]

The Biimaal sultanate maintained armies, courts, prisons, and were highly dynamic and out seeking eager to link with global trade. They invited experts from India and around the world, to train their people in skills such as weaving, textile industry, milling and agricultural production, and topographical surveys used to make irrigation canals.This massive development the Biimaal were undertaking with their sultanate was sabotaged by the Italians, which was one the reasons the Biimaal began their revolt.[14]

The Bimaal also engage in pastoral-ism, and were also successful merchants and traders in the 19th century.[15] The Bimaal have proved in the past to be a bellicose clan, not only against their neighbours, but also against Italian colonial encroachment.[16] The Italians undermined the Biimaal Sultanate, and changed the traditional structures in the South Central by re titling the elders "capo qabiil" and incorporating them into their administrative system. The Bimaal violently resisted the imposition of colonialism fought against the Italian colonialists in a twenty-year war known as the Bimaal revolt in which many of their warriors assassinated several Italian governors.[15][17]

The Bimal also formed their own organization during the Somali Civil War, the Southern Somali National Movement (SSNM). Colonel Abdi Warsame in 1993, broke with General Aideed and took part of the SSNM with him when he aligned himself with Ali Mahdi.[18][19]

Bīmāl revolt

The Bimal Revolt or Bimal Resistance or Merca Revolt (Somali : Dagaalkii Biimaal iyo Talyaaniga ) is widely known resistance or war fought against the colonials in southern Somalia in and around the current Lower Shebelle, Banadir , Middle Shabelle (Somali: Shabeela Hoose) for decades 1896 - 1926 which can be compared to the war of the Mad Mullah in northern Somalia.[1][20]

For more about the Bimal resistance or revolt visit the following:

Abdirahman Eremage( Geedsan)

The name of Geedsan or gadsen is a nickname, which means "genuine" given by his Scholar called Sheikh Abdirahman Ulamadoobe.[citation needed]

The Gaadsen or reer Aw-Gaadsan branch of the Bimaal. The Aw Gaadsen trace themselves from holymen and sheikhs living as pastoral nomads.[21] Such religious lineages of sheikhs and holy-men are generally referred to as 'reer aw' or 'wadaaddo' . They are nominally 'men of God' possessed of blessing by definition rather than learned. Although it doesn't necessary mean that all their lineages make religion their profession.[22]

Clan tree

The following list is based on the People of the Horn of Africa and a paper published in March 2002 by Ambroso Guido[16][23]

Bimaal (Jamal) bin Mahamed

  • Gaadsen (Sheikh Abdirahman)
  • Sa'ad
  • Da'ud
  • Baahal
  • Ismiin,
  • Suleiman (Saleiban)
  • Daadoow

Notable figures


  1. ^ a b Ciisa-Salwe, Cabdisalaam M. (1996-01-01). The collapse of the Somali state: the impact of the colonial legacy. HAAN. p. 19. ISBN 9781874209270.
  2. ^ Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye (2001-01-01). Culture and Customs of Somalia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 23. ISBN 9780313313332.
  3. ^ PhD, Dr Badal Kariye BA, BSIT, MA, MBA & (2010-07-23). The Kaleidoscopic Lover: The Civil War in the Horn of Africa & My Itinerary for a Peaceful Lover. Author House. p. 83. ISBN 9781452004648. Twenty year war
  4. ^ Schlee, Günther (1989-01-01). Identities on the Move: Clanship and Pastoralism in Northern Kenya. Manchester University Press. pp. 107, 108, 275 and 99. ISBN 9780719030109. Biimal
  5. ^ Kefale, Asnake (2013-07-31). Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia: A Comparative Regional Study. Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9781135017989. gadsan
  6. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1998-01-01). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press. p. 25. ISBN 9781569021057.
  7. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1998-01-01). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press. ISBN 9781569021057. At the end of the book "Tribal Distribution of Somali Afar and Saho"
  8. ^ Verdier, Isabelle (1997-05-31). Ethiopia: the top 100 people. Indigo Publications. p. 13. ISBN 9782905760128.
  9. ^ Hayward, R. J.; Lewis, I. M. (2005-08-17). Voice and Power. Routledge. p. 242. ISBN 9781135751753.
  10. ^ The Quranyo section of the Garre claim descent from Dirr, who are born of the Irrir Samal. UNDP Paper in Kenya
  11. ^ Adam, Hussein Mohamed; Ford, Richard (1997-01-01). Mending rips in the sky: options for Somali communities in the 21st century. Red Sea Press. p. 127. ISBN 9781569020739.
  12. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995-01-01). The Invention of Somalia. The Red Sea Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780932415998.
  13. ^ Kariye, Badal W. (2016-11-27). The Kaleidoscopic Lover: The Civil War in the Horn of Africa & My Itinerary for a Peaceful Lover. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781452004631.
  14. ^ a b Gundel, Joakim (2006). The predicament of the 'Oday': The role of traditional structures in security, rights, law and development in Somalia. Danish Refugee Council & Novib/Oxfam. p. 28.
  15. ^ a b Olson, James Stuart (1996-01-01). The Peoples of Africa: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 97. ISBN 9780313279188.
  16. ^ a b Clan tables after page 64 CLANSHIP, CONFLICT AND REFUGEES: AN INTRODUCTION TO SOMALIS IN THE HORN OF AFRICA Guido Ambroso March 2002,%20conflict%20and%20refugees_An%20introduction%20to%20Somalis%20in%20the%20Horn%20of%20Africa.pdf Page 9
  17. ^ PhD, Dr Badal Kariye BA, BSIT, MA, MBA & (2010-07-23). The Kaleidoscopic Lover: The Civil War in the Horn of Africa & My Itinerary for a Peaceful Lover. Author House. p. 83. ISBN 9781452004648.
  18. ^ Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  19. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1994-01-01). Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society. The Red Sea Press. ISBN 9780932415936.
  20. ^ Kusow, Abdi (2004-01-01). Putting the cart before the horse: contested nationalism and the crisis of the nation-state in Somalia. Red Sea Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781569022023.
  21. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1959). "The Galla in Northern Somaliland". Rassegna di Studi Etiopici. 15: 29. JSTOR 41299539.
  22. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1999-01-01). A Pastoral Democracy: A Study of Pastoralism and Politics Among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa. James Currey Publishers. p. 224. ISBN 9780852552803.
  23. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1998-01-01). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho. Red Sea Press. p. 26. ISBN 9781569021057. Yasmin, Daud, Suleiman and Saad
  24. ^ Mukhtar, Mohamed Haji (2003-02-25). Historical Dictionary of Somalia. Scarecrow Press. p. 199. ISBN 9780810866041. SHEIKH ABDI ABIIKAR “GAAFLE”