The Harari ethnic flag
|Regions with significant populations|
|Islam (Sunni, Sufi)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Afar • Amhara • Argobba • Gurage • Oromo • Tigray • Silt'e • Somali • Zay|
The Harari people (Arabic: هراري, Harari: ሐረሪ), also called Geyusu ("People of the City"), are an ethnic group inhabiting the Horn of Africa. Members traditionally reside in the city of Harar, situated in the Harari Region of eastern Ethiopia. They speak Harari, a member of the Ethiosemitic within the Afroasiatic family.
The Harla people are considered, the precursor to the Harari people. Upon the arrival of Arab cleric Abadir in the 10th century, he was met by the Harla, Gaturi and Argobba tribes. By the thirteenth century, Hararis were one of the administrators of the Ifat Sultanate. In the fourteenth century raids on Harar town of Get (Gey) by Abyssinian Emperor Amda Seyon I, Hararis are referred to as Harla Arabs. In the sixteenth century, walls built around the city of Harar during the reign of Emir Nur, helped preserve Harari identity from being assimilated by the Oromo. According to Ulrich Braukämper, Harla-Harari semitic group were most likely active in the region prior to the Adal Sultanate's Islamic invasion of Ethiopia. During the Abyssinian-Adal war, some Harari militia settled in Gurage territory forming the Silt'e ethnic group. Hararis were furious when Muhammad Jasa decided to move the Adal Sultanate's capital from Harar to Aussa in 1577. In less than a year after its relocation Adal would collapse.
Among the assimilated peoples were Arab Muslims that arrived during the start of the Islamic period, as well as Argobba and other migrants that were drawn to Harar's well-developed culture. Statistics prove that a Semitic-speaking people akin to the Harari may have inhabited a stretch of land between the Karkaar Mountains, the middle Awash and the Jijiga region, although there is no linguistic proof to confirm this. The Great Oromo Migrations have effectively split this putative ethnolinguistic block to the Lake Zway islands, Gurage territory, and Harar. Following the decline of the Adal Sultanate's ascendancy in the area, a large number of the Harari were in turn reportedly absorbed into the Oromo community. In the Emirate of Harar period, Hararis sent missionaries to convert Oromo to Islam. The loss in the crucial Battle of Chelenqo marked the end of Harar's independence in 1887. Hararis supported the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia Iyasu V, and his presumed efforts to make Harar the capital of an African Islamic empire. Iyasu was however overthrown in 1916, and many of his Harari followers were jailed.
Due to severe violation of Harari rights during Abyssinian rule, Hararis made several attempts to cut ties with Ethiopia and unify Hararghe with Somalia. Launching the nationalist Kulub movement linked to the Somali Youth League. These events led to the Haile Selassie governments systematic displacement efforts on Hararis, to break their dominant control of Harar. Harar Oromo proverb, allude to this occasion as:"On that day Hararis were eliminated from earth." Former Mayor of Harar, Bereket Selassie reported that both the Amhara and Oromo viewed Hararis with contempt. Haile Selassie's overthrow by the Derg communist regime made minor differences for the Harari, they describe it as "little more than a transition from the frying pan into the fire". The surviving Harari relatives of the members to the Kulub movement would join the Somali Armed Forces and some having been promoted high ranking military officers, fought in the Ogaden War to free Harari/Somali territory from Ethiopian rule. Hararis were also involved in WSLF. After Ethiopians won the war in Ogaden, Derg soldiers began massacring civilians in Harari areas of Addis Ababa for collaborating with Somalis. Today Hararis are outnumbered in their own state by the Amhara and Oromo people. The ruling Ethiopian government ushered in 1991 has favored Hararis tremendously. They now control their Harari Region again and have been given special rights not offered to other groups in the region.
The Harari people themselves assert descent from Abadir Umar ar-Rida, also known as Fiqi Umar, who traced his lineage to the first caliph, Abu Bakr. According to the explorer Richard Francis Burton, "Fiqi Umar" crossed over from the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa ten generations prior to 1854, with his six sons: Umar the Greater, Umar the Lesser, the two Abdillahs, Ahmad and Siddik. According to Hararis, they also comprise of seven Harla subclans; Abogn, Adish, Awari, Gidaya, Gaturi, Hargaya, and Wargar. The Harari were previously known as "Adere", although this term is now considered derogatory.
The Harari people speak the Harari language, an Ethiosemitic language referred to as Gey Ritma or Gey Sinan ("Language of the City"). It is closely related to the Eastern Gurage languages and similar to Zay and Silt'e.
After the Egyptian conquest of Harar, numerous loanwords were additionally borrowed from Arabic. Gey Ritma was historically written using the Arabic script. More recently, it has been transcribed with the Ge'ez script.
Virtually all Harari are Muslim. The earliest kabir or Islamic teacher in the community was Aw Sofi Yahya. He arrived in Harar in 1216 as part of Abadir's retinue. Yahya subsequently established the area's first Qur'an gey or madrasa around 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the south of the city center.
Composing just under 10% within their own city, Harari people have moved throughout Ethiopia, mainly to Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, establishing families and businesses. The Harari people have also spread throughout North America, mainly to Washington D.C., Atlanta, Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Memphis. Furthermore a minority of the Harari people lives in Europe in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Great Britain. In Melbourne Australia, Harari communities such as Sây Harari Afocha is active.
- Abdullah al-Harari, leader of the al-Ahbash Sunni Sufi movement
- 'Abd Allah II ibn 'Ali 'Abd ash-Shakur, last Emir of Harar
- Nur ibn Mujahid, founder of Sultanate of Harar
- Ali ibn Da`ud, founder of the Emirate of Harar
- Mahfuz, Imam and General of the Adal Sultanate
- Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, Imam and General of the Adal Sultanate
- Bati del Wambara, Queen of the Adal Sultanate
- Haboba, first Emir of Harar
- H.E Samia Gutu, Ethiopian Ambassador to Nigeria
- Col. Abdusalam Mohammed Faqih, former military officer of Somali Armed Forces
- Cpt. Mohamed Ahmed Bomba, former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines
- Dr. Duri Mohammed, former President of Addis Ababa University
- General Ali Gutu, former military general and Harari region president.
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- Ethnologue - Harari language
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