|Regions with significant populations|
|Islam (Sunni )|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Dir, Darod, Hawiye, Rahanweyn, and other Somali people|
The Isaaq (also Isaq, Ishaak) (Somali: Reer Sheik Isaxaaq, Arabic: إسحاق) are one of the main clans of the Somali people. Members principally live in the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia, the Somali Region of Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The populations of five major cities in the Somalia region – Hargeisa, Burao, Berbera, Erigavo and Gabiley – are predominantly Isaaq. As of the late 1980s[update], the Sacad Muuse, Habar Awal and Jibriil Abokor sub-clans of the Isaaq were also the main inhabitants of Gabiley.
According to early Islamic books and Somali tradition, the Isaaq clan was founded in the 12th or 13th century with the arrival of Shaykh Ishaq ibn Ahmad al-Hashimi from Arabia, a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib . He settled in the coastal town of Maydh in modern-day northernwestern Somalia, where he married into the local original or the owners magaadle clan.
As with Sheikh Darod, there are also numerous existing hagiologies in Arabic which describe Sheikh Isaaq's travels, works and overall life in northern Somalia, as well as his movements in Arabia before his arrival. Besides historical sources, one of the more recent printed biographies of Sheikh Isaaq is the Amjaad of Sheikh Husseen bin Ahmed Darwiish al-Isaaqi as-Soomaali, which was printed in Aden in 1955.
The three major sub-clans of the Isaaq signed treaties with the British in the 1880s pledging them and their successors not to cede or otherwise alienate any part of their lands except to the British, and allowing the British Government to appoint agents who would reside in the territories of the clans. These groups were the Habr Awal, (dated 14 July 1884), the Habr Toljallo (dated 26 December 1884), and the Habr Garhadjis (13 January 1885).
In the Isaaq clan-family, component clans are divided into two uterine divisions, as shown in the genealogy. The first division is between those lineages descended from sons of Sheikh Isaaq by an Ethiopian woman – the Habar Habuusheed – and those descended from sons of Sheikh Isaaq by a woman of the Magaadle clan – the Habar Magaadle. Indeed most of the largest clans of the clan-family are in fact uterine alliances. This is illustrated in the following structure.
Sheikh Is-haaq Bin Ahmed
1. Habar Habuusheed
- Ahmed (Tol-Ja’lo)
- Ibrahiim (Sanbuur)
- Mahammad (‘Ibraan)
2. Habar Magaadle
There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.
- Haber Awal
- Sa'ad Muse
- Issa Muse
- Eli muse
- Habr Garhadjis
- Habr Yunis
- Habr Jaalo (var. Habr Toljallo; Haber Geelo)
- Mohamed Abokor
- Muse Abokor
- Samane Abokor
- Ahmad (Toljaalo)
- Haber Awal
One tradition maintains that Isaaq had twin sons: Ahmed or Arap, and Ismail or Gerhajis.
Historical publications on Sheikh Isaaq include:
- Al-Dur Al Muntakhab Fi Alaqab Wal-asab - 12th-century manuscript by unknown author
- Al Casjad Al-Manduum Li-Taariikh Wal-culuum - 12th-century manuscript by Maxamed Hasan Al-Basri (50 pages, Al-Zahiriyah Library, Al-Hamidiyah Souq, Damascus Syria)
- Al-3asjad Al Manduum - by Sharif Ahmed Muhammad Qaasim Al Gheribaani, a Hashimi historian of Yemen (1910)
- Thamrat Al-Mushtaaq Fi Manaaqib/Nasab al-Sheekh/Sayid Is'haaq - by Sharif Aydarus Sharif Ali Al-Aydarus 1947 (d 1347 H.A.); also the author of Bughyat Al-Amaal Fi-Taariikh Al Soomaal
- Adhwaa 3alaa Taariikh Al-Soomaal - by Shariif Maxamed 3aydarus (1932-1999), the ex-mayor of Mogadishu during the 1968 election in Somalia
- Kitaab Fatx Al-Baab Fi Al-Ansaab Wal-Alaqaab - by 3abdialma3alim Ibn Yuusuf
Notable Isaaq people
- Abdillahi Suldaan Mohammed Timacade, known as 'Timacade', a famous poet during the pre- and post-colonial periods
- Abdirahim Abbey Farah, former United Nations Under-Secretary General
- Abdirashid Duale, award-winning Somali entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the CEO of Dahabshiil.
- Abdullahi Qarshe, Somali musician, poet and playwright; known as the "Father of Somali music"
- Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Somaliland and the Chairman of Wadani political party
- Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tuur, Last Somali National Movement Chairman and First President of Somaliland
- Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, President of Somaliland as of June 2010, fourth and longest-serving Chairman of the Somali National Movement, and former Chairman of the Kulmiye Party
- Amina Moghe Hersi (b. 1963), Award-winning Somali entrepreneur who has launched several multi-million dollar projects in Kampala, Uganda
- Ali Abdi Farah, Minister of Communication and Culture in Djibouti
- Ali Feiruz, popular musician in Djibouti and Somalia
- Bashir Yussuf, Somali religious leader
- Edna Adan Ismail, first female Foreign Minister of Somaliland, has been called “The Muslim Mother Teresa” for her charity work and activism for women and girls
- Faysal Ali Warabe, Chairman of the For Justice and Development party of Somaliland (UCID).
- Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Adan, former Foreign Minister of Somalia and MP in Federal Parliament
- Gaarriye (born Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac; 1949 – 30 September 2012), poet
- Haji Yusuf Iman Guled, former Defense Minister of Somalia and a Business Magnate
- Hanan Ibrahim, gender activist and first Somali British to be awarded Member of British Empire (MBE) for community work in UK
- Hussein Arab Isse, the Minister of Defence and the Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia from July 20, 2011 to November 4, 2012
- Hussain Bisad, is one of the tallest men in the world, at 2.32 m (7 ft 7 1⁄2 in). He has the largest hand span of anyone alive
- Ismail Mahmud Hurre, foreign minister of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia from mid-2006 to early 2007
- Hadrawi, poet and philosopher; author of Halkaraan; also known as the "Somali Shakespeare"
- Ismail Ali Abokor, former Vice-President of the Somali Democratic Republic
- Jama Musse Jama (b. 1967), prominent Somali ethnomathematician and author.
- Mo Farah, British 4 time Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated athlete in British athletics history.
- Mohamed Hasan Abdullahi, former Chief of Staff of Somaliland Armed Forces.
- Mohamed Omar Arte, former Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia.
- Mohammed Saeed Duale, owner and the founder of Dahabshiil Group the African largest money transfer company
- Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, former Prime Minister of Somalia 1960, 1967-1969; former President of Somaliland
- Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, former Foreign Minister of Somalia
- Mohammed Abdillahi Ogsadey, was a Somali business tycoon based in Ethiopia, where he established MAO Harar Horse, the first African corporation to export coffee
- Mohammed Ahamed, Norwegian-Somalian association footballer currently playing in the Tippeligaen for Tromsø IL. He plays as a Center Forward
- Mohamed Hasan Abdullahi, former Chief of Staff of Somaliland Armed Forces
- Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame 'Hadrawi', poet and philosopher; author of Halkaraan; also known as the "Somali Shakespeare"
- Mohamed Mooge Liibaan, Mooge is regarded by many Somalis to be one of the greatest Somali musicians to have ever lived
- Nuh Ismail Tani, current Chief of Staff of Somaliland Armed Forces
- Rageh Omaar, Somali-British journalist and writer. He used to be a BBC world affairs correspondent, In September 2006, he moved to a new post at Al Jazeera English, and as of 2017 is currently with ITV News
- Sheekh Muhumed Warsame, Islamic religious leader and founder of the modern town of Gabiley
- Umar Arteh Ghalib, former Prime Minister of Somalia 1991-1993. Brought Somalia into the Arab League in 1974 during his term Foreign Minister of Somalia from 1969-1977. Former president of UN Security Council, teacher and poet
- Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Somalia: Information on the ethnic composition in Gabiley (Gebiley) in 1987–1988, 1 April 1996, SOM23518.E [accessed 6 October 2009]
- Rima Berns McGown, Muslims in the diaspora, (University of Toronto Press: 1999), pp. 27–28
- I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), p. 22
- I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), pp. 31 & 42
- Roland Anthony Oliver, J. D. Fage, Journal of African history, Volume 3 (Cambridge University Press.: 1962), p.45
- I. M. Lewis, A pastoral democracy: a study of pastoralism and politics among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa, (LIT Verlag Münster: 1999), p.131.
- I.M. Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar, and Saho, Issue 1, (International African Institute: 1955), pp. 18-19
- D. J. Latham Brown (1956). "The Ethiopia-Somaliland Frontier Dispute". International and Comparative Law Quarterly. 5 (2): 245–264. doi:10.1093/iclqaj/5.2.245. JSTOR 755848.
- I. M. Lewis, A pastoral democracy: a study of pastoralism and politics among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa, (LIT Verlag Münster: 1999), p. 157.
- Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p. 55 Figure A-1
- Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, p. 43
- Laurence, Margaret (1970). A Tree for Poverty: Somali Poetry and Prose. Hamilton: McMaster University. p. 145. ISBN 1-55022-177-9.
Then Magado, the wife of Ishaak, bore him twin sons, and their names were Ahmed, nick-named Arap, and Ismail, nick-named Gerhajis.
- Islam in Somali History Fact and Fiction revisited , the Arab Factor
- Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, Roberto Balducci (ed.) (1993). Somalia: le radici del futuro. Il passaggio. p. 33. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Mo Farah's family cheers him on from Somaliland village". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2014.