Historical ties between Persia and Somalia

January 3, 2015 Comments Off on Historical ties between Persia and Somalia


1390643_754975964540169_8951324218283069397_nمقديشو، الصومال
مقديشو أصلها «مقعد شاه» فقد كانت مقر الحاكم الفارسي في أوائل القرن السادس الهجري عندما حكم الفارسيون الصومال.

For obvious reasons( such as geographical ones) the close ties between Somalia and Yemen are a well covered historical fact. Adding to that that most Yemenis just like their Somali brothers on the horn belong to the same religion and even school of thought (Shafi’is) and sometimes even to the same tribes and clans, hence it is no wonder that the relationship between these two lands are not a secret to anyone who knows a bit about these two countries. However, next to the (mainly Yemeni) Arabs the Somalis encouratered another people, non-Arabs, the Persians. From the times of pre-Islamic Persia till pthe re-Safavid (Most Persians and other Iranian tribes were forced into Twelver Shi’ism by the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century AD) Sunni-Shafi’i one, Persians always had close ties to Somalia, they traded there, spread the religion there (Shafi’i school and sometimes even settled there (at the coastal cities).

In the 6th century (Hijri) the Persians (back then a absolute majority Sunni-Shafi’i people i.e. pre-Safavid era) started to trade (and according to some account even rule) in the coastal towns of Somalia. The name of the capital of Somalia is مقديشو Mugadishu; literally “The Seat of the Shah” (in Persian) which is derived from the Arabic «مقعد شاه». (i.e. Mogadishu is made of an Arabic word which is “Maq’ad i.e. seat and a Persian word which is “Shah” i.e. king/ruler). Historical accounts speak of the beauty of Mogadishu (Maq’ad Shah), a very advanced city inhabited by a beautiful people (the Somalis), apparently it’s beauty and magnificence was so astonishing that it became known as THE throne of the Shah (Maq’ad Shah/Mogadishu) of Persia who had authority over Mogadishu (when Persians traded in east Africa). Persian Sunni-Shafi’is (before the 16th century most Persians were Shafi’i Sunnis) even aided the Somalis by actively fighting the Habasha (Abyssinians/Ethiopians) who are another very strong and proud people in east Africa who even during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were a highly advanced people, proud of their old civilisation conquering foreign lands. To this day Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that has never been occupied, in fact they occupied others and took other Africans as slaves). In the 15th century AD Abyssinia (Ethiopia) tried to conquer Somalia, but with the help of Sunni Persian soldiers there Abyssinians were pushed back (since then Somalia has quite cold relations to Ethiopia, which actually has a positive relationship with Muslims in general, after all it was the Christian land that embraced the Prophet’s companiosn who fled from the pagan Quraysh tribe, in the early days of Islam). Somalis (just like the Ethiopians) were never enslaved, in fact along with the Arabs and Persians they were known to enslave weaker African tribes, Mogadishu itself was the pearl of the horn of Africa, very advanced and sophisticated. The Muslim historian Ibn Battuta (14th century AD) mentions how much of a sophisticated city Somalia was, it’s mostly indigenous rulers were known to speak at least three languages fluently). It is also believed that some Somalis, especially the coastal town residents are the descendants of Portuguese, Arab and Persian merchants who settled in Somalia.

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There are also other coastal towns in Somalia with even more accurate Persian names. Benadir for istance is a coastal region of Somalia. It covers most of the Indian Ocean coast of the country, from the Gulf of Aden to the Juba River, containing the capital of Mogadishu. The name comes from Persian bandar, which means port (referring to the northern ports of Barawa and Mogadishu), a fact that reflects the region’s importance to Persian and Arab trade during the European Middle Ages. There is even Bandar Cabaas {Abbas} in Somiland, the very same city exists in south Iran (Bandar Abbas).

Source: Basically every historical account about the origins of the capital of Somalia mention the above, in English you can refer to: David D. Laitin, Said S. Samatar, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State, (Westview Press: 1987), p. 12.). Here a Somali website confirming the Persian influence on Mogadishu:http://www.somaliaonline.com/community/topic/the-founders-of-moqdishu-the-persian-bazrangids/

The influence of Islam on Mogadishu and its hinterland led to persian made Islamic-influenced architecture. The building of the Fakr ad Din Mosque in approximately 1268 is an example of the Islamic influenced architecture in Mogadishu. It can be seen in the picture below.

The influence of Islam on Mogadishu and its hinterland led to persian made Islamic-influenced architecture. The building of the Fakr ad Din Mosque in approximately 1268 is an example of the Islamic influenced architecture in Mogadishu. It can be seen in the picture below.


Persian-Somali history is actually very old and pre-dates Islam. The Persian Emperor Cambyses (Kambiz) II upon conquering Ancient Egypt sent ambassadors to Macrobia (now Somalia) bringing luxury gifts for the Macrobian king to entice his submission, but instead the Macrobian ruler replied with a challenge for the Persian ruler in the form of an unstrung bow, that if the Persians could manage to string, they would have the right to invade his country, but until then they should thank the gods that the Macrobians never decided to invade their empire.” After receiving the bow from Somali rulers, the Persians never invaded Somalia instead offered treaty and joined the Somalis in the construction of Mogadishu and other coastal towns. The Sassanid (pre-Islamic) Persians had close ties with Somalia too and of course the Muslim Persians in the 6th century (after Hirji) i.e. pre-Safavid era where the absolute majority of Persians where Shafi’i Sunnis just literally all Somalis today (ironically most native Persians in south Iran are still Sunni-Shafi’i to this very day, despite the onslaught of the Safavids who forced most Shafi’is to Twelver Shi’ism there is still a seizable ethnic Persian (also known in the south as Laris/Khodmoonis) Sunni-Shafi’i minority many parts of south Iran (including the Fars and Hormozgan province). As for post-Safavid Persia i.e. after the 16th century AD then obviously the relationship of Iran (Persia) and Somalia have cooled down, especially since the neo-Safavid Khomeinian Rafidi revolution (Iran is activerly trying to spread Shi’ism in all of Africa, including the horn. However, Somalis are known as staunch Sunnis, well respected Somali scholars have taught the biggest scholars in Saudi Arabia, many Somalis are fluent in Arabic and much better educated about the evil reality of the Iranian regime and the Rafidi sect, hence it is no wonder that Iran has almost zero success in spreading Shi’ism in the horn. The only places Iran is successful in spreading Shi’ism is in some parts of west Africa and north Africa (particularly amongst semi-Shia, extremist Sufi groups i.e. regions were ignorance is wide spread).

Persian Sunni-Shafi’is (before the 16th century most Persians were Shafi’i Sunnis) even aided the Somalis by actively fighting the Habasha (Abyssinians/Ethiopians) who are another very strong and proud people in east Africa who even during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were a highly advanced people, proud of their old civilisation conquering foreign lands. To this day Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that has never been occupied, in fact they occupied others and took other Africans as slaves). In the 15th century AD Abyssinia (Ethiopia) tried to conquer Somalia, but with the help of Sunni Persian soldiers there Abyssinians were pushed back (since then Somalia has quite cold relations to Ethiopia, which actually has a positive relationship with Muslims in general, after all it was the Christian land that embraced the Prophet’s companiosn who fled from the pagan Quraysh tribe, in the early days of Islam).

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Somalis (just like the Ethiopians) were never enslaved, in fact along with the Arabs and Persians they were known to enslave weaker African tribes, Mogadishu itself was the pearl of the horn of Africa, very advanced and sophisticated. The Muslim historian Ibn Battuta (14th century AD) mentions how much of a sophisticated city Somalia was, it’s mostly indigenous rulers were known to speak at least three languages fluently). It is also believed that some Somalis, especially the coastal town residents are the descendants of Portuguese, Arab and Persian merchants who settled in Somalia.”

#somalia

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