Muslim warriors

List of Muslim soldiers

A Muslim soldier is a Muslim who has engaged in war, or is trained in the art of war. Some of the more contemporary belong to state or national military forces and are more accurately described as soldiers. Some of the older entries may be more accurately be described as warriors, and some as militia.

Entries in this chronological list are accompanied by dates of birth and death, branch of Islam, country of birth, field of study, campaigns fought in, and a short biographical description.

Muslim military leaders

This list includes notable conquerors, generals, and admirals from early Islamic history to the 20th century.












  • Ali Haider - (1722 - 1782).
  • Imam Shamil, (1797-1871). An Avar (modern day Dagestan) who is considered both a political and religious leader for Chechens, Dagestanis, and Circassians.
  • Tipu Sultan. (1750 - 1799).



Lt.Karamdad Khan was in British army and he left the army and joind the freedom struggle. He belonged to GrUhtta in Tehsil Sehnsa. He fought with his men bravely against Dogra Army and succeded to free a vast area including Throchi fort.Colonol Mehmood, Raja Sakhi Daler Khan, Raja Saif Ali were among his companions. Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (Somali: Sayid Maxamed Cabdille Xasan or Sayyid Mahammad Abdille Hasan) (born April 7, 1856, in the north of Somalia, died December 21, 1920 in Imi, Ethiopia) was Somalia's religious and nationalist leader (called the "Mad Mullah" by the British) who for 20 years led armed resistance to the British, Italian, and Ethiopian forces in Somalia. Contents [hide]

   * 1 Youth
   * 2 Religious Mission
   * 3 Armed struggle
   * 4 Against Ethiopia, Britain and Italy
   * 5 Sayyid Mohamed's Push To The South
   * 6 Consolidation
   * 7 Defeat
   * 8 Death
   * 9 See also
   * 10 References

[edit] Youth

Hassan, who belonged to the Ogaden sub-clan of the Darod, was born in 1856 in the valley of Sa'Madeeq. Some say he was born at Kirrit in the north of Somalia. At the time, this part of Somalia was a protectorate of the United Kingdom. The area was known as British Somaliland from 1884 to 1960.

Hassan was the eldest son of Sheikh Abdille who was an Ogaden Somali and his mother a Somali of the Dhulbahante tribe. His great grandfather, Sheikh Ismaan of Bardee, was a reputed pious man who left his homeland slightly north of Qallafo along the Shebelle River valley in what is now the Ogaden and migrated southwards and settled with the religious community at Bardera along the Jubba River. His grandfather Hasan Nur left his home and moved closer to the Dhulbahante clan in north-eastern Somalia. There he founded religious centres and devoted himself to the worship of God. His father Abdille had also adopted the religious style of his father's life. He married several Dulbahante women by whom he had about 30 children of which Hassan was the eldest. His mother Timiro Sade came from the Ali Geri sublineage of the Dhulbahante clan, which was an alliance to the Ogaden.

Hassan grew up in among the Dulbahante pastoralists who were good herdsmen and warriors and who used camels as well as horses. Young Hassan's hero was his maternal grandfather Sade Mogan who was a great warrior chief. By the age of eleven, he had learned the Qur'an by heart and displayed qualities of a promising leader and a good horseman. He continued his religious education. In 1875, his grandfather died. Hassan was shocked by this loss. After 1875, he worked as a Quranic teacher for two years. His thirst for Islamic learning was so intense that he left his job and devoted about ten years to visiting many famous centres of Islamic learning including Harar and Mogadishu and even some centres in Kenya and Sudan.

Hassan received education from as many as seventy-two Somali and Arab religious teachers. In 1891, returning to his home, he married an Ogadeni woman. Three years later along with two of his uncles and eleven other companions some of whom were his maternal kin, he went to Mecca to perform Hajj. The party stayed there for a year and half and came under the charismatic influence of the newly developing Saalihiya order under the leadership of the great mystic Mohammed Salih who was a Sudanese. Hassan received initiation and very rigorous spiritual training under Salih.

Hassan emerged a changed man — a spiritually transformed man 'shaken and over-awed' but determined to spread the teachings of the Saalihiya order in Somalia.

[edit] Religious Mission

In 1895, Hassan returned to Berbera which was then considered by the British merely as 'Aden's butcher's shop', since they were interested only in getting regular supplies of meat from Somalia through this port for their British India outpost of Aden.

Taking advantage of British complacency and arrogance, Emperor Menelek II of Ethiopia asked Ras Makonnen, the Governor of his newly conquered Hararghe Province, to send armed bands to plunder and occupy Ogaden politically. The British withdrew from this area of their territory in Somalia.

In Berbera, Hassan could not succeed in spreading the teaching of the Saalihiya order due to the hostility of the local Qadiriyyah inhabitants who did not like him criticising their eating khat and gorging on the fat of sheep's tail and for following their traditional Qadiriyyah order. In 1897, he left Berbera to be with his Dulbahante kinsmen. On the way, at a place called Daymoole, he met some Somalis who were being looked after by a Catholic Mission. When he asked them about their tribe and parents, the Somali orphans replied that they belonged to the "clan of the (Catholic) Fathers." This reply shook his conscience, for he felt that the "Christian Overlordship in his country was tantamount to the destruction of his people's faith."

Reaching his region, Hassan established his first headquarters at Qoryawaye and started preaching religious reform according to the Saalihaya order among the pastoral nomads. He started calling himself and his followers 'dervishes'. The Arabic word Dervish means a Muslim believer who has taken vows of poverty and a life of austerity in the service of God. Soon, his influence spread over the majority of the Habar Tol Jaalo and the eastern Habar Yoonis clans. For their part, British officials appreciated his role of settling the tribal disputes and of maintaining peace in the area.

In 1899, an unfortunate event took place. Some soldiers of the British armed forces met Hassan and sold him an official gun. When questioned about the loss of the gun, they told their superiors that Hassan had stolen the gun from them. On 29 March 1899, the British Vice Consul wrote a very insulting and stern letter to him asking him to return the gun immediately, which someone in Hassan's camp had reported stolen. This enraged Hassan and he sent a very brief and curt reply refuting the allegation.

While Hassan had really been against the Ethiopian imperialist plunderers of Somalia, this small incident made him clash with the British. The British and Ethiopian Emperor Menelek II joined together to crush the Dervish movement of Hassan and some antagonistic Somali Ogadeni also cooperated with Menelek II against him.

[edit] Armed struggle

In several of his poems and speeches, Hassan emphasized that the British infidels "have destroyed our religion and made our children their children" and that the Christian Ethiopians in league with the British were bent upon plundering the political and religious freedom of the Somali nation. He soon emerged as "a champion of his country's political and religious freedom, defending it against all Christian invaders." He issued a religious ordinance that any Somali national who did not accept the goal of unity of Somalia and would not fight under his leadership would be be considered as kafir or gaal. He acquired weapons from Turkey, Sudan, and other Islamic and/or Arabian countries. He appointed his ministers and advisers in charges of different areas or sectors of Somalia. He gave a clarion call for Somali unity and independence.

Hassan organized his follower-warriors. His 'Dervish' movement had essentially a military character and the Dervish state was fashioned on the model of a Saalihiya brotherhood. It had rigid hierarchy and rigid centralization.

Though Hassan threatened to drive the Christians into the sea, he Launched his first major military offensive with his 1500 Dervish equipped with 20 modem rifles on the British soldiers stationed in the region.

Hassan sent one of his men to Yemen in disguise for reconnaissance activities to report the new aeroplanes preparedness for attack. He sent his emissaries all over the country appealing for Somali people to join his movement and many responded to him enthusiastically.

[edit] Against Ethiopia, Britain and Italy

In 1900, an Ethiopian expedition which had been sent to arrest or kill Hassan, looted a large number of camels of the Mohammed Subeer tribe of Ogaden. In answer to his appeal, Hassan attacked the Ethiopian garrison at Jijiga on 4 March of that year and successfully recovered all the looted animals. This success emboldened Hassan and also enhanced his reputation.

In June, three months later, Hassan raided the British protected northern Somali clans of Eidagale and Isaaq and looted about 2,000 camels. He gained great prestige in recovering the looted stock from the Ethiopians and he used it along with his charisma and powers of oratory to improve his undisputed authority on the Ogaden. To harness Ogaden enthusiasm into final commitment, Hassan married the daughter of a prominent Ogaden chieftain and in return gave his own sister, Toohyar Sheikh Adbile, to Abdi Mohammed Waale, a notable Mohammed Subeer elder.

However, soon angered by his autocratic rule, Hussen Hirsi Dala Iljech' - a Mohammed Subeer chieftain plotted to kill him. The news of the plot leaked to Hassan. He escaped but his prime minister and friend, Aw 'Abbas, was killed in the plot. Some weeks later, Mohammed Subeer sent a peace delegation of 32 men to Hassan, but he had all the members of the delegation arrested and killed. Shocked by this heinous crime, Mohammed Subeer sought the help of the Ethiopians and the Dervish withdrew to Nugaal.

Hassan (by now better known by his honorific title of "Sayyid") patched up with the Dulbahante temporarily by paying huge blood monies. This frightened the British protected North Somali pastorals. Towards the end of 1900, Ethiopian Emperor Menelik proposed a joint action with the British against the Dervish. Accordingly, British Lt. Col. E.J. Swayne assembled a force of 1,500 Somali soldiers led by 21 European officers and started from Burco on 22 May 1901, while an Ethiopian army of 15,000 soldiers started from Harar to join the British forces, to crush the Dervish movement of about 20,000 Dervish (of whom 40 percent were cavalry).

During 1901 and 1904, the Dervish army inflicted heavy losses to their enemies - the Ethiopians and the British as well as the Italian forces. "His successes attracted to his banner even Somalis who did not follow his religious beliefs." On 9 January 1904 at the Jidaale plain the British Commander, General Charles Egerton launches a massive campaign against the Dervishes and many were killed. This loss forced Sayyid and his remaining men to withdraw to Majeerteen country.

Around 1910, about 600 Dervish followers decided to stop follow Sayyid due to his high-handedness, in a secret meeting under a big tree later nicknamed "Anjeel-tale-waa" (The tree-of-Bad-Counsel). Their departure weakened, demoralized and angered Sayyid, and at this juncture he composed his most famous poem entitled. "The Tree of Bad Counsel".

[edit] Sayyid Mohamed's Push To The South

Marehan forces from the Hinterland in Northern Somalia to the length of the entire Jubba inside Somalia, from Serinley, near Bardera, to the coast, Sayyed Mohamed received enormous support from Marehan population for his push to gather fighting men in the south of Somalia.[1]

The freedom fighter Sayyid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan's own Ogaden clansmen weren't entirely on his side when the Marehan saw the importance of siding with nationalist leader on the mission of getting rid the colonial power. From Serinley onwards to Dolow, the second arm of the Marehan wasn't happy with new dynamics of giving the British a second front for confrentation. The peacful communities between Bardera and Dolow to the River Tana in East Africa was long established before the late 19th century uprising of Sayyed Mohamed Abdulle Hassan.[2]

The Marehan Rer Guri were content and basically wanted to herd their livestock from the grasslands of Jubba to Tana River peacfully, where they have been settled at the time. The Marehan Galti from the north and central Somalia was in the struggle mood. Northern Gedo Sheikh of Ali Dheere, who was at the time in concert with the rer Guri, was content with the status quo in terms of not wanting to be part of armed struggle against the British and their proxy fighters, the East Africa Riflery.

[edit] Consolidation Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's fort Taleh. Mohammed Abdullah Hassan's fort Taleh.

During 1910-1914, Sayyid's capital moved from Illig to Taleex in the heart of Nugaal where he built three garrison forts of massive stone work and a number of houses. He built a luxurious palace for himself and kept new guards for his palace drawn from outcast clans. By 1913, he had dominated the entire hinterland of the Somali peninsula by building forts at Jildali and Mirashi in Warsangali country, at Werder and Qorahy in the Ogaden and Belet-Weyn in southern Somalia. On 9 August 1913, at the Battle of Dul Madoba, a Dervish force raided the Habar Yoonis tribe near Burco and killed or wounded 57 members of the 110-man "Somaliland Camel Constabulary." The dead included the British officer who commanded the constabulary, Colonel Richard Corfield. Hassan memorialized this action in his poem simply entitled "The Death of Richard Corfield." In the same year, the Dervish attacked Berbera and looted and destroyed it. In 1914, the "Somaliland Camel Corps" was founded as an expanded and improved version of the constabulary.

By 1919, despite the British having built large stone forts to guard the passes to the hills, Hassan and his armed bands were at large, robbing and killing.[1]

The Sayyed and his followers in Jubba vision was similar to that of people in Sudan and Egypt when Ottoman Sultanate was retreating from North and East Africa territories.

[edit] Defeat

   Main article: 1920 conflict between British forces and Somaliland dervishes

In the beginning of 1920, the British struck the Dervish settlements with a well-coordinated land, sea and air attack. The battles in Somalia were very serous and the firepower, which the British were employing, was the maximum they could master. Special units were brought from as far away as Nepal and India to fight the hot war in Somalia. Up to this day the jungles of Somalia are littered with spent ammunition, rifles, artillery pieces, military vehicle, and downed world war one aircrafts. Many aircrafts were either downed by the dervish forces or by bad weather, or navigational problems. The best soldiers, equipments and generals have been assembled from all over the British Empire to finish off the dervish resistance. The best British war generals in the 1900’s have been killed in Somalia. In the end the British Empire resorted to biochemical warfare to end or win the war.the forts of Hassan were damaged and his army suffered great losses. So They retreated to Ogaden. Here, again with the help of his patriotic poetry and charisma, he tried to rebuild his army and accomplish the coalition of Ogadeen clans which made him a power in the land once again. The British sent a peace delegation to him offering to give a government subsidy and a land grant in the west of the British Somaliland where he could settle with his followers, but he spurned the proposal. He even raided the returning delegation.Then the British Empire used biological agents similar to those used by the Americans against the Indians. 4/3 of the population in the Ogden have died including most of the Somali forces. The wells of Dollo which watered the livestock of the Ogaden strong hold for the dervish resistance was poisoned.Then smallpox and rinderpest broke out on large scale in the Ogaden and about half of the Dervish died therefrom. the northern tribes have been armed by the British to finish off the remaining somali forces, who were already ill with diseases. Tribal raids under the leadership of Haaji Waraabe (Haji the Hyena) armed and organized by the British killed the remaining Dervish and took away about 60,000 animals in loot but failed to catch Hassan. Along with some of his followers, he escaped to the Arsi Oromo in Ethiopia where he tried to contract marriages to stabilize his position.

[edit] Death

On 21 December 1920, Hassan died of influenza at the age of 64.

[edit] See also

   * John Gough - Awarded a Victoria Cross for his actions as a column commander during the Third Somaliland Expedition against Hassan.
   * Mohamoud Ali Shire - Sultan of Warsengeli

[edit] References

  1. ^ Baker, Anne (2003). From Biplane to Spitfire. Pen And Sword Books, 161. ISBN 0 85052 980 8.

   * Abdisalam Issa-Salwe, The Failure of The Daraawiish State, The Clash Between Somali Clanship and State System, paper presented at the 5th International Congress of Somali Studies, December 1993 [3]
   * Abdi Sheik Abdi, Divine Madness: Mohammed Abdulle Hassan (1856-1920), Zed Books Ltd., London, 1993
   * Jaamac Cumar Ciise, Taariikhdii Daraawiishta iyo Sayid Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan, (1895-1921), Wasaaradda Hiddaha iyo Tacliinta Sare, edited by Akadeemiyaha Dhaqanka, Mogadishu, 1976.
   * Jardine, Douglas J., The Mad Mullah of Somaliland, London: Jenkins, 1923. Reprint. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969 (one of the main sources of this article)
   * Said S. Samatar, Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism: The Case of Sayyid Mahammad Abdille Hasan, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982 (analyzes Mahammad Abdille's poetry and assesses his nationalist and literary contributions to the Somali heritage)

East Africa Stamdard May 4th, 1914

Hassan jamous

Head of Chadian army during the war with Libya, regarded as national hero in Chad.


Muslim warriors

The following Muslim warrior and soldiers, while not in significant leadership positions, are still of particular note


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