Mohammed Abdullah Hassan

Mohammed Abdullah Hassan

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Mohammed Abdullah Hassan

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Sayyīd Muhammad `Abd Allāh al-Hasan (, ) (April 7, 1856, in Buuhoodle northern Somalia – December 21, 1920 in Imi, Ogaden) was a Somali religious and patriotic leader. Referred to as the Mad Mullah by the British, he established the Dervish State in Somalia that fought an anti-imperial war for a period of over 20 years against British, Italian and Ethiopian forces.


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

Hassan was the eldest son of Sheikh Abdille, an Ogaden Somali. His mother, Timiro Sade, also a Somali, belonged to the Dhulbahante clan. His great grandfather, Sheikh Ismaan of Bardee, was a pious man of great repute who left his homeland slightly north of Qalaafo along the Shebelle River valley in what is now the Ogaden and migrated southwards to settle with the religious Somali community at Bardera along the Jubba River. Hassan's grandfather, Hasan Nur, in turn, left his home and moved closer to the Dhulbahante stronghold in north-eastern Somalia. There, he founded several religious centres and devoted himself to the worship of God. Following in the footsteps of Hasan Nur, Hassan's father Abdille also led a religious life. Abdille married several Dhulbahante women by whom he had about 30 children of...
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