The Genealogy and Ethnic Identity of Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim Al-Gazi (Gragn) of Ethiopia: A Historiographical Reappraisal

  • Mohammed Hassen Hinika Haramaya University
Keywords: Ethiopia; Ethnic identity; Folklore; Genealogy; Imam Ahmed; Legend; Muslim sultanates

Abstract

In Ethiopia, legend and folklore-based claims always confuse
with historical fact. Until more primary sources are found, read and
interpreted, uncertainties will remain. One of such historical controversies
is the ethnic and social origins of Imam Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim Al-Gazi.
Both Muslim and Christian sources forward their case/argument in order
to support contemporary popular views. The objective of this paper is to
weave available primary and secondary sources, which are pertinent to
the genealogy of Imam Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim Al-Gazi. It is based on
published and unpublished materials from the Institute of Ethiopian
Studies (IES) library. Accordingly, the existing sources are put together
and critically reviewed, crosschecked and historically narrated. The paper
offers interpretation that takes a different line of argument from the
existing paradigm on the subject. Based on the analysis of the evidences,
the paper argues that Imam Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim Al-Gazi has more of a
Balaw and Afar ethnic background paternally and maternally
respectively. What has been commonly argued as a Somali, Harla, a
Harari or even an Oromo background are more of idea and claim than
reality.

Keywords: Ethiopia; Ethnic identity; Folklore; Genealogy; Imam
Ahmed; Legend; Muslim sultanates

Author Biography

Mohammed Hassen Hinika, Haramaya University

Haramaya University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, School of History and Heritage Management

Published
2017-12-13
Section
Articles