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Adal: History of Islamic State in East Africa
Historic Islamic state of eastern Africa, Adal state in the Danakil-Somali region southwest of the Gulf of Aden, with its capital at Harer (now in Ethiopia). Its rivalry with Christian Ethiopia began in the 14th century with minor border raids and skirmishes.
In the 16th century, Adal rose briefly to international importance by launching a series of more serious attacks. The first phase, in which the forces of Adal were led by Mahfuz, governor of Zeila – city on the Gulf of Aden, ended in 1516, when Mahfuz and many of his followers were killed in an Ethiopian ambush.
Within a few years there emerged a new leader, Ahmad Guray (the Left-handed). He gathered Muslim nomads for a jihād, or religious war, against Christian Ethiopia. They swept into the highlands of Ethiopia, drove the Ethiopian emperor into exile, led massive conversions, and by 1533 liberated and controlled most of central Ethiopia. They destroyed churches and monasteries, in response of Ethiopian emperor, which destroys Islamic heritage until today.
The fugitive Ethiopian emperor appealed to Portugal for help. Four hundred Portuguese musketeers landed at Mitsiwa (now Massawa, Eritrea) in 1541. Adal then took on reinforcements as well: 900 Arab, Turkish, and Albanian musketeers, plus some cannon. Adal's successes continued until Guray was killed in a battle near Lake Tana in 1543. The Oromo invasions of the later 16th century put an end to Adal's power. Its rulers fled north into the desert, their nomadic followers lost any semblance of unity, and Adal was reduced to insignificance.
Ahmed Guray :
His real name is Ahmad Ibn Ibrahim Al-Ghazi leader of a Muslim movement that subjugated Ethiopia. At the height of his conquest, he held more than three-quarters of the kingdom, and, according to the chronicles, the majority of men in these conquered areas had re-embraced to Islam.
Once Ahmad Guray had gained control of the Muslim Somali state of Adal (Adel), where he installed his brother as a crown prince, he launched a jihad (Islamic holy war) against Christian Ethiopia. He created an army out of the masses of heterogeneous and nomadic Somalis who had joined him, aiming to higher the name of Allah and Islamic religion. He also made modern use of firearms, introduced by the Turks, and a small body of Turkish Muslim troops joined him in the Jihad.
A hm ad Guray defeated the Ethiopian army in Adal in 1526–27. Until 1531 he felt ready for a large-scale invasion in deep of Christian Ethiopia. By 1535 he had regained lost southern and central areas of the state and parts of northern highlands, asking Ethiopians to join his forces where large parts embraced Islam and followed as their king.
After loosing battle to Somali hero Guray, The Ethiopian king and a few followers retreated and begged for Portuguese aid. But when a small Portuguese force tried to relieve them in 1541. Ahmed Guray lastly lost the battle to Portuguese but not to Ethiopians. Ethiopian seeks help of international Christian communities against emerging Islamic Somalia.
Ahmad Guray, who had meanwhile been able to obtain Turkish reinforcements and military support.
The few remaining Portuguese, however, with the new Ethiopian ruler, Galawdewos (Claudius), were soon able to rearm themselves and rally a large number of Ethiopians. Ahmad Guray, who had sent most of his Turkish troops back, was killed in the crucial battle that followed, and Galawdewos was able to regain his kingdom in 1543. The conversion to Islam of most of his subjects may have left large Muslim majority in Ethiopia until today.
Capital of Adal – Harar:
Also spelled Harar city, under Ethiopian occupation until today, in the Ch'erch'er Mountains, at an elevation of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). Probably founded in the 7th century AD by immigrants from Hadramawt in south Yemen, Harer became the capital of the Muslim state of Adal. Conflict with Christian Ethiopians, however, forced removal of the capital in 1577 to the Aussa desert 100 miles (160 km) north.
Sir Richard Burton, the first European visitor, described the city of Harer in First Footsteps in East Africa (1856), and the French poet Arthur Rimbaud lived there (1880–91) as a trader in arms and ammunition. Occupied by the Egyptians (1875–85), Harer was conquered in 1887 by Menilek II, king of Shewa and afterward emperor of Ethiopia. Ras Makonnen was then appointed governor of Harer province, and in 1910 his son, the future emperor Haile Selassie I, assumed the governorship. Ras Makonnen's Harer Palace was mostly destroyed by changing Ethiopian Christian governors who wished to eliminate Islamic heritage from the city.
Modern Harer surrounds the old capital, which is the only walled city in Islamic State of Eastern Africa. The ancient walls, with six gates, enclose a crowded Muslim town with alleyways that wind to a central marketplace. Outside the walls, the city spreads across the plateau and is characterized by northern Ethiopian and European architecture. Because of ritual differences in slaughtering, separate Muslim and Christian marketplaces are maintained.
Harer's with majority of Muslim population includes the local Hareri (Adere), who speak a Semitic language and have a literature written in Arabic script, as well as the Amhara, Oromo, and Somalis. The Harer has Population of (1994) 131,139.
Ethiopian kings including Meles Zanawi scare of strong Muslim community in the region, which will surely liberate Muslims under Christian Ethiopian government.
In Addis Ababa – Ethiopian capital, Mosques are centuries old, as the government will not process any application to build new mosques. In other hand, European missionaries build every month one new church that made church bells more famous than Islamic Prayer calls. Soon or later Ethiopia will have to face Islamic Power in east Africa most probably led by Somalis.
By Mahmoud Liban, Hargiesa, Somaliland