The life and struggle of Sheick Aweys

August 05 00:26 2011 Print This Article

Sheikh Aweys Ibn Mohamed Al – Barawi Al-Qadiri, was born in the coastal city of Brava in the spring of 1847. He was born to family of the Tuni clan of Digil & Mirifle. His background has been described as being from ‘client agricultural communities rather than powerful nomadic clans” He apparently was a brilliant student in Koranic school in Brava and studied Arabic, religious subjects and Islamic science with two local Sheicks.

One of his teachers was Sheick Mohamed Zayini A-Shanshi, was member of the Qadiriya, and he encouraged Uweys to continue his Sufi studies in Baghdad, Iraq.

In 1870 Uweys arrived in Baghdad where he studied under the Qadiri master Sayid Mustafa Ibn Al-Sayid Salaman Al- Kaylani, the son of principle Sheick of the order, Salaman Al-Kaylani, who was a descendent of the prophet. This relationship was to be very important in Aweys’s development as a pan-Islamic leader.

The Baghdad saint Sayid Abd Al-Qadir Jeylani who died in AD 1166 founded the Qadiriya tariqa. This was the first order in Islam. Being older and more established, the Qadiriya had a larger membership in Somalia. It also tended to be less puritanical than the other Sufi orders in Somalia. Records indicate that the Qadiriya was established in Harrar before 1508. In Somalia it has long been educational institution devoted to Islamic literacy than propagandist tradition.

The Qadiriya is split into two powerful branches, which reflect the North/South division in Somali society. The north branch was the Zeyli’ia founded by Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Zeyli’ from Disow clan of Digil & Mirifle. And the Southern branch was leaded by Sheick Aweys was the most important leader in southern Somalia.

The Qadiriya seems to have made a transition from just being primarily a Sufi order to that of converting large sections of East Africa to Islam. In 1880, the two leaders Muslim brotherhoods were making progress in East Africa. The larger and more influential was The Uweysia group of the Qadiri order named for its Somali leader.

Sheick Uweys accounted for a considerable expansion of Islam in Tanganyika, Southern Somalia, Eastern Congo (former Zaire), parts of Mozambique and Malawi, the Comoro Islands and Northwest of Madagascar.

Sheikh Aweys made the required Hajj to Mecca and Medina and visited various important saints tombs in the Hijaz and Yemen. After his studies he stopped as the British enclave on Aden and then returned to Somalia 1881.

He returned to the coast city of Banadir and become the most important religious in the Southern Somalia, his main settlement was at Biyoley, Tiyeglow where he is buried now, every year more than a million people from East African and Somalia, and Comoro Islands visited his grave.

Sheick Aweys was a man who against the colonialism and trading the black people as slaves, his fought the infidels with a strong word which caused many slaves to became free and converted to Islam, The Germans of Tanganyikan and the Italian was worried the expansion of the Islam in East Africa, Also many Arabian who was trading the slaves in Zanzibar and East Congolese was stopped the trading when the Sheick and his fellows arrived there.

Sheikh Aweys was murdered in 1909 by the soldiers of Mohamed Abdullah Hasan known as (Mad Mullah) for revenge. After he was traveling near Tieglow and later was buried at Biyoley, Tiyeglow.

This article was compiled  y Ahmed Adam 

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