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Home / Negarit / Negarit 53, Imam Ahmed Gragn – ኢማም ኣሕመድ ግራኝ – الإمام أحمد بن إبراهيم

Negarit 53, Imam Ahmed Gragn – ኢማም ኣሕመድ ግራኝ – الإمام أحمد بن إبراهيم

This is written as notes for Episode 53 of NEGARIT, my YouTube channel which is delivered in Tigrinya—it’s not all covered because of time limitations.

  • Today, the main topic is Imam Ahmed Bin Ibrahim, known in Abyssinia as Ahmed Gragn, but I will have a number of inter-related topics in between—in no specific order.
  • I am also trying to find “children of Cain” because they killed my ancestor, Abel.
  • After the break I will continue with more questions that I hope will help us reflect on: A) How many Gods are there? B) What is the meaning of Hungugu and, C) what does Shawl mean, like in Aba-Shawl?

I hope you enjoy it….

Imam Ahmed Ibrahim Al Ghazi

Many believe if something satisfies their primitive sentiments, then it is absolutely true. However, modern progressive views interfere to confuse the primitive minds. Some wish to appear fair, and they must apportion praise and criticism equally among Christians and Muslims.

If I criticize a Christian, I have to criticize a Muslim just to appear fair: why do you criticize Christians only, or Muslims only?  If I say Tesfai was bad, I have to say Idris was also bad. If I say God bless you, I have to say Egzabher bless you. That’s why most comments are full of redundancy when they end with messages of– God/Egzabeher/Allah bless you.

How many competing Gods are there? I guess only one, since all Abrahamic religions believe in one God. I will not mention other beliefs since they are not part of the confusion. We should realize the topic dictates who is the subject and one cannot involve others to appease the paranoid and appear fair. So, if I criticize Isaias, I do not have to criticize Ramadan just to appear fair.

When I talk about Ahmed Gragn, it is because my topic is Gragn and I should not be expected to apportion and involve others that are irrelevant to the topic.  History is not about apportioning; it should be contextual.

The much-abused character, Gragn,  has a formal appellation; the name and title  are Imam Ahmed Bin Ibrahim Al Ghazi. However, in Abyssinian history he is simply identified as Ahmed Gragn, meaning the left-handed, the Shengebay, Akhelay, or Gurey as the Somalis say it.

Since I think in different languages, I looked at the root of the word Ashwal in Arabic, because in Arabic, Ashwal means left-handed, or cross-eyed. Could there be a connection to Shawl, as in Aba Shawil? I hope those who might know would help.  So, for now, let’s note that president Obama can be called Obama Gragn, similarly, Bush Gragn, the left-handed. But considering the taboo and connotation associated with lefhandedness in our region, the great warrior was discounted to the simple, Gragn, the religiously despised identification of the “left-handed.”

Why is he so much vilified in Abyssinian history? Why is he considered a threat, a Hungugu, 500 years after he died? Why is he presented as a scarecrow, a Hungugu, five centuries after his death?

Incidentally, let’s talk about the Tigrinya scare term, Hungugu. I have researched the term. The closest I found is in ancient regional monster names, in the Somali folklore, the XUNGURUUF (X is pronounced hard H in the Latinized Somali writing). Therefore, the Somali folkloric monster, Hunguruuf, could be the origin of Hungugu which looks like Nesnas, an ancient Arabian demon which is believed to have the power to strip and kill a human being of their flesh, by a mere touch, leaving them just skeletons. Hungugu is the offspring of another Demon called Shiqq, and a human mother, from which I believe we get the word Shqaq from,  for toilet.

So, Imam Ahmed is presented as Hungugu in Abyssinian folklore though his epic reign lasted only 16 years, in which he launched a devastating campaign against Abyssinia. He was 37 years old when he died.

Imam Ahmed was Married to an imposing figure, Bati-Dil-Wenberwa, the daughter of Mahfuz, the Sultan of Zeila who was killed in 1517 fighting against king Lebne Dingel. Then a period of anarchy continued until 1527 when Imam Ahmed came out as a leader.

In 1527, Lebne Dingel whose crown name was Dawit, (Atze Dawit School, my school that was baptized by Haile Selassie), invaded Adal; in retaliation, Imam Ahmed fought back. And in a battle in 1528, Libne Dingel was defeated and became a fugitive running away from the pursuit of Ahmed Gragn.

In 1531, Imam Ahmed started an extensive invasion of Abyssinia, destroying churches in Begemidr, Wollo and Tigray for ten years he wreaked havoc all over Abyssinia, until Lebne Dingel died in 1540. And in 1541 the Portuguese came to support the Abyssinian king Gelawdios, the son and successor of Libne Dingel.

Imam Ahmed’s army was composed from many tribes and clans from the Adal region, but the army considered itself a Muslim army, against the Christian invading kings. The Ber-Salahuddin, the Adal, and the Somali region also included the “Seven Muslim styled Sultanates” (al Seltenat al Islamiyah), stretching from Zeila to the south of present Shoa, the name that shifted west to the present region. However, at that time, Harrer was the center of Shewa.

The Sultanates were formed by subjects and regions that were under the Umayyad dynasty which was overthrown by the Abbasid dynasty in 750 AD. The defeated notables, people and wealth moved and expanded in the Horn of Africa—from shoa to Zeila, including Djibouti, Afar lands and northern Harrerge.

Abyssinian kings continually invaded and harassed the Muslim Sultanates to the extent they required a virgin girl to be offered to them by the Sultanates yearly, in addition to the unjust taxations and pillaging. The Muslims were so tired of it, and that triggered the emergence of Imam Ahmed who went on an offensive and was seen as an avenger by the Muslims of the exploited regions.

In 1541 Christopher Da Gama, son of the famous discovered Vasco Da Gama landed in Massawa accompanied by a Portuguese army and other support staff, to help Gelawdios against Ahmed Gragn. He met the army of Gragn somewhere near Wollo and Shoa. That is when Imam Ahmed received reinforcements from the Ottomans in Arabia.

Let’s note here that Western and traditional Abyssinian historians refer to the Portuguese enforcement as “support” while they refer to Imam Ahmed’s reinforcements as “Mercenaries”. Guess why!

Naturally, as the times dictated, Ethiopian kings forcefully converted Muslims to Christianity in  the Muslim areas they invaded. And Gragn did the same converting Christians to Islam in places that he invaded. But that has been the case for centuries, with all religions. However, the only time in which Muslims invaded Christian lands is for ten-years only, though Abyssinian kings have been doing it in Muslim lands for centuries.

A social media entry reads: “… Don Christopher da Gama’s efforts were not in vain … and securing Ethiopia for Christ.”

The Fetha Nagast is the ShariAa of the Tewahdo church

Fetha Nagat “is a legal code compiled around 1240 by a Coptic Egyptian Christian writer Abul Fadil ibn Al Asal in Arabic that was later translated into Geez in Ethiopia and expanded upon with numerous local laws.”

All religious leaders, Muslim or Christian, are known to abide by the power of the day and they introduce teachings, legislation and history that serve the power of the day. That is what the Fithe-Negest did and what followed is no different. There is no religiously sanctioned Muslim chronicle of Imam Ahmed’s conquests in the region, therefore, you can’t find anything about Gragn considered a religious edict or narration.

Probably, Mestshafe Qedar which was written in 1550 by Embaqom is the most effective church-sanctioned narration in Abyssinia, and it has shaped the Christian psyche for the last 500 years. Most people who blindly hate Gragn with a lot of prejudice do not know about Embaqom and MetsHafe Qedar though their psyche is shaped in the form of folklores that passed from generation to generation, from one service to another, to this day.

Abyssinian stories about Gragn were written by church chroniclers who fail to mention the wrongdoings of their kings but highlight Gragn defensive and revenge invasion of their domain. It is the same with school’s curriculum in Ethiopia. But today, people are freely questioning the vast knowledge they acquired throughout their life, and they are finding out most of it has nothing to do with religion; it’s heritage, ancient superstitions and misinterpretations that mainly served the power of the day, be it secular or religious. As for myself, I am finding that religion is so simple if not overloaded with prejudices, superstitions, and politics which has nothing to do with the core religious belief. That is why religious people should not  write history.

If one is to tell the story of modern Ethiopia, it has to be an all-inclusive and cannot be told from one perspective that vilifies the other. Half the people of the region consider Imam Ahmed their hero, while the other half considers Libne Dingel their hero. Why can’t they both be objectively accepted as part of what makes the collective Ethiopian history? Why can’t an Ethiopian accept both Libne Dingel and Imam Ahmed as Ethiopian war heroes?

As for Eritreans, due to Ethiopian control, the madness proves how mythical narrations have damaged our history—which can be better understood and dealt with if we identify what ails us in the present without overloading it with folklores, and untenable historical claims. Honesty and proper scholarship are badly needed.

Sometimes I think if we all learned from the same curriculum—maybe we did, the Ethiopian warped history—we would have verified and looked critically at what we were taught. People cannot be limited to Ethiopian history as told by the Fithe Negest, Kibre Negest, and their addendums because Fithe Negest was written years before the Gragn wars, a decade before the Solomonic dynast usurped power from the Zagwe dynasty, and it paved the way for that take over, by creating a religious motivation and incentive. That’s difficult to reconcile, but not impossible because today we have so many sources if we just look around.

I do not know what happened after I left Eritrea, but I am thankful I learned the stories of Ashurbanipal, Hammurabi, the French Revolution, Simon De Bolivar, and many others that opened my eyes and inspired me to learn so  many epic human histories. But sadly, dealing with anyone that is limited to a church or mosque pulpit-based history is the most problematic.

Finally, what is the significance of the Gragn invasion in North Abyssinia?

Paul B. Henze quotes Haile Selassie,  “Every Christian highlander still hears tales of Gragn in his childhood. Haile Selassie referred to him in his memoirs, “”I have often had villagers in northern Ethiopia point out sites of towns, forts, churches and monasteries destroyed by Gragn as if these catastrophes had occurred only yesterday.”[27] To most Somalis Ahmad is a national hero who fought against Abyssinian aggression on their ancient territories.

Many Eritrean fascists still harass Muslims: “You came with Gragn”. Maybe they were converted to Islam by Gragn. Maybe the ancestors of the fascists themselves came with Gragn and converted the Christians, and maybe later themselves converted and reconverted and reconverted and now they adhere to this or that faith! How is that someone is treated as an invader or a native, a legit or illegit person, based on what happened 500 years ago? Sometimes the fascists remind me I am 500 years old, older than Methuselah, and I am still living—you came with Ahmed Gragn, they tell me with so much certainty.

I always say, let’s humble ourselves: none of us knows our ancestry. We do not know if our ancestors were with Gragn or against him—we cannot whimsically select and choose where our ancestors belonged five centuries ago because we simply do not have any evidence to prove it. Even if we have, what is the significance? Do you extrapolate centuries old rivalry to the present and be driven by it? Did anyone living today had a role in what happened then? Was anyone of personally involved in that era, or influenced or contributed to that history? I am afraid, NO.

All of that is our combined history and it all belongs to us and we cannot choose and select ancient parts of it and attribute it to ourselves in the present. It that was possible, we might as well trace our ancestry to Abel Cain, (Abel and Qaabel, or Haabeel and Qaabeel), then assume we are the offspring of Abel and blame someone by considering him an offspring of Cain—you killed my ancestor!

Did Abel leave an offspring? Did Cain? Who were their wives?

But let me conclude by telling you that Abel is my ancestor and I have to get even with all those children of Cain who killed my ancestor, while Adam and Eve watched silently. That crime has to be avenged—blood. Blood. Blood. I feel embarrassed to say stuff like this in public because it should be self-evident but when you have people who talk about ancient history as if it personally touches them, it is beyond stupidity and can’t be swept under the carpet. It’s sad such obvious things are not so obvious in some minds.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

Born and raised in Keren, Eritrea, now a US citizen residing in California, Mr. Saleh “Gadi” Johar is founder and publisher of awate.com. Author of Miriam was Here, Of Kings and Bandits, and Simply Echoes. Saleh is acclaimed for his wealth of experience and knowledge in the history and politics of the Horn of Africa. A prominent public speaker and a researcher specializing on the Horn of Africa, he has given many distinguished lectures and participated in numerous seminars and conferences around the world. Activism Awate.com was founded by Saleh “Gadi” Johar and is administered by the Awate Team and a group of volunteers who serve as the website’s advisory committee. The mission of awate.com is to provide Eritreans and friends of Eritrea with information that is hidden by the Eritrean regime and its surrogates; to provide a platform for information dissemination and opinion sharing; to inspire Eritreans, to embolden them into taking action, and finally, to lay the groundwork for reconciliation whose pillars are the truth. Miriam Was Here This book that was launched on August 16, 2013, is based on true stories; in writing it, Saleh has interviewed dozens of victims and eye-witnesses of Human trafficking, Eritrea, human rights, forced labor.and researched hundreds of pages of materials. The novel describes the ordeal of a nation, its youth, women and parents. It focuses on violation of human rights of the citizens and a country whose youth have become victims of slave labor, human trafficking, hostage taking, and human organ harvesting--all a result of bad governance. The main character of the story is Miriam, a young Eritrean woman; her father Zerom Bahta Hadgembes, a veteran of the struggle who resides in America and her childhood friend Senay who wanted to marry her but ended up being conscripted. Kings and Bandits Saleh “Gadi” Johar tells a powerful story that is never told: that many "child warriors" to whom we are asked to offer sympathies befitting helpless victims and hostages are actually premature adults who have made a conscious decision to stand up against brutality and oppression, and actually deserve our admiration. And that many of those whom we instinctively feel sympathetic towards, like the Ethiopian king Emperor Haile Sellassie, were actually world-class tyrants whose transgressions would normally be cases in the World Court. Simply Echoes A collection of romantic, political observations and travel poems; a reflection of the euphoric years that followed Eritrean Independence in 1991.

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  • said

    Greetings,
    Simon Kaleab and alike. You are back again with your ignorant prejudice about Islam .It help if you read about your past kings at least about Abyssinian kings and their history in proper context , before advent of Islam , who invaded Yemen thousands years ago and 570 C.E who tried to destroy Mecca when it was under pagan Arab and only then you can comment with proper reference . Islam completely changed the intellectual outlook of Arabia, so much so that it divided the history of Arabs into pre-Islamic era known as the era of Ignorance, and the post Islamic era. Within a span of 23 years .example according PBS documentary 1000 C.E. Islam continues to spread through the continent of Africa, including Nigeria, which served as a trading liaison between the northern and central regions of Africa.1099 C.E. European Crusaders take Jerusalem from the Muslims. Eventually Muslims defeat the Crusaders and regain control of the holy land.1120 C.E. Islam continues to spread throughout Asia. Malaysian traders interact with Muslims who teach them about Islam. The number of Muslims Arabia was very small in number few hundred thousands ,they took the message of Islam to every corner of the world and within a few years Muslims became the respected power of the era. It is amazing rise of Islam was the most amazing event in human history with very few people . It sprang from a barren desert amidst illiterate and ignorant people with no civilization, yet within a century built the then most advanced and vast human civilization. It is one of the striking facts of human history that within half a century after the advent of Islam, Islam had already reached the whole of North Africa from Egypt to Morocco, all the Middle Eastern lands from Yemen to Caucasia and from Egypt to Central Asia.the Muslim envoys, just to give an idea , after few years lead by one of the companions of the Prophet, reached the Chinese Palace, where they were welcomed enthusiastically, an important event marking, according to the historians, the beginning of Islam’s entry into this country. Muslim traders traveled as far as the Tang capital of Chang-an and other cities in Chinese empire even further to the east. Some returned home after finishing their business, but others settled permanently in enclaves set aside for them in segregated quarters complete with mosques. The Tang emperor also granted lands in the western-most periphery of the empire to Muslim soldiers in 757 as a reward for their help in putting down the rebellion of An Lushan, and fifty years later Muslims were also allowed to settle in Yunnan. Prof. Clifford Geertz; the famous American anthropologist in his ‘The Near East in the Fast East’ states: “Islam is a religion designed for export.” As I exapnied to you earlier it was done by peaceful means .American author Louis L’Amour, summarised the spread of Islam as follows: “in the space of one hundred years following the death of Mohammed in 632, the empire of the Arabs (he means Muslims) was larger than that of Alexander the Great of Rome” (The Walking Drum, 1984, p.171) To begin to understand the rich history of Islam, let’s start with the historical context and events that led to Islam’s spread Islam traveled through these regions in many ways. Sometimes it was carried in great caravans or sea vessels traversing vast trade networks on land and sea, Islam spread according to UNESCO , through trade, pilgrimage, and commerce . https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/content/did-you-know-spread-islam-southeast-asia-through-trade-routes
    Great centers of religious learning were also centers of knowledge and scientific development. Such formal centers began during the Abbasid period (750-1258 A.D.) when thousands of mosque schools were established. In the tenth century Baghdad had some 300 schools. Alexandria in the fourteenth century had 12,000 students. It was in the tenth century that the formal concept of the (school) was developed in Baghdad.
    the Qur’an states that God created the universe and caused it to be inhabited by men and women and peoples and tribes so that they may know each other,
    To be a Muslim is to live in and to be loyal to this world in peace and harmonies and respect in country law you live in. but not above and beyond our loyalty to Allah. However, every Muslim must correct INJUSTICES evil. It is his duty, just as much as it is his duty to pray five times a day. All citizens of a giving nation must work and establishes justice and an ordered society, regulated by law. From it is inception Islam guarantees justice for all; Madinah was that class of model society. In those days justice had no price. For several centuries under Islamic rule, any citizen who voiced a complaint could be sure that justice would be done. No theory of society can give as much as the Islamic theory of society has given. Society, based on race, ethnicity, nation, class language or history are prototypes of the animal world where dog eats dog. The social order of Islam ends this and brings justice to all. Does Islam deny the value of national, ethnic or linguistic identity and culture? Not at all,it is capital No! Islam recognizes the worth of these national and ethnic groups. Islam does not only tolerate but encourages the development of different ethnic groups. The group has a special perspective on the values affecting people’s lives. Insofar as it exists, national culture is encouraged by Islam.
    Islam is built on the basis of values which are not only for the group which adheres to them but for the whole of mankind to live in peace and harmonies .
    I am NOT qualified to defend any one nor answer to your unqualified question ,no one represent Islam , some ME countries are run by absolute dictatorship , find out for yourselves Islam does not present stumbling blocks to the mind. It does not make claims which overwhelm the mind. Islam does not present to a person that which the human intellect cannot grasp. Anyone can understand Islam as it is a universal religion.
    Within Islam, it is both legitimate and right to ask the question: “Why Islam?” Every tenet in Islam is subject to analysis and contention. No other religion is willing to subject its basic fundamentals of faith to such questioning. the most rational of some religious theologians, stopped the use of reason when it came to the basic fundamentals of their faiths. He then tried to justify faith. So to ask “why Judaism or Christianity?” is an illegitimate question. However, Allah invites the question as to “why Islam?”. only for those sincerely wanted to know with good intention .Islam takes the world of life and existence seriously, declaring it to be full of meaning and purpose. Life is not a sport or any kind easy go entertainment or entitlements ,or empty and shallow of value and morality , nor is it purposeless. From the Islamic perspective, everything has meaning because the concept of God’s purpose in creation gives meaning to human life. The Muslim is never bored with life; there is no existential anxiety in Islam. The Muslim can see the working of the good purposes of the divine Creator in everything. The Muslim lives in a world where life is full of meaning and purpose and this means the Muslim never loses his spiritual and physical and mental balance
    Everything in Islam is subject to rational pursuit .Islam is also a rational system which not only allows questions but raises knowledge to a new level of dignity and respect. No other religion has exalted knowledge and its pursuit, as has Islam. In fact, for the first time in human history, a religious book invited people to question the creation of the universe and stated that in it (the universe) were signs for people of knowledge..
    Islam encourages its followers to ask why Islam. Islam is an intellectual and historical religion. There are no secrets and no mysteries which cannot be understood by an ordinary person.
    I short in Christianity there is no salvation outside the Church.
    Islam views inter-religious dialogue as an internal discussion, not as a discussion with outsiders because, from its perspective, all mankind are members of a universal religious brotherhood. So the differences Islam has with other religions are regarded as internal differences. Islam, therefore, was the first religion in the world to call for the critical examination of religious texts. The Muslim says, in effect, to other religions: “Let us together examine the Holy Books of our religions and compare the contents
    faith the original teachings of our respective religions and examine how far we have adhered to, or gone astray from these original teachings.” Muslims, therefore, never attack other religions. Islam, in particle term however, accepts the personal morality and values of Jesus, the concept of liberating a human being from materialism found in Hinduism in India , as well as the practical ethics for harmony in human society. Islam declares a person to be born sinless with a clean slate. Islam does not record a human being as a degradation of the divine as it regards a human being as having instincts which are pure and good. The fact remain Islam does not divide the soul and life of a person into two compartments, i.e. religious or ethical and verbal or material. Islam regards the human being as an integral whole. All of his actions and instincts are part and parcel of his being together with his hopes, fears, certitude, faith, and conviction.
    Islam is world-affirmative. For the Muslim the world is good. It is a blessing, it has been created good, to be enjoyed. Islam does not view the world as a demon, it is not valued as being satanic or evil. It is not a degraded kingdom. The world is the only kingdom; the hereafter is not a kingdom but merely a place of Judgment for a human person’s actions during his life. For Muslims, the world is a beautiful place. What is wrong, is its misuse under moral law. Islam is affirmative action in a social setting; it is neither abstract nor isolationist.
    But it is subject to the universal law of Allah. The interests of the nation or group must be subject to the moral law

  • Haile S.

    Selam Saleh,

    At the risk of repeating what you said, let me say this. All of us want to have some history to cling-to, to be proud-of, to chest beat and we do like to nail it on an ancestral glorious past. When the glorious past is not so glorious, we get satisfaction from acting as the innocent victims. Even in glory, we tend to play the victim because admitting to victimizing doesn’t sound glorious. All these are our natural human characteristics, but what makes harmonious living difficult is when we want to deprive the other of that same burning feeling. Even a third person judging from far is not immune from siding to his own “glory” in the matter. That is where the role of an honest historian becomes critical. Documenting the facts without bitter- or sugar-coating is not easy and the history of Abyssinian and Sultanate wars cannot be an exception. Debteras write chronicles that suites and praises their faith and culture and in the same way the author of Abyssinian conquest Arab-FaqiH presented his historical document and book with a full spirit of Jihad. Biases are unavoidable, but as long as the references and facts that lead to the biased analysis are well documented in the material that is presented, they are not a problem. Having said that just 4 points:
    1 – The Abyssinian conquest (Futuh al-Habash) written by Arab-FaqiH (Chehib Ed-Din Ahmed Ben Abd El-Qader) is an exceptional work by someone who was present in the war and his book is one of the most detailed and complete history of the that war.
    2 – The first translation of the above book by Rene Basset is exemplary that contains so many notes that help to know more about places, people and events mentioned in the narrative. Reading it makes you feel you are living the events. Most of the other translations are based on this french translation.
    3 – Not all abyssinian chronicles about the event are lamentations. As mentioned by Amelie Chekroun, brief abyssinian document entitled Mäṣḥafä Seddät exist that fairly relates the events. Even Chekroun wonders if the unidentified author of Mäṣḥafä Seddät was aware of the existence of Futuh al-Habash and perhaps used it to complete his story, but admits it has some originals by itself not present in the later. Most of the historians who have seen its various versions say was written after the 17th century.
    4 – After reading Chekroun’s article comparing Mäṣḥafä Seddät and Futuh al-Habash, I found her complete PhD thesis, an exceptional fascinating work of history accompanied by several tables and maps that help to visualize the place where the events happened, taking you right into that century. She expanded Basset’s work enormously. I will not attempt to summarize this huge work. I would like just to mention one thing Dr Choukroun relates. Menelik II had asked Futuh al-Habash or its french translation to be translated into Amharic, but for some reason the translation didn’t see the light of the day. It was perhaps for this reason and the admiration both kings had on Rene Basset that king Haile Sellassie I bestowed upon him the honor Commandeur of the Order of Menelik II (source wikipedia).

    For those interested to read in depth here are some freely online accessible references. They are all in french, but with the help of google translate sections/chapters can read.

    Histoire de la conquête de l’Abyssinie, XVI siècle. By Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Qādir ʻArabfaqīr. Rene Basset 1897. Can be read at google.books

    Amélie Chekroun. Article Mäṣḥafä Seddät and Futuh al-Habash. https://journals.openedition.org/afriques/2025

    Amélie Chekroun. PhD Thesis
    Le Futūḥ al-Ḥabaša : Écriture de l’histoire, guerre et société dans le Bar Sa’ad ad-dīn (Éthiopie, XVIe siècle). 2013. Available online.

    • Saleh Johar

      Oh HaileS ,
      If I add anything to what you said, i will commit a crime because I might spoil it. Indeed, mythology is good for the pride of nations. However, when it is not seen from a national prospective, it ends up glorifying chosen parts and vilifying the other. That is how division is institutionalized as in Abyssinia. And that ultimately produces fascism as we see it now.

      FutuH AlHabesha was not translated for obvious reason because it tells the other version of the story the Solomonic kings sanctioned for centuries.

      Thanks to technology and books we can now see both sides and arrive at our own conclusion.

      Do you know that the now much revered Terri’s was rehabilitated only in the sixties? Haile selassie never liked him… but that’s another story.

      Thank you

  • ሰላማት ሳለሕ ጋዲ
    አዚኣ ሽም ኣርአስቲ ዝዕባኻን መደረ ቁ.53 ካብ ላዕሊ ቀዲሐ ኣብዚ ዝልምጻ ዘለኹ ስሕተት ሚዛንካ ወይ አቲ ጎዶሎ ኣመጣጥናኻ ስለ ተመልክት ኢየ ዝብላ።
    الإمام أحمد بن إبراهيم ምስ ተነበት ኢማም ኣሕመድ ግራኝ፡ ብቋንቃታት ትግርኛን ኢንግሊዝን ኣይኮነትን ትብል ዘላ። ብ ዓረብ ዝተጻሕፈት፡ ኣል ኢማም ኣሕመድ ብን ኢብራሂም ፍልይቲ ኣርአስቲ ኮይና ረኺበያ። አቲ ዘይሙዕሩይ ኣርአስትኻን ንስብከትካ ወይ ዕላልካ ቁ.53 ጠገለ ዝሓጸሮ፡ ወይ ናይ ሓሶት ሚዛን ትውዝዕ ዘይ ዓዓቐኑ፡ አቲ ዝዓበየ ከኣ ጉቡአን ለክዕን መጠን ዶ ይጥቀም ኣሎ ሳለሕ ዘተሓሳስባኒ ወይ ዝሕርሕራኒ ነጥብታት ካብቲ ርኡይ ዘይ ሙዕሩይ ኣብ ኣርአስትኻ ኣትሒዙ ጀማሚሩኒ።
    አቲ ኣገዳሲ ናይ ሙዕቡል ሕብረተሰብ ኣተሓሳስባ ከማዕብል ኢየ ዝህጥን ዘለኹ ዝበልካ ኣብዛ ዕላልካ፡ ምስ ዘስፋሕፍሕ ፍልልያት ካብ ዝቐነየን ንስኻ ውን ኣብ ቁ 52 ጉዳይ ኣዚኻ ዘድሃብካሉን ሓሳብካን ኣብ ትሕቲ ሕቶ ዘውደቕካዮ ሓውሲ መትከል ዝሃብካሉ፡ ኩሉ ኣብ ግምት የአቲኻ ክትኣልን ኣብ ጉበአ መንገዱ ከተትሕዞ ኢዩ ትጽቢተይ ኔሩ።

    ንኣብነት፡ ኣብ ላዕሊ ዝጠቐስክዎ ዘይሙዕሩይ ኣርአስቲ፡ ነቶም ሙዕቡል ናይ ሕብረተሰብ ኣተሓሳስባ ዘይብሎም ኢልካ ትቖጽሮም ሕብረተሰብ፡ ብ ቋንቃ ኣካልትካ ናይ ዘስተንናዕቕ ጸብለልትነት ባህርያት ኣብ ልዕሊኦም ኣስተውዒለ። ኣብ ሕብረተሰበና ኣሕመድ ግራኝ ሕንጉጉ ሕንጉሩፍ ኢዩ ዝበሃል ውላ ህላዌኡን ከም ዝነበረን ሰሚዓ ኣይፈልጥን። ኣብ ሕብረተሰብና ግን ኣምላኻና ወላሂ ይብለካ ስሙ ካብ ልሳንካ ከተድምጾ አንከለኻ ብ ኣዝዩ ሙአዙዝን ዓቢ ኣኽብሮትን ምስጋኔኻ አንዳ ሃብካ ኢዩ ዝለዓል። ክልተ ሰለስተ ግዜ “ሓደ ኣምላኽ ኢዩ” ኢልካ ኣልህ ከተልዕሎ ከለኻ፡ አታ ኣመልካቲት ኣጻብዕትኻ ንላዕሊ ፈለው አንዳ ኣበልካ፡ ከምዚ ብዛዕባ ሓደ “አቲ ክስቶ ኣብ ዳንኪን ዶናት ቡን መጫርምትኻ” ምሳኻ ቡን ክሕንፍፍ ውዒሉ ፈቐዶ ባራት ጫርማ ዝቕጽል ተዕልለና ዘሎኻ፡ አቲ ናይ ሰውነትካ ቋንቃ (ቦዲ ላንግወጅ) ዘመልከተ ኮይኑኒ። ነቲ ስምዓኒ ኣንታ ድሑር ሕብረተሰብ ሓደ ኣምላኽ ዘይትፈልጥ ትብሎ ኣኽብሮት ስለ ዝ ሓጽረካ ድዩ፡ ትሕትናኻን ኣኽብሮትካን ኣብ ኣልህ ከትልዕሎ ኮለኻ ሽሙ ኣብዛ ቪድዮ ኣዝዩ ዝሓጸርካ? ወይስ ካብዞም ሓድ ኣምላኽ የለን ዝብሉ ኤትይስት ፈላስፋ ታሪኸኛ ስለ ዝኾንካ ኢኻ እልህ ከትልዕሎ ኮልኻ አቲ ጉቡአ ክብሩን ብትሕትና ምስገና ዝበዝሖ ኣኽብሮት ብትሕትና ሕብረተሰብ ኤርትራ ዘዘውትሮ፡ ዘይብሩኽ ጠባይ ዝንጥል ኣቢልካ ሽም ኣምላኽ ተልዕሎ ዝነበርካ ኣብዛ ቪድዮ?
    ዝዓበየ ምኽንያት ዘየጽገበትኒ ግን፡ ቁሩብ ን ዞም ኣረጊት ዕላል ዛንታ ትግሪኚ ኣልዒሎም ሓዊ ዘጓህሩ፡ አንተ ብፍላጥ ኣንተስ ብዘይ ፍላጥ ላምባ ትውኽ አዋና ዘይ ሓለውት ካብዝን ካብትን ጽንጽዋይ ድብልቕልቕ ኣቢል ሕንጉጉ ዝኾነት ሕብረተሰብ ዘይተማዕብል ሕካያ ስለ ዝኾነትኒ ኢያ።
    በርሀ_የ ዝመርሖ ዘሎ ዓቢ ኣቶክሮ ኤርትራውያን፡ መቐጸልታ ሓሚድ ኢድሪስ ዓዋተ ፍትሓዊት ኤርትራ ንምግሃድ፡ ተኸታተሎ ኣጥቢቕካ አሞ፡ ዓቢ ተራ ክትጻወት ሓላፍነትካ ከም ዝኾነ ኣይትረስዕ። ብ በርሀ_የ ብግቡአ ወርቃዊ መጠን ኣመራርሓ ተኸቲለ፡ ብዛዕባ ፍትሒ ናይ ዓዋተ ኤርትራና ክቕጽል ስለ ዝኾንኩ፡ ንስኻ ውን ብኡ ተመሪሕካ ቁ.54 ነጋሪት ንኽሉ ንኽትነግር ይምሕጸነካ። ፍረድሪክ ዳግላስ ዝበሎ ብዛዕባ አቶም ዘይፍትሓዊ አንዳተዕዘቡ ሱቕ ዝብሉ፡ ዳርጋ ከምቶም ፈጸምቲ ዘይፍትሓዊ ስርሕ ከም ዝቑጸሩ ቁሩብ ሕሰበላ። አዋኑ አዋን ሕካያ ስለ ዘይኮነ።

    ሕጽረታት ኣዝዩ ዘይልክዕነት (ፕሪሳይስ ዘይኮነ) ኣብቲ ኣገዳሲ ናይ ኤርትራ ሃግራዊ ጉዳያት ዋላ አኳ አንተተግንዘብኩ፡ ክኢላ ሙሃንዲስ ምዃኑ ርኡይ ኢዩ፡ ከም ኩሉም ሙሃንዲሳት ካኣ ብ ዛዕባ
    النسبة الذهبية ኣፍልጦ ስለ ዘለዎ፡ ቀሊል ቁጽሪ ጊረ ሕካያ ናይዚ ግዜና ወርቃዊት መጠን ክጀማምረልካ ኢየ።

    “በበይኑ ኣየ ዕላል
    ሓንሳብ ንምቅላል
    ወይ ድማ ምብላል


    ወይ ሕምብልብል
    ኣንታ ‘ዝ ቑጽሪ ክንደይ ይቐልል

    ስለዚ አዛ ናይ ሳለሕ ሓሙሽተ ሰልስተ
    አንተ ደሚርካየን ሽሞንተ
    ከም ቁመተን ሰርዓየን
    3 5 8 ተዓዘበን
    ብ ክልተ ምርሓየን 2 3 5 8
    53 ፕራይም ቁጽሪ ኢያ ግን
    ኣብ ዚ መበል 5ሓምሳን ሸሞንተን8
    ወናኒ መትከል ስላም ፍቕሪ ፍትሕን
    ኢዩ ሓሚድ ኢድሪስ ዓዋተ ቀዳማይ ፕሪሞ ቁጽሪ ሓደ
    ደምና ንሰራዕ አስከ አዘን ቁጽሪ ስርዓየን
    1ሓደን 2ተን 3ተን 5ተን ሸሞንተን
    ኣስተምህሮታት ዕብየት ናይ ፖፑሌሽን
    ዝሓዝላ ከምዝናትና ቀዳሞት ቁጽሪ ኢየን
    1. 2. 3. 5. 8 ትስዕብ ተላዕታሽር
    ወ ባዕዳሃ ዋሕዳ ወ ዕሽሪን
    “النسبة الذهبية” የጉለክ ሁዋ ወርቃዊት መጠን
    ምን ረቐም ሓገክ ኻምሳ ውተላቲን
    ኣል ተማንያ ምን 5+3 ተላታ
    ማ ተንሲ ኣል ስና ዲ ተንመንያ ወኻምሲን
    ምን 5 ወ ተምንያ يقسم ኣል ከቢራ
    ረቐም ቢል ሰቒራ 8 / 5
    ዋሕዳ ኑቕጥ ሲታ
    ካብ ሓምሳን ሸሞንተን
    ከነማሓይሻ ወርቃዊት መጥን
    ን ግዝየኡ ንበላ ኢያ 1.6
    ሓደ ነጥቢ ሹዱሽተ
    መፈለምታና ስለ ስኾነ ሓሙሽተ ሸሞንተ 58

    ዓቢ ጉዳይ ናይ ዓዋተ

    (This is the most important part)

    ኣይቆጸርኩምናን ኣይጸንበርኩምናን ምስ ደቀ ኣርባዕታ
    ያኢ ድኣ ኣጸቢኹምና ኣቕጺርኩምና ኣርባዕተ ዓሰርተ
    ክልተና ረቢሕና ተድሚርና ብሓይሊ ተጋሩ ኢዩም ደቀ ኣርባዕተ
    የደንግጹኻ ዞም ሃንደሳ ኣግኣዚኣን
    ክንገልጾ ኢቲ እድላይ ፕሪሲዥን
    ቀንዲ መኣዝን
    ወርቃዊት መጠን

    ስለ ን ሶም ዝርገጹ ፍቕሪን
    ኣውራ ኣውራ ፍትሒን!

    The need for precision and the golden mean. Al Imam Ahmed Bin Ibrahim… who is that?

    Hamid Idris Awate is my main concern and the fulfillment of his mission!

    JOSHUA!

    tSAtSE

    • Saleh Johar

      Thanks TsaTse,
      Thank you for the feedback—the portion I understood.

  • መሃንድስ-ምዕባለ

    Selamat!

    ኢማም ኣሕመድ ግራኝ
    ርጉም ኔሩ ይብልዎ
    መን ኢሉ?
    ‘ቶም ዝኸሸንዎ

    ‘ዚ መንካዕ ኣባ ግራይ
    ዋላ ዓኸላይ ሸንጋባይ
    ይብሉ ነበሩ
    መን?
    ‘ቶም ናይ ቀደም ዝምህሩ

    ኣይትሕተት ዝትዋህበካ ተቐበል
    ኣይትበል ሸንኮለል

    ዝበልናዮ ሓቂ
    ዝረገጽናዮ ወርቂ
    ይብሉ ኔሮም
    መን?
    ኣንታ ንታይ ንዓይ ትሓተኒ ኣነ መን ክብሎም

    ሃየ
    ሃየ! ኣይትበለኒ
    ንሳ ጥራሕ ‘ያ ዘላትኒ
    ብቐደሙ ዘይመባልዕተይ ታሪኽ
    ኣይዝከረንን ክምህሩኒ ካልእ

    ባቃ
    ሕጂ ግን ‘ዝ ወዲ ኣቦኻ ጆሃር
    እንታይ ኣበይ ከምዝመሃር
    ኣይፈለጥኩን
    ኣነ ከምዚ ክብሉ ኣይሰማዕኩን

    ሕጂ
    ሓንጎለይ ሓጸልጸል ክብል ጀሚሩ
    ሰሚዕዎ ዘይፈልጥ ዛንታ ተማሂሩ
    ደወልኩሎም ነቶም ካብ ስራሕ ዘብኮሩ
    ኣንቱም ሰባት ‘ንታይ ደኣዩ ነገሩ
    በልክዎም

    እዋይ ክስታን ትገብሪ በልኩ
    ደሓር ግን ክስታን ምዃነይ ዘከርኩ

    ለካ ሓደ ዓይኒ
    ሓደ እዝኒ
    ጥራይ ;ዩ ኔሩኒ

    ፍርቂ ጎድነይ ጸሓይ ክጽሎ
    ‘ት ፍርቂ ግን በሳሓይታ ይልሎ

    ናይ ክለተ ከይስማዕካ ኣይትፍረድ
    ከይኮነካ ኣብ ኣንታርቲክ የለን በረድ
    ፍርቂ ሓሶት ከይኮነካ
    ሓቂ ኣልምደን ተን ኣእዛንካ
    ክሰምዓ ቅኑዕ ዛንታ

    ወይ ሕምብሊል
    ኣንታ ‘ዝ ቁጽሪ ክንደይ ይቐልል

    በዓል ስልጣን ዘይቅይሮ
    ዋላ ‘ንተጒደሎ ዋላ ንተደመሮ
    ንዜሮ

    ፍልጥቲ’ያ ‘ታ መልሲ
    ናይ ታሪኽ ግን
    ኣብ ንእዲ ኮፍ ዝበለ ምስ ዘድፈዐ ኣብ ናሕሲ

    በበይኑ’ዩ ትዕላል
    ሓንሳብ ንምቅላል
    ወይ ድማ ምብላል

    በቲ ኻልእ ወገን ዘይነበረ ምን ኣድ
    የድሕነና ካብ ዑብታ-ትኪ ናይ ሓሳድ

    • Saleh Johar

      Mehandis,
      You are a wonderful word smith, a real one. I am really amazed at how you weave such flawless pieces –it seems effortlessly. I think some angel is whispering the words to you !

    • Kokhob Selam

      Yes Mehandis dear,

      How are you getting those great words? You are fantastic,,Really ended Mehandis of words..

      KS,,

  • Haile S.

    Selam Saleh,

    Good read. I will come on your present topic after revisiting “the history of Abyssinian conquest”. For now I am still on Negarit 52 and on Ministre Fozia & her Party on her stunning declaration “silence, we are working”. Here goes my comment in tigrigna & in the form of poem:

    ክምለስ ፍቐዱለይ ናብ ሚኒስተር ኤርትራ
    ወይዘሮ ፎዚያ ዝበለቶ ዘገርም ፈኸራ

    … “ዘረባ ኣይለመደና
    … ንሰርሕ ኢና ዘለና”

    እስኪ ናይ ስራሕ ይጽንሓልኪ/ልኩም
    ነዕልል ዘይ-ምህላዉ ዘረባ ክእለትኩም

    ንምሳለ፥
    ዘረባ ስለ ዘይለመድኩም
    ኣፍ ዜጋታት ስለዝለጎምኩም
    ነጻነት፡ ዘረባ፡ ስለዝኸላእኩም
    ዝርካባ ምሁር ጋዜጠኛ ስለዝኣሰርኩም
    እንሆ ተሪፍኩም
    ኣፍ ዘይብልኩም
    ጾመ-ልጓምኩም ይፍትሓልኩም

    ምሁራት መምህራን ይጻወትልኩም
    እቶም ጎረቤትኩም
    በሃልቲ ኣሕዋትኩም
    ታሪኽ እንሆ የስተምህርልኩም
    ኣተሓሳስባ ዜጋኹም ይብክልልኩም
    ጽውጽዋይ ትግራይ-ትግሪኚ ይምስርትልኩም
    ካብ ጒላ-ኣንጭዋ ጎቦ-ትግሪኚ ይሰርሑልኩም
    ኣብ ገዛእ ሃገርኩም
    ዘሳደድኩሞ ዜጋ ብታሪኾም የሰልጥኑልኩም

    ግዛዕ ምዛዕ እናበሉ
    ብሓውሲ ላግጺ እንዳገሃሱ ናይ ጎረቤት ባህሉ
    ሓማሴን ትግራይ ትብሃል ኔራ ፈጢሮም እናደበሉ
    ታሪኽ ከም ዝጠዓሞም ከምውቃብኦም እናበከሉ
    ይምህሩ እኒኦ ግዛዕ እናወሰኹ፡ ምዛዕ እንዳ’ጉደሉ

    ዝመቀሮም ታሪኽ እናኣስብሑ
    ዘይጠዓሞም ታሪኽ እናረግሑ
    ዘይተፈጸመ፡ ዝተፈጸመ ታሪኽ እናጠብሑ
    ሓንጎል “ፈተውትና” ዝብልዎ ይብክሉ ወግሐ ጸብሑ

    ተገንጸልቲ ጸበብቲ ጀለብያ ተኸደንቲ ዝደርፉ ዝነበሩ
    እንሆ ይጸቡ ትግርኛ ተዛረብቲ ንኹሉ እናበሉ ተጋሩ
    ጸቢብነት ብዓብኡ ኣጋፊሖም ይሰብኩ ይምህሩ

    ምኒስትራት ህግደፍ ክዓ ኣይትሓፍሩ
    ስራሕ’ምበር ዘረባ ኣይለመድናን ትፍክሩ

    ስራሕ እንተትሰርሑ ህዝቢ ኣይምኸደን ንግዳም
    ዜጋታትኩም እንሆ ኮይኖም ጥራይ ምህዳም
    ንኹሉ ዝቕበሉ ዝመጸ ዝተዘርበ ከም ስብከት ገዳም
    ንስኻትኩም ኰንኩም መራሕቲ፡ መልሓሰ-ጎልዳም
    ዘረባ ኣይባህልናን ትብሉ ኣንቱም ጉዳም!
    እዋይ ‘ዘረባ ኣይባህልናን’፡ ደንጽይዎ’ሎ ኩሉ ኣዳም
    ላግጺ ግደፉ –
    ናይ ኣግኣዝያን ግዕዘ ዘረባ፡ ጽልኢ፡ የብሉን ተገዳም

    ዜጋ ኣይብልን ዘሎ ታሪኽ ፍጠሩ
    ዘይነበረ ሰናኒዒኩም ኣስተምህሩ
    ኣይኮነን ሕቶ ዜጋ ብዘይኮነ ታሪኽ ፈክሩ

    ምዝራብ እኮ ዝከኣለኩም ኢኹም ትዛረቡ
    ሰጥ-በል፡ ደው-በል፡ ንዓ-ኪድ ድኣ ኮይኑ ዝርካቡ
    ኣንቱም
    ክእለት ስለዝወሓደኩን ወይ ኣሕዋትኩም ኣክቡ
    ወይ ክኣ ዝከኣለና ጌርና ቢልኩም ስልጣን ኣረክቡ

  • Simon Kaleab

    Selam Saleh G.,

    Clearly, the loyalty of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim was to the Islamic Caliphate. He was being supplied with men, cannons and muskets by the Ottoman Turks. He was passing all the gold and other Church treasures that he plundered to his handlers.

    Contrary to your claim, it was the Abyssinian highlanders that were fighting defensive wars. To understand this, you only need to put things in perspective. It was Islam which started the aggression. Since the 7th century, Muslim Arabs [as distinct from the good and generally tolerant pre-Islamic Arabs] and their proxies were putting untold pressure on the Axum empire which stretched all the way to the Red sea, resulting in the loss trade and contacts with the outside world.

    By the time of the Imam, the Axum empire had shrunk, retreated to the South, surrounded from all sides, virtually cut off from the outside world and was poorly armed. Thanks to the bravery of Cristóvão da Gama and his 400 musketeers the international Jihadi aggression was stopped in its tracks.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Saleh,

    For me this is a good reading. Because, it adds some info to the one I had. History of religious wars is full of prejudices. The history of religious wars in Ethiopia in the old days can not be free of prejudices. You are right also on the similarities of “ Fetihi Negest” and “sheria”.

    Finally, you have a typo error on the death of Libnedengel. I think you mean it 1540 instead 1940.

    Regards

    • Saleh Johar

      Thanks Emma,
      Indeed it was a typo–corrected.

      The history is not only told with prejudice, it is preserved with equal prejudice… For instance, read Simon’s comment 🙂

      • Brhan

        Hello Saleh,
        Simon is blind with hate and all we can say to him loudly is “DEAL WITH IT”

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Brhan,

          You are projecting your mental state onto me.

          In fact, the so called Gragn problem was solved by Menelik’s relative and right hand man, the chess playing Ras Mekonen Wolde-Mikael Gudesa in Harar. Have you heard of Ye Chelenko Zemecha? Read all about it and deal with it.

  • Brhan

    HELLO SALEH

    I really appreciate your effort to come with this great presentation / article.

    Your article is about history and part of our current problem is because we have not being fare to history. It was crystal clear that the Grang syndrome was highly and systematically implemented during King H.Selase era specially during the 40s 50s 60s and mid 70s where the king used religion to divide and rule Eritrea and marginalize Ethiopian Muslims.
    Muslim historic character in old Ethiopian history books were rare and the few like Ahmed the leftist ( anyway it is a nick name and can be edited) , were badly stereotyped. The other Muslim character mistreated in old Ethiopian history books was the Sultan of Assab. አሰብን የሸጠ and our history more about ports! Poor Assab and now it is ኢሳያስ አፈወርቂ አሰብን ያከራየ!

    King H Selase policy of divide and rule using religion failed in Eritrea from the time he tried to implement and was dismantled by the Derg and it is only after the EPRDF came that history started to be rewritten in Ethiopia.
    answers to your questions

    1. How many Gods are there?
    answer: I have answered that question to God and I won’t share it with you because if we did we are cheating and there is no cheating in exams ,
    2.ሕንጉጉ ስም ጸ’ላምን ሓርፋፍን ሓሰኻ፡ገጽ 112 መዝገበ ቃላት ትግርኛ ብድ/ር ካሳ ገ/ሂወትን ብፕ/ር አማኑኤል ጋንኪን
    3.አባ ሻውል my humbler result of my research says that this is related to a name of a horse. There could have been a leader of an army who has a horse called shawil and people consider that the horse is like a son to the leader call the leader. This resembles to the way of how fathers in Arab countries are called. Most of the time fathers are called by their son/or daughters such as Abu Hayat or Abu Mahmoud
    I hope I answered your questions

    • Saleh Johar

      Thanks Berhan,
      The horse name was only explanation I found. But what does it mean in itself ?

      Thank you