|Biography of the Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohamed Sheik Omer Dirir
Sheikh Mohamed Sheikh Omer Dirir was born region five of Ethiopia in 1963 in Dalooburey(a place where both the Oromo and Somali territories meet).His father moved him to Somalia while he was young and taught him the Koran at a young age.
Sheikh Omer Dirir(Sheikh Mohamed’s father) was a well-known Islamic theologian who used to teach the Islamic religion in Ethiopia and Somalia especially in what was at that time known as north eastern provinces like Hargeisa, Berbera and Erigavo.
Sheikh Mohamed was 19 years old when his father died. There was a time when his father requested the religious people to ask him for Allah a son who inherits him from the teachings of the Islamic sharia.
By the willingness of Allah his father has been the first person to be informed the birth of his son. That incident shows Allah’s acceptance of his father’s supplication. Sheikh Mohamed took the various fundamentals of Islamic sharia like fiqh, the hadith and Arabic grammar from his father and other great Oromo scholars.
He learnt the Arabic language from Egyptian teachers who were sent to Somalia and Saudi Universities graduate teachers. He also learnt from Hargeisa madrasas. In 1996 Sheikh Mohamed attended Wifaq al Islamia University in Pakistan where he took master degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic Language.
In 1999 Sheikh Mohamed Sheikh Omer Dirir visited Egypt where he met Egyptian Islamic scholars especially Sheikh al Azhar and he prepared religious course from al Azhar University. Sheikh Mohamed specialized most of the different parts of Islamic sharia learning from the various mosques circles. The Sheikh started conveying the message of Islam in the early 1980s while he was 19 years old.
His Religious Activities
Sheikh Mohamed is a great Islamic preacher, Imam, a teacher in Nural Huda Mosque, principal of Islamic sharia court in Hargeisa and head of Fatwa( religious rulings) in north eastern provinces.
He put a great effort on teaching Koran exegesis in the mosque on radio and television. He also made effort in clarifying issues concerning the religion for the general public.
The first lessons he started were Islamic jurisprudence(fiqh), Arabic grammar(Nahwe) and Hadith while he used to teach different parts of Islam and Arabic language. Sheikh Mohamed taugt the discipline of logic(Mandiq) and sat down many mosques like Taqwa, Jameeco Weyn, the grand mosque of Hargeisa, Ali Matan, and Botan( the first mosque in which he began Koran exegesis).
The Sheikh started teaching the Koran exegesis in 1986, and it was the first to be broadcasted on radio Hargeisa and television in 1991 and 1996 respectively. He is also well known in punctuality while teaching for he never being late a lesson (he never ceased or missed a lesson until he completes while teaching or learning).
It is said that one of his students told that the Sheikh became late for one minute from a book that he was teaching at 6 o’clock in the morning. He used to learn from other scholars while teaching and this shows his humbleness.
All the different courses he offered are being recorded and is available in Islamic studios like al Husseini Islamic studio in Hargeisa. Sheikh Mohamed is free for his his religious activities and he is not a member of a group or a party.
His Trials and Tribulations
The trials face by the scholars while performing Allah’s obligations are many and here are some of the tribulations experienced by the Sheikh:
1. One of the major obstacles that the Sheikh went through was that he survived an attempted murder in 2001 at a time when he was coming out of a mosque near to his home at the morning prayer. He suffered great injuries which caused to be treated outside of the country.
2. The civil war was also a hindrance to the conveyance of the Islamic message.
3. The former regime of Siyad Barre never allowed for Islamic scholars to convey the message of slam.
Some of his Works
Here are a few of Sheikh Mohamed contributions to the Islamic sharia and religion in general:
1. He founded Islamic sharia court in Gumburaha district where his father erected the first mosque and it is the hometown of the Sheikh.
2. He also established Islamic sharia court of Hargeisa in 1997 and he is the head of the court.
3. He was one of the founding members of the holy Koran tournament where it was first held in 1992.
4. Sheikh Mohamed constituted a pilgrims office in which the people performing the Haj are given guidance and facilitation towards their haj obligation.
5. He travelled many countries of Europe and North America in order to give religious advice and awareness to the muslim people specially the Somalis.
6. He always takes part extensively in wellbeing of social affairs in general for example he participated in the reconciliation process after the civil war, he also took part in the solution of Daror and Balimatan clashes between two tribes there.
7. He stood up to pacify and solve an argument between the political parties and Dahir Rayale government while taking care of the country interest and nation.
8. The Sheikh has made changes in the media like radio Hargeisa and the television such as removing the unnecessary programmes and adding religious ones instead. The authorities of the media welcomed the suggestions of the sheikh and they did the necessary changes.
9. He is a professor at Hargeisa University and Al Neelein University affiliated branch in Hargeisa.
The students who have benefitted from the sheikh cannot be summarized here, but we will try to classify them into four parts.
Those who benefitted from in 1988 are:
Sheikh Abdurahman Ahmed( he teaches Koran exegesis at Ali Matan mosque)
Sheikh Mohamed Adam( imam of Ali Matan mosque)
Kadar Hassan Adam(Kadar Tajweed) head of aid agency in North Eastern Somalia.
1990s those benefitted from are:
Jama Nur(Aljazeera correspondent in Somalia)
Sheikh Abdi kaliqh Sheikh Ahmed( principal of shadibiya madrasas)
Mohamed Hussein Farah(Dean of the faculty of Islamic law at Hargeisa University)
Mubarig Ibrahim Aar( former vice chairman of Hargeisa University)
Ali Abdulahi Ali Wadad( principal of kaleel al Husari madrasa)
Sheikh Mohamed Hussein(kadeeb of nakeel Mosque)
In 1997 those who learnt from the sheikh are:
Mohamed Aydeed(imam of Botan mosque)
Abdihakeem Sheikh Ibrahim(he is studying Madina Almunawara University preparing master degree)
Adam Abdurahman(principal of Ibn Abas madrasas)
Mohamed Hussein Jama( he graduated from Sudan Universities)
Abdurahman Dahir Ibrahim( he teaches at Bahrein school)
Abdiwahab Ahmed Dahir(he works at Gabiley)
These are the ones whom the sheikh teaches currently and twenty of them are preparing for themselves to inherit the knowledge from sheikh Mohamed to replace him in the future.
Sheikh Mohamed is one of the great Islamic scholars who makes effort towards tranquillity, peace and harmony among the society. He is expert in knowledge of the Koran and Hadith may Allah gives him and other Somali scholars longevity and reward in this life and hereafter.
There are many people who benefitted from the sheikh during his teaching in Islamic religion and he met from the society a great acceptance. He took all his life in teaching and preaching of Islam. He is much disciplined and has good characters and conduct. Indeed he is a role model for the society.it would have been enough if he had taught Koran exegesis only for he came from a house of knowledge where great Islamic principles and fundamentals are kept and preserved.
During his childhood he was smart, calm and pre-eminent among his peers. When he finished his education and got master degree his motive had not only been to teach and spread the message of Islam but also to put the foundation principles of knowledge in many places.
This is a brief biography of sheikh Mohamed sheikh Omer Dirir in which we cannot summarize here and I have compiled what Allah has allowed it from me. May Allah give him a reward from his effort and increase his good deeds and enter his paradise.
Translated by: Abib Mohamed Gahnug
Lecturer at Hargeisa University
Compiled by: Abdirisak Ismail Abdi
(a graduate from International Horn University)