The Darod in Somalia mainly live in the regions of Jubbaland, Puntland region and The Ogaden and the North Eastern Province (parts of Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively) with an ancillary presence in pockets of southern Soin ande and southwestern Gedo rehabit.
According to many medieval and modern Islamic historians, Darod is descended from Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of Muhammad and brother of Ali ibn Abi Talib. An ancient Islamic history book, called Aqeeliyoon by Al-Masudi, talks in detail about the descendants of Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, wherein Darod is also mentioned. The book gives Sheikh Darod's lineage as Abdirahmaan Bin Ismaa'iil Bin Ibraahim Bin Abdirahmaan Bin Muhammed Bin Abdi Samad Bin Hanbal Bin Mahdi Bin Ahmed Bin Abdalle Bin Muhammed Bin Aqail Bin Abu-Talib Bin Abdul-Mutalib Bin Hashim Bin Qusaya.
The Darood are believed to be the largest Somali clan both in terms of population size and land inhabitation. The Darood constitute a majority in the Somali Region of Ethiopia with a population of around 4,439,147 and are also the largest Somali clan in North Eastern Province of Kenya. Within Somalia, the Darood are also one of the largest clans, with traditional strongholds in the north, modern day Puntland state which is dominated by the Harti subclan of Darood. In addition, the Marehan, Ogaden, Jidwaaq, and Harti Darod members are also settled further down south in the Gedo region as well as the Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba regions of Somalia. The Darood in Somalia, roughly corresponds to the Darood's settled within the Jubbaland and Puntland states.
The Darod clan has produced numerous noble Somali men and women over the centuries, including many Sultans. Traditionally, the Darod population was mostly concentrated in the northern and northeastern cities on the Gulf of Aden and upper Indian Ocean coast in the Horn of Africa. Darod noble men ruled these settlement pockets until the European colonial powers changed the political dynamics of Somalia during the late 19th century. Before many Darods began pushing southward in the mid-1850s, the Warsangali Sultanate governed the interior regions of Sanaag and Sool, while the Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo held steadfast in solidly established posts from Alula to Hobyo.