Uppercased, it connotes family of, or belonging to, as in
Al Sabah, Al Khalifa, Al Thani, Al Nuhayyan, Al Maktum, Al
Qasimi, and Al Said. Lowercased, it represents the definite
article the, as in Ras al Khaymah.
Literally, commander. In many of the Arab states of the gulf,
amir often means ruler or prince.
Political entity under the rule of an amir. Analogous to
a shaykhdom and, if an independent state, to a kingdom.
- Bahraini dinar (BD)
Consists of 1,000 fils. Bahrain has maintained a fixed exchange
rate according to which in 1993 US$1 equaled BD0.376.
- barrels per day (bpd)
Production of crude oil and petroleum products is frequently
measured in barrels per day. A barrel is a volume measure
of forty- two United States gallons. Conversion of barrels
to tons depends on the density of the specific product. About
7.3 barrels of average crude oil weigh one ton. Heavy crude
is about seven barrels per ton. Light products, such as gasoline
and kerosene, average close to eight barrels per ton.
The oil industry views the production, processing, transportation,
and sale of petroleum products as a flow process starting
at the wellhead. Downstream includes any stage between the
point of reference and the sale of products to the consumer.
Upstream (q.v.) is the converse.
- gross domestic product (GDP)
A value measure of the flow of domestic goods and services
produced by an economy over a period of time, such as one
year. Only output values of goods for final consumption and
investment are included because the values of primary and
intermediate production are assumed to be included in final
prices. GDP is sometimes aggregated and shown at market prices,
meaning that indirect taxes and subsidies are included; when
these have been eliminated, the result is GDP at factor cost.
The word gross indicates that deductions for depreciation
of physical assets have not been made. See also gross
national product (GNP).
- gross national product (GNP)
The gross domestic product (g.v.) plus the net income
or loss stemming from transactions with foreign countries.
GNP is the broadest measurement of the output of goods and
services by an economy. It can be calculated at market prices,
which include indirect taxes and subsidies. Because indirect
taxes and subsidies are only transfer payments, GNP is often
calculated at factor cost by removing indirect taxes and subsidies.
Tradition based on the precedent of Muhammad's words and
deeds that serves as one of the sources of Islamic law (sharia).
Literally, to migrate, to sever relations, to leave one's
tribe. Throughout the Muslim world, hijra refers to the migration
of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers to Medina. In this
sense, the word has come into European languages as hegira.
The year of Muhammad's hijra constitutes the beginning of
the Islamic calendar.
Literally, son of; bint means daughter of; and bani
is literally sons of, hence clan or tribe.
Word used in several senses. In general use, it means the
leader of congregational prayers; as such it implies no ordination
or special spiritual powers beyond sufficient education to
carry out this function. It is also used figuratively by many
Sunni (q.v.) Muslims to mean the leader of the Islamic
community. Among Shia (q.v.) the word takes on many
complex meanings; in general, however, and particularly when
uppercased, it indicates that particular descendant of the
House of Ali who is believed to be God's designated repository
of the spiritual authority inherent in that line. The identity
of this individual and the means of ascertaining his identity
have been major issues causing divisions among Shia. Among
the Ibadis of Oman, the imam was elected to office and was
regarded by all as the spiritual leader of the community and
by some as the temporal ruler as well. Claims of various Omani
imams to secular power led to open rebellions as late as the
- import-substitution industrialization
An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth
of domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff
and nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial
goods over primary products.
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in
1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the
United Nations and is responsible for stabilizing international
exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF
is the provision of loans to its members (including industrialized
and developing countries) when they experience balance of
payments difficulties. These loans frequently carry conditions
that require substantial internal economic adjustments by
the recipients, most of which are developing countries.
The struggle to establish the law of God on earth, often
interpreted to mean holy war.
- Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
The national currency, consisting of 1,000 fils. The exchange
rate of the Kuwaiti dinar to the United States dollar has
fluctuated somewhat; in March 1992 the exchange rate was US$1
Tribal council; in some countries the legislative assembly.
Also refers to an audience with an amir (q.v.) or
shaykh (q.v.) open to all citizens.
- Omani rial (RO)
Monetary unit of Oman, divided into 1,000 baizas. Oman has
maintained a fixed exchange rate according to which in 1993
US$1 equaled RO0.3845.
- Qatari riyal (QR)
The national currency consisting of 100 dirhams. Qatar has
maintained a fixed exchanged rate according to which in 1993
US$1 equaled QR3.64.
Leader or chief. Applied either to a political leader of
a tribe or town or a learned religious leader. Also used as
- Shia (from Shiat Ali, or Party of Ali)
A member of the smaller of the two great divisions of Islam.
The Shia supported the claims of Ali and his line to presumptive
right to the caliphate and leadership of the world Muslim
community, and on this issue they divided from the Sunnis
(q.v.) in the major schism within Islam. Later schisms
have produced further divisions among the Shia over the identity
and number of imans (q.v.). Most Shia revere twelve
Imams, the last of whom is believed to be in hiding. See
also Twelve Imam Shia.
- special drawing rights (SDR)
An International Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.) unit
of account made up of a basket of major international currencies
consisting of the United States dollar, the German deutschmark,
the Japanese yen, the British pound sterling, and the French
The larger of the two great divisions of Islam. The Sunnis,
who rejected the claims of Ali's line, believe that they are
the true followers of the sunna, the guide to proper
behavior composed of the Quran and the hadith (q.v.).
- Twelve Imam Shia
The majority group among Shia (q.v.), who believe
that the Imamate began with Ali, the fourth caliph, or successor
ruler, in Islam. The line continued through his sons until
the Twelfth Imam, who is believed to have ascended to a supernatural
state to return to earth on Judgment Day.
- UAE dirham (Dh)
National currency of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), consisting
of 100 fils. The UAE has maintained a fixed exchange rate
according to which in 1993 US$1 equaled Dh3.671.
Collective term for Muslim religious scholars.
The converse of downstream (q.v.), it includes the
exploration and drilling of wells in the petroleum production
Name used outside Saudi Arabia to designate adherents to
Name used outside Saudi Arabia to designate official interpretation
of Islam in Saudi Arabia. The faith is a puritanical concept
of unitarianism (the oneness of God) that was preached by
Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, whence his Muslim opponents derived
the name. The royal family of Qatar and most indigenous Qataris
are Wahhabis (q.v.)
- World Bank
Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated
international institutions that provide advice and assistance
on long-term finance and policy issues to developing countries:
the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the
International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral
Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established
in 1945, has as its primary purpose the provision of loans
at market-related rates of interest to developing countries
at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a legally
separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the IBRD,
was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing
countries on much easier terms than those of conventional
IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities
of the IBRD through loans and assistance specifically designed
to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises
in the less developed countries. The president and certain
officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The
MIGA, which began operating in 1988, insures private foreign
investment in developing countries against various noncommercial
risks. The four institutions are owned by the governments
of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate
in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to
the International Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.).