Glossary -- Libya

Arabic definite article "the"; connotes family or group to which an individual belongs or region of origin.
Title of an independent chieftain. Literally, "commander." Also seen as emir.
Aouzou Strip
A rectangle of territory in northern Chad 100 kilometers wide and 1000 kilometers long, paralleling Libya's southern border. Libya first occupied the strip in 1973 and annexed it in 1976. It is said to contain valuable minerals, including uranium.
Arab Socialist Union
ASU. The mass organization created in 1971 to provide a framework for popular participation and representation within the political system. Reorganized in 1975 to include the local-level Basic Popular Congresses (BPCs) and the intermediates-level Municipal Popular Congresses, (MPCs) both of which send delegated to the national General People's Congress (GPC--q.v.); organization was disbanded in January 1976. Not to be confused with the Egyptian political organization of the same name.
Arabic for a tribe, people, or nation; plural of ibn, son of a person
Quality of blessedness or grace found characteristically in marabouts (q.v.) and other divinely favored persons. Also, charisma that endows the blessed with a special capacity to rule.
barrels per day
Production of crude oil and petroleum products is frequently measured in barrels per day and often abbreviated bpd or bd. A barrel is a volume measure of 42 United States gallons. Conversion of barrels to tons depends on the density of the specific product. About 17.3 barrels of average crude oil weigh one ton. Light products such as gasoline and kerosine would average close to eight barrels per ton.
a member of the Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection Party), a pan-Arab party established in Damascus in the 1940s by Michel Aflaq and Salah ad Din al Bitar.
In Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad's successor as spiritual and temporal leader of the Islamic community. Literally, "successor."
Cultural Revolution
The basic component of the Popular Revolution proclaimed on April 15, 1973. Comprising five "points" or policies, it aimed at effacing foreign cultural influence and reviving Libya's Arab and Islamic heritage.
Largest of Libya's three historic regions, occupying the eastern half of the country. Name derived from the ancient Greek city-state, Cyrene; in Arabic known as Barqu.
Originally a junior officer commanding a company of janissaries (q.v.). After 1611 the title of the head of government in Tripolitania (q.v.). Literally, "maternal uncle."
Council of senior military officers during the Ottoman period.
One of Libya's three historic regions, located in the southwestern part of the country.
fiscal year (FY)
Since 1974 the calendar year before that date the fiscal year commenced on April 1.
Free Officers Movement
Secret organization of junior Libyan army officers and enlisted men responsible for carrying out the September 1, 1969, coup against the monarchy.
Front de Libération Nationale du Tchad (Front for the National Liberation of Chad). Muslim insurgent movement supported by Libya.
Gross National Product. A value measure of the flow of domestic goods and services produced by an economy over a period of time, such as a 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 assests have not been made. See also GNP.
General People's Committee
Name given the cabinet (formerly the Council of Ministers) in March 1977.
Gross National Product. The gross domestic product (q.v.) plus net income or loss stemming from transactions with foreign countries. GNP is the broadcast 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.
General People's Congress. Body combining executive and legislative functions that became the formal supreme organ of government in March 1977.
Green Book
Muammar al Qadhafi's ideological testament, containing his political, economic, and social thought, revolutionary precepts, and definition of "Arab socialism." The first volume was published in 1976 and the second in 1978.
Islamic religious endowment or trust (usually real estate) used to support mosques, schools, and charitable works. Sometimes seen as habous or hubus; occurs as waqf outside the Maghrib (q.v.).
Literally, "speech, prophetic tradition." Islamic writings containing the sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as recalled by those who knew him during his life.
Literally, "son of"; used before or as part of proper name to indicate patrilineal descent. Also seen as bin or ben.
Professed members of a religious order resident in a zawiya (q.v.). Usually translated as "brothers."
In general, an Islamic leader who is a recognized authority on Islamic theology and law; also the prayer leader of a mosque. The term is used to designate the leader of the Islamic community in a particular locale.
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.
Newly coined Arabic work having no official translation but unofficially translated to mean "state of the masses," "people's authority," or "people's power." On March 2, 1977, Libya officially became the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Members of an elite Ottoman military corps; in Tripolitania (q.v.), recruited from among Turkish peasants committed to a life of service. From the Turkish yeniceri, or "new soldier."
According to Islamic doctrine, the permanent struggle to establish the law of God on earth, often interpreted to mean "holy war."
In Tripolitania (q.v.), a distinct caste of mixed Turkish and Arab parentage. Literally, "sons of servants" or "sons of slaves." Adjectival form is khoulougli. Various transliterations are found.
Libyan dinar. Unit of currency since September 1, 1971, replacing the Libyan pound. At the beginning of 1987 LD1 was valued at US$3.38; reciprocal exchange rate approximately LD0.29 per US$1. The rate of exchange has been stable since February 1973. The Libyan dinar is divided into 1,000 dirhams.
The western Islamic world (northwest Africa); distinguished from the Mashriq (q.v.), or eastern Islamic world (the Middle East). Traditionally includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripolitania (q.v.). Literally, "the time or place of the sunset--the west." For its Arab conquerors, the region was the "island of the west" (jazirat al maghrib), the land between the "sea of sand" (Sahara) and the Mediterranean Sea. Also transliterated as Maghreb.
According to the Islamic tradition, the messianic guide who will rise up to lead the faithful to salvation in anticipation of the last day. Historically a religious leader who is recognized as the Mahdi of tradition by his followers and assumes a messianic role in order to unify Islam and institute a reign of virtue. Literally, the "enlightened" or "divinely guided one."
In North Africa a holy man and teacher venerated locally and believed to be touched by divine grace, or baraka (q.v.), which sometimes conferred the right to rule as well. Frequently called upon to arbitrate tribal disputes, the marabout was not usually a member of the ulama (q.v.). Transliteration of al murabutun (those who have made a religious retreat); popularly called rijal al bilad (men of the soil, earth, or countryside).
Eastern Islamic world, as distinct from the Maghrib (q.v.). Also transliterated as Machrek.
Classical name for the ancient Berber kingdom in the northwest African and Roman provinces that succeeded it. Cited in some sources as Mauritania but not to be confused with the modern Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
Arabic for town or city; used in North Africa to refer to the old center part of a city.
In Tripolitania (q.v.), an urban Arab during the dynastic and Ottoman periods. The term Arab was reserved specifically for the beduins.
Refers specifically to the cultural attributes common to Muslim Spain and the Maghrib after the twelfth century.
Spanish Muslims.
muhafazaat (sing., muhafazat)
Governorates into which Libya's three traditional regions were divided in 1963. Each was headed by a governor (muhafiz). The muhafazat were abolished in 1975.
Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. Coordinates petroleum policies of major oil-producing Arab states. In early 1987 membership included Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.
Organization of African Unity.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Coordinates petroleum policies of thirteen major oil-producing countries. In early 1987 members included Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
Ottoman provincial governor or military commander. In Tripolitania (q.v.), the title of the regent representing the sultan (q.v.).
Frente Popular por la Liberación de Saguia el Hamra y Río de Oro (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro). Western Sahara independence movement.
qadi (pl., qudah)
Islamic judge who presides over sharia (q.v.) court.
Islamic scriptures believed by Muslims to be God's (Allah's) revelation to the Prophet Muhammad. Derived from the Arabic verb qaraa (to recite or to read). Commonly written as Koran.
Revolutionary Command Council. Supreme organ of the revolutionary regime from September 1969 to 1977.
Revolutionary Committees
Unofficial watchdog organizations whose members tended to be zealots devoted to Qadhafi and his teachings. First instituted in November 1977 to supervise the Basic People's Congresses and to fight bureaucracy, they have steadily grown more powerful. For example, their members play a large role in selecting delegates to the General People's Congress.
Literally, "testimony." Islamic profession of faith: "There is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is His Prophet."
Traditional code of Islamic law, both civil and criminal, based in part on the Quran (q.v.). Also drawn from the hadith (q.v.); the consensus of Islamic belief (ijma; i.e., concensus of the authorities on a legal question); and analogy (qiyas; i.e., an elaboration of the intent of law).
Tribal leader; also seen as sheik or sheikh.
The smaller of the two great divisions of Islam. Literally, "party" from Shiat Ali (Party of Ali). Adherents are referred to as Shias; adjectival form is Shia. According to the Shias, the Quran (q.v.) is not a closed body of revelation but is open to further elaboration by inspired imams (q.v.).
shurfa (sing., sharif)
In strict usage, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter, Fatima; broadly, persons or groups having noble status. Also transliterated as ashraf. Singular form is used as a title.
the Sudan
Geographical region stretching across Africa from Cape Verde on the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea between 8o and 16o north latitude; characterized by savanna and semiarid steppe. Term derived from Arabic bilad as sudan (literally, "country of the blacks"). Not to be confused with the Republic of Sudan.
Title of the Almoravid, Hafsid, and Ottoman overlords of Libya. Considered the ultimate secular title for a Muslim ruler.
Body of customs and practices based on the Prophet Muhammad's words and deeds as found in the Quran (q.v.) and the hadith (q.v.), which serve as guides to proper behavior for Muslims.
The larger of the two great divisions of Islam. The Sunni consider themselves the orthodox adherents of the sunna (q.v.).
Traditional North African bazaarlike open-air market.
Third International Theory
Major tenet of Qadhafi's revolutionary ideology, which purports to offer nonaligned states what is regarded as the Third World political, economic, and social alternatives to Western capitalism and East European communism. Frequently seen as the Third Universal Theory, or simply the Third Theory.
Most populous of Libya's three historic regions, situated in the northwestern part of the country. Name derived from Tripolis (Three Cities).
Collective term for Muslim religious scholars (sing., alim) learned in the Quran (q.v.) and responsible for interpreting and elaborating on the shaira (q.v.). Derived from Arabic verb alama (to know).
Administrative division of the Ottoman Empire, governed by a wali (q.v.).
Governor general of a vilayet (q.v.).
World Bank
Informal name used to designate a group of three affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Fiance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive pfojects. 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 devloping 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 designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The president and certain senior of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The three 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.).
zawiya (pl. zawaayaa)
Lodge containing mosque, school, and quarters for the ikhwan (q.v.) of a religious order.