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,
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- International Monetary Fund
- 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
- 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
- According to Islamic doctrine, the permanent struggle to
establish the law of God on earth, often interpreted to mean "holy
- 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
- 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.,
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The larger of the two great divisions of Islam. The Sunni
consider themselves the orthodox adherents of the sunna
- 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
- 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
- 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.