Glossary -- Saudi Arabia
- Uppercase connotes family or belonging to, as in Al Saud
(q.v.), or Al Sudairi; lowercase represents the definite
article the, as in Rub al Khali.
- Al Saud
- Literally, the House of Saud; the patrilineal descendants of
Muhammad ibn Saud.
- Strictly speaking, commander. In Saudi Arabia, amir often
means prince, but can mean governor of a province.
- barrels per day (bpd)
- Production of crude oil and petroleum products is frequently
measured in barrels per day and often abbreviated as bpd. 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 17.3 barrels of average crude oil weigh
one ton. Light products such as gasoline and kerosene would
average close to eight barrels per ton.
- Divided Zone
- Originally a shared area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Each country annexed its half of the zone in 1966 but continued
to respect the other country's right to the national resources in
the whole zone.
- 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 is the converse. Upstream of the wellhead includes
exploration and drilling of wells.
- An authoritative legal interpretation by a mufti or religious
jurist that can provide the basis for court decision or
- fiscal year (FY)
- Initially based on Islamic lunar year (see Preface). Since
December 1986 based on Gregorian calendar. Fiscal year begins 31
December and runs through following 30 December.
- GDP (gross domestic 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 assets have not been made. See also GNP.
- GNP (gross national product)
- The gross domestic product (q.v.) plus the net
income or loss stemming from transactions with foreign countries.
For Saudi Arabia, GNP in the 1970s and early 1980s was
significantly larger than GDP because of surplus oil revenues.
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
- Tradition based on the precedent of the Prophet Muhammad's
words and deeds that serves as one of the sources of Islamic law.
- Literally, to migrate, to sever relations, to leave one's
tribe. Throughout the Muslim world, hijra refers to the
migration to Medina of Muhammad and his early followers. In this
sense, the word has come into European languages as hegira.
- hujar (collective pl.)
- Refers to the agricultural settlements of the Ikhwan
(q.v.), which combined features of religious missions,
farming communities, and army camps. Word from same root as
hijra; has sense of separation from previous
- The brotherhood of desert warriors, founded by Abd al Aziz,
who were settled in the hujar (q.v.).
- A 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 capitalized, it indicates that particular
descendant of the House of Ali who is believed to have been 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.
- 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 developing countries.
- Tribal council; in some countries the legislative assembly.
Also the audience of the king, amir (q.v.), or shaykh
(q.v.) open to all citizens for the purposes of
- Literally, those who volunteer or obey; sometimes known by
popular name of Committees for Public Morality, or more formally,
as the Committees for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of
- riyal (SR)
- Saudi Arabia's currency unit. Riyal is pegged to the
International Monetary Fund (q.v.) special drawing
rights (SDR--a unit consisting of a basket of international
currencies) as SR4.28 = SDR1. In May 1993 the exchange rate was
SR3.75 = US$1, a rate that had not changed since June 1, 1986.
- Islamic law.
- sharif (Arabic pl.,
- Specifically, one who has descent from Muhammad through his
daughter Fatima. Literally, noble, exalted, having descent from
illustrious ancestors. Frequently used as an honorific.
- Leader or chief. Applied either to political leaders of
tribes or towns or learned religious leaders. Also used as an
- Shia (from Shiat Ali, the Party of
- 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 Muslim community,
and on this issue they divided from the Sunni (q.v.) in
the major schism within Islam. Later schisms have produced
further divisions among the Shia over the identity and number of
imams (q.v.). Most Shia revere Twelve Imams, the last of
whom is believed to be hidden from view.
- spot oil
- Oil sold on the open market without any precontractual
- The larger of the two great divisions of Islam. The Sunni,
who rejected the claims of Ali's line, believe that they are the
true followers of the sunna, the guide to proper behavior set
forth by Muhammad's personal deeds and utterances.
- 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 call to the oneness or
unity of God--ad dawa lil tawhid) that was preached by
Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, whence his Muslim opponents derived
- In Muslim law, a permanent endowment or trust, usually of
real estate, in which the proceeds are spent for purposes
designated by the benefactor. Usually devoted to charitable
- World Bank
- Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated
international institutions: 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 the primary
purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive
projects. 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 MIGA, founded in 1988, insures private foreign investment in
developing countries against various noncommercial risks. The
president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same
positions in the IFC. 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.).