Glossary

Abdallah Son of Sharif Husayn; ruler of Trans-Jordan and later first king of Jordan.

Akhbari School of Shi‘i thought that claims that the ulama were limited in their legal and doctrinal decisions to the traditions of the prophet and the teachings of the twelve imams.

Alawi/‘Alawite Religious sect that holds Muhammad's son-in-law, ‘Ali, in particularly high regard; the ruling group in Syria is ‘Alawi.

aliya (pl.: aliyot) Literally, ascent; wave of Jewish settlement in Palestine.

Anatolia Asia Minor, the site of the present-day Republic of Turkey.

Anglo-Persian Oil Company Company created after the British government bought William Knox d'Arcy's oil concession. At its inception, the company controlled almost every aspect of the oil business in Persia; later, Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

Anglo-Persian Treaty (1919) Treaty negotiated between the British and Persian governments in the wake of World War I that, if enacted, would have made Persia a virtual British protectorate.

anjuman (pl.: anjumanha) A club or secret society in Persia; anjumanha were particularly active in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1905.

Ashkenazim Jews from eastern and northern Europe or their descendents.

“Auspicious Incident” (1826) Massacre of janissaries ordered by Sultan Mahmud II.

ayatollah Literally, sign of God; a prominent teaching mujtahid.

al-Azhar Islamic university in Cairo, regarded by many as the most prestigious in the Sunni world.

Baku Capital of Azerbaijan; site of oil boom in early twentieth century.

Balfour Declaration Statement issued by the British government in 1917 that stipulated, among other things, that the British government viewed “with favor” the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine:

Baring, Evelyn (Earl of Cromer) First British consul general in Egypt.

bast Refuge; taking refuge in a mosque or government building was a common form of protest in Persia.

bay‘a Literally, agreement; mutual pledge between ruler and ruled.

bazaari Merchant who works in markets (bazaars) of Iran.

bedouin Member of nomadic tribe.

berat Certificate; in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, foreign consuls granted berats to Ottoman citizens, making them honorary citizens of foreign countries, entitled to privileges granted foreigners.

beratli The holder of a berat.

Cairo Conference (1921) Conference held in wake of World War I at which the British created Trans-Jordan.

Caisse de la Dette Institution created by the governments of European creditors to oversee the repayment of debts owed their citizens in the wake of the Egyptian bankruptcy of 1876.

caliph “Successor to Muhammad”; for Sunnis, the leader of the Islamic community.

Camp David Accords (1978) Agreement negotiated among Jimmy Carter, Menachim Begin, and Anwar al-Sadat in 1978 that included a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a stillborn framework for peace in the region.

Canning, Stratford British representative in Istanbul who reportedly dictated the terms of the Islahat Fermani to the sultan in 1856.

capitulations Clauses in treaties between European countries and empires in the Middle East granting representatives of the former privileges (trade, religious, and the like) in Middle Eastern domains, caravansaray Resting place and trading center for caravans.

Circassian Member of a group of tribes in or from the Caucasus.

Cis-Jordan The territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River; called Palestine after 1921.

“Commercial Revolution” Technological, institutional, and structural changes that took place in Europe during the sixteenth century leading to an expansion of trade.

Committee of Union and Progress (C.U.P.) Secret society established in the military of Ottoman Empire in 1889; took full power in 1913.

Comstock Lode Source of huge quantities of silver discovered in Nevada in the nineteenth century; because Persia was a “silver zone” tapping new veins of silver such as the Comstock Lode had deleterious effects on the Persian economy.

concession Agreement between a government and an entrepreneur or company granting the latter exclusive rights to build infrastructure, exploit natural resources, establish institutions, and the like; granting concessions was a favored policy to foster economic growth in nineteenth-century Persia.

consortium A company of companies established to spread risk.

consul general Highest ranking British official in Egypt during the period of British occupation.

corvée Compulsory labor service.

Cossack Brigade Cavalry unit originally trained and equipped by the Russians but manned by Persians during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Reza Khan was one of its leaders.

Crémieux Decree Decree issued by the French government in 1870 granting

Algerian Jews the right to French citizenship.

Crimean War (1854-1856) War pitting the British, French, Piedmontese, and Ottomans against an expanding Russia.

Dar al-Funun School established in Persia in 1851 during a brief attempt at defensive developmentalism.

d'Arcy, William Knox British adventurer who was granted the first oil concession from the Persian government in 1901.

de Reuter, Julius Recipient of a wide-ranging concession from the Persian government in 1872.

defensive developmentalism Policy of centralization and “modernization” undertaken by governments in the Middle East to strengthen their power and promote economic activity.

département French province.

devshirme A levy exacted by the early Ottoman government on Balkan Christians to recruit for the imperial bureaucracy and janissary corps.

dey A locally chosen Ottoman governor of Algeria.

Druze A member of an esoteric religious sect, found most commonly in Lebanon and Palestine.

Eastern Question Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century competition over the fate of the Ottoman Empire and its provinces involving Britain, France, Russia, and later Germany.

entente powers/Central Powers Two main alliances in World War I; the entente consisted of, among others, Great Britain, France, Russia, and eventually the United States; the Central Powers included, among others, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.

faqih Islamic legal expert qualified to rule on matters pertaining to the shari‘a.

Faysal Son of Sharif Husayn; leader of Arab Revolt; later king of Iraq.

feddan Unit of land measurement; one feddan equals approximately one acre.

fez A brimless, conical felt hat introduced into the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century as a sign of the empire's “modernity.” Fourteen Points American aims in World War I as enunciated by Woodrow Wilson; nationalist leaders throughout the world took Wilson's seeming support for their aspirations to heart.

Gallipoli Peninsula off western Anatolia; site of battle for the Turkish straits involving mainly British and Commonwealth forces, on the one hand, and Ottoman forces, on the other; the battle made a hero of the successful Ottoman general, Mustafa Kemal. ghaziFrontier warrior.

ghulam (pl.: ghilman)Slave brought into Persia to serve in the military or bureaucracy.

market economy Economic system that is primarily based on production for exchange. marketplace economy Economic system that is primarily based on production for consumption.

Maronite Member of Christian sect, mainly in Lebanon.

megali idea Literally, grand idea; a doctrine associated with Greek nationalism that called for the unification of all Greek-speaking, Orthodox peoples in the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Anatolia into a single (Greek) state.

mercantilism Seventeenth-century European economic doctrine that made the accumulation of gold the primary goal of national economic policy.

military-patronage state Any one of the Turco-Mongolian states established during and after the thirteenth century in which society was divided into a ruling military class and the remainder of the population; land belonged to the chief military family or families and was leased out in exchange for services rendered by the military class; and dynastic law supplemented local customs and Islamic law.

millet system Ottoman administrative practice allowing religious minorities control over many of their own affairs, including educational, charitable, and judicial affairs, as well as representation in Istanbul.

moral reconstruction The idea that social ills could be healed through individual pious acts.

moshav (pl.: moshavim) Cooperative village first established in the Yishuv in 1921.

Mosul Northern province of Iraq.

mufti Muslim judicial official who interprets Islamic law.

mujtahid In Shi‘i Islam, a religious scholar who can render legal opinions by use of informed reason.

Muslim Brotherhood Islamic political organization established by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt in 1928.

mutasarrifiya A special administrative district, established in Mount Lebanon in 1861, governed by a non-Lebanese Ottoman Christian and protected by the concert of European powers.

nahda Nineteenth-century Arabic literary renaissance.

Najd Region in the central and eastern Arabian peninsula.

nakba Literally, disaster; word used by Palestinians to refer to the 1948 war.

narghile Water pipe; hookah.

Nasir al-Din Shah Ruler of Persia during much of the late nineteenth century; assassinated in 1896.

National Pact An agreement reached among leading Lebanese politicians in 1943 dividing the political spoils available to each religious community residing in Lebanon proportionally.

National Resurgence Party Political party founded in 1975 by the shah of Iran for “all loyal Iranians.”

Naus, Joseph Belgian national who was hired by the Persian government to oversee collection of customs; his policies were one of the triggers for the Persian Constitutional Revolution.

negative equilibrium Nonalignment policy advocated by Muhammad Mossadegh

neo-sufism The redefinition of sufi movements, beginning in the eighteenth century, to reflect a more legalistic and scripturalist approach.

nonalignment Policy followed by Third World states that advocated a political stance independent of either the Western alliance or the Soviet bloc.

occupation State of being hidden; Shi‘is believe that the last imam (either the seventh or twelfth in the line of descent, depending on the branch of Shi‘ism) was hidden by God but will one day return to guide his community.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Organization founded in 1960 to coordinate petroleum policies of the major producers; OPEC became a producers' cartel in 1982.

Oslo Accord The 1993 Agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinians that included mutual recognition and established a framework for further negotiations.

osmanlilik An ideology that might loosely be called Ottoman nationalism.

Ottoman Public Debt Administration Institution created by the governments of European creditors to oversee the repayment of debts owed their citizens in the wake of the Ottoman bankruptcy of 1876.

Pahlavi Last ruling dynasty of Iran (1926-1979).

pan-Arabism The doctrine that Arabs constitute one people; pan-Arab nationalists believe they should be joined in a single state, personal status law Laws related to marriage, divorce, registering births, and so on; in the Middle East, usually managed by religious community.

prebendalism System of Ottoman and Safavid land management wherein most land is worked by a free peasantry but belongs to the ruling dynasty; land thus cannot be bought and sold.

proletarianization The process of creating a class of people who sell their labor.

qadi Judge working in an Islamic law court.

Qizilbash Turcomen followers of Safi al-Din's teachings and their descendents.

remittances Money sent home by guest workers working in a foreign country.

rentier state A state dependent on money derived from sources other than taxation for a certain percentage of its income.

Russian Social Democratic Workers Party Russian socialist party that was influential in Baku and northern Persia at the beginning of the twentieth century.

al-Sadat, Anwar President of Egypt after Nasser (1970-1981); noteworthy for rolling back many of the populist policies of the Nasser era, his pro-American stance, and signing a treaty with the Israelis in 1979.

Safi al-Din Legendary founder of the Safavid Dynasty; leader of Turcomen sufi order.

al-salaf al-salih The “pious ancestors”; those who made up the first Islamic community and served as a source of emulation and chroniclers of the acts and sayings of Muhammad.

salafism Method of arriving at religious truth in Islam by returning to the foundational texts of Islam and using the first Islamic community as a source of emulation.

al-Sanusi, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (1787-1859) Founder of puritanical sufi order (Sanusiyya) in North Africa that played an important role in fighting Italians in the early twentieth century.

SAVAK The often brutal intelligence agency in pre-revolutionary Iran.

Second Serfdom The reimposition of serfdom in Eastern Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; in part, a response to the Great Inflation.

settler-plantation colony Form of colonial settlement in which agents of a colonial power establish and supervise the operation of large-scale plantations worked by local labor.

shah Persian emperor.

shari‘a Islamic law.

Shi‘ism One of the two main branches of Islam; predominant in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.

shura Literally, consultation; early Islamic practice cited by Islamic modernists as precedent for parliaments.

Suez War/Tripartite Aggression War launched against Nasser's Egypt in 1956 by the British, French, and Israelis.

sufism Popular religiosity, sometimes mystical, in which the followers of a pious founder group themselves into paths or turuq. sultan Title adopted by rulers, such as the head of the Ottoman Empire, in much of the Middle East.

Sunnism Predominant branch of Islam in most of the world, including Turkey and most of the Arab world.

Sunna In Sunni Islam, the acts and sayings of the prophet and the acts of the prophet's companions in Medina. Shi‘is include the acts and sayings of the twelve imams as well.

Tabriz City in northern Iran.

tanzimat Literally, regulations; refers to Ottoman “reform” period of the nineteenth century, during which the imperial government attempted to “modernize” and centralize its power.

tariqa (pl.: turuq)Sufi “path.”

tawula Backgammon.

tax farmer Agent who pays taxes for a given territory or industry up front; in return, he is allowed to extract surplus from that territory or industry.

timar Land grant made to the commander of a cavalry unit in the early Ottoman Empire.

tiyul Persian equivalent of timar.

Trans-Jordan The territory to the east of the Jordan River; currently the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Treaty of Balta Liman (1838) Treaty between Britain and the Ottoman Empire in which the Ottomans agreed to abolish monopolies in their realms and lower customs duties; for signing the treaty, the Ottomans received British assistance in removing Egyptian troops from the Levant.

tribe A group of people who claim descent from a common ancestor, whether or not they are in fact related to that common ancestor or even to each other.

Tudeh The Communist Party of Iran.

Turkish Petroleum Company The second great oil concession and the first one made to a consortium; controlled all aspects of the oil industry in Ottoman domains.

ulama (sing.: ‘alim) Muslim religious scholars.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) United Nations agency entrusted with caring for Palestinian refugees after the 1948 war for Palestine.

U.N. Resolution 242 Resolution passed by the Security Council of the United Nations after the 1967 war establishing the “land for peace” formula.

U.N. Resolution 338 Resolution passed by the Security Council of the United Nations after the 1973 war that fundamentally reiterated the principles of U.N. Resolution 242.

United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) Committee established in the General Assembly of the United Nations to determine the fate of the British mandate in Palestine; the majority report called for division of Palestine between Zionist and Arab communities.

Urabi Revolt (1881-1882) Revolt initiated by the Egyptian military to end foreign interference, domestic autocracy, and discrimination against native Egyptians. The revolt received wide support, but was crushed by the British.

Usuli School of Shi‘ism that asserts that select religious scholars could supplement the original sources of law through the use of reason (ijtihad).

vali-e faqih Head of state of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

velayat-e faqih Literally, government of the jurisconsult; form of government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in which the head of state is a legal expert qualified to rule on matters pertaining to the shari‘a.

wafd/Wafd Literally, delegation; Egyptian political party founded by Sa‘d Zaghlul.

Wahhabism Puritanical religious movement founded by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab in the eighteenth century.

waqf Religious endowment.

World Zionist Organization Organization established in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress “to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by Public Law”; the W.Z.O. has been the central institutional expression of the international Zionist movement.

Young Ottomans Diffuse group of nineteenth-century intellectuals who advocated Islamic modernism and constitutional rule in the Ottoman Empire.

Young Turks Name given to an amalgam of groups opposed to Abdulhamid II; in 1908 the Young Turks staged a revolt and restored the Ottoman constitution.

Zaghlul, Sa‘d Leader of a group of Egyptians that sought to represent Egypt at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I; his arrest and deportation led to the 1919 Revolution; founder of Wafd Party.

Zionism The belief that Jews are a national community entitled to their own independent state; most Zionists believe that such a state should be situated in Palestine.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!
Previous
Page
Next
Page