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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Silver dirham of the Umayyad Caliphate, minted at Balkh in AH 111 (= 729/30 CE).

Dirham or dirhem (درهم) is a unit of currency in several Arab nations, and formerly the related unit of mass (the Ottoman dram) in the Ottoman Empire and Persian states. The name derives from the Greek currency drachma.

Contents

Currency units

The currency units include:

Unit of mass

Known to the Romans as a drachm, the dirhem was a unit of weight used across North Africa, the Middle East, and Persia, with varying values.

In the late Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Turkish درهم), the standard dirhem was 3.207 g;[1] 400 dirhem equal one oka.

In Egypt in 1895, it was equivalent to 47.661 troy grains (3.088 g).[2]

History

Historically, the word "dirham" is derived from the name of a Greek coin, the Drachma (δραχμή); the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire controlled the Levant and traded with Arabia, circulating the coin there in pre-Islamic times and afterward. It was this currency which was initially adopted as an Arab word; then near the end of the 7th century the coin became an Islamic currency bearing the name of the sovereign and a religious verse. The dirham was struck in many Mediterranean countries, including Spain, and could be used as currency in Europe between the 10th and 12th centuries.

Compare the Armenian dram for a currency whose name bears a similar origin. Also compare dinar for another currency circulated in the Muslim world but originating with the Romans.

References

  1. ^ based on an oka of 1.2828 kg; Diran Kélékian gives 3.21 g (Dictionnaire Turc-Français, Constantinople: Imprimerie Mihran, 1911) ; Γ. Μπαμπινιώτης gives 3.203 g (Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας, Athens, 1998)
  2. ^ OED

See also

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Simple English

Dirham is a unit of currency in several Arabic-speaking nations, including:

  • The Moroccan dirham
  • The United Arab Emirates dirham
  • 1/1000 of the Libyan dinar
  • 1/100 of the Qatari riyal
  • 1/10 of the Jordanian dinar
  • The dirham, spelt 'diram,' is 1/100 of the Tajikistani somoni.

Historically, the word "dirham" is comes from 'dirhem' which comes from the name of a Greek coin, the Drachm; the Byzantine Empire controlled the Levant and traded with Arabia, circulating the coin there in pre-Islamic times and afterward. It was this currency which was first used as an Arab word. Near the end of the 7th century, the coin became an Islamic currency. It had the name of the sovereign and a religious verse on it. The dirham was used by many Mediterranean countries, including Spain. It could be used as currency in Europe between the 10th and 12 centuries.

Similar currencies

The Armenian dram is a currency whose name bears a similar origin. The dinar is a currency used in the Muslim world but originating with the Romans.


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