Dirham, dirhem or dirhm (?) was and, in some cases, still is a unit of currency in several Arab states. It was formerly the related unit of mass (the Ottoman dram) in the Ottoman Empire and old Persian states. The name derives from the name of the ancient Greek currency, drachma.
The dirham was a unit of weight used across North Africa, the Middle East, and Persia, with varying values.
In the late Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Turkish ?), the standard dirham was 3.207 g; 400 dirhem equal one oka. The Ottoman dirham was based on the Sassanian drachm, which was itself based on the Roman dram/drachm.
The word "dirham" comes from drachma (), the Greek coin. 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 Al-Andalus (Moorish Spain) and the Byzantine Empire (miliaresion), and could be used as currency in Europe between the 10th and 12th centuries, notably in areas with Viking connections, such as Viking York and Dublin.
The dirham is frequently mentioned in Jewish orthodox law as a unit of weight used to measure various requirements in religious functions, such as the weight in silver specie pledged in Marriage Contracts (Ketubbah), the quantity of flour requiring the separation of the dough-portion, etc. Jewish physician and philosopher, Maimonides, uses the Egyptian dirham to approximate the quantity of flour for dough-portion, writing in Mishnah Eduyot 1:2: "...And I found the rate of the dough-portion in that measurement to be approximately five-hundred and twenty dirhams of wheat flour, while all these dirhams are the Egyptian [dirham]." This view is repeated by Maran's Shulhan Arukh (Hil. Hallah, Yoreh Deah § 324:3) in the name of the Tur. In Maimonides' commentary of the Mishnah (Eduyot 1:2, note 18), Rabbi Yosef Qafih explains that the weight of each Egyptian dirham was approximately 3.333 grams, or what was the equivalent to 16 carob-grains which, when taken together, the minimum weight of flour requiring the separation of the dough-portion comes to approx. 1 kilo and 733 grams. Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, in his Sefer Halikhot ?Olam (vol. 1, pp. 288-291), makes use of a different standard for the Egyptian dirham, saying that it weighed approx. 3.0 grams, meaning the minimum requirement for separating the priest's portion is 1 kilo and 560 grams. Others (e.g. Rabbi Avraham Chaim Naeh) say the Egyptian dirham weighed approx. 3.205 grams, which total weight for the requirement of separating the dough-portion comes to 1 kilo and 666 grams. Rabbi Shelomo Qorah (Chief Rabbi of Bnei Barak) writes that the traditional weight used in Yemen for each dirham weighed 3.36 grams, making the total weight for the required separation of the dough-portion to be 1 kilo and 770.72 grams.
Currently the valid national currencies with the name dirham are :
Modern currencies with the subdivision dirham or diram are:
Also the unofficial modern gold dinar is divided into dirham.