"pleaded for a dirham"
A 100 dirham note, featuring a picture of Hassan II, King of Morocco until 1999
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA 100 dirham note, featuring a picture of Hassan II, King of Morocco until 1999 - Credit: Bruno's Paper Money Collection

The dirham derives its name from the Greek ‘drachma’ coin, and has been used as a unit of currency and mass across the Middle East and North Africa since the time of the Ottoman Empire, when it was called a ‘dram’. No longer used as a unit of measurement, despite an Islamic movement which would like to see it reinstated as a silver measurement, the dirham is used as a main unit of currency today in Morocco and UAE, and as subdivisions of the Iraqi, Jordanian and Libyan dinar, the Qatari riyal and Tajikistani somoni.

The Moroccan dirham (plural darahim) was first introduced in 1882, replaced by the franc when Morocco was a French colony and reinstated in 1960. The dirham comes in coin denominations of ½, 1, 2, 5 and 10 and banknotes of 20, 50, 100 and 200.  The santim is a subdivision of the dirham, with 100 santimat worth 1 dirham.

Today, the dirham is worth approximately 0.07 British pounds.