Ahmad Zaki Yamani (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Between 1962 and 1986, Yamani was the best-known spokesman for Middle Eastern oil producing countries’ interests in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He built a considerable reputation as a moderate interested in reconciling strong nationalist demands among producers and the expectations of Western industrialist consuming countries.
Ahmad Zaki Yamani was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on June 30, 1930. The Yamani family name derives from its probable origin among the tribes of southern Arabia, or the Yemen. Genealogically the family descends from the Hashemite clan within the Quraysh tribe. The Hashemite clan is especially noble in Islamic tradition, having been the clan of the Prophet Muhammad.
Yamani’s father was at the time of his birth qadi, or chief judge, of the Islamic Supreme Court of the Hejaz district of the new Saudi kingdom. This post represented a continuation of a long family tradition: Yamani’s grandfather had been a grand mufti, or jurisprudent, in the late Ottoman Turkish period (to 1914). During the early years of Yamani’s childhood, his father was absent from the family home, serving as grand mufti in Indonesia. Later he filled the same prestigious post in Malaysia.
The young Yamani received his early education in Mecca. When he was seventeen, his father sent him to study law, not at the Azhar, which was the...
(The entire section is 1824 words.)
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