(pl. umara’) Arabic lit. a prince, a commander, or a leader. In early Muslim history, the word amir referred to an army commander. During the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, the umara’ had full powers over administrative and financial posts in their provinces. In the Abbasid period, the umara’ were given a free hand in their provinces, something which led them later to establish dynasties and to share with the Caliph the attributes of sovereignty by adding their own names to his in the khutbas (sermons). Examples of such umara’ were the Ikhshidids, the Mamluks, the Seljuks and the Ayyubids. Today, the title ‘Amir’ has come to mean ‘prince’ and refers to members of the ruling families of some Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.