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Gold dinar of Caliph Abd al-Malik
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Many issues of early Islamic coinage bore pictures, sometimes even of the caliph himself. Islam bans pictorial representations of humans or animals to discourage idolatry and Muslim clerics grew uneasy about the use of images on coins. In AD 696-7 the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik (reigned AD 685-706) reformed the Islamic coinage. All images on coins were replaced with inscriptions. Along with the new design came a new weight standard. The original Byzantine standard of 4.55g was adjusted to 4.25g, a weight also known as the mithqal.

This dinar was minted as part of the first issue of the new design. From this time inscriptions predominate on Islamic coins. The inscriptions, in the angular Kufic script, do not include the name of the caliph or the mint. Instead they state the essence of the Muslim message in Arabic, the Islamic profession of faith, the shahada.
Probably minted in Syria, 77 AH/AD 696-7

Gold dinar of Caliph Abd al-Malik


D. 1.9cm
Wt 4.25cm
Gift of E.T.Rogers



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