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The Mint

Chapter III

[34] The Characteristic Emblems of Royal and Government Authority

The Mint

"(The mint) is concerned with the stamping of the dinars and dirhams used in (commercial) transactions. This is done with a die of iron, upon which pictures or words are engraved in reverse. The stamp is pressed upon the dinar or the dirham, and the design (legends) of those engravings appear on the coin clearly and correctly. Before this is done, the standard of purity of the particular coin, the result of repeated refinings, is taken into consideration, and the individual dinars and dirhams are given the proper, fixed weight that has been agreed upon. Then, the number of coins (and not their weight only) can be made use of in transaction. If the individual pieces have not been given the weight fixed upon, then the weight of the coins must be taken in consideration ..."(op. cit., ibid., Vol. II, p. 54)

Muslim Coins

Muslim Coins © Bollingen Foundation Inc., New York, N. Y.
Muslim Coins © Bollingen Foundation Inc., New York, N. Y.
  • 1.  Arab-Sassanian dirham issued by al-Hajjâj, struck at Bishâpûr in the yer 78 (697/98)
  • 2. Umayyad dirham of the reformed type, dated 79 (8698/99), struck at Damascus.

Nos. 1-2 in the American Numismatic Society,  P: Amerivan Numismatic Society


"The word sikkah (mint) refers to the stamp, that is, the piece of iron used for the purpose (of stamping the coins). The word has then used to designate the result of (the application of the stamp), that is, the engravings that appear upon dinars and dirhams. The word was further used to designate control of (the process of engraving) and supervision of the whole operation, of everything dealing with coinage and all the conditions that govern it. Such (control and supervision) is(exercised by) the office (of the mint). The word has thus come to designate (that office), and is customarily so used in governmental usage. It is an office that is necessary to the royal authority, for it enables people to distinguish between good and bad coins in their transactions. That (the coins) are not bad is guaranteed by the engravings kown to have been stamped upon them by the ruler.

The non-Arabes used (coins) and engraved special pictures on them, for example, a picture of the ruler at the time of issue, a fortress, some animal or product, or something else. This remained the practice of the non-Arabs down to the end of their power. When Islam appeared, the practice was discontinued, because of the simlicity of Islam and the Bedouin attitude of the Arabs. In their transactions, they used gold and silver according to weight. They also had Persian dinars and dirhams. They used them, too, according to weight and employed them as their medium of exchange. The government paid no attention to the matter. As a result, the frauds practiced with dinars and dirhams eventually became very serious. According to the reports of Sa' 'îd b. al-Musay-yab and Abû z-Zinâd, 'Abd-al-Malik ordered al-Hajjâj to coin dirhams, and bad coins (began to) be distinguished from good ones. This took place in 74 (693 / 94), or, according to al-Madâ'inî in 75 (694 / 95). In the year 76 (695 / 96), ('Abd-al-Maik) ordered that dirhams be coined in all the other religions. The Legend upon them was: "God is one, God is the samad."..." (op. cit., ibid., Vol. II, p. 54-55)

Muslim Coins © Bollingen Foundation Inc., New York, N. Y.
Muslim Coins © Bollingen Foundation Inc., New York, N. Y.
  • 3. Dinar of the Almohad Abû Ya'qûb Yûsuf I, without date or name of mint
  • 4. Anonymus Almohad dirham, without date or name of mint
  • 5. Triple dinar of Sultan Barqûq, struck at Cairo

Nos. 3-4 in the American Numismatic Society, No.5 in the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. P: Amerivan Numismatic Society