Ikhshidid Governors of Egypt & Syria

Gold Dinar

Obverse

In field within double circle: la ilah illa Allah/Muhammad rasul Allah/al-Muti’ lillah/ha mim “no deity other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, al-Muti’ lillah (the Abbasid caliph) letters ha mim

In margin anticlockwise from 1:00: bism Allah duriba hadha’l-dinar bi-Makka sanat saba’ wa khamsin wa thalath mi’a “in the name of God this dinar was struck in Makka the year seven and fi fty and three hundred”

Reverse

In field within double circle: amara bihi al-Usta/dh Kafur al-Ikhshidi/Qa’im (?) “among those things ordered by the Master Kafur the Ikhshidi, Qa’im (?)”

In margin anticlockwise from 1:00: “Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Verily falsehood is a vanishing thing; We send down the Qur’an (that which is a healing and a mercy unto the true believers”) – Qur’an XVII, (al-Isra) vv. 81-82 (in part)

This rare coin provides evidence of the complicated struggle between the Ikhshidids of Egypt and Syria and the Qarmatids of Bahrain and Palestine to establish supremacy over Arabia and Syria. It is unusual in that it was struck in Kafur’s actual name and title rather than the isolated letter kaf found on his normal coinage of Egypt and Palestine. On these Kafur was denied the use of his name because, as a eunuch, he could not receive full recognition as a legitimate ruler. As can be seen, this prohibition was ignored in Makka. An important feature of this coin lies in its distinctive style and legends. It was of the type used by other cities on the Red Sea coast in the Asir and Tihama regions of the Yemen. The most striking feature of this coinage was the use of the Qur’anic sentences from Surah XVII (al-Isra), which first appeared on Idrisid dirhams of Morocco from the 170s to the 190s and on undated ‘Alid issues struck in Tabaristan at the same time. Its use probably served to emphasise that the Hijaz formed part of the monetary union of the southern Red Sea coast without giving any direct revolutionary meaning to the coin. The damage to this coin is found on other rare examples of its type – a piercing in the centre rather than in the margin. Perhaps this was a political gesture by either the Qarmatids or the Fatimids to deface the coin but continue to accept it in circulation.

Ikhshidid Governors of Egypt & Syria

MaterialGold
TypeDinar
RulerAbu’l-Misk Kafur
MintMakka
Date357 H (968 CE)
Weight2.78g
Diameter25mm