Fatimid Caliphate

Gold Dinar

Obverse

In field: the Shi’a kalima: la ilah illa Allah/wahda la sharik lahu/Muhammad rasul Allah/‘Ali wali Allah “no deity other than God, He has no associate, Muhammad is the messenger of God, ‘Ali is the chosen one of God”

Outer margin anticlockwise from 12:00: Muhammad rasul Allah arsalahu bi’l huda wa din al-haqq li-yuzhirahu ‘ala al-din kullihi wa law kariha al-mushrikun “Muhammad is the messenger of God, who sent him with guidance and the religion of truth that he might make it supreme over all other religions even though the polytheists may detest it” – Surah IX (al-Tauba) v. 33

Reverse

In field: Ma’add/‘Abd Allah wa waliya/al-Imam abu-Tamim/al-Mustansir billah/amir al-mu’minin “Ma’add, the servant of God and His associate, the Imam abu-Tamim al-Mustansir billah, commander of the faithful”

Outer margin anticlockwise from 12:00: bism Allah duriba hadha’l-dinar bi-Madinat al-Salam sanat ahad wa khamsin wa arba‘ mi’a “in the name of God this dinar was struck in Madinat al-Salam the year one and fifty and four hundred”

This dinar is evidence of a famous episode in the history of Baghdad. A prominent general in the service of the Buwayhids, Arslan abu’l-Harith al-Basasiri, had gained power and popularity and had become the main keeper of the peace in Baghdad. He clashed with the Abbasid caliph al-Qa’im, who then alarmed him by wooing the Saljuqs. At this, al-Basasiri made contact with the Fatimids, who supported him with money and weapons. When the Saljuq ruler Tughril Beg left Baghdad to go on campaign, al-Basasiri occupied the city and had the khutba (the Friday bidding prayer) read in the name of al-Mustansir rather than the Abbasid caliph. The coins bearing the Baghdad mint name were probably struck in that city, because their design and calligraphy are unlike any other contemporary Fatimid dinars. Unfortunately for al-Basasiri, rather than being praised by al-Mustansir he was reprimanded for his occupation of Baghdad. To add to his troubles, Tughril Beg returned to the city forcing al-Basasiri to flee southwards being chased by a Saljuq army which captured and beheaded him.

Fatimid Caliphate

MaterialGold
TypeDinar
RulerAbu-Tamim Ma’add al-Mustansir billah bin al-Zahir
MintMadinat al-Salam (Baghdad)
Date451 H. (1059 CE)
Weight3.21g
Diameter24mm