Umayyad Caliphate

Silver Dirham

Obverse

In field within triple serrate circle: la ilah illa/Allah wahda/la sharik lahu “no deity other than the One God, He has no associate”

Around: bism Allah duriba hadha’l-dirham bi-Jayy fi sana thaman wa saba’in “in the name of God this dirham was struck in Jayy in the year eight and seventy”

In margin within serrate circle: five annulets at 11:00, 9:00, 7:00, 5:00 and 2:00

Reverse

In field within serrate circle: Allah ahad Allah/al-samad lam yalid/wa lam yulid wa lam yakun/lahu kufuan had “God is one. God is besought of all, needing none, He does not beget nor is He begotten and there is none like unto Him” – Surah CXII (al-Ikhlas)

Inner margin within serrate circle: 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

Outer margin within serrate circle: five annulets at 11:00, 9:00, 7:00, 5:00 and 2:00

Until recently it was accepted that the reform-style Umayyad dirham was first introduced in the year  79 H, but subsequent discoveries have shown that it was struck by several mints in 78 H. This coinage was probably the result of the close co-operation between the Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik and his great Viceroy of the East al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. Unusually for the time, the new Islamic dinars and dirhams lacked any political or personal identity. This was very likely out of deference to the supreme creator of the world, God, to Whom it was dedicated. The new silver coinage was intended to replace the Arab Sasanian drachm, just as the dinar replaced the Byzantine solidus. The dirham’s broader flan gave it enough room to include fuller passages from the Holy Qur’an within the triple serrate circle that appeared on the Sasanian coinage. It also followed the practice of the Sasanians by including the name of the mint town, in this case Jayy, and moved the mint and date legend from the reverse, where they appeared on the dinar, to the obverse margin. On the reverse,  as well as the fuller text of the Surah al-Ikhlas in the field, it added the phrase at the end of the Prophetic Witness in the margin “even though the polytheists may detest it”. This coinage is excessively rare.

Umayyad Caliphate

MaterialSilver
TypeDirham
RulerAnonymous
MintJayy
Date78H / 697-698CE
Weight2.37g
Diameter25mm