The Arab-Muslim Empire

Transitional Ummayyad coinage

In 649, the conquest of the Maghreb by Arab troops started. Thanks to the reunification of the Berber tribes, Morocco was totally integrated in the Ummayyad Empire in 708.

Given the importance of the currency flows gained from the conquests, the first Ummayad Caliphs maintained the circulation of the existing currency until 692. However, the governors of border provinces were allowed to issue currencies inspired from the different kinds in circulation :

  • In the East, the struck imitation coins were made from silver and bronze: Arab-Sassanid drachmas were issued in Iraq and Persia; Byzantine-Arab follis were stricken in the cities of Syria and Egypt.
Khosro II, Drachma coined in Jayy, 628-590 …..Silver
  • The Muslim West is the sole Province of the Ummayad Empire where the governors used to make money from gold, because it was an exclusive prerogative of the Caliph at that time. Thus, many series of golden and bronze currencies were coined in the Maghreb and Andalusia. The most ancient of them used to bear either Byzantine effigies or antique symbols. Most recent series had no images on them, but kept the Latin legend.
Sulayman, Dinar coined at the Afriqyaa workshop in 717, gold.

Money Reform of Abdelmalik Ibn Marwan

Since the 8th Century, the Ummayyad Caliph Abdelamlik Ibn Marwan wanted to definitively get rid of the economic tutorship of Byzantium, and to create a new Arab-Muslim monetary system. This style was inspired from the Byzantian coinage, yet it is characterized by the profession of Islamic faith (Shahada) written in Arabic.

Abd al-Malik (685-705), Dirham coined at the Workshop of Baysa, silver.

Islamic money conveys a message based on the divine oneness. Being coined without any illustrations, its artistic attraction lies in calligraphy and decoration. Its epigraphic character turned out to be a rich historic source.

Abdul-Malik, ½ Dinar, 685-705, gold.

Abbasid Coinage

In 750 AD, the Abbasids seized power from the Umayyads. Then succeeded five centuries where hard times and prosperous periods alternated.

The Abbasids maintained the monetary legacy of the Umayyads with one exception: « Sura Al-Ikhlas » is replaced by the second clause of the profession of Islamic faith: « Muhammad / rasul/Allah » (Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah », in order to recall their filial relationship with the Prophet.

Their rule came to an end in 1258 when their Capital, Baghdad, was destroyed by the Mongols.

Al-Mansur, Dinar, 754-775 AD, gold.


Harun Ar-Rashid, Dirham coined in Madinat As-Salam, 786-809 AD, silver.
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