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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Islamic Mint Established in India – al-Hind

Triton XXII, Lot: 1229. Estimate $100000.
Sold for $90000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLAMIC, Umayyad Caliphate. temp. Suleiman ibn 'Abd al-Malik. AH 96-99 / AD 715-717. AR Dirham (27mm, 2.85 g, 6h). al-Hind (Multan?) mint. Dated AH 97 (AD 715/6). First portion of the kalimat at-tawḥīd: lā ilāha illā-llāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu (there is no god except Allah, and one [is] he; (there is) no partner to him) in three lines; in outer margin, b-ismi-llāh zarb hazā al-dirham bi-lhind fī sanat seb’ wa tisi’īn (in the name of Allah struck this dirham in al-Hind in the year seven and ninety (after the Hijra)) / Sura 112 (al-ikhlas) Āllah ahad Āllah āl-samad lam yalīd wa lam yalūd (Allah [is] One; Allah [is] the Eternal, the Absolute; not begetting and not begotten) in three lines; in outer margin, the “Umayyad Second Symbol” (Sura 9 [al-tauba]:33): muḥammadur rasūlu-llāh arsalahu bi-’lhudā wa dīn al-haqq lī-yuzhirahu ’ala al-dīn kollihi walau kariha al-mushrikūn (Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; him He sent with guidance and true faith to make it prevail over all other faiths even though the polytheists may hate it). Klat –; SICA 2 –; Album 131; ICV –. VF, toned, a few deposits. Extremely rare mint.

Ex Numismatica Genevensis SA VIII (24 November 2014), lot 238.

Beginning with the Rashidun (AH 31-41 [AD 632-661]), the Muslims began to expand their conquests into modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. Comprising the kingdoms of Kapisa-Gandhara, Zabulistan, and Sindh, this territory, which since ancient times had culturally and politically been a part of India, was considered by the Muslims as the frontier of al-Hind (as India was known to them). Because these early invasions proved to be difficult, the caliph ‘Uthman ibn Affan (AH 23-35 [AD 644-656]) forbade any further expansion into India. From this point until well into the Umayyad Caliphate, the prolonged struggle between the rulers of Kabul and Zabul with the Muslim governors of Sistan, Khurasan and Makran resulted in a strategy by the Arabs to exact tribute from these rulers, rather than by conquest, thus stalling Muslim expansion into these areas.

The Umayyads, under their caliph Mu'awiya I ibn Abi Sufyan, once again attempted to expand into India. Launching several campaigns over the next three decades, these frontier provinces remained as impenetrable as they had for the Rashidun, and once again, the Arabs relied on tribute. The pirate activity from ports in Sindh against Muslim shipping, however, provided an opportunity. The Viceroy of the East, al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf, ordered his son-in-law, Muhammad bin al-Qasim al-Thaqafi, to deal with the pirates. Mounting an expedition by land and sea, the Umayyad general conquered the port of al-Daybul in AH 92 (AD 711/2). Exercising clemency to the local Hindus, Muhammad bin al-Qasim was able to make the city a bridghead of Muslim expansion inward, and it was in this city that the Umayyads began to mint the first dirhams on the Indian subcontinent three years later.

From al-Daybul until his death in AH 97 (AD 715), Muhammad bin al-Qasim and his army advanced along the Indus River, eventually conquering all of Sindh. In AH 93/4 (AD 712), he took the city of Multan from Chach of Alor after a two-month siege. Although, an adept general at the age of 20, Muhammad bin al-Qasim wa ill-fated by his association with al-Hajjaj and the caliph, al-Walid I. A wealthy city, Multan probably became the Umayyad governor’s seat and it was probably here that this dirham was struck (similar to the Ummayad al-Andalus mint issues being actually struck at Qurduba [Cordoba]). Owing to is fine style, the dies for this issue were probably imported from outside in preparation for the first issue of tribute to be sent back to Dimashq or Wasit.