“Islamic State says its leader has ordered that the organisation start minting gold, silver and copper coins for its own currency, the Islamic dinar. A website affiliated with the militant group said late on Thursday that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had instructed his followers to start minting the coins to “change the tyrannical monetary system” modelled on western economies that had “enslaved Muslims”. The posting says the order was approved by the group’s shura council, an advisory board………….”
A state is not a state without some monetary unit that acts as a medium of exchange and a store of value (this last one is not completely a joke now). Even a Caliphate needs currency. Even an ersatz Caliphate like the Wahhabi one that has sprouted up for now in Iraq and Syria. So they try to go back in history and pick currency names that are supposed to be “Islamic”. But they are not Islamic. The early Muslims just used the ancient names available from heathen countries.
The Jihadis of this Mosul Caliphate don’t realize, or maybe they choose to ignore, that their minted currency carries coin names from ancient heathen societies. Mainly ancient Rome and Greece and Spain:
- Dinar: Denarius (plural: Denarii) was the currency of Roman Republic from long before Christ, long before Caesar.
- Dirham: Drachma (Draxma) was the currency of Greece before the Euro. It was the Greek currency in ancient times as well.
- Riyal or Rial is almost certainly derived from Spanish ‘Real” meaning Royal. the “Real” was also the old Spanish currency. Of course the Iranian base currency is also the Rial, but I’m not suggesting a currency union with the mullahs.
- As for the “fils“, I have no idea WTF it derives from. Maybe from the Arabic word Muflis, meaning broke or bankrupt. Which would be appropriate for this word.
- At one time not so long ago the Gulf countries used the Indian Rupee as their currency. After Indian independence, a special Gulf Rupee was issued in India just for the Persian Gulf states.
How about picking something from the Old Testament, which Islam agrees with on most things? How about the Shekel? I once suggested in one of my older posts to the GCC they might consider the Shekel (they can call it Shekel 3.0). That was when they were seriously talking about a currency union. It is unlikely to happen now (the union not just the Shekel adoption).
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum