Gold coin of Abd al-Malik
Probably made in Syria, AH 77 / AD 696-7
Download this video to watch in your favourite media player, or to view this video online please install the Flash player
This is the first issue of coins struck by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik (reigned AD 685-706) as part of his revolutionary reform of the Islamic coinage in AD 696-7.
The reform involved substituting any images on the coins for writing. It was principally done because of the unease felt by Muslim clerics against the portrayal of images. From this time inscriptions predominate on Islamic coins, although there are some exceptions.
The inscriptions, which do not include the name of the caliph or the mint, state the essence of the Muslim message in Arabic, the Islamic profession of faith, the shahada. The inscriptions are in the angular Kufic script.
Along with the new design came a new weight standard. The Byzantine standard of 4.55 g, which had been previously used, was adjusted to 4.25 g, a weight also known as the mithqal.