The Birth of a Purely Islamic Coinage

20 Jun 2020  Sat

Uthman ibn Affan was the third caliph of Islam. He was known as the leader of the faithful and ruled for approximately 12 years. His charitable acts and modesty earned him prominence in the early Islamic community, and he was among the favorite and most loyal companions of Prophet Muhammad.

Born into a prominent Meccan clan, Banu Umayya of the Quraysh tribe, he played a major role in early Islamic history. Uthman was elected caliph by a committee appointed by his predecessor, Umar, on his deathbed. Under his leadership, the text of the Quran was standardized, with variant collections being destroyed.

Under Uthman's leadership, the Islamic empire expanded into Fars (present-day Iran) in 650 and some areas of Khorasan (present-day Afghanistan) in 651. The conquest of Armenia had begun by the 640s. Uthman is remembered as a pious, gentle, and kind man, known for his modesty and shyness, and admired for his generosity. He ruled with impartial justice and mild and humane policies, based on his obedience to God and his love for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Muslim nation.

His death marked the beginning of open religious and political conflicts within the Islamic community. The first dated coins that can be assigned to the Muslims are copies of silver Dirhams of the Sassanian ruler Yazdegerd III, struck during the Caliphate of Uthman. These coins differ from the original ones in that an Arabic inscription is found in the obverse margins, normally reading “Bismillah” (In the Name of Allah).

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