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Silver legal Dirham or Dirham Sharaai of Aurangzeb

12 Jun 2018  Tue

Depicted here is a very rare silver legal Dirham or Dirham Sharaai of Aurangzeb. This coin is weighed around 3.12g struck at Akbarabad mint at 1092 AH. The obverse of the coin depicts Persian inscription ‘Dirham Sharaai’ with AH date while the revere of the coin inscribed with the mint name and RY date.

Aurangzeb imposed Jizya or poll-tax / safety money on the Non-Muslim population in 1090 AH. The tax was to be paid by three categories and in three sums - the poor were to pay 3 Tolas, 1 Masha plus 0.45 and 1/20th of Masha of silver, the middle classes twice this amount and the rich, four times. The sums in equivalent Dirhams were going to be 12, 24 and 48 Dirhams respectively.

These quantities were in accordance with prescriptions laid down by Islamic Law but since there was no 'Dirhams' current in India, special coins were struck to facilitate the collection of the tax. They remain an interesting aspect of Mughal coinage and as such as highly collectable. Since the coins were issued very sporadically, they are also very rare.

Image Source: Classical Numismatic Gallery