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Almoravid 1 kirat coin (Abu Bakr ibn Umar)

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Kirat
General information
Country

Almoravid dynasty

Value

1 kirat = habbeh

Years

c. 10561087 (ND)

Measurements and composition
Mass
  • 0.95 g
  • 1.04 g (prototype)
Diameter
  • 10 mm
  • 19 mm (prototype)
Composition

silver

Appearance
Shape

round

Edge

plain

Obverse
  • Shahada
  • Shahada, leader's title (prototype)
Reverse
  • Leader's title
  • Caliph's title (prototype)
v · d · e

The 1 kirat coin is a former circulation piece produced by the Almoravids, an Islamic dynasty that controlled the territory of Morocco and al-Andalus from 1040 to 1147. Under Abu Bakr ibn Umar (r. 1056–1087), the second Almoravid emir, a handful of pieces of the denomination were struck. Prior to being demonetized, these coins held a value equivalent to of a habbeh. These would later be followed by the kirats of his cousin and successor, Yusuf ibn Tashfin (r. 1061–1106).

In Harry W. Hazard's The Numismatic History of Medieval North Africa and Antonio Vives y Escudero's Monedas de las dinastías arábigo-españolas, two reputed sources on Almoravid coins, only one type is listed. However, another type is additionally reported by Stephen Album in A Checklist of Islamic Coins, and a prototype similar in design to Abu Bakr ibn Umar's gold dinar is also known to exist.

All types are composed of silver. The oft-mentioned kirat and the coin described by Stephen Album both weigh approximately 0.95 grams and measure 10 millimeters in diameter. The prototype is somewhat larger, with a mass of 1.04 grams and a diameter of 19 millimeters.

The Shahada, an Islamic creed commonly found on medieval Islamic coins, is printed on the obverse of the three pieces. Such text, written in Arabic, reads "لا إله إلا الل‍ه محمد رسول الل‍ه" (Romanized: lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, Muḥammadur rasūlu-llāh), and translates to English as "there is no god but God (Allah). Muhammad is the messenger of God". On each coin, this text is written differently, although all three are shown in kufic. Examples of the most common type show the Shahada on four lines, first separated between "إلا" (illā) and the first instance of "الل‍ه" (Allāh), then between the first case of "الل‍ه" (Allāh) and "محمد" (Muḥammad), and finally between "رسول" (rasūl) and the second instance of "الل‍ه" (Allāh). The text is stylized so the first three words of the Shahada are written between the two "ل" (lām) letters in the first use of "الل‍ه" (Allāh). On the kirat mentioned by Stephen Album, the text is considerably larger, and portions of the text are typically cut off. Its first line reads "لا إله إلا" (lā ʾilāha ʾillā), its next shows most of "محمد رسول" (muḥammadur rasūl), and its final displays the second case of "الل‍ه" (Allāh). The prototype condenses the words onto two lines, which are separated between the first instance of "الل‍ه" (Allāh) and "محمد" (Muḥammad). On the both the common type and the piece described by Stephen Album, the text is enclosed within a circular boundary, and on the latter this is in turn surrounded by a beaded border by the rim. It is not uncommon for these boundaries to be incomplete. The text on the prototype is not surrounded by a border, but a raised rim, and additionally carries the name of the ruling emir in Arabic, reading "الأمير أبو بكر بن عمر" (il-amīr Abū Bakr ibn Umar). Such text is written on two lines, separated between "أبو بكر" (Abū Bakr) and "بن" (ibn).

The reverses of the three coins differ as well. The most common piece bears the title of Abu Bakr ibn Umar in Arabic, "الأمير أبو بكر بن عمر" (il-amīr Abū Bakr ibn Umar). This text is written on three lines, the first consisting solely of the word "الأمير" (il-amīr), the second bearing "أبو بكر" (Abū Bakr), and the third containing "بن عمر" (bin Umar). The piece described by Stephen Album has larger print, and features the same legend, although portions of the text are typically cut off at the rim. This text is written on two lines, with the first word comprising the entire first line, and the name of the emir constituting the second. The prototype kirat, like Abu Bakr ibn Umar's gold dinar, bears the text "الامام عبد الل‍ه امير المؤمنين" (il-imam Abdullah amīr al-mu'minīn), which translates as "Imam Abdullah, Commander of the Faithful". The Almoravids, unlike some contemporary Islamic dynasties, did not establish their own caliph, and instead considered the rulers of the Abbasid Caliphate the spiritual and political leaders of Islam. "Abdullah" in the legend is a designation referring to the Abbasid rulers, to whom "Commander of the Faithful" applies a caliphal position. The text is divided onto four lines, the first consisting of the word "الامام" (il-imam), the next bearing an extended "عبد" (Abd), the next including the name "الل‍ه" (Allāh), and the final line containing a condensed "امير المؤمنين" (amīr al-mu'minīn). The text of the oft-mentioned and Album pieces is surrounded by a a circular border, which on the latter is encircled by a beaded boundary around the outer periphery. As on the obverse, these boundaries are sometimes incomplete. The prototype does not feature a border, but the rim is raised.

ReferencesEdit

Template:Almoravid coins

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