Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object


Object Name:
dated A.H. 79/ A.D. 698–99
Diam. 13/16 in. (2.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, 1898
Accession Number:
Not on view
The first Muslim rulers relied on older Byzantine and Sasanian mints to keep a constant supply of coinage in the newly converted lands. Modifications to older types occurred gradually over the first century of Islam. Crosses on Byzantine-style gold coins, for example, were the first visual elements to disappear. ‘Abd al-Malik’s gold reform in 696–97 resulted in totally new coin styles without figural imagery of any kind. Instead, coins like this one made during his reign feature the shahada (profession of the faith) in stately kufic script: “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
Inscription: Obverse:

Inscription in Arabic in field:

لا اله الا الله وحده لا شريك له
There is no god but God alone. He has no associate.

Inscription in Arabic in margin:

محمد رسول الله ارسله بالهدى ودين الحق ليظهره على الدين كله

Muhammad is the Messenger of God, who sent him “with the guidance,
and the religion of truth to show that He may uplift it [Islam] above
every religion.” (variation of Qur’an 9:33)


Inscription in Arabic in field:
الله احد الله الصمد لم يلد ولم يولد
God is one. “God, the Everlasting Refuge, / who has not begotten,
and has not been begotten.” (excerpt from Qur’an 112)

Inscription in Arabic in margin:
بسم الله ضرب هذا الدينار في سنة تسع وسبعين
In the Name of God, this dinar was struck in the year A.H. 79.
Joseph H. Durkee, New York (until d. 1898; bequeathed to MMA)
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 8, pp. 22, 32, ill. p. 32 (color).

Related Objects

Folio from a Qur'an Manuscript

Date: late 9th–early 10th century Medium: Ink and gold on parchment Accession: 30.45 On view in:Not on view

Goblet with Incised Designs

Date: 8th–9th century Medium: Glass, bluish green; blown, applied solid stem and blown foot; scratch-engraved Accession: 65.173.1 On view in:Gallery 451

Qur'an Manuscript

Date: late 9th–early 10th century Medium: Main support: ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on parchment; Binding: leather; tooled Accession: 37.142 On view in:Gallery 450

"The Elephant Clock", Folio from a Book of the Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by al-Jazari

Date: dated A.H. 715/A.D. 1315 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 57.51.23 On view in:Gallery 454


Date: A.H. 164/A.D. 780 Medium: Gold Accession: On view in:Gallery 453