In the seventh century, AD, a new religion, Islam, was founded in Arabia.  Arab forces, under the banner of Islam, soon conquered an empire stretching from Afghanistan to North Africa.  At its height the Umayyad (Omayyad) Caliphate spread from Spain and southern France to northern India. Initially they copied the coins of the lands they conquered. Caliph 'Abd al-Malik introduced the first fully Islamic coin with this silver Dirham.  The design has no pictures, but features professions of the Islamic faith.  One side of the coin reads "There is no god except Allah alone. He has no partner."  On the other side it reads "Allah is One, Allah is the Eternal.  He begets not neither is He begotten".   This well struck silver Dirham is dated during the reign of  'Abd al-Malik, which lasted from 685 to 705AD.  It is an excellent example of the first true Muslim coin.

Caliph Al-Walid reigned over the Umayyad (Omayyad) Empire from 705 to 715AD.  He greatly expanded its territory to the west into North Africa and Spain and to the east as far as Sindh on the Indus River.  He did not force the conquered Jews and Christians to convert to Islam, but instead gave them a financial incentive by charging non-Muslims extra taxes.  He made Arabic the only official language of his Empire. The principal silver coin of his Empire was the silver Dirham. This silver Dirham was struck at Wasit.  Located in what is now Iraq, Wasit was the chief eastern administrative center of the Empire.  The vast city was later abandoned after a change in the path of the Tigris River, left it in the desert, without water or navigation. In keeping with Islamic tradition, his coins did not have any images, but instead feature beautiful calligraphy of Islamic invocations of Faith. 

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