The Amazing Islamic Coin of England

In the 8th century CE, England was divided into a number of Kingdoms: the largest and most prominent (and which included what is now the modern city of London) was the Kingdom of Mercia.

At the time, the Abbasids were the global superpower, and their coins were the currency of trade across most of the globe. King Offa of Mercia (d. 796 CE) wished to showcase his own kingdom’s power, and perhaps influence trade with Muslim Andalus, hence he ordered that coins be minted with the Abbasid design and motifs, but in his name. And this is where we get the phenomenon of the Islamic coinage, complete with the entire kalima in Arabic, being minted from the heart of England.

You can clearly see an attempt to write the kalimah, but obviously since the coin makers didn’t know Arabic there are some scribbles in places of some of the letters. And, on the other side of the coin, in clear Latin letters, we see ‘Offa Rex’, or King Offa. If you look closely, and turn the coin around, you will see the second kalimah in Arabic in between the Latin letters.

Allah raises some civilizations at times over others, for He is the al-Mu`izz and al-Mudhill. There was a time when the Islamic world was so powerful and respected that the kings of Europe would have Muslim designs and architectures and motifs and coinage, as a sign of their strength and an indication of the achievements of their era. Of course, the tables have turned now, but this is Allah’s Sunnah. And more important than civilizational strength is correctness of faith and uprightness of one’s character – and that is an advantage Islam and its followers shall always have over all other civilizations.

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