By | January 25, 2012
Neldy Jolo
The country the currency
Sulu Archipelago was ruled by Raja Baginda through Raja system of government. It was 24th Jumadil Awal 808 Hijrah, equivalent to 17th November 1405, Sayyid Abu Bakar Ibni Sayyid Ali Zainal Abidin established Sultanate of Sulu to put Sulu different ethnicities under one banner of Islam that right now known as Tausug.
Upon enthronement as Sultan, he became known as Paduka Batara Mahasari Maulana Al-Sultan Sharif Al-Hashim Sayyid Abubakar. Sultanate of Sulu was the first institutionalized system of government that became part of Dar Al-Islam of the Islamic world supporting Khalifah Usmaniyah.

This unconquerable country ruled by amphibian warriors never fade their courage to face the Spanish invader until it was illegally annexed by United States of America upon granting the Philippine independence to the Filipino in the 4th July 1946. This was after 10 years of transition given to the Filipino in the commonwealth government started in 1935 amidst vehement protests by the Tausug.
The last Sulu Sultan was Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Kiram II that died in 1936, after his death never one of the descendants was recognized by the masses until 2009, now known as Tausug Citizens.
Tausug Citizens is lead by Datu Ladjamura Bin Datu Wasik Aranan – Bantilan from the lineage of Sultan Muhammad Muizzuddin Bantilan I. After the Tausug Citizens installed him as Sultan on 19 March 2009 at Banua Buansa, he became known as Paduka Batara Mahasari Maulana Al-Sultan Bantilan Muhammad Muizzuddin II.
17th November 17 2010 marked the 605th anniversary and declaration of reassertion of independence and sovereignty by the Tausug Citizens known as Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam or Sultaniyah Sulu Darul Islam from decades defending from the colonial strangulation and subjugation by the foreign invaders.
Having matured over the years, Sultaniyah Sulu Darul Islam is now ready to embark on the full building of her sovereignty as an independent country, free from the colonial stranglehold of the Republic of the Philippines.

The unification of Shaykh and the Sultan. Graphic: Yazir Rajim. Photo: Asree Sug

This embarkation period is taking the old tradition of currency usage known as pisita or kusing dublun and pilak; that is to use the dinar and dirham as the legal currency of the country as part of the world Dar Al-Islam.

Tausug called coins as pisita or kusing, dinar as dublun and dirham as pilak. Through these coins everyone is very much welcome; only those who don’t believe with the truth and justice are not welcome. This usage of the coins was reminded by the dinar and dirham warrior, Shaykh Prof. Dr. Umar Ibrahim Vadillo. The Sultaniyah Sulu Darul Islam coins will be in the market soon. Insha Allah.
Introducing the Islamic Dinar & Dirham
Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say: “A time is certainly coming over mankind in which there will be nothing [left] which will be of use save a dinar and a dirham.” (The Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal)
1. History of the Dinar & Dirham
In the beginning the Muslims used gold and silver by weight and the dinar and dirhams that they used were made by the Persians.

The first dated coins that can be assigned to the Muslims are copies of silver dirhams of the Sassanian Yezdigird III, struck during the Khalifate of Uthman, radiy’allahu anhu. These coins differ from the original ones in that an Arabic inscription is found in the obverse margins, normally reading “in the Name of Allah”. Since then the writing in Arabic of the Name of Allah and parts of Qur’an on the coins became a custom in all minting made by Muslims.

Under what was known as the coin standard of the Khalif Umar Ibn al-Khattab, the weight of 10 dirhams was equivalent to 7 dinars (mithqals).
In the year 75 (695 CE) the Khalifah Abdalmalik ordered Al-Hajjaj to mint the first dirhams, thus he established officially the standard of Umar Ibn al-Khattab. In the next year he ordered the dirhams to be minted in all the regions of the Dar al-Islam. He ordered that the coins be stamped with the sentence: “Allah is Unique, Allah is Eternal”. He ordered the removal of human figures and animals from the coins and that they be replaced with letters.
This command was then carried on throughout all the history of Islam. The dinar and the dirham were both round, and the writing was stamped in concentric circles. Typically on one side it was written the “tahlil” and the “tahmid”, that is, “la ilaha ill’Allah” and “alhamdulillah”; and on the other side was written the name of the Amir and the date. Later on it became common to introduce the blessings on the Prophet, salla’llahu alayhi wa sallam, and sometimes, ayats of the Qur’an.

Sample new designs. courtesy of Shaykh Umar Vadillo
Gold and silver coins remained official currency until the fall of the Khalifate. Since then, dozens of different paper currencies were made in each of the new postcolonial national states created from the dismemberment of Dar al-Islam.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And amongst the People of the Book there are those who, if you were to entrust them with a treasure (qintar), he would return it to you. And amongst them is he who, if you were to entrust him with a dinar would not return it to you, unless you kept standing over him.” Qur’an (3: 75)

Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi, the greatest authority on Qur’anic Law wrote in his famous “Ahkam al-Qur’an” about this ayat:

“The benefit that can be taken from this is the prohibition of entrusting the People of the Book with goods”.

Qadi Abu Bakr said: “The question concerning entrusting property is legislated by the text of Qur’an.” This means that the ayat is a legal judgement of absolute validity and of the greatest importance to the deen.

Entrusting wealth to non-Muslims is not allowed, but furthermore, taking a non-Muslim as a partner outside Dar al-Islam (where we stand over them) is extremely restricted, because they might cheat or might use our wealth in forbidden transactions.

Since paper-money is a promise of payment, can it be permitted to trust the issuers while they hold the payment (our property) outside our jurisdiction? History has also demonstrated repeatedly that paper money has been a permanent instrument of default and cheating the Muslims. In addition, Islamic Law does not permit the use of a promise of payment as a medium of exchange.
2. What are the Dinar & Dirham?

 According to Islamic Law…
The Islamic Dinar is a specific weight of 22k gold (917.) equivalent to 4.25 grams.
The Islamic Dirham is a specific weight of pure silver equivalent to 3.0 grams.
Umar Ibn al-Khattab established the known standard relationship between them based on their weights: “7 dinars must be equivalent to 10 dirhams.”

“The Revelation undertook to mention them and attached many judgements to them, for example zakat, marriage, and hudud, etc., therefore within the Revelation they have to have a reality and specific measure for assessment [of zakat, etc.] upon which its judgements may be based rather than on the non-shari’i [other coins].

Know that there is consensus [ijma] since the beginning of Islam and the age of the Companions and the Followers that the dirham of the shari’ah is that of which ten weigh seven mithqals [weight of the dinar] of gold. . . The weight of a mithqal of gold is seventy-two grains of barley, so that the dirham which is seven-tenths of it is fifty and two-fifths grains. All these measurements are firmly established by consensus.” Ibn Khaldun, Al-Muqaddimah
How are the Islamic dinar used?
1. The Islamic Dinar can be used to save because they are wealth in themselves.
2. They are used to pay zakat and dowry as they are requisite within Islamic Law.

3. They are used to buy and sell since they are a legitimate medium of exchange.
3. Using the Dinar & Dirham
Gold and silver are the most stable currency the world has ever seen.

From the beginning of Islam until today, the value of the Islamic bimetallic currency has remained surprisingly stable in relation to basic consumable goods:
A chicken at the time of the Prophet, salla’llahu alaihi wa sallam, cost one dirham; today, 1,400 years later, a chicken costs approximately one dirham.

In 1,400 years inflation is zero.

Could we say the same about the dollar or any other paper currency in the last 25 years?

In the long term the bimetallic currency has proved to be the most stable currency the world has ever seen. It has survived, despite all the attempts by governments to transform it into a symbolic currency by imposing a nominal value different from its weight.


Gold cannot be inflated by printing more of it; it cannot be devalued by government decree, and unlike paper currency it is an asset which does not depend upon anybody’s promise to pay.

Portability and anonymity of gold are both important, but the most significant fact is that gold is an asset that is no-one else´s liability.

Sample Sulu coin design. Graphic by Asree Sug
All forms of paper assets: bonds, shares, and even bank deposits, are promises to repay money borrowed. Their value is dependent upon the investor’s belief that the promise will be fulfilled. As junk bonds and the Mexican peso have illustrated, a questionable promise soon loses value.

Gold is not like this. A piece of gold is independent of the financial system, and its worth is underwritten by 5,000 years of human experience.
4. The Importance of Paying Zakat with Dinar & Dirham
“Islam is based on five: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the prayer, paying the Zakat, the Hajj and the fast of Ramadan.”

Zakat cannot be paid with a promise of payment.
Zakat can only be paid with tangible merchandise, called in Arabic ‘ain. It cannot be paid with a promise to pay or a debt, called in Arabic dayn.
From the beginning the zakat was paid with dinars and dirhams. Most significant is that the payment of zakat was never allowed in paper money during all the ottoman period right until the fall of the Khalifate.

Shaykh Muhammad Alish (1802-1881), the great Maliki Qadi, said that if you were to pay zakat with paper-money only its value as merchandise (‘ayn), that is, its value as paper can be accepted. Therefore, its nominal value is irrelevant as payment of zakat.

“If the Zakat was obligatory by considering its substance as merchandise, then the nisab would not be stipulated according to its value but according to its substance and its quantity, as is the case with silver, gold, grain or fruits. Since its substance [paper] is irrelevant [in value] in respect to the Zakat, then it should be treated as the copper, iron or other similar substances.”

Fatwa of Shaykh AlishPayment of Zakat is perfectly explained and regulated in the Islamic jurisprudence. For centuries when Islamic Law was enforced by a Caliph or an Amir, the Zakat was collected in gold and silver. When paper-money was being first introduced, during the last century by the colonial powers the traditional ulema rejected it as being opposed to Islamic Law.
According to them paper money was to be treated as fulus or lower category of currency with limited used, basically just as small change. It is, for example, not allowed to make a qirad with fulus. Among those ulema, stands out the famous scholar of magrebi ascendance, Shaykh Muhammad Alish (1802-1881) who was the Shaykh of the Shaykhs of Maliki fiqh in the University of Al-Azhar in Egypt. He wrote in his Fatwa.

“What is your judgement in respect to the paper with the stamp of the Sultan that circulates like the dinars and the dirhams? Is it obligatory to pay Zakat as if it was a coin of gold or silver, or merchandise, or not?”

I responded exactly in the following way:

“Praise belongs to Allah and blessing and peace upon our Master Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.”
“Zakat is not to be paid for it, because Zakat is restricted to the flocks, certain type of grains and fruits, gold and silver, the value of rotational merchandise and the price of the goods withheld. What is referred previously does not belong to any of these categories.”

You will find an explanation by comparison with the copper coin or fulus with the stamp of the Sultan which is in circulation and for which no Zakat is paid since it does not belong to any of the categories mentioned. It says in the “Mudawwana”:
 “Those who possessed fulus for over a year for a value of 200 dirhams does not need to pay Zakat unless are used as rotational merchandise. Then, it should be treated as if it was merchandise.”

In the “At-Tiraz”, after mentioning that Abu Hanifa and Ash-Shafi’i obliged to pay Zakat for the fulus, [is stated that] since both affirm that the payment of Zakat is from value, and considering that Shafi’i has two contradictory opinions about the subject, the opinion of the school is that there is no obligation to pay Zakat for the fulus since there is no discrepancies about the fact that what counts with respect to the fulus is not its weight or its quantity but only it’s given value.
If the Zakat was obligatory by considering its substance as merchandise, then the nisab would not be stipulated according to its value but according to its substance and its quantity, as is the case with silver, gold, grain or fruits. Since its substance [paper] is irrelevant [in value] in respect to the Zakat, then it should be treated as the copper, iron or other similar substances.

And Allah, ta’ala, is the Wisest. And may Allah bless and give peace to our Master Muhammad and his family. (Translated from the “Al-Fath Al-‘Ali Al-Maliki” pp. 164-165).

This Fatwa considers paper-money to be fulus, because it only represents money and does not have value as merchandise. It follows that since Zakat cannot be paid in fulus, which has no value as merchandise, it cannot be paid in paper-money, which value as weight of paper is null. On this basis, it becomes clear the urgent need to restore the use of the Dinar and the Dirham as payment of Zakat.
If the millions of Muslims who now make their payment of Zakat in paper money would do it in newly minted Dinars and Dirhams, they will put in circulation millions of gold and silver coins into the mainstream of daily commercial activities of our communities.
That single act will became the most important political act of the century, opening the path towards the establishment our own halal free currency breaking away from the usurious financial system.

The return to the payment of zakat in gold and silver is an essential part of the reestablishment of Islam.
The Quran points to the importance of Gold and silver in various ayats: ‘To mankind the love of worldly appetites is painted in glowing colours: women and children, and heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, and horses with fine markings, and livestock and fertile farmland. All that is merely the enjoyment of the life of the dunya.The best homecoming is in the presence of Allah’ Sura Al Imran, 14.
In other words our attachment to gold and silver is not something ephemeral and which will be supplanted by paper [money] – it is a part of our fitra, our natural make-up. To deny it is to deny this natural love for it. This appetite for it is tempered – and purified – of course by the payment of part of it in zakat. This purification can only take place if gold and silver are freely available in the form of gold dinars and silver dirhams.
Dinars and dirhams are explicitly sanctioned in the Qur’an by the following ayats: in sura al-Imran 74: ‘Among the People of the Book there are some who, if you entrust them with a pile of gold, will return it to you. But there are others among them who, if you entrust them with just a single dinar, will not return it to you, unless you stay standing over them.’ And in Sura Yusuf, 20: ‘They sold him for a pittance, a few dirhams, considering him to be of little worth.’
Gold and Silver in legal judgments
Dinars and dirhams form the basis of a great number of legal judgements in fiqh, from matters of marriage to commercial contracts. In other words, without these coins justice cannot be established in many aspects of Islamic law. Imam Malik, radi Allah anhu, for example said that ‘I do not consider that women should be married with less than a quarter of a dinar’ Muwatta, Bab an-Nikah.
Gold and Silver as currencies
Ibn Rushd makes it clear that money ensures fluidity in transactions, as a means of evaluation, but is not in itself a negotiable commodity: Ibn Rushd, Bidaya al-Mujtahid, K. al-Buyu’: ‘Since it is difficult to establish equivalence between things which are different in essence, dinars and dinars have been instituted as the means of attaching prices to them, or in other words of evaluating them.’
The importance of dirhams and dirham – as the preferred means of evaluation and payment is clear from all the works of law: Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawaani in his Risaala for example immediately begins the chapter on sales with a discussion of dinars and dirhams.
Gold and Silver in Zakat
Ibn Ashir says in al-Murshid al-Mu’een: ‘Zakat is a fard obligation on everything which has been laid down (in the shari’at): gold and silver, grains and fruit, and grazing livestock.’ It is well known that zakat on livestock and on agricultural produce is payed in kind but as Ibn Ashir in al-Murshid al-Mu’een notes: ‘on goods for trade, and on a credit incurred (as capital) to buy and sell (on a daily basis), the amount due is the same as gold and silver ‘. In other words the goods one trades in are also evaluated in terms of gold and silver when assessing their zakat.
There is no zakat on fulus [copper money], and so by extension none on paper fulus. See Imam Malik, Mudawwana al-Kubra K. Az-Zakat al-Awwal, and Shakh Muhammad Ahmad Ileesh, Fath al-‘Ali al-Maalik, K. az-Zakat.
The inviolability of Gold and Silver
Gold, silver and storable, measurable foodstuffs are all commodities subject to riba. As such they are currencies against which other things not subject to riba are valued. These commodities admit of no exchange which entails an increase. When gold is exchanged for gold or silver then it must be like for like and immediate, from hand to hand.
If there is any delay it is riba, usury. In other words riba is not merely ‘interest’ but a far more radical interdiction. See Malik Muwatta K. al-Buyu’, bab as-Sarf. Again, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, the fourth Umayyad Khalif forbade the buying and selling of chits of paper [used to distribute foodstuffs to specific persons] denouncing it as riba.
See Malik’s Muwatta K. al-Buyu’, bab al-‘Ina. This too clearly demonstrates that riba is not merely ‘interest’. It was not the chits of paper as such that were forbidden as riba but the buying and selling of them as if they were a commodity.
Another of the meanings of riba is that you exchange one thing for something of less value: Ibn Rushd declares in his Bidaya that one would not sell a horse for a shirt for there would be an unjust excess of profit for one partner. Likewise the exchange of a piece of paper [as ‘paper currency’] for something of worth is an example of riba. Gold and silver ensure the abolition of these aspects of riba.

Ibn Rushd says in the Bidaya al-Mujtahid: ‘It is obvious from the law that the purpose of the prohibition of usury is prevention of the fraud that usury entails, and ensuring equity in transactions consisting in close approximation and equivalence between the goods exchanged.’
Gold and Silver and Leadership

The essential nature of gold and silver currencies in Muslim society is emphasised too in the link between authority and currency. One of the seven responsibilities of the person in authority is to ensure the minting and purity of gold and silver coins. Al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir al-Jaami li Ahkaam al-Qur’an cites the first of the seven matters in which the leader of the community is to be obeyed as ‘the minting of dirhams and dinars.’
In other words not only is the establishment and overseeing of bimetal currency a duty of the person in authority but also obedience in accepting and promoting it is a duty of the people. The importance of the mint lies in its reviving the means of purification of society from riba and from its denial of fitra.

Thus tawhid manifests in the aqeeda but also in the myriad aspects of the mu’amulat: Allah has prescribed how to act in every situation. To deny that Allah and His Messenger have prescribed the necessity of the mint, the dinar and dirham, the market and just trade is to deny tawhid.
People without tawhid make a split between this world and the next – the Muslim ruler joins, unites and establishes tawhid: in his capacity as the safeguarder of the mint, the bayt al-mal, the markets, the currency and trade he ensures that tawheed extends into this world.
The Muslim ruler is responsible for the purity of the currency in his realm. Therefore he is also responsible for setting up a mint. Only coins of pure gold and silver are legal currency, and only those sanctioned by him.
The mint ensures the flourishing of trade, and as we know from the Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa salam, nine tenths of wealth is from trade. The mint is a ‘grounding’ of finance – instead of the fantasy world of figures in the stock exchange and on paper currency, the production of dinars and dirhams purifies and legalises the gold and silver extracted from the earth.

Ibn Khaldun points out in the Muqaddima that the degree of power of the ruler is reflected in the purity of the gold and silver coins minted under his authority: only the purity of the gold and silver can safeguard his rule. The impurity of the coins in a realm indicates the imminent collapse of the ruler.

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam related from the Rasoul, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that ‘a time is certainly coming over mankind in which there will be nothing else which will be of use to pay other than a dinar and a dirham’.

The mint ensures the flourishing of trade, and as we know from the Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa salam, nine tenths of wealth is from trade. As Umar Vadillo has pointed out in the End of Economics – in this society trade is forbidden and usury is permitted, the exact opposite of Allah’s ayat.
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