A Unique Arab-Sassanian Fals From Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād (Arrajān), 83 AH / 702-703 CE

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First Composed: 27th February 2013

Last Modified: 4th April 2013

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:


Transcription of the coin

Arab-Sassanian fals from 83 AH.


83 AH / 702-703 CE.[1,2]


Obverse field: Bust with two bearded and moustached faces back to back, each bearing half a merlon crown surmounted by two wings and a crescent. The dress is represented in two halves as well. Written in the Middle Persian ḥwbḥtyḥ W pl'ḥwyḥ ("Fortune and Prosperity"). Obverse margin: Muḥammadun rasūlu’llāhi wa’lladhīna yatlūna maʿahu ashiddāʾu ʿalā’l-kuffāri ruḥamāʾu baynahum ("Muḥammad is the Messenger of God, those who recite with him are severe [in their dealings] with the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves").

Reverse field: Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Left hand side date ‘83’ and to the right is the mint name ‘WYHC’, i.e., Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād =(Arrajān). Reverse margin: ‘lwb'k’ ("Current").


Weight = 2.92 gms.

The coin is unique in two ways. First, copper coins of this period do not bear Qur'anic inscriptions, and second, this verse is from Sūrah al-Fatḥ (v. 29) and has an extra word in it (yatlūna, ‘they recite’) which does not appear in the text of the Qur'an. It has been suggested that this coin was struck during Ibn al-Ashʿath's rebellion against the viceroy of Iraq, al-Ḥajjāj b. Yūsuf, and that the interpolation of the verb yatlūna may allude to the support given to Ibn al-Ashʿath by the pious qurra (i.e., reciters of the Qur'an) against perceived Umayyad impiety.[2,3]


Private collection. There are three additional specimens of this type known; two held in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and one in a public collection.

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[1] R. Gyselen, Arab-Sasanian Copper Coinage, 2009, Veröffentlichungen Der Numismatischen Kommission - Band 34, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften: Wein (Austria), pp. 98, 100, 153 and Plate 8.

[2] L. Treadwell, "The Copper Coinage Of Umayyad Iran", The Numismatic Chronicle, 2008, Volume 168, pp. 356-357.

[3] L. Treadwell, "Qur'anic Inscriptions On The Coins Of The Ahl Al-Bayt From The Second To Fourth Century AH", Journal Of Qur'anic Studies, 2012, Volume 14, p. 49. A search of the two standard encyclopedic works on qirāʾāt (the first one mentioned below was already checked by Treadwell) does not provide any additional information regarding the interpolation of this verb at this particular juncture. See A. M. ʿUmar & ʿA. S. Mukarram, Muʿjam Al-Qirāʾāt Al-Qurʾānīyah: Maʿa Muqaddimah Fī Al-Qirāʼāt Wa-Ashhar Al-Qurrāʼ, 1988 (1408), Second Edition, Volume 6, Dhāt al-Salāsil: al-Kuwayt, pp. 211-215; ʿA. M. Al-Khaṭib, Muʿjam Al-Qirāʾāt, 2002 (1422), First Edition, Volume 9, Dār Saʿd al-Dīn: Dimashq, pp. 66-72.

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