The Golden Horde

As a much more powerful and influential Khanate than the Chagatai, the Golden Horde is one of the better known of the Mongol empires, particularly because of its effect on modern Russian history. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, the Golden Horde is significant not because of its ties to Russia, but to the Islamic world. This empire, like the Chagatai, was a product of the division of power that followed the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, when several of his relatives inherited their own regions to rule. Great Khan Ogodei, Genghis Khan's son, ordered the invasion of Russia in 1236, which was led by Ogodei's nephew, Batu. Russia at this time was not a unified state, but rather a collection of principalities known as Rus

Between 1236 and 1240, Batu led the invading Mongols through a series of attacks on Russian cities, including Moscow and Kiev. By 1241 the Mongols had reached Poland and Hungary, and they were planning an attack on Croatia when Batu received word that Great Khan Ogodei had died back in Mongolia. Batu immediately withdrew his army from Europe and retreated to the steppe region north of the Black Sea, the home of the Islamic Volga Bulgars. Batu supported his cousin, Mongke, in the struggle for the position of Great Khan against several challengers, and after ten years, Mongke finally prevailed in 1251. Batu was rewarded by the Great Khan for his support during the succession struggle, and his empire enjoyed Mongke's patronage for the duration of his reign. Batu built a capital, Sarai, on the Volga River, and he named his empire the Golden Horde. The word "horde" is derived from the Turkic-Mongol word, ordu, meaning "encampment." The Golden Horde became one of the most powerful of Genghis Khan's successor states. 

Batu was a shamanist, like most Mongols at this time, which meant that he acknowledged the existence of one God, but he also viewed the sun, moon, earth, and water as higher beings. Islam would not influence the Golden Horde's rulers until after Batu's death in 1255. After the brief reigns of two of Batu's sons, the Khanate passed to his brother, Berke, who took power in 1258. Berke was the first Muslim ruler of the Golden Horde, and although he was unable to establish Islam as the Khanate's official religion, his faith caused a serious rift to develop between him and his cousin, Hulegu, the Mongol ruler of the Il-Khanate in Persia. As we will see later in this chapter, Hulegu's army was responsible for the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, and the murder of the caliph himself. For Hulegu, who was a shamanist with Buddhist sympathies, the sacking of Baghdad was just another military conquest, but the Muslim Berke, watching from Sarai, was appalled. The resulting animosity between the two leaders led to several wars, the first to pit Mongol armies against each other. 

In addition to their religious differences, Berke and Hulegu fought over control of the Caucasus Mountains, over which both leaders claimed jurisdiction. So intense was the rivalry that Berke reportedly ordered the troops he had loaned to Hulegu's army years earlier to defect to the Egyptian Mamluk army following the sack of Baghdad. The Mamluks then won a decisive victory over Hulegu in 1260. Additionally, Berke concluded a peace treaty with the Mamluks in 1261, in order for the two groups to ally themselves against Hulegu. It was the first alliance between a Mongol and non-Mongol state in which both parties were equal. 

Also around 1260, Berke removed the Great Khan Kublai's name from the Golden Horde's coins. Kublai, Mongke's brother, had succeeded as Great Khan that year, after a lengthy struggle with another brother, Arik-Boke. Hulegu had supported Kublai's claim, while Berke supported Arik-Boke. Kublai's victory pushed Berke and his Islamic faith further into isolation from his Mongol brethren. Removing Kublai's name from the Golden Horde's coins was the ultimate repudiation of allegiance to the Great Khan. 

Berke died in 1267, only a year after Hulegu, and the feud between the Golden Horde and the Il-Khans died down. Berke's immediate successors were not Muslim, and thus they were not as hostile to Hulegu's successors, who also were not Muslim. Still, the Golden Horde retained its isolation from the other Mongol Khanates, and the cultural, linguistic, and religious influence of its mostly Muslim Turkish population increasingly affected the Golden Horde's Mongol leaders. By the end of the 13th century, Turkish had virtually replaced Mongol as the language of administration, and in 1313, with the ascension of a Muslim, Ozbeg, to the Khanate, Islam became the official religion of the Golden Horde. 

By assimilating into the Islamic Turkish culture of the south, rather than the Christian Russian culture of the north, the Golden Horde set itself up for its eventual collapse at the hands of the increasingly powerful Russian principalities. While the Golden Horde lasted longer than many other Khanates, by the mid-14th century it began to fall apart. The increasingly powerful territories of Moscow and Lithuania began absorbing pieces of the disintegrating Golden Horde, while the invasion of Timur's army in the late 14th century added to the destruction. 

By the mid-15th century, separate Khanates were established in Kazan, Astrakhan, and the Crimea. The Russian tsar, Ivan the Terrible, annexed Kazan and Astrakhan in 1552 and 1554, while Crimea survived under the protection of the Ottoman Empire until 1783, when Catherine the Great annexed it to the Russian Empire. The Islamic Tatars of the Golden Horde, as Europeans have historically called the Mongols, survive today in small population groups, primarily in southern Russia. 

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Museo del Oro, The Biggest Gold Museum in The World

The Museo del Oro in SantaFé de Bogotá, Colombia, offers a splendid presentation of more than 33,000 items of gold and emeralds and other precious materials crafted in pre-Hispanic times.

The Gold Museum, part of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia, preserves and protects this fabulous cultural legacy. The most important museum of its kind anywhere, Museo del Oro showcases the work of ancient peoples who believed gold is the materialization of the life-giving energy from Father Sun. 

The Tumaco, Calima, Malagana, Cauca, San Agustín, Tierradentro, Nari6no, Quimbaya and Tolima cultures worked in the southwestern regions of what is now Colombia. The Sinú, Urabá, Tairona and Muisca cultures existed in the northern regions and were part of the legend of El Dorado, a cacique, or chieftain, whose body was covered in gold dust for the ceremony of throwing gold into Lake Guatavita as an offering to the gods. Don't miss the display of the tiny boat showing this ceremony. 

The collection includes bracelets, earrings, necklaces, breast plates, masks, figurines and rings created from 500 D.C. until the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century and is displayed in a well-guarded fortress-like room on the top floor. Only twenty people are allowed in at a time.

On the first floor, interpretive cultural displays include pottery, tools and every day items.

The second floor has a model of the La Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of the Taironas discovered in 1975. Also on display are two gold crosses, adorned with diamonds and emeralds, from the colonial period. 

The third floor is also the Main Exhibition Space. This floor contains the history of gold and significance of prehispanic cultures (period arrival of the Spanish to South America), along with an exhibition of pieces from the culture originated from southwest Colombia. Along the way, visitors also can view the gallery of legends, myths and stories associated with the conquest of Spain and tells the story of Colombia's indigenous people's resistance against the Spanish colonizers. On this floor gold art collections exhibited pre arrival Spaniards Columbian cultures.

The Museo offers educational programs to students, videos, special tours and many archaeological programs and lectures. Audio tapes are available in Spanish, English, German, French and Italian. The museum store has brass replicas on sale. 

Museo del Oro is located at 
Street 16 No. 5-41 Parque de Santander
Santafé de Bogotá, 1 
342-1111 ext 5414 y 334-8748 Fax: (571)2847450 
Hours are:
  • Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Festive Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Visitors must leave by 5:30 p.m.
  • Closed Mondays.
  • Free entrance on the last Sunday of every month 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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History of Dinar

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 mintings 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.

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'ânic 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.

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.

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. 

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The World’s Largest Gold Coin

The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a welcome addition to any piggy bank, a monster gold coin with a face value of $1 million that it says is the world’s biggest, purest and highest denomination coin.

Weighing in at 100 kilograms (220.5 pounds), the limited edition coin easily dwarfs its closest rival, the 31 kg (68 pound) “Big Phil”, which was made to honour the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and has a face value of a mere 100,000 euros (C$150,000).

Originally designed to promote the new one-ounce coins, the colossal 100 kg coins will be produced in a very limited quantity. A U.S. precious metals distributor has ordered three and there is interest in Asia and Europe, the mint said. “We compete for market share with all of these countries and we decided that the time was right to do something to stand out from the crowd once again.”

Source: Reuters

Russian Gold Coated BMW M5

Meet gold coated BMW M5 from Moscow, Russia. All right we might not have enough dope on it right now, but the car has everyone’s head spinning. We are talking about the gold plated BMW M5 working wonders on the roads of Moscow. Well, we are not surprised because didn’t we get to see a gold-plated Porsche from Russia only!

So far the car is a real mystery, maybe that is just another reason why it is generating so much buzz. Some might think it is nothing but a vulgar display of money because of the yellow shine all over the body of the car, but then no one’s ignoring it. In fact, ‘English Russia’ reports that once a gold plated Porsche (maybe it’s the same one we talked about in para one) was hijacked in a busy Moscow street.

Well, these things happen when you are trying to grab everyone’s attention with your moolah. All we can say is watch out BMW M5 gold-plated car guy because we really don’t like to say, “We told you so.”

Islamic Dinar and Dirham

Many people think that the Iraqi dinar and so forth are the same as the Islamic Dinar. So should I make a very clear explanation that the Iraqi dinar and the like are not the same and not the Islamic Dinar. Iraqi Dinar is the currency of plain paper, while the Islamic Dinar is a 22-carat gold coins 4:25 grams.

Further, for we know the Islamic Dinar is closer, here I take the description of the book Muhaimin Iqbal "Mengembalikan Kemakmuran Islam Dengan Dinar dan Dirham" (Restoring Prosperity With Islamic Dinar and Dirham) explaining details about the Islamic Dinar.

Money in its various forms as a medium of exchange trading has been known for thousands of years ago like in the history of ancient Egypt around 4000 BC - 2000 BC. In a more standard form of gold coins and silver was introduced by Julius Caesar of Rome circa 46 BC. Julius Caesar is also introducing a standard conversion of gold into silver, and vice versa with a ratio of 12: 1 for silver against gold. Standard Julius Caesar is valid in the European world for about 1250 years until the year 1204.

Elsewhere in the Muslim world, gold and silver money, known as Dinar and Dirham is also used since the beginning of Islam both for activities and worship muamalah like zakat and diyat until the end of the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate in 1924.

Standardization of Dinar and Dirham weight of money following the Hadith Prophet Muhammad, "Scales are scales Mecca residents, and the dose is the dose people of Madinah" (Narrated by Abu Daud).

At the time of Caliph Omar bin Khattab about the year 642 AD in conjunction with the first printing in the Ottoman dirham currency, the standard weight of the relationship between gold and silver money that is standardized weight of 7 dinars equal to the weight 10 Dirham.

Weight 1 Dinar is equal to 1 mitsqal or roughly equivalent to the weight of 72 medium-size grains of wheat which cut both ends. From Dinar Dinar-stored in the museum after the scales are weighed accurately with the known fact that the balance weight 1 Dinar Islamic money issued at the time of Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan is 4:25 grams, the weight is equal to the weight Byzantine currency called Solidos and eye Greek currency called Drachmas.

On the basis of the formula weight relationship between the dinar and the dirham and the dinar weighing in this museum, it can also be calculated weight of 1 dirham is 7 / 10 x 4.25 gram or equal to 2975 grams.

Until the mid 13th century both in Islamic countries or in non-Islamic country's history shows that gold currencies are relatively standard widely used. This is not surprising because since the beginning of its development-even the Muslims many trade travel to a distant land. Diversity in the European currency later began when the Republic of Florence in Italy in 1252 to print his own money is called the gold Florin, followed by the Republic of Venice with his money, called Ducat.

In the late 13th century it started to spread Islam Europe with the establishment of the reign of Ottoman history and the milestones achieved in 1453 when Muhammad Al Fatih conquered Constantinople, and of unification of the entire power Ottoman Caliphate.

For seven centuries from the 13th century until the early 20th century, Dinar and Dirham is the currency most widely used. Use of Dinar and Dirham covers the whole of Ottoman rule that covers three continents, southern and eastern Europe, northern Africa and parts of Asia.

At the height of glory in the 16th century Ottoman rule and 17 extending from the Strait of Gibraltar in the west (in 1553 reached the Atlantic coast of North Africa) until most of the archipelago in the east, then from some of Austria, Slovakia and Ukraine in the north to Sudan and Yemen in the south. When coupled with previous Islamic heyday from the early prophetic Rasululullah SAW (610) then the whole Dinar and Dirham is the currency used by most modern long (14 century) in human history.

Besides gold and silver, both in Islamic and non Islamic country also known as a coin made of copper or bronze. In Islamic jurisprudence, gold and silver known as the ultimate medium of exchange (thaman haqiqi or thaman khalqi) while the money from copper or bronze is known as the filthy lucre and a medium of exchange based on agreements or thaman istilahi. In terms of nature that has no intrinsic value of its exchange rate, money is closer to the nature of paper money as we know it today.

Dinar and Dirham's been around since before Islam was born, because Dinar (Dinarium) have been used in previous Roman and the dirham has been used in Persia. We know that anything that existed before Islam, but after the decline of Islam is not prohibited or even used by the Prophet Muhammad, then it is a statute (Taqrir) Prophet Muhammad, which means to be part of Islam itself, Dinar and Dirham in this category .

King Midas and The Golden Touch

Once  upon a time, there lived a very rich man, and a king besides, whose name was Midas

King Midas had one little daughter, whose name was Marigold.

King Midas was very, very rich. It was said that he had more gold than any other king in the world.

One room of his great castle was almost filled with yellow gold pieces.

At last the King grew so fond of his gold that he loved it better than anything else in all the world.

He even loved it better than his own little daughter, dear little rosy-cheeked Marigold. His one great wish seemed to be for more and more gold.

One day while he was in his gold room counting his money, a beautiful fairy boy stood before him.

The boy's face shone with a wonderful light, and he had wings on his cap and wings on his feet. In his hand he carried a strange-looking wand, and the wand also had wings.

"Midas, you are the richest man in the world," said the fairy. "There is no King who has so much gold as you."

"That may be," said the King. "As you see, I have this room full of gold, but I should like much more; for gold is the best and the most wonderful thing in the world."

"Are you sure?" asked the fairy.

"I am very sure," answered the King.

"If I should grant you one wish," said the fairy, "would you ask for more gold?"

"If I could have but one wish," said the King, "I would ask that everything I touch should turn to beautiful yellow gold."

"Your wish shall be granted," said the fairy. "At sunrise to-morrow morning your slightest touch will turn everything into gold. But I warn you that your gift will not make you happy."

"I will take the risk," said the King.

The next day King Midas awoke very early. He was eager to see if the fairy's promise had come true.

As soon as the sun arose he tried the gift by touching the bed lightly with his hand.

The bed turned to gold.

He touched the chair and table.

Upon the instant they were turned to solid gold.

The King was wild with joy.

He ran around the room, touching everything he could see. His magic gift turned all to shining, yellow gold.

The King soon felt hungry and went down to eat his breakfast. Now a strange thing happened. When he raised a glass of clear cold water to drink, it became solid gold.

Not a drop of water could pass his lips.

The bread turned to gold under his fingers.

The meat was hard, and yellow, and shiny.

Not a thing could he get to eat.

All was gold, gold, gold.

His little daughter came running in from the garden.

Of all living creatures she was the dearest to him.

He touched her with his lips.

At once the little girl was changed to a golden statue.

A great fear crept into the King's heart, sweeping all the joy out of his life.

In his grief he called and called upon the fairy who had given him the gift of the golden touch.

"O fairy," he begged, "take away this horrible golden gift! Take all my lands. Take all my gold. Take everything, only give me back my little daughter."

In a moment the beautiful fairy was standing before him.

"Do you still think that gold is the greatest thing in the world?" asked the fairy.

"No! no!" cried the King. "I hate the very sight of the yellow stuff."

"Are you sure that you no longer wish the golden touch?" asked the fairy.

"I have learned my lesson," said the King. "I no longer think gold the greatest thing in the world."

"Very well," said the fairy, "take this pitcher to the spring in the garden and fill it with water. Then sprinkle those things which you have touched and turned to gold."

The King took the pitcher and rushed to the spring. Running back he first sprinkled the head of his dear little girl. Instantly she became his own darling Marigold again, and gave him a kiss.

The King sprinkled the golden food, and to his great joy it turned back to real bread and real butter.

Then he and his little daughter sat down to breakfast. How good the cold water tasted! How eagerly the hungry King ate the bread and butter, the meat, and all the good food!

The King hated his golden touch so much that he sprinkled even the chairs and the tables and everything else that the fairy's gift had turned to gold.

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