THE ISIS CURRENCY
there exist a nation, which claims to be such, without its own
state structure, flag, anthem or currency?
This is a question that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi must have asked himself so, in order to legitimize his claim to head the Caliphate, he decided to provide the ISIS with all of the above.
First, he set up the “structure”. In doing so, he obviously thought of the ethical-religious aspects first. He thus established courses and seminars for aspiring Mullahs, a ragtag Committee for the protection of the consumer, a Division for consumer claims and complaints, a religious police, the Hisba, that oversees the behaviour of the population with regards to the dictats of the Koran; there is even a traffic police unit, a judicial system based on the Sharia, a unit for the collection of the Zaqat (Islamic charity, which is “mandatory” and replaces taxes), a bread distribution network, an education system (especially religious and professional), a structure to oversee the energy network (through the control and exploitation of the oil wells conquered from the enemy) and structures for the maintenance of the territory and garbage collection.
All of the above were widely publicized through propaganda documents diffused through the internet in order to contrast the “biased” news diffused by the West, aimed at making one think that living under the ISIS is hell while, according to the ISIS itself, it is heaven on earth.
As for the flag, the black drape that appears on every photograph and footage that portrays the ISIS, it is a well known brand already. It is the trademark of the organization. It is black like the war flag used by Mohammed. In the tradition of the prophet, the black flag will mark the advent of the Mahdi, the Messiah, coming forth to guide the people. Although the 'Mahdi' tradition is mostly Shiite, it is recurrent in Sunni Islam as well and is instrumental in the eyes of the neo-Caliph al Baghdadi in that it legitimizes his arrival in the midst of the religious and military matters of the Middle East.
In order to underline the religious symbolism of the black flag there is a “shahada”, a declaration of faith, inscribed on it: “There is no other God outside of Allah and Mohammed is his messenger”. It is the basis of Islam, the “taweed”, the uniqueness; God is one and unique.
As for the anthem, which is not part of the Islamic tradition but rather an “apostate” habit, the ISIS doesn't need one. It is the prayers that count; they are important enough to surmount the absence of an anthem.
There was a problem, instead, with the absence of a currency, because to have one's currency and one's national mint that produces it is one of the most 'legitimizing' aspects of the existence of the “Dawla al Islamiyah” (Islamic nation), as the territories under the dominion of the ISIS are called.
And here lies the religious problem. To go from an “imara Khassa” (the administration of an emirate on the mere military level) to a Caliphate (thus including political and administrative responsibilities, as is the case with ISIS since June 2014) means that one is forced to apply the Islamic economy. There are no banks and no instrests; just the mandatory division of all of the resources among all citizens equally. That is why one needs one's own currency; it is the only way to avoid the vicious circle of the “exploitation” of money (as happens in the “apostate” regimes, which include the Arab nations that are subjugated to international interests, the Americans, Europeans and, obviously, the Sionists).
The assumption is thus that the currency of the ISIS will bypass the international finacial system.
But there arises another religious dilemma: Mohammed (and even the first Caliph Abu Bakr) never used their own currency. Instead, they used the existing currency of the time, be it Roman or Persian. Sometimes Mohammad would change the effigy on the coins in order to remove images that are contrary to the Muslim beliefs. Well, according to Al Baghdadi, the kind of money is not in itself a problem as long as the value of the coin is equal to the value of the material used to make it. No intermediations, no virtual value or presumed speculation on such virtual value.
After said premise was established, the ISIS began to enact its plan to produce and spread its own currency. In reality, despite the wide publicity that preceded the introduction of the new currency and despite the thousands of illustrative posters affixed throughout the controlled territories, the “dinar” isn't very easy to come by.
The Dinar is a coin made of gold, silver or copper.
The golden one has two versions: 1 dinar and 5 dinars.
1 Dinar - 4.25 grams of gold - symbol: wheat sheafs
The 1 Dinar coin has an estimated value – according to the ISIS – of 127 euro, while the 5 Dinar coin is allegedly worth 638 euro.
5 Dinar - 21.25 grams of gold - symbol: the world map
Even the choice of the images on the coins is religious. The
sheafs of wheat symbolizes, with reference to Mohammed,
generosity, while the world map, which appears on the 5 Dinar
version symbolizes the idea that the Ummah (the community of
believers) will spread across the entire globe.
The silver version is the Dirham, which comes in 1, 5 and 10 Dirham coins. Obviously, the value that the ISIS attributes to these coins is equal to the intrinsic value of the silver used to forge them. In this case it is respectively 80 cents, 4 euro and 8 euro.
1 Dirham - 2.00
grams of silver - symbol: the spear (ar-rumh)
5 Dirham - 10.00
grams of silver - symbol: the white minaret of Damascus
10 Dirham - 20.00 grams of silver - symbol: Masjid al-aqsa
spear is the Mulsim's contribution to the Jihad; the Mosque of
Damascus is the place where, according to tradition, Isa (Jesus) –
who is considered to be a prophet in Islamic tradition - will
ascend (this is not so much a reference to the Christian symbol as
much as to the location of the Mosque in Damascus; the Al Aqsa
Mosque in Jerusalem (again, it is the geographic symbolism that
Finally, the least valuable coins, made of copper, are called al Fulus (simply 'money'). They come in 10 and 20 Fulus versions, with respective values of 5 and 10 cents of euro.
10 Fulus - 10.00
grams of copper - symbol: the moon (Hilaal)
20 Fulus - 20.00 grams of copper - symbol: the palm tree (an-nakhla)
we find the moon, because the Islamic calendar originates from the
voyage (Hijra) of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina (with the birth of
the first Islamic state) and is based on the phases of the moon.
As for the palm tree, Mohammed considered it a holy plant.
It is to be noted that the coins never portray Al Baghdadi himself and this is because in Islamic culture, especially the Salafite branch, there exist no idols or images. God has no image (this is the basis for the destruction of Sufi shrines, etc.).
As we mentioned, the forging of the Islamic state's currency has more of a symbolic value rather than a practical one. The ISIS steals and spends Iraqi or Syrian money (see the sack of the banks in Mosul). The image of an Islamic economic system juxtaposed to the capitalistic one may be attractive but it is not real. Surely the aim of it all is to circulate coins with an intrinsic value rather than an immaginary one, as happens with paper money.
Despite all the talk that surrounds it, the ISIS' economic system is not based on ethical exchange, where profit is execrated and where the only “mandatory” tax is the Zaqat. Instead, looting, extortion, theft and illegal traffics are the real basis of the Caliphate's economic system.