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(594 words)

Author(s): Ehrenkreutz, A.S.
, silver, because of the variety of its application was in great demand in Muslim society. Its abusive accumulation, however, was to be avoided, since, according to the Ḳurʾān, “those who treasure up gold and silver and do not expend them in the way of Allāh” would meet with a painful punishment ( Sūra ix, 34). Functionally the significance of silver resembled that of gold (see d̲h̲ahab ). Its economic importance arose from the fact that silver, along with gold, constituted the basis for the official Muslim coinage (see dirham). Under normal economic circumstances the value of silve…


(735 words)

Author(s): Ehrenkreutz, A.S.
, Abu’l-Misk , a black eunuch (the name al-Lābī, given to him by al-Mutanabbī, suggests his origin from Lāb in Nubia) became the dominant personality of the Ik̲h̲s̲h̲īdid [ q.v.] dynasty in Egypt. Sold to its founder, Muḥammad ibn Ṭug̲h̲d̲j̲ al-Ik̲h̲s̲h̲īd [ q.v.], Kāfūr so impressed his new master that the latter sponsored his rise to positions of political and military influence. As a field commander Kāfūr participated in the Egyptian expedition of 333/945 to Syria; he was also involved in the diplomatic exchanges between al-Ik̲h̲s̲h̲…


(714 words)

Author(s): Ehrenkreutz, A.S.
, gold, played an important part in various areas of the life of Muslim society. The main reason for the significance of the metal was its economic assets. These were referred to in the Ḳurʾān. Apart from implicitly alluding to the value aspect of gold ( Sūra III, 85), the Ḳurʾan alludes to the attraction of ‘hoarded ḳintārs of gold’ for people ( Sūra III, 12) and warns against hoarding since ‘those who treasure up gold and silver and do not expend them in the way of Allāh’ would meet with a painful punishment ( Sūra IX, 34). The problem of gold was also discussed by Muslim jurists who de…


(1,655 words)

Author(s): Ehrenkreutz, A. S.
I. The navy of the Arabs up to 1250. Although Near Eastern writers in mediaeval ¶ times did not address themselves specifically to the subject of baḥriyya , references to seafaring activities made by Arab, Byzantine, southern and western European chroniclers, geographers and travellers, as well as pertinent details found in the Arabic papyri and the Geniza documents, provide a considerable body of information concerning the rise and fall of the Arab navy. The naval requirements of the Arabs were dictated by the necessity of defending their Mediterranean territories—s…

Dār al-Ḍarb

(4,784 words)

Author(s): Ehrenkreutz, A.S. | İnalcık, Halil | Burton-Page, J.
, the mint, was an indispensable institution in the life of mediaeval Middle Eastern society because of the highly developed monetary character of its economy, particularly during the early centuries of Muslim domination. The primary function of the mint was to supply coins for the needs of government and of the general public. At times of monetary reforms the mints served also as a place where obliterated coins could be exchanged for the new issues. The large quantities of precious metals which were stored in the mints helped to make them serve as ancillary treasuries. Soon after their c…