An Analysis of Islamic State’s Currency

Although a theoretically ever-expanding Caliphate does not recognize international borders or traditional states, its leadership nonetheless strived to reproduce all the traditional signs of sovereignty. Minting of dinars and dirhams was the final component in solidifying the physical reality of the group’s millenarian utopia.

In November 2014, issue 5 of the Islamic State English-speaking magazine Dabiq (p. 19) unveiled a new currency to be soon minted and put into circulation: a series of seven coins divided between two gold dinars, three silver dirhams and two copper fulûs (sing. fils or fals).

The new currency firstly served to self-reinforce legitimacy of the emerging jihadi state and realise the prophesised return of the Caliph. ISIS announced the revived Khilafah in Syria and Iraq by implementing monetary reform inspired by the Omayyad coinage reform, explicitly referring to the first series of Islamic coins[1] minted at the end of the 7th century.

This new ISIS currency was meant to replace the paper money of Syrian Pound, Iraqi Dinar and US dollar, the three most commonly used currencies in the area then controlled by the Islamic State.

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