temp. Ibrahim, Umayyad Caliph AH 126-127/AD 744

SICA-2, 299ff; A T140, Superb Extremely Fine

No mint name (Damascus). Kalima at center, Qur’an 9:33 in margin; reverse, Qur’an 112; date formula in margin. Extremely rare.


The brief reign of the Umayyad caliph Ibrahim (AH 126-127/ AD 744) came amid the tumult of a series of civil wars known to Arab historians as the Third Fitna. The caliph al-Walid II (AH 125-126/ AD 743) succeeded his paternal uncle, the caliph Hisham (AH 105-125/ AD 724-743) on 6 February 743. Although initially well-received, al-Walid’s popularity waned due to partisanship and rumors of moral failing. In April 744, Yazid ibn al-Walid I, a cousin of al-Walid II, entered Damascus while his cousin was away. There he was proclaimed caliph by his followers as Yazid III (AH 126/ AD 743-744). Al-Walid II refused attempts at mediation and was killed on 17 April 744. His severed head was hoisted on a lance and paraded through the streets of Damascus. Yazid then imprisoned al-Walid’s sons ‘Uthman and Hakam, whom the late caliph had designated as heirs. Yazid III promised the people that he would reign with honor and fiscal restraint but he fell ill of a brain tumor and died on 3 or 4 October 744, after a reign of less than six months. Before his death, Yazid appointed his brother Ibrahim as heir and was duly succeeded by him. At the same time, Marwan ibn Muhammad, a grandson of the caliph Marwan I, marched on Damascus under the pretense of championing the sons of al-Walid II who had been imprisoned by Yazid. Ibrahim fled to Palmyra after a reign of just 60 days. Marwan entered Damascus peacefully where he was proclaimed caliph as Marwan II on 4 December 744. Marwan’s reign was likewise plagued by partisan conflict, culminating in the ‘Abbasid Revolution. Like most members of the Umayyad family, both Marwan and Ibrahim were executed by ‘Abbasid revolutionaries in 750. The Umayyad dinar dated AH 127 is conventionally attributed to the caliph Ibrahim. It is the rarest date of the series, apart from the legendary dinar of year 77. The Umayyad dinar of AH 127 in the Tyrant Collection is a superb and lustrous example, virtually mint state and easily among the finest known.