Dirham - 'Ala al-din Muhammad III Batinid of Alamut


Emetteur Dynastie des Nizârites
(États islamiques)
Type Pièce courante
Dates 1221-1255
Valeur AR Dirham (0,7)
Composition Argent
Poids 3,40 g
Diamètre 19 mm
Forme Ronde
Démonétisée oui


Inscription :
la ilah illa allah / [wahdahu muhammad] rasul allah

… arsalahu bi’l-huda wa’l-din …


Inscription :
muhammad / [al-sultan] al-a‘zam / [‘ala] al-dunya wa’l-din / abu’l-hasan

bism (sic) duriba hadha … wa sittmi‘a


The Isma‘ilis, living in their mountainous lands, were only a marginal power, who, as the Mongols gained strength, sought the support of their Shi‘a brethren.

However, by the time ‘Ala al-Din Muhammad III ibn al-Hasan III came to the throne Shi‘ism was at a low ebb, and its adherents rejected the Isma‘ili imams for their unusual beliefs.

Now only the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad and the Isma‘ilis tried to resist the Mongols, and in 650 H (1252 AD) Möngke, the grandson of Chingiz Khan, mounted an expedition against them led by his brother Hulagu. As they advanced on Rudbar from Mongolia the Mongols destroyed as many Isma‘ili fortresses as they could. ‘Ala al-Din ’s chief officers tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade him to reach an agreement with Hulagu, but he refused to do so.

At this, his son Rukn al-Din Khur-Shah was appointed his successor as imam, and Muhammad was to be set aside with Rukn al-Din as regent. Rukn al-Din was planning to negotiate with the Mongols, but he fell ill and while he was incapacitated Muhammad III was murdered by a former favourite.

Rukn al-Din tried to impose strict shari‘a law to conciliate the Sunnis, and offered the Mongols his submission. However, the Mongols were determined to destroy the Isma‘ili fortress of Alamut, and Hulagu rejected Rukn al-Din’s plea for it to be spared. To make matters worse, the Sunni Muslims encouraged the Mongols to exterminate the Isma‘ili people.

First the great library of Alamut was burned, and then followed a general massacre of the men, while the women and children filled the slave markets of Khurasan.

Rukn al-Din was dispatched to Mongolia, but was killed on his return journey. A son is said to have been hidden away, and it is he who carried on the Isma‘ili line, now headed by the Agha Khan.

Silver coins of the Isma‘ilis are very rare, and this one, which lacks some of its legends, is interesting in that it bears the Sunni, rather than the Shi‘ite kalima. With the situation Muhammad III faced this is hardly surprising, though he holds his own by naming himself, “Muhammad, the Supreme Sultan Exalted of the World and the Faith, Abu’l-Hasan".

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ND (1221-1255) 

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Dirham - 'Ala al-din Muhammad III (Batinid of Alamut)