The Nabawi’i Gold Dinar: The Forgotten Sunnah Within Zakat

The Nabawi’i Gold Dinar: The Forgotten Sunnah Within Zakat

The Nabawi’i Gold Dinar: The Forgotten Sunnah Within Zakat

By Hisham Kassim

(First Published 16 Zulhijjah 1429 Hijri )


The second year of Hijrah (623/624 AD) bore witness to many key and historic events during the formative years of Islam. The Muslim community in Madinah was growing and it was the year when the change of the direction of prayer or Qiblah from Masjidil Aqsa in Baitul Maqdis to Masjidil Haram in Makkah was enforced during the month of Rajab. The introduction of the mandatory Ramadhan fast was decreed in the month of Sha’aban, and the first Tarawih prayer was held on the first night of the month of Ramadhan. Soon after, the number “313” was forever immortalized in Islamic history, signifying the number of heroic Muslims who were fighting to keep their religion alive in the decisive battle of Badr on 17 Ramadhan against a much larger and better equipped Kuffar army.

In the same year, the payment of alms or Fitrah at the end of Ramadhan became mandatory, and the first Eidul Fitr was celebrated with the first congregational Eid prayer. It was followed by the joyous occasion of the Holy Prophet’s marriage to Aishah in Shawwal, and the holy matrimony of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatimah az-Zahraa in Zulqaidah whose descendants would be known as the “People of the House” or the Ahl al-Bayt. The first Eidul Adha was also celebrated that year with the first animal sacrifices, and the appropriation or Waqaf of the cemetery known as Jannatul Baqi’ began with the death of Uthman ibn Maz’un of the Holy Prophet’s beloved Muhajirun (one of the emigrants during the Hijrah). It was during this very month of Zulhijjah exactly 1427 Hijri years ago that charitable alms or Zakat was prescribed to Muslims by Allah Almighty through His Beloved Prophet Muhammad .

The term “Zakat” means to grow, to increase (in goodness), or to purify. Therefore, the act of giving Zakat means to purify one’s wealth to gain the blessings of Allah Almighty and to make it grow in goodness. In one of the verses concerning Zakat in the Holy Qur’an, Allah Almighty declares,

“… I afflict My Punishment on whom I will, but My Mercy extends to all things. That [Mercy] I shall ordain for those who do right and pay Zakat, and those who believe in Our Signs.”

(Surah al-A’raf 7:156)


Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (karamallahu wajhahu) reported that Rasulullah said:

“There is nothing due upon you in gold, until it reaches twenty dinars. Thus, if you have twenty dinars at the end of the [lunar] year, then there is half a dinar levied on it [as Zakat]. Any additional amount will be calculated in this manner. There is no Zakat on property until it has been owned for one year.”

(Hadith related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Baihaqi)

The basic minimum value or Nisab with respect to the Sunnah currency of the Holy Prophet’s era before Zakat is payable is 20 gold dinars. As the Muslim community was too small then to mint their own currency, the Holy Prophet adopted the prevalent gold solidus (fine) of the Byzantines as the Sunnah currency of his Ummah because its minting standards had been faithfully preserved for over 300 years before the Hijrah. A typical Nabawi gold dinar during the Holy Prophet’s era would have looked similar to the one in the following picture.

Constantinian gold solidus
Constantinian gold solidus

This mint condition Constantinian gold solidus was minted during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610-641AD) using the exact standards of Emperor Constantine I who enforced it in 312AD.

Muslim scholars worldwide agree that Islam as a religion becomes whole only with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. At the times when the Holy Qur’an was revealed, the Muslims around the Holy Prophet learned and practised the commands of the religion as required by looking at the examples of the life being led by the Holy Prophet in order to fully comply with the commandments of Allah Almighty. With respect to Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, we can only learn details by looking at the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. Specifications of the Nabawi gold dinar were the accepted units of measure in the eyes of Allah Almighty and His Messenger and there were no further commandments issued to suggest otherwise.

Allah Almighty commands in the Holy Qur’an,

“He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: but if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over them.”

(Surah an-Nisaa 4:80)

The motive behind the coinage “reforms” of the Umayyad Caliph, Abdalmalik ibn Marwan in the year 75 Hijri (694/695 AD) still remains a mystery to most historians, but what is more significant is the fact that it initiated the debasement of the Nabawi gold dinar. It was said that the coinage “reforms” were actually the brainchild of Abdalmalik’s cunning military commander, Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. However, this chapter in history and its impact on the Zakat system shall be discussed in much greater length in an upcoming article, inshaAllah.

Allah Almighty issues a clear warning to the innovators of the Sunnah in the Holy Qur’an,

“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger, to have any option about their decision: if anyone disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.”

(Surah al-Ahzab 33:36)

The Holy Prophet also issued his own warning, “He who is displeased with my Sunnah has nothing to do with me.”

(Hadith related by Bukhari and Muslim)

Imam Malik, one of the greatest Islamic scholars, compared the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet to the Ark of Noah and said,

“The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad  is like the Ark of Noah. Whoever embarks upon it reaches salvation and whoever refuses is drowned.”

Muslims already have their own Sunnah currency in the form of the Nabawi gold dinar as prescribed by the Holy Prophet, especially for the payment of Zakat which aids in the purification of the soul. “Fiat” or paper money has no intrinsic value at all and is originally a debt, transacting with which is completely forbidden according to Islamic jurisprudence or Fiqh. How can we even begin to purify the wealth that Allah Almighty has entrusted to us with “currency” that is associated with usury or Riba and has absolutely no element of “truth” or “justice”?


In a Hadith transmitted by Ahmad and Ibn Majah, and as narrated by Abu Hurairah, the Holy Prophet said,

“On the night when I was taken up [Mi’raj] to Heaven, I came upon people whose bellies were like houses and contained snakes which could be seen from outside their bellies. I asked [Angel] Gabriel who they were and he told me that they were people who had practised usury.”

(Hadith at-Tirmidhi: No. 2828)


It is a known fact that Riba is the very instrument that is being used to enslave the Muslim world. Until we strive to restore the true form of the Nabawi gold dinar as the currency of the Muslims, and as the basis for Zakat and daily business transactions as approved by Allah Almighty and His Beloved Messenger, we should all feel ashamed to identify ourselves as the accepted Ummah of Muhammad  because we have not fully complied with his Sunnah.

However, the Holy Prophet never fails to give hope to his beloved Ummah as he also says,

“The person who revives my Sunnah in the time of corruption will receive the reward of 100 martyrs.”

(Hadith related by al-Baihaqi)


Let us learn from history and restore the gold dinar to its rightful place as a Sunnah within Zakat, and as the currency of the Muslims. To leave everything to Allah Almighty and to not do anything about it is just as bad as walking away from the very principles of “truth” and “justice” that our Muslim forefathers were fighting for alongside our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad . We all bore witness that the Messenger of Allah is the “Seal of the Prophets” and is the most perfect of all creation. Other Prophets before him have prayed to Allah Almighty to be among his Ummah, but we were the fortunate ones to be chosen to be called Muslims after the religion of Islam that was perfected by the Beloved Messenger of Allah. We must be thankful to Allah Almighty for this invaluable privilege that He has given us, and prove our worth to Him by being His True abiding servants.

In a Hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas, on the day of the key battle of Badr, the Holy Prophet prayed inside his tent,

“O Allah! I appeal to You [to help fulfill] Your Covenant and Promise. O Allah! If Your Will is that none should worship You [then give victory to the pagans].”

(Sahih Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 59, No. 289)

We may not have been amongst the 313 great Muslim warriors of Badr, but we can be gathered with them in the Hereafter inshaAllah if we choose to bring back the Nabawi gold dinar. The Holy Prophet indicated long ago that poverty may lead a person closer to unbelief, and Muslims worldwide today are in real danger of being pushed in that direction if they do not value the Badr prayer of the Holy Prophet.

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