Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Bismillahir rahmanir rahim

Assalammualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh, Salam sejahtera, Salam 1Malaysia and Salam Perak Amanjaya

Alhamdulillah.  All praise to Allah for allowing us to meet on this beautiful  morning to celebrate an auspicious event. Today we are gathered here to celebrate a special day, that is the launching of the State of Perak’s own Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham. 

Although the dinar and dirham were monetary units throughout Islamic history until the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, today we are not launching it as money but rather for other objectives, namely for diversifying investment, a hedge against inflation, and as an option to be used as mahar or marriage dowry, as corporate gifts and medals for achievements.  Currently the Malaysian Ringgit is the legal tender and as such the dinar and dirham of the state of Perak are not issued currency.  Don’t be mistaken on this.

The gold  dinar and silver dirham actually existed even before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad saw.  The word dinar comes from the Roman coin ‘dinarius’ and dirham from the Roman Byzantine coin called ‘drachma’.  The prophet S.A.W accepted both coins as the monetary standard for the Muslims.  That’s why syariah principles of Muammalat, zakat, mahar and hudud or capital punishments are based on the gold dinar standard.  Even after the prophet S.A.W passed-away, the Muslims continued to use the Roman dinar and Persian dirham for decades in their business and monetary transactions. 

The first ever Islamic gold dinar and silver dirham were minted by the caliph Abdul Malik ibn Marwan in the year 75 Hijrah that coincides with the year 697C.E.  He replaced the pagan inscriptions on the Roman coins with simple verses from the Qur’an.  Ibd Khaldun, the famous and genius Muslim social scientist described Abdul Malik as a very religious and most capable leader, endowed with the attributes of Umar al-Khattab.  He minted the gold dinars in large quantities and protected the quality, weight and purity of them. 

Severe punishments were imposed on anyone who distorted this.  This is because gold and silver played the role of a stable measure of value.  Measurements are given their due importance in Islamic transactions because they touch on the issue of justice, that is to say economic justice.  After all, Islam is a religion of justice, protecting the rights of all – Muslims and non-Muslims. 

Abd Malik ibn Marwan’s dinars were 97 percent pure.  That’s how pure he could get using the old refining technology.  The intentions of Muslims were clear - the dinar is pure gold and dirham is pure silver.  Just as Islam itself is pure.
I am indeed honoured to be part of this event. This is because today the state of Perak is creating history and reviving the original gold dinar and silver dirham ever minted by the Muslims. 

Personally, I love the unique design of the dinar and dirham of the State of Perak.  The design represents history and modernity.  History because one side of the coin replicates the original design of the first gold dinar minted by the Caliph Abdul Malek ibn Marwan, while the other side depicts the crest of the state of Perak.  The coins are simply, beautiful!

We are, therefore, witnessing today the revival of the original gold dinar and silver dirham after 1357 lunar years!  But the gold dinar of the state of Perak is made from pure gold or 99.9% gold or sometimes people refer to it as 24K Gold.  Since modern technology allows us to get 99.9% so that’s what we should do.  I hope others who have minted dinars with 916 gold or otherwise would emulate our move and start using fine gold instead.

As I mentioned earlier, the gold dinar and silver dirham of the state of Perak are not currencies though.  Today, the global economic outlook is very uncertain.  Globally, inflation is on the rise.  Some economists are even predicting a hyperinflation.  Gold on the other hand has shown itself to be as a good hedge against inflation.  When prices rise, the value of our savings decline.  We can only buy less things with the money we have when prices rise.  So, if we keep some of our savings in gold, the value of our savings will also rise since the price of gold also rises. Thereby we can protect the value of our savings from being eroded by inflation.

Secondly, price of gold also rises during times of economic distress and turmoil. This is because gold has been shown to command value in any time or place. The price of gold has increased exponentially since the year 2000. 

A gram of gold in the year 2000 was only about RM30 but now it is more than RM130 per gram.  Therefore, gold can be used as an asset to diversify investments.  I am not here to give investment advice so please do remember that the price of gold can go up and also go down.

Now coming to other interesting uses of gold. I would like to encourage Muslims in this state and elsewhere to use the state of Perak’s dinar and dirhams as mahar or marriage dowry in weddings.  They say gold is a girl’s best friend.  I am sure brides would love their mahars to be given in gold.  It is just like bringing ufti in the past. The move would surely make the bride feel special and precious.

I similarly encourage all to give the dinar and dirhams of the State of Perak for memorable occasions like anniversaries, new births, birth-day celebrations or simply to show our love to our love ones. Companies can give them as appreciation for long-service recognition awards. The dinar and dirhams make excellent awards and medals for recognizing achievements. So please use them in all occasions possible. They are our pride.

On the religious front, the dinar is also the basis for the calculation of zakat for cash holdings.  The nisab for gold is 20 dinars.  The nisab is the minimum amount a person must have for one year before zakat becomes obligatory.  So if you kept 20 dinars for one year, the zakat on it, that is 1/40 which is equivalent to ½ dinar becomes obligatory.  This is the reason the state of Perak has also minted the ½ dinars.  We should be happy to pay the ½ dinars as zakat since it would help the poor in the state.

Ladies and gentlemen, gold is a remarkable metal.  People in all civilizations have been obsessed with it.  Its’ beautiful yellow glitter seems to have a charm.  People have fought for it and died for it.  Women love it.  One jeweller once told me that so long there are women on Earth, gold jewellery will be a lucrative business.  But while gold is a symbol of beauty, it is also a special element which chemically rarely interacts with any other elements.  Therefore it remains stable and durable for long periods of time.  It is not affected by heat, weather or even acids.  That is why when gold treasures sunken in the sea are taken out of their rusty iron metal chests, they seem so new as though they are not touched by time.

Having such characteristics and rarity, it has come to symbolize wealth and nobility; prosperity and power; strength and durability; sovereignty and longevity.  That is why we celebrate Golden Jubilee, Golden Awards etc.  We don’t celebrate iron awards, right?

The dinars and dirhams are symbols of unity and economic justice.  They were the medium of exchange and measure of value in history.  They made trade flourish among the Muslims and non-Muslims in the past history. 

It is therefore the pride of the State of Perak to take this golden opportunity to revive the legacy of the gold dinars and silver dirhams.  Minted in three denominations for each - ½, 1 and 2 for dinars and 1, 2 and 10 for dirhams – the coins can be used for the purposes I mentioned earlier.

I am also proud because the dinar and dirham of the State of Perak are not minted overseas or elsewhere but by our own Perakians, by a company called Mariwasa Kraftangan located in Kuala Kangsar.

The dinars and dirhams of the State of Perak are distributed by GoldNet International Sdn Bhd, a company jointly owned by the Perak SEDC, with a host of second-level distributors including Yayasan Pembangunan Ekonomi Islam Malaysia (YaPEIM), Nusantara Bullion Exchange (NUBEX) and others to be partners in this noble effort.  People can easily buy and sell back to them, if necessary, without hassle.

With that I would like to congratulate all individuals and parties involved in preparing for this day; and with the kalimah Bismillahirahmanirahim, I hereby officially launch the State of Perak  Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham, and wish the noble effort a great success. 

Wabillahi Taufik wal Hidayah.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.