Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Qods Day celebrations continue: Numismatic edition

As I've mentioned, the late Ayatollah Khomeini had declared the last Friday of Ramadan to be "Qods Day" where he urges Muslims to celebrate Jerusalem. This is because for the vast majority of the years that Islam has been in existence, Jerusalem did not even show up on Islamic radar.

Today's online celebration centers around ancient coins. Here are all of the Islamic coins I could find from before the 20th century that mention Jerusalem:

That's right - none. The only sort-of exceptions were the coins issued by Christians when the Crusaders controlled Jerusalem, written in Arabic but with Christian themes.

Now, here are the earliest known Jewish coins to depict Jerusalem:

From the Bar Kochba revolt, roughly 135 CE:

A depiction of the Temple and the Ark. And on the other side:

The words, written in the old Hebrew script, says "For the freedom of Jerusalem" with a lulav and etrog (appropriate for Ramadan/Tishrei this year.)

The Jewish attachment to Jerusalem, as can be seen by these coins, predates Islam itself by centuries. As we have seen so far, (and any Muslim readers are free to correct me if I am wrong), there were no Islamic references to Jerusalem in Islamic coins, Islamic art or Islamic poetry before the rise of the Zionist movement.

We still have some other avenues to explore in comparing Islamic and Jewish interest in Jerusalem, as "Qods Day" approaches.