The Coins of the Adil Shahi Ruler

In the mid-fourteenth century, an independent kingdom emerged under the leadership of Ala-ud-din Bahman Shah in South India. At that time, Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq was the reigning monarch in Delhi. Bahaman Shah took the advantage of prevailing anarchy and chaos and laid the foundations of the Bahmani Sultanate. The power of the Bahmani Sultanate began to wane during the closing years of the fifteenth century. The vacuum created by the waning of the Bahmani power was filled by five successor states in southern India. One of these successor states were the Adil Shahi state based in Bijapur.

In 1499 CE, Yusuf Adil Khan who was earlier a powerful official in the Bahmani administration took the advantage of the weakening of the Bahmani power and declared himself a Sultan in Bijapur. This event marked the beginning of the Adil Shahi rule which will last until the last quarter of the seventeenth century.

Yusuf Adil Khan was, however, not known to have issued any coin in his name. The same can be said about three of his immediate successors- Ismail I, Mallu Adil Shah, and Ibrahim I.

It was the fourth Sultan in this line- Ali I (1557-80 CE) who issued coins in his name. He issued mainly copper coins in various denominations of 60, 120, and 180 grains. These coins of Ali I carried the inscription- “Ali ibn Abi Talib” on the obverse, and “Asadallah al-ghalib” on the reverse.

The next sultan Ibrahim II’s coins bear the following inscription on the obverse- Ibrahim Abla bali meaning “Ibrahim, the strength of the weak”. The reverse of these coins bear “Ghulam Ali Murtazi”.

A later sultan, Muhammad Adil Shah (1627-1656 CE) included a Persian couplet in his issues following the style of the contemporary Mughal rulers. The couplet in Muhammad Adil Shah’s coins read as follows-

Jahan zi yeen do Muhammad giraft zinat-o-jah

Ekey Muhammad mursal duvam Muhammad Shah.

The meaning of the couplet is- the world received beauty and dignity from two Muhammads- one, Muhammad the Apostle and the other, Muhammad the king. This was apparently to exalt the position of the Sultan before the eyes of his subjects. However, an alternative interpretation suggests that the king included the couplet to express his love for Taj Jahan, his chief queen. The alternative translation, thus reads as follows- The world (Jahan) received beauty and dignity from Muhammad the Apostle and Jahan (the queen) from Muhammad the king.

Muhammad Adil Shah also issued some gold coins though they are quite rare. Majority of their coins were issued in copper. However, in the Konkan coastal area, some silver wires or silver slender rods were used as medium of exchange. These pieces of silver were known as larins. Majority of these larins bear the simple inscription “Ali Adil Shah” on the obverse video porno and “Zarb Lari Dangi san” on the reverse. They were mainly used by the Persian and Arab merchants trading in the Arabian Sea and Konkan coastal region.

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