Dinar and Dirham in Indonesia

The Gold Dinar remained the official Islamic currency until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1924, when it disappeared for 77 years. Indonesia as a country with highest muslim population in the world must have a big history about Islam economic. And it’s actually right. Islamic currency had ever been exist in Indonesia.

Nowadays most of Indonesian people do not know that Dinar and Dirham were ever made and applied in Indonesia as a legal money more than 600 years ago. Since the 14th centuries, the ancestors had been familiar with both kind of money.

In Ying Yai Sheng Lan book, written by Ma Huan, the office clerk and translator of Admiral Cheng Ho, during his visiting to North Sumatera (1405-1433), said that Samudera Pasai used Dinar with 70% gold, and Keueh made from tin (1 Dinar = 1600 Keuehs). As we know, Cheng Ho was a voyager. He was born around 1371 in China’s southwestern Yunan Province (just north of Laos) with the name Ma Ho. Ma Ho’s father was a Muslim hajji (who had made a pilgrimage to Mecca) and the family name of Ma was used by Muslims in representation of the word Mohammed.

Samudera Pasai published first Dinar as Sultan Muhammad held the power (1297-1326). In the period of Sultan Ahmad Malik az-Zahir, Dinar was better known as Derham Mas, published in 2 form, Derham and half Derham (1346-1383). Then when Aceh conquered Samudera Pasai (1524), tradition of publishing Derham Mas spread out to entire Sumatera and Malaka Peninsula, even Derham was still applied till Nippon army got landed in Seulilmeum, Aceh Besar, on 1942. Today, the use of gold unit (1 gold = 2.5 gr) can still be found in West Sumatera, as a measurement of trading, especially for land trading.