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Mamluk Economics By Al Maqrizi: A review

12 Nov

Most of Egypt economy relied on the Niles river, there was almost nothing that can be cultivated because the river don’t have enough cubix and a few finger of their water level. I am not sure how to explain this, but the Egyptians went through 140 years without water, and the cycle keeps on repeating every time they forget Allah and corruption and all was everywhere. Even those who wanted a post had to bribe their superior, so often that even those who already have a post through bribe was outbid by another people ,causing the one who have already spent a lot for their post to sell off their belongings & all.
There was several good time of wealth enjoyed by the Egyptians, that is only by the blessing of Allah because they either have a good ruler or vizier and sort. Unfortunately, there was a time, when they killed off the good one’s because they can’t make money out of it.

I see a lot of similariities in their situation with what we are facing now. ‘Fulus’ in the form of paper was abundance and priced as if they are gold/silver, when it is the same like the one’s practiced by the Mamluks, they minted ‘fulus’ in account, Al Maqrizi explained quite well what happens if fulus was abundance, that the wealth that they acquire is not actually real wealth compared to using gold/silver like before.

However, we are still fortunate that we don’t have to eat people, rats and quite nasty things they ate because of the scarcity of water and crops like the Egyptian had to survive with. It was common to find body parts of babies or young kids in their kitchen and arm sleeves, you can’t even go out because they will snatch your wife/kids and make them dinner. I almost throw up reading that passage.

There was a part about how the Mamluk had to debase their currency to lesser copper or silver, its either by the situation that they are facing through like I mention before, also because silver was in shortage that the initial reason why they started to mint the fulus is because a lady was complaining to their authority that she had to buy water worth One Dirham for the value of Half Dirham because they were using two types of silver , the black silver and silver itself if im not mistaken.

However, there was also a time when the ruler listened to his subjects and trusted them too much that people are coming to him by complaining this and that through letters, almost 800 letters was received daily to report on such and such officials which turn out to be not true because the ruler trusted the complaints by this people too much that the advice of his viziers was not given a proper hearing.

But there was also a time where there were just ruler, whom decided to put an end of the increasing price of the food in their region by taking several prisoners that was supposed to be sentenced to death, and kill them in front of the merchants that have been hoarding grains and manipulate the price as if they are killing those who have been putting their price up, the price drop to normal immediately.

There’s a lot of other things discussed in the book but what concern me much that it is not how many or what type of gold or silver coins or even fulus you have, its the exchange, the transaction that matters, gold or silver is just a medium of exchange, we ought not to put that in our hearts but in our hands. Else we would be blinded by the glitter of gold/silver and forget the purpose of bringing back gold dinar and silver dirham is the restoration of zakat and muamalah to be counted based on ‘real’ value of wealth and  not by how many paper money you have that will always depreciates every year.

Note: This is a very good book for those who is into dinar dirham to understand the background and history of the dinar and dirham that existed as far as Prophet Nuh A.S and earlier than that. A must read!

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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