The Arab, Ibn Fadlan and the Persian, Ibn Rustah -- both 10th century chroniclers -- recorded the first encounters between the very different Viking and Muslim worlds. Their Risalahs (travelogues) provide us today with valuable first hand knowledge of the Rus Vikings who lived along the Volga River during this period.
It is a historical fact that, in their almost insatiable pursuit of silver, 10th century Viking tribes imported from far-off Central Asia hundreds of thousands of dirhams -- all clearly bearing the essential and eternal message of Islam: the Kalimah al-Shahadah, La illaha illa Allah ('There is no Deity worthy of worship other than Allah'). As tiny 'messengers of Islam', what effect, if any, did the sublime message emblazoned on their shiny surfaces have on the various peoples who bartered for these coins?
This book attempts to relate the fantastic story of one Samanid dirham, from its humble birth in the silver mines of Badakhshan to its eventual surprise arrival in the New World. The story spans a thousand years and affirms the enduring power of the Kalimah al-Shahadah to change lives -- even in today's turbulent and uncertain world!