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Did King Offa Accept the Faith of Islām?
From 'The Muslim' Magazine
KING OFFA "REX" OF MERCIA (KENT, ENGLAND) AND THE FAITH OF ISLAM
King Offa of the Mercians (757-796), was a member of an ancient Mercian ruling family, and Offa seized power in the civil war that followed the murder of his cousin, King Aethelban (ruled 716-757) and thus he acceded to the throne. King Offa created a single state covering most of England south of modern Yorkshire (Humber) by ruthlessly suppressing resistance from several small kingdoms in and around Mercia: Lindsey, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, East Anglia, Kent and Wessex. The Lesser Kings of this region paid him homage, and he, married later during his reign his daughters to the rulers of Wessex and Northumbria in order to further extend his influence. The New Encyclopaedia Brittanica wrote (1974): "King Offa was one of the most powerful Kings in early Anglo-Saxon England." Despite all this, all the history, books state that very little is known about him and his works, which is unusual and indeed, an extraordinary, and very peculiar statement!
King Offa maintained a friendly relationship with Pope Adrian I (pope 772-795). The reason is this: Before Kent was under his Supremacy the see of Canterbury was not in his realm, and a rival to the see of York in the north, and so he allowed the Pope to increase his control over the English church, and Pope Adrian reciprocated by acceding to Offa's request for the creation of a see in Lichfield. This was a remarkable success, although temporary, and thus the change in church organization freed the Mercian church from the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was seated among Offa's enemies in the kingdom of Kent. King Offa set himself to recover Kent. and it was only after a war of three years in 775 that a victory at Otford gave it back to the Mercian realm.
King Offa's name still survives in a great earthwork as an impressive memorial known as Offa's Dyke (reminding us of the Great Wall of China which was built to protect them from the endless invasions by the Monguls). Most probably this Dyke was built for a similar purpose to protect the Anglo-Saxons from the invasion of the Welsh. Offa's Dyke runs from the mouth of Wye to that of Dee and it has a length of 125 miles which contains a large gap of some 25 miles long at its south end. King Offa's name is unreasonably connected by his establishment of a new form of coinage bearing the King's name and title, and the name of the moneyer responsible for their quality. Many coins had delicately executed portraits of Offa or his queen Cynethryth. The principles governing his coinage were employed in England for centuries afterward. But, all the English books and historians speak only about King Offa's "silver-pennies"! But what about his GOLD-COINS? They forgot all about it, what is the reason, which is indeed very impressive and magnificent!
I am here with the permission of the British Museum publishing the photos of this Gold-Coin for which I am very grateful to them. This Gold-Coin has a very great historical and religious significance, because it is written on one side in Arabic inscription and the other side in English.
1) The Arabic inscription.. "La Ilaha Il-ALLAH wahido la shareeka laho" means (There is no god but ALLAH and there is no associate unto Him).
2) Showing the English inscription "Offa Rex." But no date, therefore we cannot know when this Gold-Coin was minted. This is a unique "Gold-Coin" in the entire history of England, and even in the whole history of the world, which contains Arabic inscriptions without England being a Muslim country.
Comment on this Arabic inscription on Offa's Gold Coin: At that period in Europe outside Byzantium they had no regular gold-coins and it is prima facie evidence that King Offa, by putting this Arabic inscription, announced to the world at large. Let me further analyse this point and discuss it.
To quote the New Encyclopaedia Britannica what they wrote about King Offa, what kind of a King he was: "Although no 8th-century account of Offa's career has survived, fragmentary sources indicate that he aspired to be accepted as an equal by continental monarchs. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, quarrelled with Offa, but the two men concluded a commercial treaty in 796. "... the most enduring achievement of his reign, however, was the establishment of a new form of coinage bearing the King's name and title..." And to cite from Chamber's Encyclopaedia what they said (1966): "His position was not achieved without violence; a king of East Anglia was beheaded and there were wars... Therefore Offa had good reason to style hirnself, as he did in charters, "rex Anglorum and rex totius Anglorum patriae." Under King Offa, Mercia reached the height of its Supremacy and England came nearer to unity than at any time before the 10th Century.
Like the FLAG of any country, so its MONEY is a sign of its SOVEREIGNITY and independence, and Offa's gold coins represent this beyond any dispute and doubt! If any man is found dead in the street and he carries the passport of a country with his photo, name and signature, certainly he has the Nationality and Citizenship of that passport that had been found on him! When I asked several Englishmen (male and female alike) all of them were unanimous in their decision that King Offa must have acquired the Faith of Islam, and this is the reason that all English history-books state that they have very little documents about him; these documents might have been destroyed by "The Church of England" at its infancy! To this I fully concord! And we have learned that the Cover-ups and Watergates are not new. They are as new as ages, it goes back many "Milleniums!" If anyone is challenged to take a position on any matter or subject, and they are unable to enter the arena, it means they are unable to add anything, and therefore they are capitulating unconditionally! This is beyond any doubt, and this is an "absolute truth." But the English people are entitled to know everything about their history, and ancestors, and about their FAITH, and we do not know what kind of an end King Offa suffered.
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