|Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 16-18. Ed. *ZDJ*|
Book 1, Chapter 4: The Imperial Mint
|As the successful working of the mint
increases the treasure, and is the source of despatch for every department,
I shall mention a few details.
The inhabitants of the towns and the country perform their transactions by means of money. Every man uses it according to the extent of his necessities; the man whose heart is free from worldly desires sustains by it his life, and the worldly man considers it the final stage of his objects—the wants of all are satisfied by it. The wise man looks upon it as the foundation, from which the fulfillment of his worldly and religious wishes flows. It is absolutely necessary for the continuance of the human race, as men obtain by money their food and clothing. You may indeed gain these two things by undergoing some labour, as sowing, rearing, reaping, cleaning, kneading, cooking, twisting, spinning, weaving, etc.; but these actions cannot well be performed without several helpers; for the strength of a single man is not sufficient, and to do so day after day would be difficult, if not impossible. Again, man requires a dwelling, for keeping his provisions. This he calls his home, whether it be a tent, or a cave. Man's existence, and the continuance of his life, depend on five things—a father, a mother, children, servants, food, the last of which is required by all. Moreover, money is required, as our furniture and utensils break; they last in no case very long. But money does last long, on account of the strength and compactness of its material, and even a little of it may produce much. It also enables men to travel. How difficult would it be to carry provisions for several days, let alone for several months or years!
By the help of God's goodness this excellent precious metal (gold) has come to the shore of existence, and filled the store of life without much labour on the part of man. By means of gold, man carries out noble plans, and even performs Divine worship in a proper manner. Gold has many valuable qualities: it possesses softness, a good taste, and smell. Its component parts are nearly equal in weight; and the marks of the four elements are visible in its properties. Its colour reminds us of fire, its purity of air, its softness of water, its heaviness of earth; hence gold possesses many life-giving rays. Nor can any of the four elements injure it; for it does not burn in the fire; it remains unaffected by air; retains for ages its appearance although kept in water; and does not get altered when buried in the ground, whereby gold is distinguished from the other metals. It is for this third reason that in old books on philosophy in which man's intellect is termed the greater principle, gold is called the lesser principle, as the things required for human life depend upon it. Among its epithets I may mention "the guardian of justice"; "the universal adjuster"—and, indeed, the adjustment of things depends on gold, and the basis of justice rests upon it. To render it service, God has allowed silver and brass to come into use, thus creating additional means for the welfare of man. Hence just kings and energetic rulers have paid much attention to these metals, and erected mints, where their properties may be thoroughly studied. The success of this department lies in the appointment of intelligent, zealous, and upright workmen, and the edifice of the world is built upon their attention and carefulness.
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