Kufa occupied a significant economic niche in the Islamic State because of its elements of economic activity .Its geographical location on the edge of the desert made it a crossroad of trade convoys coming from the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant and Egypt , therefore it was a station of pilgrimage convoys . Moreover , its location made it a center for the world trade routes, which contributed to the flow of products and goods coming from China , Central Asia and Persia .The growth and development of commercial activity had not reached this level if it wasnot built on agricultural and industrial base which resulted in a surplus in production. This encouraged the process of commercial exchange which contributed in the flourish of some financial and credit transactions which in turn played a role in supporting the economic movement in Kufa . Money exchange was a financial system that played a great role in enhancing the commercial activity in Kufa because it related strongly to trade . Banking establishments were founded to make available the necessary capital for the flourish of trade, beside the other types of banking speculations.
Because of the importance of banking operations in pushing the wheel of economics in Kufa , the researcher deals with exchange and money changers in an independent study under the title ” Exchange and Money Changers in Kufa from the start until 334 HD / 945 AD .
The study is divided into three chapters , besides the introduction and the conclusions .The first chapter deals with the demography and economic planning in Kufa , which is divided into three sections .The first section deals with the origin of Kufa and its architecture plans .The second section deals with its demography .The third section tackles the economic plans in Kufa , starting from the treasury which was regarded as one of the most important institutions in Kufa , then money exchange , Kufa markets , geography of the places of money changer in Kufa . Money changer’s zone played an important role in Kufa on the political and economic levels .
The second chapter is devoted to the exchange and content of the banking business in financial and credit speculations . In order to clarify that , this chapter is divided into three sections. The first deals with the concept of exchange and its historical roots, while the second is devoted to the banking activity in kufa which discuses money changers’ business which included evaluating money and distinguishing between good and fake money .We highlighted some of the types of fake money, and the stance of governmental mints on this money . The third section deals with the role of money changers in facilitating the credit transactions in Kufa markets through the use of warrants and bills of exchange , both are explained in detail .
The third chapter tackles the relationship of money changers with the authority and the society of Kufa . This is divided into three sections. The first section discusses the administrative authority in Kufa and its officers .We dealt with the most prominent administrative posts in Kufa, as far as it is required by the study , such as governors, judges, the police, and then market inspector . The second section deals with inspection and banking control which represent the duties of the inspector .The inspection includes three matters such controlling the spread of fake money , weight and measure control , and usury prohibition . The section also discusses the taxes imposed on the money changers .These taxes are among other types of taxes imposed in the market which were known as ” exploited items” , initiated firstly by Caliph Almahdi (158-169 AH /774-785 AD) in 167 AH/ 783 AD .The chapter also explains the relation between the changers and the authority, represented by government asking for changers’ assistance to resolve some financial crises which arose in the state now and then , for example borrowing from the money changers to cover the shortfall in the budget .This helped in reviving the economics life in various fields.
The third section focuses on money changers’ the social life and their living standards in Kufa. In turns, it concentrates on clarifying the social status of money changers , and explaining their luxury living standard which they enjoyed as a result of the accumulation of large amounts of money that they possessed . We examine in this section the most prominent manifestations of their social life, such as clothing and housing which reflected the reality of life which was experienced by this class of society.
After studying the subject , (exchange and money-changers in Kufa), we arrived at several conclusions, most notably are the following:
1-Exchange represented one of the most important economic activities, which were found in Kufa markets because it played a significant effect in facilitating cash and commercial transactions. Banking operations flourished in Kufa because of its importance, in that banking activity was linked to a large extent with its political and commercial position because it was a center of receiving large amount of money that many countries sent every year representing the levies . These funds helped boosting the economic life , which made it necessary to find financial regulations which had an impact on the exchange business and its institutions in Kufa.
2. The diversity and differences in the demographics of the community had a great impact on the reality of economic life of Kufa in general , and banking activity in particular since some of those who settled there , from Egyptians, Arab , Freed slaves , the people of the dhimma and others, had the experience, efficiency and the necessary capital which they employed in various areas of the banking business , such as deposits, loans , currency and development of financial regulations which gave a great flexibility to handle the commercial and financial transactions in Kufa as explained in the other pages of this thesis.
3. Kufa money changers mastered the banking business significantly and organized it to become more like (banks) of the present time, which had a great effect in the progress of the art of money exchange in Iraq in general, and Baghdad in particular. Baghdad money changers learnt from their Kufa counterparts the art of exchange in that they mastered this art.
4. – The functions of treasury in Kufa did not only involve saving the money received in the city and supervising the spending in various facets, but also providing banking services ,such as save deposit box, loans and preparing of financial documents, monitoring cash transactions in the markets, and thus, this function is like that of the Central Bank of the State , or more than that when its functions include the duties of the Ministry of Finance today.