Today the dinar is the main currency in eight countries formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire: (from west to east) Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Serbia, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The first dinars were issued in A.D. 696 by the great Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, who enforced its use as the lone currency of exchange throughout the Muslim world, just as he decreed Arabic to be the official language. The name was taken from the Roman denarius, a coin that had been in use for many centuries, whose name, with its “ten” root, originally referred to the value of ten donkeys.
“Seeing this, the fisherman rejoiced and said, ‘If I sell it in the brass-bazaar, 'tis worth ten golden dinars.’”
— Anon., trans. by Richard Burton, Arabian Nights, 1885