It is said that at the time of the great general Saladin’s death, his entire fortune consisted of 47 dinars and a single, golden, holy coin. Rumor has it that this coin was passed down through the caliphs — having been originally owned by the Prophet himself and eventually falling to Salah al-Din. Although many claim to have possessed this coin in the centuries since his death, in reality, there is only one true owner of the Prophet’s Holy Coin.
On his death bed in Damascus in 1193, Salah al-Din was visited by a representative of Tarique, the founder of the Hajj in Arabia. Tarique sent a childe of his own to witness the passing of the great Ayyubid sultan and, if possible, Embrace him into the clan. While in his prime, Salah al-Din had been considered “hands off” to the damned Childer of Caine, but now that he was dying, this could be his last chance at eternal unlife. Ja'far al-Medinat, Tarique’s childe and representative, was bestowed with the authority to make this weighty decision on his own, based upon what he saw while he was in Damascus.
Every night on his way to the sultan’s chambers, Ja’far passed a lowly street urchin who had taken up residence outside the sultan’s palace. Although he was a leper, the boy seemed largely unaffected by his condition, and his genuine love of God shone like an inner light that gave the Nosferatu pause as he passed by. On the second night of his vigil, Ja’far stopped to make a donation to the boy, but he was refused. When he asked the boy why, there came the simple reply, “Because God has seen to my needs.” Scofﬁng, the Nosferatu went along his way, though not before realizing that the discomfort he had felt in the boy’s presence was the telltale sign of divine favor.
On the third night, when Salah al-Din bade his servant to fetch the devout leper boy from the street outside, none was more surprised than Ja’far, who had been watching the dying sultan from the shadows. Upon his death bed, Salah al-Din bestowed upon the beggar boy the holy golden coin of Muhammad, saying that no one in either his family nor his own courtly retinue was deserving of the precious artifact. Only the pious leper-child — one who did not forsake Allah even after being stricken with such blight — was deemed truly worthy by the dying sultan.
Rather than Embrace the frail old sultan, the Hajj decided that the boy’s inheritance was a sign from God, and he decided to bring him into the fold instead. Upon his Embrace, the boy’s skin took on the luster of the very coin itself, and the event was seen as a revelation to all within the sect. Tarique himself rejoiced from his ancestral home in Mecca, instructing Ja’far to take his new childe to Cairo, the city of Salah al-Din’s greatest triumph, where the Hajj had grown numerous but languid. Once in Cairo, the neonate, thereafter known as Ibn Ja’far, soon surpassed his sire in his devotion to the Hajj. Upon his sire’s return to Arabia, Ibn Ja’far founded a new khitta for the Hajj in the territory developed during Salah al-Din’s reign.
For centuries, Ibn Ja’far was the very model of religious authority — beneﬁcent, capable and kind. In the last century, however, he has fallen from his duties to some extent, and the more perceptive among the Hajj have noticed a sagging quality in his efforts. His speeches, once ﬁery and bold, have lost all urgency, and he is rarely seen bearing his distinctive smile anymore. Even his illustrious skin seems to have lost its once-brilliant gleam.
The truth, sad as it may seem, is that Ibn Ja’far has lost his holy golden coin — and with it, his faith. The boy is plagued by self-doubt and confusion, and he wracks his brain nightly for the answers to his self-imposed questions. He has conﬁded only in his childe, Shahid. His childe currently tries to convince Ibn Ja’far that his faith is separate and distinct from his legacy, and that he can once again become the paragon of the Hajj with or without the coin. Although Ibn Ja’far would like to believe this, he has tried many times to atone for his loss, but nothing has returned him his faith. He is convinced that his devotion to God — indeed, his entire existence — is linked to the divine relic that earned him his damnation, and he fears that both may be lost to him forever.
Although he looks inhuman to be sure, Ibn Ja’far’s form possesses an oddly appealing quality. The boy’s dark skin shines like sooty gold, giving his body a slight radiance wherever he goes. Ibn Ja’far claims that he is incapable of altering this aspect of his visage even if he desired to do so, and he typically holds to his own domain in order to preserve the Masquerade (and continued good relations with the prince). It is this peculiar characteristic as much his nearly Messianic status among the Hajj that ﬁrst earned him his dramatic title.