This Day in History (04-10-1396)
Today is Monday; 4th of the Iranian month of Dey 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 6th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani 1439 lunar hijri; and December 25, 2017, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
This day is celebrated in the West as Christmas or the miraculous birth of Prophet Jesus sometime between 2016 to 2020 solar years ago, without the association of any male for his mother, the Virgin Mary. He was born on a date of the Roman calendar that still remains uncertain, although several centuries later, the newly-founded Christian Church substituted December 25 – a major pagan festival as his birthday – in order to propagate Christianity amongst the polytheists of Europe. It is, however, worth noting that the Israelites, amongst whom this great Prophet was born, followed the lunar calendar, similar to the Arabic and the later Islamic calendar. Thus according to certain narrations, the birth of Prophet Jesus was either on the eve of the 25th of the month of Zilqa’dah or the 6th of the month of Muharram. Anyway since most of the Christian World celebrates Christmas this day we extend our congratulations to them, and pray for guidance of the Western powers, which have totally deviated from the peaceful message of the Messiah and plunged the world into wars, moral depravity, economic chaos, and social disintegration. The holy Qur’an, which is the final revelation of God to mankind, mentions the virgin birth of Jesus (PuH). Islam regards Jesus (PuH) as one of the five greatest Prophets – the others being Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the last and greatest of them all, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). In Surah Saff, the holy Qur’an mentions Jesus’ prediction to the Israelites of the coming of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), a fact that is also found in the Gospel of St. John. Here, it would be not out of context to refer to the account in the Gospel of St. Mathew of the coming of the Magi or Three Wise Men from the east, to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. It is obvious by the term Magi, which is a corruption of the Persian word ‘Majous’ that these wise men were Iranians.
1743 solar years ago, on this day in 274 AD, Emperor Aurelian imported into Rome the cult of Sol Invictus and made its December 25 festival a national holiday. Based on the Shams, the solar god of Palmyra in Syria, Aurelian placed and consecrated a cult statue of the sun god looted from Palmyra in the temple of Sol Invictus that he built. He made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Sol Invictus played a prominent role in the Mithraic rites that were borrowed from ancient Iran. Aurelian also instituted games in honor of the sun god, held every four years from AD 274 onwards, and declared Sunday (day of the sun god) as public holiday. Centuries later when Rome was Christianized, the 25th of December that was an already existing festival of the Sol Invictus was turned into the supposed birth of Prophet Jesus (PuH). A manuscript from the 12th-century Bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi, mentions: "It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the Nativity of Jesus should be solemnised on that day."
1314 lunar years ago, on this day in 125 AH, Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik, the 10th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime, died after an oppressive rule of 20 years over an empire stretching from Spain and southern France in the west to the borders of China and India in the east. Hisham was the murderer of Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), the 5th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He also brutally martyred the 5th Imam's younger brother, Zaid ibn Ali and had the body mutilated after taking it out from the grave. Hisham was notorious for his misery, despite accumulating a vast treasure that his troops brought as loot from different parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia. He was succeeded by his nephew, Waleed, who refused to give him any shroud or burial, saying Hisham has left no legitimate and lawful income, and whatever he had accumulated was through plunder and seizure. Seven years after him, the Omayyad dynasty was thrown into the dustbin of history with the rise of the equally oppressive Abbasid usurpers.
1077 solar years ago, on this day in 940 AD, Iranian warlord, Maakaan ibn Kaki, who was active in the Caspian Sea region, was killed in battle near Rayy by fellow Iranians, the Samanids. Like his father, he served the Alawid Shi’a Muslim Dynasty of Tabaristan, and became involved in the succession disputes. He managed to establish himself as ruler of Tabaristan and Gorgan for short periods of time, in rivalry with other Daylamite Iranian warlords such as Asfar ibn Shiruwaiyh and the Ziyarid brothers Mardavij and Vushmgir.
898 lunar years ago, on this day in 541 AH, Imad od-Din Zangi, the Atabeg of Mosul, Aleppo, Hama and Edessa and founder of the Turkic Zangid dynasty that ruled parts of Syria, was killed by his European slave, Yarankesh, shortly after repulsing a joint Byzantine-Crusader army. His father, Aq Sunqur al-Hajeb, was governor of Aleppo under Malik Shah I, the Isfahan-based Seljuq sultan of Iran- Iraq-Syria-Anatolia. Imad Zangi distinguished himself in military exploits against the European Crusaders, and defeated King Fulk of the usurper Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
880 solar years ago, on this day in 1137 AD, Salah od-Din Ayyoubi, who conquered the Islamic city of Bayt ol-Moqaddas from the European Crusader invaders by ending the 88-year illegal existence of the usurper Kingdom of Jerusalem in Palestine, was born in Tikrit in Iraq into a Kurdish family. After serving the Turkic Zangi dynasty of Syria, along with his uncle Shirkouh, he saw service in Egypt, which he seized from the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'a Muslim Dynasty, and subsequently spread his rule over Syria and the Hijaz after persecuting Shi’ite Muslims. He burned whole libraries in Egypt and forcibly imposed the Sunni creed upon Egyptians. He died in Damascus at the age of 57 and is buried behind the Omayyad Mosque.
623 lunar years ago, on this day in 816 AH, the Iranian scholar and literary figure, Ali ibn Mohammad al-Hussaini al-Jorjani Astarabadi, known popularly as Mir Seyyed Sharif, passed away in Shiraz. He was a prominent figure of the Timurid era and was a student of the renowned scientist of his day, Qotb od-Din Raazi. He authored several books, including “Risalat-al-Kubra fi'l-Manteq” (The Major Treatise in Logic). Among his students were Seyyed Mohammad Nourbakhsh, the founder of the Nourbakhshiya Sufi order, and Shaikh Abi Jamhour al-Ahsa'i of Arabia.
464 solar years ago, on this day in 1553 AD, the Battle of Tucapel in Chile resulted in a decisive victory for the Amerindians led by Lautaro against the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish governor of Chile, Pedro de Valdivia was captured and killed in this battle that was part of the 300-year long-running Arauco War between the European invaders and the indigenous Mapuche inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. Lautaro inflicted crushing defeats and huge death tolls on Spanish forces in several battles despite having far inferior weaponry. He was close to final victory when he was killed in battle at around 23 years of age in 1557. Born in 1534, during his teen years he allowed himself to be captured by the Spaniards and became the personal servant of Governor Don Pedro de Valdivia, in order to learn the military ways and skills of the technologically- advanced European invaders. He was witness to atrocities committed by the Spanish on captive Mapuche warriors. In 1552 he returned to his people to teach them new techniques of warfare and the use of horses and ammunitions in order to defeat the Spaniards. Lautaro is considered the first Chilean revolutionary and is hailed as a hero for uniting the dispersed Mapuche people.
395 solar years ago, on this day in 1622 AD, Ahmadnagar, the capital of the Shi’a Muslim Nizam-Shahi kingdom of the Deccan (southern India) was besieged and the nearby town of Burhanabad sacked by the Moghal army of Hindustan (northern subcontinent). The reason for the attack was the alliance of the Nizam-Shahis with the Safavid Empire of Iran. Soon the aggressors were repulsed by Queen Chand Sultana, who is famous for her bravery and administrative capabilities in Ahmadnagar and the neighbouring Adel-Shahi kingdom of Iranian origin of Bijapur.
375 solar years ago, on this day in 1642 AD, English physicist and mathematician, Isaac Newton was born. He greatly benefited from the works of Islamic scientists, and his study of optics included using a prism to show that white light could be split into a spectrum of colours. His three laws of motion are fundamental in the study of mechanics. He was the first European to describe the moon as falling (in a circle around the earth) under the same influence of gravity as a falling apple, embodied in his law of universal gravitation – although centuries earlier, Muslim scientists had discovered these facts. He died in 1727 at the age of 85.
352 solar years ago, on this day in 1665 AD, the French East India Company was set up during the reign of King Louis XIV for political, economic, and colonial rivalry with the British East India Company, established 66 years earlier. The British and the French fought for control of southern India. The British emerged victorious and drove out the French, who retained a few insignificant towns such as Pondichery, Karikal and Yanaon on the southeast or Coromandel Coast of India, Mahe on the southwestern or Malabar Coast, and Chandernagor in Bengal near Calcutta. Following the independence of India in 1947, Chandernagore was ceded to India on 2 May 1950 and with Bengal state on 2 October 1955. On November 1, 1954, the four enclaves of Pondichery, Yanam, Mahe, and Karikal were de facto transferred to India. The de jure union of France’s Indian colonial possession, with India did not take place until 1962, when the French Parliament in Paris ratified the treaty with India.
276 solar years ago, on this day in 1741 AD, the Centigrade temperature scale was devised by astronomer Anders Celsius and incorporated into a Delisle thermometer at Uppsala in Sweden. Celsius divided the fixed-point range of the Fahrenheit scale (the freezing and boiling temperatures of water) into 100 equal divisions, but curiously set the freezing point at 100 and the boiling point at 0. This reverse scaling was changed to match the sense of the other temperature scales after Celsius's death.
141 solar years ago, on this day in 1876 AD, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan was born in Karachi in a Khoja Ismaili Shi’a Muslim family and later embraced the creed of the mainstream Ithna Ash’ari – Twelver or Imami Muslims. After completing education in London, he started his career as a lawyer, and soon turned into a popular politician and statesman, earning the title "Qa’ed-e Azam" (or Great Leader) from Muslims of the Subcontinent. Jinnah served as head of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's independence on August 14, 1947, and as Pakistan's first Governor-General from August 15, 1947 until his death on September 11, 1948 at the age of 72. His legacy is still alive in Pakistan.
112 lunar years ago, on this day in 1327 AH, the 6th Qajarid king of Iran, Mohammad Ali Shah, was forced by the constitutionalists to revive the Majlis (parliament), which he had dissolved two years earlier, shortly after succeeding his father, Mozaffar od-Din Shah, to the Peacock Throne. A repressive and inefficient ruler, he had earlier bombarded the parliament building with the help of the British and Russian forces. He was soon deposed by the constitutionalists, and on being replaced by his 11-year old son, Ahmad Shah, he fled to Russian-ruled Odessa (present day Ukraine), from where he plotted his return to power. Two years later he landed at Astarabad on the Caspian Sea coast of northern Iran, but his forces were defeated. Mohammad Ali Shah again fled to Russia, then to Istanbul and later to San Remo, Italy, where he died on 5th April 1925, the same year the 140-year rule of the Qajarid Dynasty ended when the British formally declared their agent, Reza Khan Pahlavi as the new king, while Ahmad Shah was on an extended, almost 2-year long visit, to Europe. Every shah of Iran since Mohammad Ali Shah has died in exile.
70 solar years ago, on this day in 1947 AD, the Iranian astronomer, jurisprudent, and poet, Habibollah Soltanabadi Eraqi, popular as “Zu’l-Fonoun” passed away at the age of 77. Born near Arak, at the age of 23 he left for Iraq to complete religious studies at the famous seminary of holy Najaf, where he stayed for ten years, mastering several branches of Islamic sciences, especially exegesis of the holy Qur’an and Arabic literature. On return to Iran, he devoted himself to astronomy and astrology, discovering fascinating facts about the moon and the stars. For years he was in charge of publishing Iran’s astrological calendar. He was a prolific writer as well, and in addition to his books on astronomy, he authored an exegesis of the holy Qur’an. He also used to compose poems in both Persian and Arabic.
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1977 AD, British comedian and filmmaker, Charles Spencer Chaplin, died in Switzerland at the age of 88. Born in London, he appeared on stage in childhood and went to the US to work in films. Due to making critical films and expressing sympathy with the poor and needy, he faced a number of restrictions imposed by the US regime. In 1952 he was deported from the US and settled in Switzerland, from where he always criticized the corrupt Western cinema. In general, his films, which are black-and-white comedies, ridicule the unequal social relations in the West. His most famous films include “The Gold Rush”; “City Lights”; and “The Great Dictator”. The last named was his first sound film comedy on German Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.
38 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, three senior Palestinian officials were assassinated by the Zionist entity’s spying agency Mossad. Ali Hassan Salameh, the security official of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was killed in a car bombing in Beirut. Samir Toqan, a member of PLO Political Bureau in Cyprus was assassinated by Mossad agents. The third Palestinian official, who was killed on this day by the Zionist terrorists, was the PLO representative in Kuwait, Ali Naser Yasin.
21 solar years ago, on this day in 1996 AD, Hassan-Pour Sanaei, Iranian artist, designer, and engraver, passed away at the age of 85. He learned this art from his father and emerged as a unique master. His innovative designs are found throughout Iran on the walls of hussainiyehs, mosques, religious centres, prayer mats, tents and curtains.