This Day in History (05-10-1396)
Today is Tuesday; 5th of the Iranian month of Dey 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 7th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani 1439 lunar hijri; and December 26, 2017, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
823 solar years ago, on this day in 1194 AD, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor was born in Iesi, Marche, Italy. An ethnic German, residing in Sicily with his capital at Palermo, which still had Muslim culture and a sizeable Muslim population, at his coronation, he said to have worn the red silk mantle bearing an Arabic inscription that had been crafted during the reign of Roger II, indicating the year 528 AH of the Islamic calendar. It incorporated a generic benediction (du’a), wishing the wearer “vast prosperity, great generosity, high splendour, fame, magnificent endowments, and the fulfillment of wishes and hopes. This robe is housed in the Schatzkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. During his 30-year reign, Fredrick who was a multilingual person, well versed in Arabic and interacting with learned Muslims, sent questions to the courts of Muslim rulers, on various issues including optical phenomena like the curving of objects in water. The Pope and the Church were hostile to him because of his religious tolerance, at times excommunicating him. On being crowned, he settled some 60,000 Sicilian Muslims in southern Italy – 20,000 in Lucera (Lugherah in Arabic), 30,000 in Apulia and its surroundings, and the rest in Stornara, Casal Monte Saraceno, Castel Saraceno and Campania. These included Iranians of Sicily as well, in particular, the Khwarezmi community of Palermo. The Muslim population of southern Italy, along with local converts from Christianity as well as descendants of Arabs and Berbers who had settled centuries earlier, thrived for another 80 years, till their towns and cities were sacked in 1300 by Charles II of Naples, who expelled many to Albania, forcibly converted to Christianity many others and sold into slavery the rest of the population, besides turning mosques into churches. Fredrick II also enlisted Muslims into his personal bodyguards, as they had the advantage of immunity from papal excommunication, and with their help he kept a menagerie which had not only monkeys and camels, but also a giraffe and an elephant. In February 1229, Fredrick II took part in the 6th Crusade to Palestine to annul papal excommunication, and through a treaty with the Ayyubid Sultan al-Kamel, took control of Bayt al-Moqaddas (Jerusalem), Bethlehem and Nazareth, that stipulated Muslim control of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. In 1244, he lost Bayt al-Moqaddas and other towns that were liberated by the Muslims including the powerful Iranian Khwarezmian clan based in Egypt.
805 lunar years ago, on this day in 634 AH, the Iranian polymath Qotb od-Din Mahmoud ibn Zia od-Din Masoud Kazerouni, known as Mullah Qotb Shirazi, was born in Kazeroun, near Shiraz. He studied medicine under his father, who practiced and taught medicine at Shiraz’s Muzaffari Hospital. He studied the “al-Qanoun fi’t-Tibb” (Canon of Medicine) of the Iranian-Islamic genius, Abu Ali Ibn Sina, along with its commentaries. In particular he read the commentary of Fakhr od-Din Razi on this book and raised many objections of his own. This led to his decision to write his own commentary, where he resolved many of the issues of this book, especially in the company of the famous genius of his age, Khwaja Naseer od-Din Tusi – founder of the observatory at Maragha in northwestern Iran. In Maragha, he was taught astronomy by Naseer od-Din Tusi, in addition to Ibn Sina’s masterpiece on remarks and admonitions titled “al-Isharaat wa'l-Tanbihaat”. One of the important scientific projects was completion of the new astronomical table or Zij. Mullah Qotb Shirazi traveled to Khorasan in the company of Naseer od-Din Tusi and for a while studied under Najm od-Din Katebi Qazvini in the town of Juwayn. He then journeyed to Qazvin, Isfahan, Baghdad, and Qonya in Anatolia (modern day Turkey), where he studied the “Jam'e al-Osoul” of Ibn Atheer under Sadr od-Din Qonawi. The governor of Qonya, appointed him as judge of the cities of Sivas and Malatya. It was during this time that he compiled the books “Miftaḥ al-Miftah” on Arabic grammar and rhetoric, and “Ikhtiyaraat al-Muzaffariya” on astronomy. He was sent as envoy by the first Muslim Ilkhanid Mongol ruler of Iran-Iraq, Ahmad Tekudar, to Saif od-Din Qalawun, the Mamluk ruler of Egypt. During his stay in Cairo, Mullah Qotb Shirazi collected various critiques and commentaries on Ibn Sina’s “Qanoun” and used them on his commentary on the “Kolliyaat”. The last part of his active career was teaching in Syria the “Qanoun” and the “Kitab ash-Shefa” the philosophical magnum opus of Ibn Sina. He passed away in Tabriz at the age of 77. A prolific writer in both Arabic and Persian, he authored books on various topics including medicine, astronomy, geography, mathematics, philosophy and religion. Among his works is “Nihayat al-Idraak fi Dirayaat al-Aflaak” on the movement of planets. Mullah Qotb also identified observations by Ibn Sina on the transits of Venus and Mercury, centuries before European scientists.
528 solar years ago, on this day in 1489 AD, the Christians occupied the thriving Spanish Muslim city of Almería which was part of the Nasrid emirate of Granada, during the rule of Muhammad XIII.
487 solar years ago, on this day in 1530 AD, Emperor Mohammad Zaheer od-Din Babar, the Founder of the Moghal Dynasty of the Subcontinent, died in his capital Kabul in what is now Afghanistan. Born in Ferghana to the local ruler, Omar Shaikh, in what is now the border region of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, he was a great great-grandson of the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, while on his mother's side he was descended from the bloodthirsty Mongol marauder, Chingiz Khan. A Persianized Turk, Babar, as a protégé of Shah Ismail I, the Founder of the Safavid Dynasty of Iran, following his failure to take control of Samarqand, set himself up in Kabul, and in 1526 conquered North India to establish the famous Moghal Dynasty. His army included Qizilbash Iranian fighters, who as one of the most influential groups in the Moghal court, would promote Persian language and culture in the subcontinent, as well as the teachings of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt.
289 lunar years ago, on this day in 1150 AH, the Ottoman army led by Hekimoghlu Ali Pasha, defeated the Holy Roman Empire near the Bosnian town of Banja Luka. This was a crushing blow by the Muslims of Europe to the ambitions of the Germans and the Austrians in the Balkans.
207 lunar years ago, on this day in 1232 AH, Moroccan exegete of the Holy Qur’an and literary figure, Abul-Fayz Hamdoun ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Faasi, passed away at the age of 58. Born in Fez (as his surname al-Faasi suggests), during the Hajj pilgrimage to holy Mecca, he met and conferred with prominent Shi’ite Muslim scholars such as the celebrated Ayatollah Sheikh Morteza Ansari Dezfuli. He authored several books on theology, Qur’anic sciences, logic, etc.
124 solar years ago, on this day in 1893 AD, Founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong, was born. He established the communist party of China in 1921. He had the support of farmers and peasants who had for long suffered at the hands of the rulers. Following end of World War 2 the communists defeated the western-supported nationalists, and declared China as the People’s Republic in1949. During his rule, Mao shaped a powerful central government. Mao died in 1976.
119 solar years ago, on this day in 1898 AD, prominent physician and jurisprudent, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hussaini Mar’ashi, popular as “Seyyed ol-Atibba”, passed away at the of 99. Born in Tabriz, after preliminary religious education he went to holy Najaf, Iraq, for higher religious studies and soon attained the status of Ijtehad. On his return to Iran, he studied medicine and other branches of Islamic sciences in Isfahan for 15 years, and then spent a few more years in Sabzevar as student of the famous philosopher Mullah Hadi Sabzevari. He was an accomplished jurisprudent, philosopher and physician. He spent the rest of his life in his hometown Tabriz, treating spiritual and physical ailments. A prolific writer, he authored several books, including “Tarikh-e Tabriz”, Commentary on the Prophet’s Medical Prescriptions, and Commentary on the “Samaat Supplication”.
61 solar years ago, on this day in 1955 AD, famous Iranian combatant religious leader, Seyyed Mojtaba Mir-Lowhi, known popularly as Hojjat al-Islam Nawab Safavi, was martyred at the young age of 32 years by a firing squad of the Shah’s despotic regime, along with three other revolutionaries, after a summary trial, following arrest on 22 November for Islamic activities. A product of the seminary of holy Najaf, he had visited Egypt for contacts with the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood). It was on his advice that Yasser Arafat, who was a young Palestinian student in Cairo, left his academic career to involve himself in political activities against the usurper state of Israel. On his return to Iran Nawab Safavi founded the Fadayan-e Islam Organisation for reforming the Iranian society and was close to the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). He had a striking personality and was a mesmerizing orator.
45 solar years ago, on this day in 1972 AD, during the Vietnam War, the US forces in Operation Linebacker II, savagely bombarded Hanoi and other cities with 120 B-52 bombers in a carpet-bombing that destroyed hospitals, schools and residential areas. Despite the barbaric crimes of the Americans and the huge loss of life, the Vietnamese continued to resist, until victory.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1978 AD, Professor of Tehran’s Polytechnic University, Kamran Nejatollahi, was martyred by the Shah's regime during a sit-in protest by university professors at the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education.
38 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, the Soviet Red Army occupied Afghanistan, starting its longest operations against an independent country. It was one of the major mistakes of the Kremlin, and two years after the end of the Red Army’s ten-year occupation, the Soviet Union disintegrated. The 130,000-strong Red Army, despite its advanced weapons, was constantly harassed and bogged down by the lightly armed Afghan Mujahideen, similar to the fate being suffered by the present occupiers, the Americans. The Soviets imposed a communist regime that devastated Afghanistan and left tens of thousands of people homeless. This provided the US an opportunity to secretly intervene with the help of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to further destroy the country by dividing Mujahideen ranks through creation of terrorist outfits like the Taliban and al-Qa’edah.
14 solar years ago, on this day in 2003 AD, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook the city of Bam in southern Iran, and its environs, almost destroying the city of Bam and claiming the life of 41,000 people in addition to the tens of thousands of injured and homeless. The Iranian nation and government rushed to help the quake-hit victims. The earthquake also damaged the ancient Bam Citadel, the world’s largest mud-brick fortress.
13 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, a 9-magnitude quake jolted the Indian Ocean, resulting in a Tsunami that inflicted losses on several littoral states. Since the epicenter of the earthquake was in Southeast Asia, the countries of this region including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, and India suffered huge losses. As many as 220,000 people were killed and 2 million left homeless, while billions of dollars in losses were inflicted on these countries.