This Day in History (12-10-1396)
Today is Tuesday; 12th of the Iranian month of Dey 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 14th of the Islamic month of Rabi as-Sani 1439 lunar hijri; and January 2, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1373 lunar years ago, on this day in 66 AH, Mokhtar ibn Abi Obaidah Saqafi launched his uprising to avenge the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS). In his campaign to bring to justice the killers of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), in addition to the Iraqi Arab tribes loyal to the cause of the Ahl al-Bayt, he had the support of the “Mawali” – as the Iranians in Iraq were known. He took the city of Kufa and brought vast tracts of Iraq and Iran under his control, at a time when the Omayyad usurpers and Abdullah ibn Zubayr, who had established himself in the Hejaz, were battling for power of the Islamic state that belonged to neither of them. Mokhtar repulsed the attacks of the Omayyad army from Syria, and in heroic combat, along with Ibrahim ibn Malik Ashtar, killed the principal perpetrators of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, such as Obaidollah ibn Ziyad, Haseen ibn Numayr and others. So strong was his sense of justice that he even did not spare the life of his own brother-in-law (sister’s husband), Omar ibn Sa’d, who had commanded the Omayyad forces against Imam Husain (AS) and then imprisoned the Prophet’s family. Mokhtar and his companions, including Iranians and Arabs, meted out justice to such bloodthirsty murderers, as Shemr Ziljowshan, Khouli, Harmala etc. After a rule of a year-and-a-half, Mokhtar attained martyrdom because of the proverbial treachery of the Kufans during battle with the forces of Mos’ab ibn Zubayr. His tomb is in the mausoleum of Imam Husain’s (AS) cousin, Muslim ibn Aqeel, beside the Grand Mosque of Kufa.
751 lunar years ago, on this day in 688 AH, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, Mansour Qalawoon liberated Tripoli in northern Lebanon from the Crusader occupiers of Egypt. His victory led to the gradual liberation of Syria and Palestine from the European usurpers.
526 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, Mohammad XII, the 22nd ruler of the emirate of Granada, was tricked into surrendering the last Muslim region in Spain to the Christian invaders made up of mercenaries from Spain, Italy, Switzerland and other states, thereby ending almost eight centuries of glorious Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. The people strongly defended their Spanish Muslim homeland during the 10-year war waged by Ferdinand and Isabel, who then resorted to bribes and deceit to gain control of the Nasrid Kingdom that was founded in 1238 on the collapse of the powerful al-Muwahhid Dynasty. The pleas to the Muslim world for help fell on deaf ears, because of the seditious diplomacy of certain European powers to involve into fratricidal wars the Ottomans (who were almost on the borders of Italy) and the Mamluk rulers of Egypt-Syria that prevented the army assembled by the Mamluk Sultan from being dispatched to the aid of the Spanish Muslims. About 200,000 Spanish Muslims migrated to North Africa after the fall of Granada including Mohammad XII, who died in Morocco 41 years later in 1533. The ruler's energetic uncle, who had briefly ruled as Mohammad XIII (az-Zaghall) during his nephew's imprisonment by the Christians of Castile, went across the Strait of Gibraltar to gather an army for liberation of Granada, but was prevented and imprisoned by the short-sighted ruler of Fez. Those of the Spanish Muslims who remained in their occupied homeland were promised rights to their property, laws, customs, and religion, all of which the Christians brutally violated, and by 1609 after systematic Christianization of the population, expelled to North Africa thousands of Muslims who refused to convert. However, Islamic culture, which led to the development of science and civilization at a time when Christian Europe was immersed in the dark ages, persisted and was incorporated in local cultures, thus leading to the Renaissance in Europe. Among the architectural wonders built by Spanish Muslims in Granada is the famous Alhambra Fortress complex, which is among the testimonies to the glories of Islam in Spain. It is said that while leaving his Spanish homeland for exile, when the defeated Muslim ruler reached a rocky prominence which gave a last view of his lost dominions, he reined in his horse and, surveying for the last time the Alhambra and the green valley that spread below, burst into tears. His mother, Fatema, who was active during the defence and had advised him against surrendering the emirate, reproached him saying: "You weep like a woman for what you couldn't defend as a man."
416 lunar years ago, on this day in 1023 AH, Allah-Verdi Khan, one of the top officials of Iran’s Safavid Emperor, Shah Abbas the Great, passed away. Born a Christian in Georgia, he came to Iran at a young age and converted to Islam. On appointment as governor of Fars Province in 1004 AH, he liberated Bahrain from the Portuguese. He carried out social and welfare activities, including the construction of the famous “Si-o-Se Pol” (33-Span Bridge) over Zayandeh-Roud River in Isfahan. His son Imam Quli Khan also ably served Iran, defeating and driving out the Portuguese from the Persian Gulf.
376 solar years ago, on this day in 1642 AD, Mohammad IV, the 19th Ottoman sultan and the 10th self-styled Turkish caliph, was born in Istanbul to Sultan Ibrahim’s Rutherian (Ukrainian) concubine. Soon after his birth, Ibrahim was so enraged that he tore the infant from his mother's arms and flung him into a cistern. Fortunately, he was rescued by the harem servants, but this left him with a lifelong scar on his head. On Ibrahim’s execution, he was placed on the throne at the age of 6 and ruled for almost 40 years till his ouster in 1687. He died in 1693 during imprisonment. His reign changed the nature of the Sultan's position forever by giving up most of his executive power to his Grand Vizier. His reign is notable for the peace with the Safavid Empire of Iran which enabled him to stage a brief revival of Ottoman fortunes in Europe led by Grand Vizier Mohammad Koprulu Pasha and his son Fazel Ahmad Pasha. The Turks regained the Aegean islands from Venice, and Crete, during the Cretan War (lasting from 1645 to 1669). They also fought successful campaigns against Transylvania (in 1660) and Poland (during 1670 to 1674). At one point, when Mohammad IV allied himself with Petro Doroshenko, Ottoman rule was close to extending into Podolia deep inside Ukraine. Supporting the 1683 Hungarian uprising against Austrian rule, a large Ottoman army besieged Vienna, but suffered a defeat on the Kahlenberg Heights, by Polish forces led by King John III Sobieski and his allies, resulting in reversal of fortune for the Turks, who would have lost Iraq and Anatolia as well, if Shah Suleiman Safavi of Iran had chosen to exploit the weakness of the Ottoman Empire, after the Ottomans suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. The Iranians refrained from inter-Muslim sedition by refusing the proposals from the European states to form a coalition against the Ottoman Empire. In 1687, after the crushing Ottoman defeat in the Second Battle of Mohacs, Mohammad IV was deposed.
175 solar years ago, on this day in 1843 AD, postal service was modernized and the first post box was installed in the Austrian Capital, Vienna. In those days, postal letters and packages were transported by horses, camels, and special boats. But, later on, new methods were implemented and the postal service gradually developed to its current form.
152 solar years ago, on this day in 1866 AD, the Australian poet and researcher, Gilbert Murray, was born. He went to England at the age of 11, where after completing his studies he taught ancient Greek literature and culture at Oxford University. His research on ancient Greece led him to conclude that although the Greeks had several deities but in principle the spirit of monotheism governed their customs and traditions. He wrote several books including the “History of Ancient Greek Literature” and “Faith, War and Politics”.
98 solar years ago, on this day in 1920 AD, the American author and chemist of Russian origin, Isaac Asimov, was born in Russia in a village near what is now Belarus. His family migrated to the US when he was three years old. After obtaining PhD in chemistry he studied several other branches of science, and decided to simplify the study of scientific texts for youngsters. He wrote 270 books on science, science-fiction, mathematics, and humanities, including the novel "I, Robot". He coined the term “robotics”. Asimov died in 1992.
80 solar years ago, on this day in 1938 AD, Yusuf E’tesami, titled E’tesam ol-Molk, the Iranian journalist, official, publisher, translator, and writer, passed away at the age of 64. His father Ibrahim was from Ashtian and the head of finance of the Iranian province of Azarbaijan. He was the elder brother of the architect and painter Abu’l-Hassan E’tesami, and the father of the famous poetess Parvin E’tesami. In the 1890s, Yusuf E’tesami established the first typographical printing house in Tabriz. He was member of the Majlis or Iranian Parliament for three years from 1909 to 1912, and founded the “Bahar” journal in 1910. At various junctures he served in the Ministry of Education and headed the Court and Majlis Libraries. Proficient in several languages including Arabic, French and German, Yusuf E’tesami produced about forty volumes of translations, in particular some Persian translations of the Egyptian writer Qasim Amin's “Tahrir al-Mara”, Frenchman Victor Hugo's “Les “Miserables”, and the German Friedrich Schiller's “Kabale und Liebe”. He also wrote a commentary in Arabic of the Central Asian Persian Mu’tazalite scholar Abu’l-Qasim az-Zamakhshari's “Atwaq adh-Dhahab”, and compiled a three-volume catalogue of manuscripts in the Majlis Library.
76 solar years ago, on this day in 1942 AD, the jurisprudent Ayatollah Fayyaz Zanjani passed away in his hometown Zanjan, where for three decades he was source of emulation for the local people. Son of the renowned mujtahed Akhound Mullah Mohammad, he completed his religious studies in Tehran, before returning to Zanjan. He was a prominent teacher who groomed several scholars and strove to promote the teachings of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt in society.
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, the historic epistle of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), was delivered to the last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, inviting him to return to God and spiritual values. The epistle also invited him to study the divine religion of Islam, and predicted the end of communism. Part of the epistle read: One should turn to facts. The main problem of the Soviet Union is not the right of ownership, economy and freedom. Your main problem is your disbelief in God; the same problem which has, and will push the West toward the dead end. Your main problem is a long and pointless fight against God; the Source of the universe and creation.” The epistle added: It is perfectly clear to everyone that hereafter communism would be seen in the world’s political history museums because Marxism does not meet any of the actual needs of mankind… I want you to seriously study Islam, because of the ethereal and global values of this dynamic religion, which can salvage nations and solve the major problems of mankind. Two years later, Imam Khomeini’s prophecy about the end of Marxism materialized and the Soviet Union disintegrated.
6 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, Iran test-fired a surface-to-surface cruise missile named Qader as part of the Islamic Republic’s drive toward self-sufficiency in defence.
5 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, the Iranian media reported that the Islamic Republic has captured 2 US RQ11 Raven surveillance drones over the last 17 months and that much of their data has been de-coded. Iranian engineers have successfully manufactured this advanced drones and modified them as per Iranian strategies.
2 solar years ago, on this day in 2016 AD, Sheikh Nimr Baqer an-Nimr, the prominent religious leader of the eastern part of the British created entity called Saudi Arabia, was martyred by the Wahhabi regime at the age of 57 despite the appeals of several countries and human rights organizations. Born in Awamiyya, he completed his higher religious studies in Iran and Syria. As Friday Prayer Leader of his hometown, he strove for materialization of the deprived birthrights of the native Shi’a Muslim majority of the oil-rich Eastern Province. His popularity, especially among the youth and his bold criticism of the dictatorial policies of the regime in Riyadh, coupled with calls for free elections, led to his imprisonment and torture in 2006. He warned that if the rights of Shi’a Muslims are not materialized, the oil-rich East, which was occupied the Aal-e Saud during World War 1, had the right to reassert its independence. The Wahhabi regime arrested him and 35 other activists. During the 2011–12 protests, Sheikh Nimr called for protestors to resist police bullets using "the roar of the word" rather than violence, and predicted the collapse of the Saudi regime if repression continued. On 8 July 2012 Saudi police shot him in the leg and kidnapped him by opening fire into a crowd of thousands of protestors and killing several people. Sheikh Nimr was tortured in prison and started a hunger strike, as a result of which his health deteriorated before his cruel execution, which angered Muslims worldwide and brought condemnations for the US-backed Saudi regime.