Jan 31, 2018 09:35 UTC

Today is Wednesday; 11th of the Iranian month of Bahman 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 13th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1439 lunar hijri; and January 31, 2018 of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.

1439 solar years ago, on this day in 579 AD, the 22nd Sassanid Emperor, Khosrow I, known as Anushirvan the Just, died at the age of 78, after a reign of 48 years, and was succeeded by his son, Hormizd IV. Son of Qobad I who reigned for 41 years, Khosrow I is the epitome of the philosopher-king in Iranian history. It was in his era that the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Mecca. His wide-ranging social, administrative, military, and tax reforms were adopted by the Muslims when they took over the Sassanid Empire. He patronized scholars and invited scientists from Greece, India, China and other places, and the outcome of this synthesis resulted in what is known as the “Bimaristan”, the first hospital that introduced a concept of segregating wards according to pathology. Greek pharmacology fused with Iranian and Indian traditions resulted in significant advances in medicine that were later fully utilized by the Muslims. He strengthened the famous academy Gondishapur as the centre of learning. In his foreign policy, Khosrow Anushirvan, after agreeing to an abortive “Eternal Peace” treaty with Emperor Justinian of the Roman Empire, followed a prudent policy to thwart Roman designs in Syria, Anatolia, Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. He made sure Rome would never be a threat to Iran by keeping close contacts with the Goths, the Arabs, and the people of Yemen, which he brought under Iranian influence to control the trade routes between India and Europe. In the northeast, he kept the Turks under check and his reign signifies the promotion of the Silk Road linking ancient China with India and Rome through the Iranian Empire.

1428 lunar years ago, on this day in 11 AH, based on a narration, Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (peace upon her), the venerable daughter of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the noblest lady of all times, attained martyrdom, some 75 days after the passing away of her father. She is the model-par-excellence for all virtuous women, and is considered as the Pride of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Prophet Jesus (peace upon them). The cause of martyrdom was flinging of the burning door of her house upon her by a roguish group of her father’s companions, who had usurped the political right of leadership of her husband, Imam Ali (AS), had seized her patrimony (the orchard of Fadak), and were demanding that the Imam should take oath of allegiance to the new regime.

1367 lunar years ago, on this day in 72 AH, Mus'ab ibn Zubayr and Ibrahim ibn Malek Ashtar were killed in a battle near Balad in Iraq at a place called Miskan, by forces of Abdul-Malik bin Marwan, the 5th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime, who subsequently took control of Iraq and the next year sent forces to attack Mecca and kill Abdullah ibn Zubayr the rival caliph, after desecrating the holy Ka'ba.

583 solar years ago, on this day in 1435 AD, the Xuande Emperor of China died at the age of 37 after a 10-year long reign. Named Zhu Zhanji, he was the fifth emperor of the Ming dynasty. An accomplished painter, particularly skilled at painting animals; some of his art works are preserved in the National Palace Museum. He was also fond of poetry and literature. His era name "Xuande" means "Proclamation of Virtue". In 1430-31, he permitted his Muslim admiral of Iranian origin, Zheng He, to lead the seventh and last maritime expedition. Zheng, who was great-great-great-grandson of Seyyed Ajjal Shams od-Din – a Persian from Bukhara who served the Mongol Empire and was the Governor of Yunnan, had launched his first expedition in 1405 (18 years before Henry the Navigator began Portugal's voyages of discovery). He journeyed to the major trade centers of Asia – as far as Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, and Malindi in north-eastern Africa.

457 solar years ago, on this day in 1561 AD, the famous general and statesman, Bairam Khan, who served three of the Moghal Emperors of the northern Subcontinent, was martyred in Gujarat by Mubarak Khan Lohani at the age of 61 while proceeding on Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. He had helped Zaheer od-Din Babar conquer northern India, assisted Naseer od-Din Humayun in retaking his Indian kingdom with Iranian help, and consolidated Jalal od-Din Akbar’s rule. A Baharlu Turk of the larger Qara Quyunlu tribe that once ruled Iran and Iraq (until 1468), Bairam was born in Badakhshan (in present day Afghanistan), and like his father joined the service of the Timurid prince, Babar, who was a protégé of Shah Ismail I, the Founder of the Safavid Empire. He played an active role in Babar's conquest of India, and served Humayun as Mohrdar (keeper of the seals), taking part in military campaigns in Benares, Bengal and Gujarat. He accompanied Humayun during his exile in Iran, and as a follower of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was influential in persuading Shah Tahmasp to provide help to retake Hindustan. Following Humayun's death in 1556, as regent of the 13-year old Akbar, he consolidated Moghal rule in northern India and most notably won the Second Battle of Panipat against a Afghan-Hindu alliance. Bairam Khan has left a divan of Persian and Chaghatay Turkic poetry, which includes qasidas in praise of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) and Imam Reza (AS). His son Abdur-Rahim Khan-e Khanaan was a prominent scholar and official at Akbar's court.

168 solar years ago, on this day in 1850 AD, the biggest uprising of Chinese people, known as the “Taiping Rebellion”, commenced as a consequence of the extreme poverty of villagers due to foreign rule over China. It resulted in a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by Christian convert Hong Xiuquan against the Qing Dynasty. About 20 million people died, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history. Hong, who claimed to be a brother of Prophet Jesus, set up what he called the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom with its capital at Nanjing. The new militaristic regime instituted several changes, including abolition of foot binding, land socialization and common property, suppression of private trade, and the replacement of Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion by a form of Christianity. The rebellion was eventually crushed with the help of the British and French. In the 20th century, Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, looked on the Taiping Uprising as an inspiration, while Chinese communist leader, Mao Zedong, glorified the Taiping rebels as early heroic revolutionaries against a corrupt feudal system.

161 lunar years ago, on this day in 1278 AH, the acclaimed Muslim scholar and literary figure, Mirza Fazl Ali Iravani, popularly known as “Safa” was born in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz. He mastered the exegesis of Holy Qur'an, philosophy, and mathematics. Later, after completion of his studies at the Islamic seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq, he attained the status of Ijtehad. During the Constitutional Movement in Iran, he joined the freedom-seekers and was persecuted and tortured by the Qajarid regime. In addition to his vast scientific knowledge, he maintained a unique taste in writing poems, in both Persian and Arabic. He authored numerous books, including “Hada’eq al-Arefin”, and “Mesbah al-Hoda”.

118 solar years ago, on this day in 1900 AD, Malaysian freedom fighter, Datu Muhammad Saleh was assassinated in Kampung Teboh, Tambunan, ending what is known as the Mat Saleh Rebellion, which was a series of major armed encounters against the British in North Borneo, now the Malaysian state of Sabah. Datu Muhammad Saleh, who was a local chief from the Lingkabo district and Sugut River, led the freedom-fighters from 1894 until his death. The resistance then continued for another 5 years until 1905. Saleh’s uprising was widely supported by the local communities and affected a large geographical area from Sandakan, across Gaya Island, including the interior, especially Tambunan. His most notable uprising occurred at midnight on 9 July 1897, when he led his followers to successfully attack a major colonial settlement on Gaya Island.

103 solar years ago, on this day in 1915 AD, during World War I, Germany became the first country to make large-scale use of poison gas in warfare in the Battle of Bolimów against Russia.

92 solar years ago, on this day in 1926 AD, the Nahzat ul-Ulama (NU) was established by Wahab Chasbullah with support from Hasyim Asyari, the most respected Muslim scholar in East Java. By 2010 NU was one of the largest independent Islamic organizations in the world.

39 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, the demoralized forces of the Shah’s regime staged a parade in the streets of Tehran in a futile bid to scare the Iranian Muslim nation. To the horror of the generals, during the parade, many of the soldiers joined the masses and expressed solidarity with the Islamic Movement against the despotic British-installed and US-supported Pahlavi regime. At the same time, news agencies announced that the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) would be leaving Paris at 3:30 a.m. local time on February 1, and arriving in Tehran at 9:30 a.m. On hearing this, people poured into the streets to prepare a glorious welcome home to their beloved leader.

5 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, Dr. Hassan Ibrahim Habibi, Iranian revolutionary politician, lawyer, scholar, head of Academy of Persian Language and Literature, and the First Vice President for 13 years (1989-2001), passed away in Tehran at the age of 76. He held a PhD in law and sociology. While he was a university student in Paris he visited the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), during the latter’s brief stay in a village near Paris, and was tasked to draft the prospective constitution of Iran. After victory of the Iranian revolution, Habibi was named public spokesman for the revolutionary council. He was elected to the Majlis, and later served as the minister of justice. He was also head of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, in addition to being a member of the State Expediency Council. Among his books are: “God” (1981), “Society, Culture, Politics” (1984), “Islam and the Crisis of Our Time” (1984).