This Day in History (13-11-1396)
Today is Friday; 13th of the Iranian month of Bahman 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 15th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1439 lunar hijri; and February 2, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1401 lunar years ago, on this day in 38 AH, according to a narration, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), was born in Medina. He was 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). His parents were the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS) and Princess Shahrbano of Iran. Another version considers the 5th Sha'ban of his birthday. During his 34-year Imamate (divinely-decreed leadership), he built from shreds the tattered fabric of the Islamic society. He was martyred through poisoning at the age of 57 by the Omayyad caliph Waleed bin Abdul-Malik. Among the immortal legacy of the 4th Imam is the prayer manual “Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya” (known as Psalms of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt) and the “Risalat al-Hoqouq” (Treatise of Rights), which is more perfect than the UN Charter of Human Rights.
1399 lunar years ago, on this day in 38 AH, governor of Egypt, Mohammad bin Abu Bakr, who was one of the loyal disciples of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), was martyred by the Godless Omayyad invader Amr bin Aas. His grave is in Cairo. The crafty Omayyad ruler, Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan also martyred through poisoning, the new governor of Egypt, the famous Malek Ashtar while he was on his way to take up his post. The epistle of Imam Ali (AS) to Malek Ashtar is regarded till this day as the finest treatise on social justice for the masses.
1343 lunar years ago, on this day in 96 AH, Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, the 6th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime, died in Damascus at the age of 47 after a 10-year reign, during which Arab armies conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the West and penetrated deeper into Central Asia and India, in addition to gaining territory against the Byzantines in Anatolia (modern day Turkey). He gave free rein to the tyrant Hajjaj Thaqafi, his governor of Iraq, to terrorize the people of Khorasan, Sindh and Transoxiana. Walid discouraged the conquered people to become Muslims since this would deprive him of collecting jizya (protection tax) to fill up his coffers. Fearful of the influence of the Persian language in the east and of the Coptic language in Egypt, he forbade the use of any other language except Arabic. In violation of the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an, he promoted obscene music, singing and dancing. Walid I has earned lasting notoriety for martyring through poison, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the great grandson and 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
1153 solar years ago, on this day in 865 AD, The Battle of Morcuera in Spain saw the Muslims led by Mohammad I, the Emir of Cordoba, defeat the Christian forces of Castile and Asturias under Rodrigo of Castile. The historian Ahmad Ibn Mohammad Ibn al-Edhari has given a detailed account of the battle in “al-Bayan al-Mughrib fI Akhbar Mulouk al-Andalus wa'l-Maghreb” (or ‘Amazing Story of the History of the Kings of Spain and Western North Africa’). This book is regarded by modern researchers as containing valuable information not found elsewhere, including excerpts from older works now lost, and has been translated into European languages.
810 solar years ago, on this day in 1208 AD, notorious anti-Muslim King James I of Aragon was born. He occupied the prosperous Spanish Muslim Ta'efa of Valencia (Arabic Balansiya), through treachery, granting asylum to its deposed ruler, the apostate Zayd Abu Zayd, who adopted the Christian name Vicente Bellvis, married a Christian woman, and betrayed the Muslims. The Siege of Burriana in 1233 and the Battle of the Puig in 1237 launched by James were resisted by Zayyan ibn Mardanish of Valencia, who was overpowered in 1238, thereby ending over five centuries of glorious Muslim rule over this region on Spain’s eastern coast. James next attacked and occupied the Muslim-ruled Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, exterminating the local Spanish Muslim population and settling Christian Catalans in their place.
792 lunar years ago, on this day in 647 AH, prominent scholar, Taqi od-Din Hassan ibn Ali ibn Daoud al-Hilli was born in Hillah in southern Iraq. A student of the famous Seyyed Jamal od-Din Ahmad Ibn Tawous, he was an authority on several branches of Islamic sciences. He lived a fruitful life of 93 years, grooming scholars and authoring books, the most famous of which is “ar-Rijaal” on the biographical evaluation of hadith narrators.
560 solar years ago, on this day in 1448 AD, the hadith scholar, poet, and historian, Shahab od-Din Ahmad ibn Ali Ibn Hajar Asqalani, passed away at the age of 76 in his hometown Cairo, and his funeral was attended by an estimated 50,000 people including the Mamluk Sultan. He had memorized the Holy Qur'an at the age of ten and thereafter traveled to different lands to acquire different sciences. A prolific writer, he compiled some 150 books and treatises on various topics including the God-given merits of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
524 solar years ago, on this day in 1494 AD, Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who was commissioned by Christian Spain to explore the Atlantic Ocean and with the help of Spanish Muslim seafarers reached the Caribbean islands near the Americas, attacked the peaceful natives, took many of them captives and enslaved them, thus starting the sordid practice of slavery in the New World, where soon hundreds of thousands of black-skinned Africans were forcibly brought to work as slaves.
482 solar years ago, on this day in 1536 AD, the Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded on the western shore of the estuary of Río de la Plata, by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain, who killed and drove away the Querandies tribal people from their lands, despite the fact that they had provided the Spanish invaders with food and provisions.
387 lunar years ago, on this day in 1052 AH, the prominent scholar, Seyyed Sadr od-Din Ali al-Hussaini, popular as Ibn Ma’soum al-Madani and Seyyed Ali Khan Shirazi, was born in Medina in a scholarly Iranian Dashtaki family. While he was a child, his father Seyyed Ahmad Nizam od-Din – the nephew (sister’s son) of the Safavid emperor of Iran, Shah Abbas I – migrated to the court of the Qotb Shahi dynasty of Iranian origin of the Deccan (southern India), where he married the daughter of the king, Sultan Abdullah Qotb Shah, and was considered the heir-apparent. When Sadr od-din was fourteen years old, he was called to the Deccan by his father and settled in Golknadah-Haiderabad, where in addition to his father, he studied under prominent ulema such as Mohammad bin Ali ash-Shami al-Ameli and Sheikh Ja’far bin Kamal od-Din Bahrani. He soon mastered various branches of sciences, including Arabic and Persian literature. He started writing books and established his own scholarly reputation. With the death of Abdullah Qotb Shah, however, the fortunes of the family fell, when the minister, Seyyed Mozaffar Mazandarani, imprisoned Seyyed Ahmad Nizam od-Din, and placed on the throne Abu’l-Hassan Tana Shah – another son-in-law of the late king. Seyyed Sadr od-Din was also placed under house arrest, but with the death of his father in imprisonment, as well as the sudden death of his own 18-year old son, he sensed danger to his life and planned a successful escape. Immediately he moved to Burhanpur to the court of the Moghal Emperor Mohammad Aurangzeb, who welcomed him, conferred on him the title of ‘Khan’ and placed him in charge of the administration of Lahore in what is now Pakistan. Despite his administrative duties, he continued to write books, and in 1113 AH, after almost fifty years of stay in India, returned to his homeland Hijaz for performing the Hajj and pilgrimage to the shrines of the Prophet and the Infallible Imams. He then went to Iraq for pilgrimage to the holy shrines, and after travelling to Khorasan to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad, he visited the Safavid capital Isfahan, where he was accorded a warm welcome by Shah Sultan Hussain and the leading scholars of Iran. Seyyed Sadr od-Din finally settled in the city of his ancestors, Shiraz, where he passed away in 1120 AH and was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Seyyed Ahmad Shah Cheragh (AS). He trained many scholars and wrote several books, such as the 5-volume “Riyadh as-Salikin”, which is a commentary on “Sahifat-as-Sajjadiyah”, the famous collection of the supplications of the Prophet’s 4th Infallible Heir, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS). His other works include a diwan of Arabic poetry, his travelogue titled “Rehla Ibn Ma’soum”, the prayer manual “Kalemat-at-Tayyeb”, and biography of poets “Salafat-al-Asr”.
209 lunar years ago, on this day in 1230 AH, Grand Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Shirazi, was born in Shiraz. He travelled to Iraq to study at the famous seminary of holy Najaf, where he mastered various branches of Islamic sciences under such great scholars as Ayatollah Sheikh Morteza Ansari Dezfuli. In his later years he moved to the holy city of Samarra, where he established the Islamic seminary and from where he issued his historic fatwa against tobacco consumption in Iran in order to save the Iranian economy from exploitation by the British colonialists. He initially sent telegrams to Naser od-Din Shah Qajar in Tehran to cancel the contract with the British, but when the Iranian king who had personally granted a 50-year contract to Major Talbot, failed to heed the warnings, Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi had no other choice but issue a Fatwa prohibiting use of tobacco, with the words: “Any use of tobacco from now onwards would be considered war against the Lord of the Age, Imam Mahdi (AS) – the 12th and Last Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).” Immediately, the people of Iran obeyed the edict, and throughout the country refrained from buying, selling and using tobacco. The ban even spread to the royal palace, where the queen ordered the breaking of all tobacco pipes and the traditional huqqas. When Naser od-Din Shah asked her, on whose orders she had done such a thing, she promptly replied: “On the orders of the person who has legalized husband-and-wife relations between me and you.” The Shah had no other choice but to cancel the tobacco concession.
This erudite scholar who passed away in Samarra at the age of 84 and was laid to rest in Najaf, also championed the rights of Shi’a Muslims in Afghanistan, and sent missionaries to India, Kashmir, the Caucasus, and other parts of the Muslim World. He trained a great number of scholars such as the Ayatollahs Sheikh Fazlollah Noori, Mirza Husain Noori Tabarsi, Ismail as-Sadr, Mohammad Hussain Na’ini, Mohammed Kazem Yazdi, Abdul-Karim Ha'eri Yazdi (Reviver of the Qom Seminary), and Mirza Mohammad Taqi Golshani Shirazi (leader of Iraq’s 1920 revolution against Britain).
170 solar years ago, on this day in 1848 AD, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was imposed on Mexico by the expansionist US, thereby ending the war and forcing it to cede a huge portion of what is today the American West and Southwest, including California and New Mexico.
138 lunar years ago, on this day in 1301 AH, first edition of the newsletter, “al-Urwat al-Wusqa” was published in Paris, under management of Iran's pan-Islamic activist Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi and Egypt's Shaikh Mohammad Abduh. In order to foster Islamic unity, it was distributed in Europe, India, Egypt, Iran, and other places. It was banned under the political pressure of Britain and other colonial powers.
136 solar years ago, on this day in 1882 AD, Irish novelist and poet, James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, was born in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. In 1904, in his early twenties, after finishing college, Joyce emigrated permanently to continental Europe and lived in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, he contributed to the modernist avant-garde in English, and is regarded as one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century. He is best known for “Ulysses”, which he wrote in 1922 – a landmark work in which the episodes of the ancient Greek historian Homer's “Odyssey” are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles. Other well-known works are the short-story collection “Dubliners” and the novels “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and “Finnegans Wake”. His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism and his published letters. He died in Zurich on 13 January 1941.
111 solar years ago, on this day in 1907 AD, Russian scientist and chemist, Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev, died in Saint Petersburg, at the age of 73. An important outcome of his researches was regulation of the Periodic Table, which enlisted the existing chemical elements on Earth. This table is still used by the world’s chemists.
72 solar years ago, on this day in 1946 AD, a press conference was held at the US University of Pennsylvania for what is considered the first computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC). The machine took up an entire room, weighed 30 tons and used more than 18,000 vacuum tubes to perform functions such as counting to 5,000 in one second. ENIAC was designed by the US Army during World War II to make artillery calculations. It paved the way for modern computer.
48 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, British mathematician, and philosopher, Bertrand Russell, died at the age of 98. He was from Wales, and in 1910 with Alfred Whitehead, he co-authored “Principia Mathematica”. Russell is regarded as one of the important logicians of the 20th century. He was active in social and political campaigns, and advocated pacifism and nuclear disarmament. In 1950 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The Late Iranian philosopher Allamah Mohammad Taqi Ja’fari held lively discussions with Bertrand Russell through correspondence, opening up for the latter many concepts unknown to him.
47 solar years ago, on this day in 1971 AD, the “Ramsar Convention” on wetlands of international importance, especially waterfowl habitat, was adopted by participating countries at a meeting in the Iranian city of Ramsar in Mazandaran Province on the Caspian Sea. It recognizes the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. Known as Ramsar Sites, wetlands of international importance number over 2,000 sites, covering over 200 million hectares worldwide. Iran has ten of its wetlands registered on this list with a total area of 1.5 million hectares. Presently 168 countries are members of the Ramsar Convention. They meet every three years in a member state.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, the US and its surrogate, the illegal Zionist entity, expressed discontent at the historical remarks against Washington’s meddlesome policies in Iran at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery the day before by the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). Israel was aghast at Imam Khomeini’s return to Iran from 15 years of exile, in view of his firm support for the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people. Meanwhile, masses of enthusiastic people flocked to the place of residence of the Imam at Alawi High School in Tehran to catch his glimpse and if possible, to meet him. The Beloved Leader delivered a keynote public speech, saying that monarchic rule was against wisdom and human rights, and that every nation has the right to take its destiny into its own hands.
5 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, Dr. Mohammad Reza Baba Mokhayyar, Father of Veterinary Medicine in Iran, passed away at the age of 71. Born in Ardabil, northwestern Iran, after graduation in veterinary sciences from Tehran University, he left for France where he did his post-graduation in Oceanology from Paris University. On his return to Iran, he became Professor of Fishery Diseases at Tehran University. Among works written by him mention could be made of “Pisciculture and Fish Diseases, “Fishes of the Persian Gulf”, and “Agriculture and Natural Resources”.
5 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran unveiled its newest radar-evading combat jet, the Qaher F-313, which means “victorious”.