This Day in History (19-11-1396)
Today is Thursday; 19th of the Iranian month of Bahman 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 21st of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1439 lunar hijri; and February 8, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1136 solar years ago, on this day in 882 AD, Mohammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid, the Founder of the Ikhshidid Dynasty of Egypt, was born in Baghdad in a Turkic family. His grandfather Juff ibn Yitakin was from the Farghana Valley region of Central Asia, where he was bought as a slave-soldier to serve the Abbasid regime in Samarra, Iraq. Mohammad spent a great part of his youth in the Levant, where his father Tughj served as governor to the dynasty founded by Ahmad ibn Tulun – son of a the fellow Turkic slave-soldier, Tulun. Here, at his father's side, he gained valuable experiences in war and administration – serving Tughj as sub-governor of Tiberias in Palestine. After years of fluctuating fortunes he established himself as a senior official in Egypt and his position in the Abbasid court helped his recognition as governor of Egypt and southern parts of Syria in 935. In 938, he asked the caliph in Baghdad to grant him the honorific title of “Ikhshid”, held originally by the Iranian kings of his ancestral homeland Farghana. He died in 946 and the dynasty set up by him collapsed in 969 with the Fatemid conquest of Egypt.
1119 lunar years ago, on this day in 320 AH, acclaimed Muslim physician, philosopher, and geographer, Ahmad ibn Ja'far ibn al-Jazzar al-Qayrawani, was born in Qayrawan in what is now Tunisia during the rule of Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite Muslim dynasty of North Africa. Known to medieval Europe by his Latinized name Algizar. He authored several books on grammar, history, jurisprudence, medicine, prosody, etc. His book on medicine titled “Zaad al-Musafer”, was translated as “The Viaticum” in Latin, and later translated into Greek and Hebrew. It was copied, recopied, and printed in France and Italy till the sixteenth century, and was used in Europe as a medical education text, along with “al-Qanoun fi't-Tibb” (The Canon of Medicine) of the famous Iranian Islamic genius, Abu Ali ibn Sina. Ibn al-Jazzar also wrote a book on sleep disorders and another one on forgetfulness and how to strengthen memory, titled “Kitab an-Nisyaan wa-Ṭuruq Taqwiyat az-Zakira”. He also wrote books on pediatrics, sexual disorders, leprosy, therapeutics and animals.
829 lunar years ago, on this day in 610 AH, Mu'tazzalite literary figure and lexicographer, Burhan od-Din Nasser bin Abdus-Seyyed Matrazi, passed away at the age of 74 in his homeland Khwarazem in Central Asia which was part of Iran. He is known as successor to the famous Iranian exegete of the Holy Qur'an, hadith scholar, and lexicographer, Jarallah Zamakhshari, who passed away in the year that Matrazi was born. His famous book on lexicography is titled “al-Maghreb fi Lughat al-Fiqh”. He wrote numerous other books including a commentary on the Arabic literary masterpiece “Maqamaat Hariri”.
768 solar years ago, on this day in 1250 AD, the Seventh Crusade of a strong European Christian force led by Louis IX, King of France, after invading Egypt in June 1249 and occupying the port city of Damietta, clashed at al-Mansurah with the Ayyubid forces led by Amir Fakhr od-Din Yusuf, and the Turkic Mamluk (slave) generals, Farres od-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Bunduqdari, resulting in a resounding victory three days later for the Muslim defenders. The goals of the Crusaders were to destroy the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria and capture Bayt al-Moqaddas. Encouraged by the news of the death of the Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub the Crusaders began their march towards Cairo. Shajar ad-Durr, the Turkic widow of the dead Kurdish Sultan of Egypt concealed the news for a while until Turanshah, the son and heir of the deceased, would come and lead the army. The rest is history. The invaders suffered a resounding defeat as some thirty thousand French and other European soldiers fell on the battlefield while thousands more were taken prisoners, along with King Louis who was captured in the nearby village of Moniat Abdullah (now Meniat an-Nasr), while trying to escape. He was chained and confined in the house of Ibrahim Ibn Loqman, while his brothers, Charles d'Anjou and Alphonse de Poitiers, were made prisoners, and carried to the same house with other French nobles. A camp was set up outside the town to shelter the rest of the prisoners. Louis was ransomed for 400,000 dinars. After pledging not to return to Egypt, the French king surrendered Damietta and left with his brothers and 12,000 war prisoners whom the Egyptian Muslims agreed to release. The Battle of Mansurah became a source of inspiration for Muslim writers and poets. One poem ended with the following verses: "If they (the Franks) decide to return to take revenge or to commit a wicked deed, tell them: The house of Ibn Loqman is intact, the chains still there as well as the eunuch Sobih".
753 solar years ago, on this day in 1265 AD, Hulagu Khan, the founder of the Ilkhanid Mongol Dynasty of Iran-Iraq, and parts of Syria, Turkey, Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, died at the age of 47 after a rule of 9 years that saw his bloodthirsty Buddhist armies massacre over a million Muslims in Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Grandson of the savage Mongol marauder, Genghis Khan, in 1255 he was sent by his elder brother, Mongke the Great Khan, to destroy the remaining Muslim states in southwestern Asia. Hulagu led the largest ever army assembled, to brutally subjugate the whole of Iran including the impregnable fortress of Alamout. In 1258 he ended the Abbasid caliphate by sacking Baghdad and killing an estimated million men, women, and children, in addition to destroying mosques, libraries, hospitals, and palaces. In 1260 his armies captured Aleppo and Damascus in Syria to end the Ayyubid dynasty, and marched towards Egypt, but were decisively defeated in Palestine by the Mamluk Sultan at the historic Battle of Ayn Jalout. Hulagu was recalled to Mongolia on his brother, Mongke’s death, and on his return to Iran in 1262 after another of his brothers, the famous Kublai, was installed as the Great Khan, he was embroiled in civil war with his cousin, Berke Khan of the Golden Horde Khanate of Eurasia. Berke, who had become a Muslim, decisively defeated him in the Caucasus to avenge the destruction of Islamic lands. Hulagu died in his capital Maragha, and was buried on Shahi Island in Lake Oroumiyeh in a funeral that featured human sacrifice. One of his sons, Tekudar, converted to Islam, took the name of Ahmad, and ruled for two years from 1282 to 1284, before being killed by the Buddhist ruling elite. This did not stop the Ilkhanid dynasty from becoming Muslim and fully Persianized with the ascension in 1295 of Hulagu’s great-grandson, Mahmoud Ghazaan Khan.
331 solar years ago, on this day in 1687 AD, Moghal Emperor, Aurangzeb, after occupying the city of Haiderabad, laid siege to the impregnable Golkandah fortress, the capital of the Qutb Shahi Sultanate of Iranian origin. For over seven months the siege dragged on, with the Moghals being exhausted as a result of casualties suffered from the regular sorties launched by the defenders. The crafty Aurangzeb (who had imprisoned his own father and killed his brothers and nephews) bribed an Afghan commander named Abdullah Khan Panni to open in the night a door of the fortress, through which the Moghals entered and overcame the surprised defenders. It was through treachery that the 170-year long rule of the Qutb Shahis of Qara Qoyonlu origin from Hamedan in western Iran, ended in the Deccan. The last sultan, Abu’l-Hassan Tana Shah, was taken prisoner and confined to Daulatabad Fort until death. The Qutb Shahi sultans, who maintained cordial relations with Iran and considered the Safavids as emperors, were great patrons of Persian art, architecture, literature, medicine, astronomy and religious sciences. Many prominent Iranians from all walks of life settled in Haiderabad and richly contributed to the flowering of civilization.
293 solar years ago, on this day in 1725 AD, Peter the Great, the 5th ruler of the Romanov Dynasty who expanded the Tsardom of Russia into the Russian Empire, and crowned himself the first emperor, died at the age of 53. He succeeded his half-brother Ivan V in 1696, and pursued expansionist policies focused on access to the warm waters of the Black Sea, which brought him into conflict with the Ottoman Empire. He narrowly escaped capture and certain death at the hands of Turkish troops during the Russian defeat in the War of Pruth in 1711 (in present day Moldova), by bribing Grand Vizier Baltaji Mohammad Pasha with the crown jewels to allow retreat, at the suggestion of his mistress Catherine, whom he married the next year and made her empress for saving his life and the Russian Empire. Peter then brutally attacked and seized the Muslim Khanate of Crimea and occupied the lands of the Bashkir Muslims as well as the Muslim Khanate of Astrakhan on the northern shores of the Caspian Sea. He also pursued expansionist policies westwards in Europe that brought him into conflict with Poland and Sweden. Peter the Great was a violent and ruthless person, who killed his own sole son Alexei on suspicion of plotting against him. During his reign the life, assets, and dignity of people were exposed to his aggression.
190 solar years ago, on this day in 1828 AD, Jules Verne, French author and poet, best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction, was born in the Atlantic seaport of Nantes. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages Extraordinaires, a widely popular series of 54 adventure novels including “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, and “Around the World in Eighty Days”. He died in 1905.
114 solar years ago, on this day in 1904 AD, Russo-Japanese war broke out on the refusal of the militarized Meiji regime in Tokyo to negotiate with the declining power of the Tsars in Moscow. The major theatres of operations were the Japanese occupied Chinese territories of southern Manchuria, specifically the area around the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden; and the seas around Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea. The Russians were poorly organized and the Japanese defeated them in a series of battles on land and at sea. The war that ended in September 1905 with the mediation of Western powers, resulted in combined casualties of 150,000, with the Japanese losing 80,000 and the Russians 70,000. In addition there were over 20,000 Chinese deaths. In its aftermath, Japan occupied the Korean Peninsula by paying scant regard to any terms, treaties, or international obligations. The crafty British aided the Japanese against the Russians by passing on to them strategic intelligence information.
55 solar years ago, on this day in 1963 AD, Colonel Abdus-Salaam A'ref, with the help of Ba'thist army officers, seized power in Iraq as president, after bombarding the residence of President Abdul-Karim Qasim and killing him. Three years later in 1966, he was killed in a plane crash while returning to Baghdad from Basra, where in a speech broadcast on radio he had indulged in blasphemous demagoguery by questioning the famous sermon of the Prophet's First Infallible Heir, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) concerning the fickleness of faith of the Iraqi people.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, millions of people all over Iran staged rallies in support of the provisional government announced by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). Later in the day, air force officers, clad in their uniforms, assembled before the Imam to pledge allegiance. Imam Khomeini said in a famous statement: "Till now you had been in the service of the wayward, but have now returned to the way of the holy Qur'an. May the holy Qur'an be your Guardian and Protector, and hopefully, with your support the people of Iran will succeed in forming the government of Islamic justice." The remnants of the Shah's regime were frightened at this development. In view of the importance of this event, every year, air force personnel assemble this day before the Leader of the Islamic Revolution to renew their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic Revolution. The day is designated Air Force Day.
12 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Iranian newspaper “Hamshahri” announced that it would hold a competition for cartoons on the alleged Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to this doubtful incidence, as it did to the insulting caricatures it attributed to the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).