This Day in History (03-06-1397)
Today is Saturday; 3rd of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 13th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and August 25, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1693 solar years ago, on this day in 325 AD, the controversial Council of Nicaea (modern day Iznik in Turkey), convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I to remove all traces of monotheism from the teachings of Prophet Jesus (AS) and to impose upon the empire the creed of Christianity coined by Paul the Hellenized Jew, ended with formal adoption of the polytheist concept of Trinity which splits God into three entities – Godfather, Godson, and Holy Spirit. The Council ruled all other forms of Christianity, such as Arianism, Adoptionism, and Sabellianism, as heretical and liable to persecution. In violation of the natural human desire to have lawful and healthy relationship with the opposite gender, it also imposed celibacy upon priests. The few monotheist followers of Prophet Jesus took to remote areas of West Asia as hermits, to await the advent of the Last and Greatest Messenger of God, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and progeny), foretold by the Virgin-born Messiah and the previously revealed heavenly scriptures, as the descendant of Prophet Abraham’s firstborn son, Prophet Ishmael.
1440 lunar years ago, on this day in the year preceding the hijrah, or the historical migration to Medina of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), the Second Pledge of Aqaba took place, when a group of Muslims from Medina and other places came to Mecca to reaffirm their allegiance to Islam. This was follow up to the First Pledge of Aqaba that had ended the long feud between the Ows and Khazraj tribes, through the mediation of the Prophet, thus winning fresh adherents to Islam. After the Second Pledge of Aqaba, the people of Medina invited the Prophet to come to their city. The Prophet's migration, on divine command, a year later, was a turning point in human history and opened a new chapter in the spread of Islam.
1063 lunar years ago, on this day in 376 AH, the Muslim mathematician Ali ibn Ahmad Antaki, passed away. He was born in the Syrian city of Antakya (formerly Antioch and under Turkey’s occupation since 1937), and later took up residence in Baghdad to learn sciences. Among the books written by him is "al-Mawazin al-Aadadiyah".
923 solar years ago, on this day in 1095 AD, the first batch of European invaders landed in Syria to start the brutal Crusader wars against Muslims. They occupied Antioch (handed over to Turkey in 1937 by the French occupiers despite the Syrian people's protests). Using Antioch as a base, they took advantage of the disunity and weakness of Muslim rulers, to advance towards Tripoli in what is now Lebanon. It seems that neither the Seljuq Sunni Turks who were dominant in Syria, nor the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’a dynasty of Egypt-North Africa that controlled Bayt al-Moqaddas, were able to properly assess the intricate plots of the crusaders. They dismissed them as ragtag Byzantine mercenaries. This underestimation of the evil plots of the enemy, coupled with the lethargy of Muslim rulers, enabled the European invaders to attack and occupy the coastal belt of Syria, before advancing upon the Islamic city of Bayt al-Moqaddas, which fell in 1099 AD, and where Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, as well as Arab Christians were massacred. Some 70,000 men, women and children made up of Arabs, Turks, and Iranians, were slaughtered by the Crusaders. After 88 years of occupation, Bayt al-Moqaddas was liberated in 1188 by the Kurdish ruler, Salah od-Din Ayyoubi who led an army of Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Iranians to end the illegal existence of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Crusaders were finally expelled from Palestine by 1270 AD.
488 solar years ago, on this day in 1530 AD, Ivan the Terrible, the first Tsar of Russia, was born in Moscow. At the age of 3, following his father’s death, he was proclaimed Prince Ivan IV of Moscow, with his mother as regent. In 1547, he crowned himself Tsar of Russia – the first Russian ruler to assume the title. He next launched brutal attacks to conquer the Muslim Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and later Siberia, thereby transforming the expanding Christian Russian Empire into a multiethnic and multi-confessional state. In 1552 AD, Kazan, the capital of Tataristan, was occupied after a long siege by Ivan the Terrible, who massacred as many as 110,000 Tartar Muslims and forcibly converted to Christianity many others, after destroying mosques or turning them into churches. His anti-Muslim policies brought retaliation from a joint army of Crimean Tatars and Ottoman Turks that attacked Moscow in 1571 and set it on fire, resulting in 80,000 casualties. The next year, Ivan managed to defeat another Tatar-Ottoman invasion around Moscow in the Battle of Molodi. He then turned attention to the region beyond the Ural Mountains in the east, and through military expeditions, treachery and deceit, took control of vast tracts of Siberia from its Muslim Khans, and styled himself Tsar of Siberia in 1580. In a fit of rage in 1581 he killed his own son Prince Ivan. In 1584, Ivan died at the age of 54.
388 solar years ago, on this day in 1630 AD, Portuguese forces were defeated by the Kingdom of Kandy in the Battle of Randeniwela in Sri Lanka, during the Sinhalese-Portuguese War. It was fought by Prince Mahastana (later King Rajasimha II), against the Portuguese forces commanded by Constantino de Sa de Noronha. It was fought near Wellawaya, a place close to the town of Badulla.
242 solar years ago, on this day in 1776 AD, David Hume, Scottish economist, historian, and philosopher, died at the age of 65 in his hometown, Edinburgh. He is known for his highly controversial system of radical philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism.
199 solar years ago, on this day in 1819 AD, James Watt, Scottish-English engineer, died at the age of 83. He discovered steam power, which led to a revolution in industry, especially in the land and sea transportation network. Steam ships and locomotives were the result of his discoveries.
193 solar years ago, on this day in 1825 AD, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil. Uruguay was under the domination of the Portuguese and Spanish colonialists since its occupation by Europeans in 1516. As a result of uprisings that started in 1810 and lasted till 1814, it gained relative independence. In 1820 Brazil occupied it. Five years later, at the peak of the independence-seeking movements in Latin America, Uruguay gained complete independence.
151 solar years ago, on this day in 1867 AD, British physicist, Michael Faraday, died at the age of 76. He initially worked in a bookshop, where he studied scientific works. A few years later, he became a laboratory assistant to the physicist, Humphrey Davy at the Royal Institution. His most important work was in electromagnetism, in which field he demonstrated electromagnetic rotation and discovered electromagnetic induction (the key to the development of the electric dynamo and motor). With this discovery in 1831, a huge step was taken in the scientific field. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. He made valuable experiments in the fields of chemistry, metallurgy, and development of electrical lamps. One of the important rules of physics, the SI unit of capacitance is named in his honour: the farad. He was one of the first scientists who managed to liquefy many gases, including chlorine.
118 solar years ago, on this day in 1900 AD, controversial German philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, died in Weimar, Germany at the age of 55 after having lost his mental balance in the last years of his life. He was an agnostic and did not believe in ethical principles. He was unable to grasp facts and realities. His idea of a perfect person is the one that is devoid of the concept of good and evil.
104 solar years ago, on this day in 1914 AD, during World War I, the library of the Catholic University of Leuven was deliberately destroyed by the German Army, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable volumes and Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts.
102 lunar years ago, on this day in 1356 AH, the Islamic scholar and revolutionary, Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Taqi Golshan Ha’eri Shirazi, passed away in the holy city of Karbala in Iraq at the age of 80 during the height of the struggle against British domination of the country, and is believed to have been martyred through poisoning by colonialist agents. Born in Shiraz, he migrated to Iraq as a 12-year old, with his father and after studies at the Najaf seminary reached the status of Ijtihad. He was one of the best students of Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Shirazi, who issued the famous fatwa against tobacco consumption in order to save Iranian economy against exploitation by the British colonialists. Mirza Mohammad Taqi Shirazi opposed British meddling in the affairs of Iraq and mobilized the Iraqi people in the southern parts of the country to inflict a military defeat on the British occupation army. He authored several books.
49 lunar years ago, on this day in 1389 AH Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Mohsin, popular as Aqa Bozorg Tehrani, passed away in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, at the age of 96. His father Haji Ali was active in the tobacco boycott campaign of 1891 and later wrote a book on the history of the movement to thwart British exploitation of Iran’s economy, thanks to the historic fatwa of Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi. After preliminary education in his hometown Tehran, at the age of 26 Mohammad Mohsin migrated for higher studies to Najaf, and spent the rest of his life in Iraq, with the exception of four brief return visits to Iran and two short journeys to Syria, Egypt, and the Hejaz – for the Hajj pilgrimage. Among his teachers were Akhund Mullah Mohammad Kazem Ḵhorasani, Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Yazdi, Sheikh ash-Shari’a Isfahani and Mohaddith Mirza Hussain Noori. In turn he groomed several outstanding ulema including Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hussaini Sistani – the current marja’ in Najaf. At the age of 40, he went to Samarra to join the circle of the revolutionary scholar Mirza Mohammad-Taqi Golshan Shirazi. During his 24-year stay in this city, before returning to Najaf, he conceived, and began to execute, the plan of a comprehensive bibliographical survey of all classes of literature produced by Shi’a Muslim authors. His original intention was to refute a statement by the Christian Arab litterateur, Jorji Zaydan, belittling the Shi’a contribution to Arabic literature. However, the masterpiece that Aqa Bozorg produced in almost 30 volumes, titled “az-Zari’a ila Tasaneef ash-Shi’a”, became a major contribution to Islamic scholarship. In this encyclopedic work, the titles of all books written by Shi’a authors are listed alphabetically, together with a brief indication of authorship and content, as well as place and date of publication in the case of printed works, and location in the case of manuscripts. He also compiled a biographical encyclopedia of Shi’a Muslim scholars as a companion to “az-Zari’a”, titled “Tabaqaat A’laam ash-Shi’a”, but each section, pertaining to the scholars of a given century, also has a separate title. Aqa Bozorg Tehrani’s influence was not limited to the admiration elicited by his decades of industrious scholarship. He exchanged numerous “ijaazaat” (licenses of transmission) with the scholars of Hadith, both Shi’a and Sunni, whom he met in the course of his travels – a practice he consciously sought to revive as vital to the cultivation of Islamic scholarship. He was also widely regarded for his piety and asceticism: He regularly led congregational prayer at several mosques in Najaf, and on Tuesday afternoons, used to walk from Najaf to Kufa to pray at Masjid Sahla which was the house of Prophet Idris (Enoch) and will be headquarters of the Prophet’s 12th and Last Infallible Heir, Imam Mahdi (AS) during his global government of peace, prosperity and justice.
27 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, Belarus became independent on the collapse of the USSR. After World War I; Belarus was divided between Poland and the Soviet Union. At the end of World War 2 it had come under total Soviet control.
20 solar years ago, on this day in 1998 AD, the scholar Ayatollah Mohammad Jawad Najafi Khomeini passed away at the age of 75. No relation of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), he was born in the city of Khomein (hence his surname), and completed his higher studies in Tehran where he was active in missionary work and writing books. Among the books authored by him is “Tafsir-e Asaan” – an exegesis of the holy Qur’an in Persian, which as suggested by its title is written in simple and easy-to-understand language for the common man. His other works are “Lata’ef as-Salaat” on the spiritual delights of the daily ritual prayers, “Biography of Seyyed Abdul-Azim Hassani”, and “Misbah ash-Shi’a”.
12 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Noor Mohammad Hassan-Ali, the former president of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean Sea died, nine years after serving two 5-year terms. A retired High Court judge, he was the first Indo-Trinidadian to hold the office of President and was the first Muslim head of state in the Americas. He never allowed alcoholic beverages at the President's House.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2008 AD, Iran launched production of a domestically built submarine capable of firing missiles and torpedoes. Two other submarines, which began production in 2005, have been delivered to Iran's navy, as part of self-sufficiency efforts to strengthen the country’s defences.
6 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, Neil Armstrong, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut, who was the first man to land on the Moon, along with Edwin Aldrin, died at the age of 72. In 1969 AD, Apollo XI landed on the Moon’s surface and the two men made history by walking on the Moon. On stepping on the lunar surface, he had proclaimed, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Years later, while on a trip to Egypt, when Armstrong heard the “Adhaan” (Call to Prayer), he was astounded and admitted that this was exactly the tone he had heard on the moon, although he could not understand it then.