This Day in History (04-06-1397)
Today is Sunday; 4th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 14th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and August 26, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
Over 1443 lunar years ago, on the eve of this day, the full moon miraculously split in two as Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) prayed to God and pointed his finger towards the sky, when some pagan Arabs led by Abu Jahl along with a group of Israelites demanded that if he is really the Messenger of God he should make the moon split. The first two ayahs of Surah al-Qamar refer to this fact as follows:
"The Hour has drawn near and the moon is split.
"If they see a sign, they turn away, and say, ‘An incessant magic!"
As is clear from the ayahs, the Arab pagans tried to deny this manifest miracle that was produced on their demand, by calling it magic or sorcery, while the Jew immediately accepted Islam, since he had read in the Torah how God made the sun and the moon stand still for Prophet Joshua the successor of Prophet Moses (peace upon them). According to eyewitness accounts, before rejoining, the two parts of the split moon were clearly seen on the horizon on either side of Mount Noor in Mecca. This miracle is supported by documented evidence from India, where the King of the Malabar region in the south, Chakrawati Farmas also known as Cheraman Perumel, witnessed this strange sight of the moon splitting in the sky, and on learning that the Last Prophet had appeared in the Arabian Peninsula, he made a journey to Mecca and became a Muslim. A scientific proof of this miracle is the deep scar or rift discovered on the Moon and photographed by NASA astronomers in the US which is further proof of such a phenomenon occurring in the past. The Indian king’s sighting of the miracle is mentioned in an ancient manuscript currently in London’s India Office Library, where other details of the journey are recorded including the king’s death in Yemen on his way back to India.
1083 lunar years ago, on this day in 356 AH, Abu’l-Faraj Isfahani, the master of Arabic prose, historian with sociological interests, poet, and musicologist, passed away in Baghdad at the age of 73. Born in Isfahan, and named Ali by his father Hussain Ibn Mohammad, he spent most of his life in Baghdad where he settled after visiting different lands. He is best known for his encyclopedic 25-volume work “Kitab al-Aghani” that took him fifty years to compile, and which contains valuable information on poets, poetry, philology, rhythms, instruments, Arabic literature and genealogy, from the ancient times till his own days. He travelled to Aleppo, Syria to present this book to the Hamdanid Shi’a Muslim ruler, Saif od-Dowla. In Rayy, the famous Iranian statesman and scholar, Saheb Ibn Abbad Ismail Taleqani, greatly valued this book. Although a direct descendent of the last Omayyad caliph, Marwan II, he was a follower of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and a strong critic of his own Godless ancestors. He thus wrote the valuable work “Maqatel at-Talibiyeen”, comprising short biographies of the descendants of Imam Ali (AS) – mostly the Prophet’s progeny – martyred by the Omayyad and Abbasid caliphs till the year 313 AH.
947 solar years ago, on this day in 1071 AD, the crucial Battle of Manzikert took place in Asia Minor in which the Seljuq Turks led by Sultan Alp Arsalan decisively defeated the Byzantine Army at Manzikert (modern Malazgirt in Turkey), and captured Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes. The battle practically wrecked Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and led to the gradual Turkification of Anatolia, with the Seljuqs gaining an area of 78,000 square km in the next decade, which facilitated the mass movement of Turkic Muslims into central Anatolia. Alp Arslan, whose capital was Isfahan, had initially sought a peace treaty with the Byzantines, for he regarded the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite Caliphate of Egypt as his main enemy for control of Syria. A peace treaty was signed in 1069 and renewed in February 1071, to enable the Seljuqs to attack the Fatemid-controlled city of Aleppo, but Emperor Romanus tried to distract the Sultan long enough for leading a large army into Armenia. Alp Arsalan quickly realized the plot of the Christians and met and defeated them at Manzikert. When the captured Emperor Romanos IV was conducted into the presence of Alp Arslan, the Sultan forced him to kiss the ground, and asked him what would he have done if he was captured, to which he got the reply that he would have been killed or exhibited in the streets of Constantinople. Alp Arslan said: "My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free." Romanos remained a captive of the Sultan for a week, during which he was allowed to eat at his table whilst conditions were worked out for his release; including 10 million gold pieces as ransom for release, which the Sultan reduced to 1.5 million gold pieces as an initial payment followed by an annual sum of 360,000 gold pieces. Alp Arsalan before returning to Isfahan gave Romanos presents and an escort of two emirs and one hundred Mamluks on his route to Constantinople.
715 solar years ago, on this day in 1303 AD, Sultan Ala od-Din Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate captured the strategic and heavily fortified city of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, thereby breaking the power of the Rajputs and consolidating Muslim rule in the Subcontinent. He subsequently enlarged his empire by conquering most of the Deccan or southern India which had so far not been subjugated by the Persianized Turkic Muslims. It is interesting to note that till this day the Hindus in their local languages in south India use the word “Turka” for all Muslims.
672 solar years ago, on this day in 1346 AD, Edward III of England defeated Philip VI's army at the Battle of Crecy in France. The longbow proved instrumental in the victory as French knights on horseback outnumbered the British 3 to 1. At the end of the battle 1,542 French lords and knights were killed along with 20,000 soldiers. The battle is regarded as one of the most decisive in European history, as it saw for the first time in Europe, the use of cannon, firing a round ball carved from rock. The English reportedly used 22 cannons, which in those days were mere psychological weapons, having no more power than the trebuchet, and unable to batter down the walls. However, the burst of fire and loud noise were effective in getting the enemy's attention, making it impossible for them to forget that their lives were in danger.
530 solar years ago, on this day in 1488 AD, the Battle of Aghajariyi near Adana in what is now south-central Turkey ended with the victory of the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt-Syria over the Ottomans. A few months earlier the Ottomans had launched a major attack from both land and sea, but while they managed to take control of Cilicia, their fleet was almost destroyed by a storm off the coast of Syria. The Mamluks responded by besieging Adana and taking it after three months, thus reasserting their control over Cilicia – a victory that made the local Muslim dynasties of Anatolia flock to their standard instead of siding with the Ottomans. The wars between these two great Turkic powers that started in 1485 and ended 32 years later in 1517 with the fall of Cairo to Sultan Selim, are indeed a series of unfortunate events of Muslim history that provided much-needed relief to Europe and emboldened Christian mercenaries to attack Spanish Muslims in their last stronghold, the kingdom of Granada, thereby ending almost eight centuries of Muslim rule in Spain. The beleaguered Spanish Muslims had appealed to both the Mamluks and the Ottomans for help, but after conquering Constantinople (Istanbul) and ending the Byzantine Empire in 1453, Mohammad al-Fateh, who was advancing towards Italy with sights set on the capture of Rome, fell victim to the deceit and intrigue of European powers, which turned him against fellow Muslims in the east. In 1468 he planned to attack the Mamluks in Syria but could not do so because of the refusal to cooperate with him by the Turkic dynasties of Anatolia, especially the Aq-Qoyounlu leader Sultan Uzun Hassan, whom he attacked and defeated in 1473. Finally in 1485, the next Ottoman Sultan, Bayazid II, got the pretext to start war with the Mamluks when the Egyptian forces detained an Ottoman ambassador who was returning from Deccan with an Indian ambassador and gifts for the Ottoman Sultan through the Red Sea.
275 solar years ago, on this day in 1743 AD, the French chemist, Antoine Laurent Lavoisiere, was born in Paris. He discovered the components of water which were oxygen and hydrogen and the role played by oxygen in combustions. He was executed on the charge of opposing the French Revolution.
229 solar years ago, on this day in 1789 AD, the valiant Iranian crown prince, Abbas Mirza, was born to King Fath Ali Shah, the second ruler of the Qajarid dynasty. He developed a reputation as a military commander during wars with expansionist Russia and the Ottoman Empire. He was intelligent, possessed literary taste, and modernized the Iranian army. At the same time he was noteworthy for the comparative simplicity of his life. As commander of the Iranian forces, his aid was solicited by both England and Napoleon, anxious to checkmate one another in the East. Abbas Mirza defended Iran against Russian attacks, but the French failed to provide him assistance, and the court in Tehran was also slow in realizing the situation on the borders, as a result of which he was defeated in the Battle of Aslanduz in 1813. Iran was forced to sign the Treaty of Golestan, ceding large parts of its territories in the Caucasus including present-day Georgia, Daghestan, and most of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In 1821 when the Ottomans attacked Iran, Abbas Mirza defeated them in the Battle of Erzurum, and through the Treaty of 1823, ensured Iran’s sovereignty. His second war with Russia, which began in 1826 with initial success, ended in 1828 with a string of costly defeats after which Iran was forced to cede nearly all of its Armenian territories as well as Nakhchivan, as per the Treaty of Turkmanchay. In 1833, while restoring order in the province of Khorasan in the east, Crown Prince Abbas Mirza died at the age of 44 in holy Mashhad. A year later in1834 when Fath Ali Shah Qajar died, Abbas Mirza’s eldest son, Mohammed Mirza, succeed him as the king of Iran.
135 solar years ago, on this day in 1883 AD, the eruption of Krakatoa Volcano in the Indonesian island of the same name, began its final, paroxysmal stage and culminated with several destructive eruptions of the remaining caldera. The next day, two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago. It was one of the deadliest and most destructive volcanic events in recorded history, with at least 36,417 deaths being attributed to the eruption itself and the tsunamis it created. Significant aftershocks were also felt around the world and the explosion was heard as far as Australia. The huge amount of volcanic dust thrust high into the stratosphere eventually travelled around the world. The dust blocked sunlight causing temperature drops, highly coloured sunsets, and chaotic weather patterns for several years afterward.
122 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, the Ottoman Empire forces attacked the Armenians for their assistance to Greeks in the riots against the Turks.
105 lunar years ago, on this day in 1334 AH, Ayatollah Morteza Ha’eri Yazdi was born in Arak to the famous Reviver of the Islamic seminary of holy Qom, Grand Ayatollah Abdul-Karim Ha’eri Yazdi. After initial studies under his father, he attended the classes of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad-Reza Golpaygani, Seyyed Mohammad Mohaqqeq Damad, and the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). He was the teacher in turn of the prominent scholar and hadith researcher, Ayatollah Mohammad Reyshahri. He passed away in Jamadi al-Akher 1406 in Qom and was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Hazrat Ma’soumah (SA).
79 lunar years ago, on this day in 1360 AH, Ayatollah Sheikh Fayyaz Zanjani, passed away at the age of 75. Born near the city of Zanjan, he was an erudite scholar who wrote several books, including “Zakha’er al-Ummah”.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, Mahdi Eraqi and his son Hesam were martyred by MKO terrorists. Mahdi Eraqi was one of the prominent figures of the Islamic Revolution and for years had struggled against the Shah’s despotic regime. He was a close ally of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). He languished in the Shah’s dungeons for several years under torture. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he attained martyrdom.
28 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, Iranian poet, Mahdi Akhavan Salles, passed away at the age of 61. Born in Mashhad, he took the penname. “Omid” (Hope), and was one of the pioneers of Free Verse in Persian language. He gave up an interest in music to appease his father. When the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq was toppled by the US-British coup in 1953, he was imprisoned along with other political activists against the detested Pahlavi regime. After his release from prison in 1957, he started work at the radio, and soon after was transferred to Khuzestan to work in TV. Later on, he taught literature on radio and TV and at the university. After victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 he was granted membership to the Iranian Academy of Artists and Writers. He died in Tehran and is buried on the grounds of the mausoleum of the famous poet Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi in Tous, near his hometown Mashhad. His poetical compilations include: “Arghanoon” (Organ), “Zemistan” (winter), and “Akher-e Shahnameh” (End of Shahnameh).
18 solar years ago, on this day in 2000, Akbar Adibi, the Father of electronics in Iran, passed away at the age of 61. Born in Songhor in Kermanshah Province, after obtaining masters in Electrical Engineering from Tehran University in 1965, he worked for the Alestom Power Plant and taught at the university. In 1973 he left for the US, where at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he obtained two Master of Science degrees – first in Microprocessor-based Computer Systems and the second in Solid State and Semiconductor Device. He completed his PhD in 1977 on Barrier Solar Cells. On return to Iran he resumed his job of lecturer at Tehran Polytechnic – renamed Amir Kabir University after victory of the Islamic Revolution. His notable achievements are: The creation of Iran’s first Solar Cell in 1978, more than 100 articles in internal and international publications, becoming Full Professor in 1995, earning the prestigious Khwarezmi National Prize for his contribution as one of the best projects in 1995, earning the respected title of "The Most Recognized and Elite University Professor of Iran" in 1996, and being named the "Father of Electronics and VLSI in Iran". Adibi is the author of several technical books such as “Pulse Techniques”, “Theory and Technology of Semiconductor Devices”, and “Digital Electronics”. He believed that electronics and VLSI technology could help Iran lower its dependency on oil. He was a member of numerous academic societies, including; New York Academy of Sciences, New York Planetary Society, Optical Society of America, and Iran's IEEE Student Branch Counselor. He was involved in many industry-based projects, namely; the design and implementation of a 32 channel PCM system, the design and construction of a DSP-based high voltage network protection system, and the design of a DCS-based control, until his death due to heart failure.
14 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, A mortar barrage fired by terrorists desecrated the sanctity of Kufa’s Grand Mosque filled with Iraqi worshippers, resulting in the martyrdom of at least 27 people and wounding of 63 others.
13 solar years ago, on this day in 2005 AD, acclaimed Iranian stuntman, 44-year old Javad Palizbanian, died while attempting to break the world record for jumping over buses on a motorcycle, at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. He was trying to leap over 22 buses parked side-by-side when his motorbike came crashing down on the 13th.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2009 AD, prominent Iraqi religious scholar and political leader, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, passed away due to lung cancer in Tehran at the age of 59. A son of Late Grand Ayatollah, Seyyed Mohsin al-Hakim, on the martyrdom of his elder brother, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, six years earlier in 2003, he became head of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq. He channeled rising Shi’a Muslim power after the fall of Saddam the tyrannical ruler of the Ba’th minority regime. In turn, Seyyed Abdul-Aziz was succeeded by his son, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ammar al-Hakim.