This Day in History (05-06-1397)
Today is Monday; 5th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 15th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and August 27, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2497 solar years ago, on this day in 479 BC, Persian forces led by Mardonius, the Iranian governor of Greece and Macedonia and son-in-law of Emperor Darius 1, were routed by Pausanias, the Spartan commander of the Greek army in the Battle of Plataea, which marked a turning point in the Greek-Persian Wars. The battle was fought near Plataea in the Peloponnese Peninsula, between an alliance of Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, against the Achaemenid Empire of Xerxes I. The previous year the Iranian army, led by the emperor in person, had scored victories at the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium and conquered Thessaly, Boeotia and Attica. However, at Salamis, the allied Greek navy won an unlikely victory, preventing the conquest of the Peloponnesus. Xerxes then returned to Iran with much of his army, leaving his brother-in-law, General Mardonius, to finish off the Greeks the following year. It is said that the rashness of Mardonius was the cause of the loss of the battle and his own loss of life, despite the fact that in the past twenty years he had been a key element of Iranian domination over the Greeks.
1269 solar years ago, on this day in 749 AD, Abbasid general Qahtaba Ibn Shabib-at-Ta'i, who played a leading role in uprooting of the Omayyad caliphate, died in battle near Kufa. He was a Khorasani, belonging to the Yemeni tribal confederation that formed the bulk of the local Muslim population. On a visit to Mecca he met Ibrahim Ibn Mohammad Abbasi who appointed him military leader for the simmering anti-Omayyad uprising in Khorasan, where popular sentiments of the Iranian people for the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt were being exploited by the Abbasids for their own nefarious goals. This appointment was accepted by the main Abbasid leader and propagandist in Khorasan, the Iranian general, Behzadaan Pour-Vandaad, known as Abu Muslim Khorasani. Following the fall of Marv to the Khorasanis in February 748, Qahtaba took charge of the Abbasid forces that chased the Omayyad governor of Khorasan, Nasr ibn Sayyar. His army took Naishapur, where Nasr had sought refuge, defeated a 10,000-strong Omayyad force at Gorgan in August and subsequently took Rayy near modern Tehran. In March 749 he defeated a larger Omayyad army near Isfahan and captured Nahavand before moving towards Iraq. Qahtaba's army advanced swiftly with the aim of taking Kufa, but was confronted by the Omayyad governor, Yazid ibn Hubayra. Qahtaba was able to launch a surprise night attack on the enemy camp forcing the Omayyad troops to flee to Waset. Qahtaba lost his life in this battle but his son Hassan assumed command and took Kufa on September 2. Both Hassan and his brother Humayd were important military leaders in the early decades of the Abbasid regime. Humayd was given by the Abbasids the estate of Sanabad, where the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir, Imam Reza (AS), was destined to be laid to rest on his martyrdom and which is now the sprawling holy shrine of Mashhad.
1225 lunar years ago, on this day in 214 AH, Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was born in the holy city of Medina. His period of Imamate, or divinely-decreed leadership of mankind, was 34 years, until he was martyred in the Iraqi city of Samarra through poisoning by the usurper Abbasid caliph, Mo’taz. The Imam, who was forced to come to Samarra by the previous caliph, the tyrant Motawakkil, trained many prominent scholars, including his distant cousin, Hazrat Abdul-Azeem al-Hassani, whose shrine in Rayy, a southern suburb of Tehran, is visited by pilgrims throughout the year. Despite the suffocating atmosphere of Abbasid rule, the 10th Imam strengthened the system of “wikala” (representation) throughout the Islamic realm, to serve the ummah during the imamate of his son, and especially the long occultation of his grandson, the eagerly awaited, Imam Mahdi (AS), who will reappear in the end times to establish the global government of peace, prosperity and justice, by weeding out oppression and corruption from the earth.
1197 lunar years ago, on this day in 242 AH, the Mu’tazalite ideologue, Yahya Ibn Aktham, died in Rabadha. He was a close confidante of Mamoun, the self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, and was hopelessly outwitted in the famous debate he held in the front of the whole court with the young Imam Mohammad Taqi (AS), the 9th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) on jurisprudential issues. Some two decades later, Yahya wrote a series of complicated questions to try to test the God-given knowledge of Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), and was astounded by the answers provided by the Prophet’s 10th Infallible Successor to which he had no clue. Yahya was appointed as Chief Judge of Basra, but Mamoun was forced to dismiss him because of his open indulgence in the cardinal sin of sodomy, after a series of complaints from the people. The poet Ahmad Ibn Abu Na’eem wrote the following quatrain that shows the judge, the governor and the regime in their true anti-Islamic colours (Tarikh al-Baghdad):
"Our Governor takes bribe;
“Our Judge is homosexual;
“And as long as the Abbasids rule;
“I have no confidence that tyranny will subside."
484 solar years ago, on this day in 1534 AD, Ismail Adel Shah, the 2nd king of the dynasty of Iranian origin of Bijapur in southwest India, died at the age of 36 after a reign of 24 years, while on a campaign against the neighbouring sultanate of Golkandah, ruled by the Qotb Shahi dynasty – also of Iranian origin. In the footsteps of his father, Yusuf Adel Shah, the founder of the dynasty who was from Saveh in Iran, he was a devout follower of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He patronized ulema, scholars, poets, physicians and even soldiers migrating from Iran to the Deccan. He never lost a battle, and his artillery units were considered formidable. The kingdom of Bijapur that lasted for 187 years until its annexation by Moghal Emperor Aurangzeb of Hindustan (northern subcontinent) was a Persianate state. It is worth noting that Yusuf Adel Shah had declared Shi’a Islam as the state religion almost a decade before Shah Ismail I founded the Safavid Dynasty in Iran and decreed Shi’a Islam as state religion.
248 solar years ago, on this day in 1770 AD, German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, was born. On France’s occupation of Germany in 1806, he was influenced by the characteristics of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Hegel divided history into several phases and believed that its course is determined by God. He wrote several books including “The Phenomenology of Spirit”, “Science of Logic”, and “Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences”. He died in 1831.
122 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, the shortest war in history took place between Britain and Zanzibar, lasting only 40 minutes from 09:05 to 09:45 hours local time. The cause was death of the pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini two days earlier and succession of Sultan Khalid bin Barghash. The British authorities preferred Hamoud bin Mohammed, who was more favourable to British interests, as sultan.
88 solar years ago, on this day in 1930 – Iran’s famous wrestling champion, Gholam-Reza Takhti, was born in a middle class family in Tehran. He was very honest, courageous and kind-hearted toward people. He acted fairly when competing against rivals, something which originated from traditional values of “Zourkhanah”, which is a kind of heroic behaviour that epitomizes chivalrous qualities known as “Javanmardi” in Persian culture. For instance, during a bout with Russian wrestler Alexander Medved who had an injured right knee, he avoided touching his opponent’s injured leg and tried to attack the other leg instead. He lost the match, but showed that he valued honourable behaviour more than achieving victory. Another example of his character comes from a match in Moscow. After defeating the then-world champion Anatoli Albul, he saw the sorrow on the face of Albul's mother. Takhti went to her and said, "I'm sorry about the result, but your son is a great wrestler." She smiled. Takhti bagged nine gold and silver medals in international and Olympic Games and was an Iranian athlete with the highest number of gold and silver medals. His popularity among people and his opposition to the Shah’s despotic policies led agents of the Pahlavi regime to murder him at the age of 38.
73 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, English oriental scholar, Reynold Alleyne Nicholson, died at the age of 77. He started as a language lecturer at Cambridge University, and conducted extensive research on Persian and Arabic literature. He was a great admirer of the acclaimed Iranian poet and mystic, Mowlana Jalal od-Din Rumi, whose famous “Mathnavi” he translated into English in several volumes, along with a detailed commentary – the result of his 25-year long research. Nicholson, as a teacher of the great poet-philosopher of the Subcontinent, Muhammad Iqbal Lahori, translated the latrer’s first philosophical Persian poetry book “Asrar-e Khudi” into English as “The Secrets of the Self”. He also wrote the book “A Literary History of the Arabs”. Another prominent student of Nicholson was Arthur John Arberry, an Arabic-Persian expert and a Rumi admirer, who completed an academic English translation of the holy Qur’an as well as translation of Iqbal’s long ode in Persian “The Javid-Namah”.
61 lunar years ago, on this day in 1378 AH, Ayatollah Sheikh Ali Borhan passed away at the age of 54. A product of the Islamic seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq, he studied under Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Hassan Isfahani and Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Qassim Khoie. On his return to Iran he egaged in socio-religious activities, managing seminaries and building mosques. He wrote several books including an exegesis on Surah Yusuf of the holy Qur’an and a supplication manual “Hadith al-Ayyam”.
55 solar years ago, on this day in 1963 AD, prominent Islamic scholar, political theorist, and mathematician of the Subcontinent, Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi, who founded the Khaksaar Movement against British colonial rule, passed away at the age of 75 in Lahore, Pakistan. Born in Amritsar in a Rajput Muslim family influenced by such luminaries as Sir Seyyed Ahmad Khan of Aligarh and the famous Iranian pan-Islamicist, Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi, he had a passion for mathematics from childhood. At the age of 19 he obtained Master's in mathematics from Punjab University. After higher studies in Britain, on return to India, he declined the offer of the post of prime minister of the princely state of Alwar, preferring to join the education department and becoming Under Secretary to the Government in this sector in October 1917. In 1924, he completed the first volume of his exegesis of the holy Qur’an in the light of science, titled “at-Tadhkirah” and was nominated for Nobel Prize. In 1932 he resigned, settled down in Ichhra, Lahore, and devoted his time to the Khaksaar Movement which he had founded two years earlier. He played a role in directing Muslims towards independence for which the British repeatedly imprisoned. He published the Urdu weekly “al-Islah”. After partition, he continued his political activities in Pakistan, where he was imprisoned several times before his death.
28 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, prominent Iranian calligrapher, Ali Akbar Kaveh, passed away at the age of 98. Born in Shiraz, he was a student of renowned masters such as Mirza Taher Kateb and Homayoun Hamedani. He was a member of Tehran’s Iran Calligraphy Association
27 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, Moldova gained independence after long domination by Ukraine, the Ottoman Turks, Russia, and the Soviet Union. In the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union was breaking apart, calls for merger with Romania were defeated by a referendum.
12 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Iran test fired a new submarine-to-surface missile in the Persian Gulf. The long-range missile, called “Thaqeb” or Saturn, exiting the water and hitting a target on the water's surface.
7 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran inaugurated a plant for producing carbon fiber, the import of which was banned by the illegal UN-US sanctions.
6 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran opened in Tehran the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), attended by heads of state, foreign ministers and senior delegates of 120 member countries and 17 nations with observer status. This was a slap at the US and a handful West European states that dominate the UN and manipulate the Security Council to dictate terms to the free world, and illegally impose sanctions on independent countries, such as Iran.
5th Shahrivar of the Iranian Calendar: is commemorated every year in the Islamic Republic as "Zakariya Raazi Day" and consequently "Pharmacology Day" in honour of this great Iranian-Islamic physician Mohammad ibn Zakariya Raazi who was born in 854 and passed away in 925 at the age of 71 in his hometown Rayy. Known as "Rhazes" to medieval Europe, he made fundamental and enduring contributions to various fields of medicine and related sciences, which he recorded in over 200 books and treatises. Among his important books on medicine is “al-Hawi al-Kabeer” on ways of leading a sound and healthy life. This monumental medical encyclopedia in nine volumes is also known as “Jame’ al-Kabir". He also wrote a home medical (remedial) novel for the general public titled “Man La Yahzuruhu at-Ṭabeeb”, (“Who has no Physician to Attend Him”). Later in our programme, you will listen to a special feature on Zakariya Raazi.