This Day in History (10-06-1397)
Today is Saturday; 10th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 20th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and September 1, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1373 lunar years ago, on this day in 66 AH, the brave Muslim warrior Ibrahim bin Malek al-Ashtar left Kufa to confront the invasion of Iraq by the Syrian army led by the infamous Obaydollah ibn Ziyad – the main perpetrator of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala and the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson Imam Husain (AS), five years earlier. Dispatched by Mokhtar ibn Abu Obaidah, the Avenger of Imam Husain’s blood, Ibrahim faced the enemy forces on the banks of the River Zab near Mosul and thoroughly defeated them, killing Obaydollah along with other notorious criminals such as Haseen bin Numayr and Shurahbil bin Zi’l-Kila. Son of Malek al-Ashtar an-Nakha’i, the celebrated general of Imam Ali (AS) and his governor-designate to Egypt to whom the famous epistle on ideal administration is addressed, Ibrahim and his mostly Iranian army, following victory over the Syrians, liberated the cities of Sinjar, Nasibayn, and Harran in present day Turkey. Ibrahim was in Mosul when the treacherous Abdullah ibn Zubayr sent his brother Mus’ab from Hijaz to attack Kufa and martyr through deceit the valiant Mokhtar in 67 AH. Under pressure from both the Omayyads and the Zubayrids, Ibrahim couldn’t fight on two fronts at the same time and reluctantly sided with Mus’ab, who entrusted him the governorship of Mosul, Upper Mesopotamia, Armenia and Azarbaijan. When Omayyad ruler, Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan attacked Iraq, Ibrahim’s advice to Mus’ab to purge traitors and conspirators from the army and the administration fell on deaf ears. As a result, a day before the major battle, despite his courage and swordsmanship, Ibrahim was killed because of the betrayal by hypocrites. The next day, Abdul-Malik’s army easily defeated and killed Mus’ab and went on to occupy all of Iraq and Iran. The tomb of Ibrahim al-Ashtar is located south of Dujayl, on the old Baghdad-to-Samarrah route. In 2005 Takfiri terrorists, backed by the US and Saudi Arabia, destroyed it.
1311 lunar years ago, on this day in 128 AH, Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was born in Abwa between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. At the age of 20, the mantle of divine leadership came to rest on his shoulders following the martyrdom of his father, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), through poisoning. His period of Imamate was 35 years, during which he was subjected to hardships by the Abbasid tyrants – Mansour, Mahdi, Hadi, and Haroun. His epithet “Kazem” means Restrainer of Anger, and despite frequent bouts of imprisonment he showed profound patience and forbearance, even in the dungeons of Haroun, who martyred him through poisoning in 183 AH in Baghdad. Today, his magnificent gold-plated shrine is the centre of pilgrimage in Kazemayn.
1301 solar years ago, on this day in 717 AD, the siege of Constantinople, capital of Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire, by the Omayyad regime with an armada of 1,800 ships ended in defeat because of deceit by General Leo the Isaurian, who after rising up against Emperor Theodosios III, tricked the Muslims and secured the throne for himself. The campaign marked culmination of twenty years of attacks and gradual Arab occupation of the Byzantine borderlands.
873 solar years ago, on this day in 1145 AD, the Spanish Muslim geographer, traveler and Arabic poet, Abu’l-Hussain Mohammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Jubayr al-Kinaani was born in Valencia. Son of a civil servant, he served as secretary to the governor of Granada (Gharnata in Arabic). In 1183 he went on Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and returned to Muslim Spain in 1185. He has written a lively account of his journey, titled “ar-Rihlah” (translated into English by R.J.C. Broadhurst as The Travels of Ibn Jubayr). It is a valuable source for the history of the period, containing descriptions of voyages across the Mediterranean and of the lands he passed through. In describing Cairo, he has given an account of the seizure of Egypt ten years earlier from the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite Muslim dynasty by the Kurdish adventurer, Salah od-Din Ayyubi, and the Muslim victories in the Levant over the European Crusader invaders. On his return journey to Spain, Ibn Jubayr passed through Sicily, which a century earlier had been lost by Muslims to the Christian invaders, and makes several observations on the hybrid Islamic-Norman polyglot culture that flourished there. He has given eyewitness accounts of the Red Sea port of Jeddah, the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and of Iraq and Baghdad which he also visited. He made two more voyages, with the third ending with his death in 1217 in Alexandria, Egypt, at the age of 72.
844 solar years ago, on this day in 1174 AD, the construction of the Pisa Tower started in the Italian city of Pisa. Soon after start of construction operations, the 55-meter tower tilted almost five meters from the vertical line. Currently, with the efforts of experts and engineers of different countries, the increasing tilt every year of the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been slightly reduced.
536 solar years ago, on this day in 1482 AD, a Tartar Muslim army of the Crimean Khanate, led by Mengli Giray Khan, attacked Kiev, the Ukrainian capital and sacked it on instigation of Duke Ivan III of Moscow. The invasion was the result of shifting alliances that brought about a period of Muscovite-Crimean cooperation against the disintegrating Golden Horde and Poland-Lithuania. This cooperation lasted from 1472 to 1511, and is seen by Russian historians as a great diplomatic achievement by Duke Ivan who sent seven diplomatic missions to Mengli Giray Khan from 1472 to 1482 for the attack and sack of Kiev. Mengli who ruled till 1515 was the maternal grandfather of Sultan Suleyman of the Ottoman Empire – his daughter having married Sultan Selim I. Mengli’s son and successor, Mohammad Giray Khan allied with Poland and Lithuania in 1520 against Muscovy, and the next year his Muslim army inflicted a crushing defeat on Duke Vasili III of Russia near Moscow, making him sue for peace. Established in 1449 by Tatar Muslims in what are now southern Ukraine, southern Russia and Moldova, the Khanate of Crimea ruled the area for over three centuries untill it fell to Russian expansionism in 1783. It was closely allied to the Ottoman Empire and became its vassal state in its last century of rule. The Crimean Khanate established a flourishing Islamic culture, used the Perso-Arabic script, and built splendid mosques, bazaars, public baths, fountains, palaces, and libraries, which were criminally destroyed by the Russians who removed all traces of Muslim culture.
447 solar years ago, on this day in 1571 AD, Famagusta on the island of Cyprus, surrendered to Mustafa Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman forces after nearly a year-long siege. With its surrender by its Venetian occupiers, Cyprus was once again brought under Muslim rule, several centuries after the end of Arab rule. It was leased to the British in 1878 on condition of protecting the decaying Turkish Empire from Russian attacks. In 1923, when the Ottomans were pressured to give up all of their European territories, except Istanbul, Britain forced the truncated state of Turkey to relinquish all claims to Cyprus, and in 1925 declared it as a crown colony. In 1960, Cyprus gained independence from British rule as per the Zürich-London Agreement between Britain, Greece and Turkey, with quotas on ethnic basis for government posts and public offices, which were violated by the Greek majority. The division of the island occurred in 1974 following the massacre of over 125 Muslims in Cyprus and the plot to merge it with Greece, prompting Turkey to dispatch troops to seize Famagusta and the northern part of the island, which since then is known as the Turkish Democratic Republic of Cyprus.
138 solar years ago, on this day in 1880 AD, the army of Mohammad Ayub Khan was routed by the British at the Battle of Qandahar, ending the Second Anglo-Afghan War.
110 lunar years ago, on this day in 1329 AH, Ayatollah Akhound Mullah Mohammad Kazem Khorasani, one of the prominent ulema and pioneers of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran, passed away. He was a product of famous Islamic seminary of holy Najaf, in Iraq, and his teachers included the celebrated Ayatollah Sheikh Morteza Ansari Dezfuli. His famous work “Kifayat al-Osoul” on principles of jurisprudence is still taught at Islamic seminaries in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, and other places.
95 solar years ago, on this day in 1923 AD, the Great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo and Yokohama, killing about 105,000 people.
87 solar years ago, on this day in 1931 AD, Indian Islamic scholar, Dr. Mohammad Abdul Haq Ansari, was born in Tamkohi in Deoaria district of what is now Uttar Pradesh State. He completed Islamic studies from Darsgah-e Islami, Rampur in 1953, did bachelors in Arabic in 1957, M.A. in philosophy in 1959, PhD in 1962 from Aligarh Muslim University, and M.T.S in Comparative Religion and Theology from Harvard University, USA in 1972. Ansari served as Professor and Head of the Department of Arabic, Persian and Islamic Studies, Vishwa Bharti University, Shantiniketan, Bengal State from 1965 to 1978. He was the president of Jamaat-e-Islami-e Hind (JIH) from 2003 to 2007. He was also the Chancellor of Jamia Islamia, Shantapuram, Kerala. His book “Learning the Language of Qur’an” is considered as one of the best English guides for the beginners of Qur'anic studies. Among his works, before he taught at universities in Saudi Arabia, are well-researched books on two of the Iranian philosophers, titled “The Ethical Philosophy of Miskawaih” (1964), and “The Moral Philosophy of al-Farabi” (1965). He died in October 2012.
79 solar years ago, on this day in 1939 AD, World War 2 broke out following the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. The goal of Nazi leader, Adolph Hitler, was to avenge the humiliating terms imposed on Germany by the Allied Powers at the end of World War I. In a short while, Germany occupied a large section of Europe and parts of North Africa. Meanwhile, the two other allies of Germany in World War II, Italy and Japan also occupied other regions in Africa and Asia respectively. In early 1943, however, the tide turned against the German forces following their failure to overcome stiff Soviet resistance in Stalingrad (which is now called Volgograd). Finally on May 1945 Germany surrendered unconditionally. Almost 40 million people were killed and billions of dollars worth of damages inflicted on different countries during World War II.
57 solar years ago, on this day in 1961 AD, the first Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit was held in Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, attended by senior officials of 25 countries. The NAM was formed to help independent countries pursue a neutral stance during the Cold War, without being aligned to the then two power blocs of the Capitalist West and Communist East. The founding fathers were President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, President Ahmed Sukarno of Indonesia, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, President Jamal Abdun-Nasser of Egypt, and Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru of India – all of whom believed in struggle against colonialism. Differences of opinion in different domains continue to exist among NAM member states and for this reason the Non-Aligned Movement has not been able to form a powerful front in the face of the big expansionist powers, despite having a two-third majority among UN member states. The last NAM Summit was hosted by current chairman, Iran, in 2012 during the tenure of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with 120 member countries in attendance in what is viewed as a slap to the US attempts to isolate Iran.
56 solar years ago, on this day in 1962, a massive 7.1 degree earthquake in Iran devastated the district of Boen Zahra, near Qazvin, resulting in 12,225 fatalities.
53 solar years ago, on this day in 1965 AD, Iran established the committee for peaceful use of atomic energy, 9 years after the Majlis had passed a bill for setting up an atomic energy centre at Tehran University that started its activities in 1966 under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), following purchase of a 5-megawat research reactor from the US. In 1973, the Iran Atomic Energy Organisation (IAEO) was set up and reached agreement with Germany and France for building two 1,000-megawat nuclear reactors in Bushehr on the Persian Gulf and guaranteeing fuel supply for producing electricity. In 1975, on Sweden’s withdrawal from the EURODIF uranium enrichment consortium (other members being France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain), its 10 per cent share was transferred to Iran. Iran and the French subsidiary “COGEMA” established the “SOFIDIF” (Societe Franco–Iranienne pour l'enrichissement de l'uranium par diffusion gazeuse) with 60 per cent and 40 per cent shares, respectively. In turn, SOFIDIF acquired a 25 per cent share in EURODIF, through which Iran attained its 10 per cent share of this consortium. The Franco-Iranian consortium shareholder still owns 25% of EURODIF – illegally blocked by the US and West European regimes after victory of the Islamic Revolution. In 1975, Germany’s Kraftwerk Union AG, a joint venture of Siemens AG and AEG Telefunken, signed a contract worth US$4–6 billion to build the pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant. The work was begun in the same year. The two 1,196 MWe reactors, subcontracted to ThyssenKrupp AG, were based on the Convoy Design and identical with the second reactor unit of the German Biblis Nuclear Power Plant. The first reactor was to be finished by 1980 and the second by 1981. Kraftwerk, however, breached its contract and withdrew from the Bushehr Nuclear Project in July 1979, following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in February, with one reactor 50% complete, and the other reactor 85% complete. With Germany and France refusing to honour their commitments to Iran under US pressure, the Islamic Republic signed a contract with Russia for completion of the Bushehr Project, which became fully operative in August 2012 after years of obstructionism and politicization of a purely technical issue for peaceful use of nuclear energy. In July 2015 the grudging acknowledgement of Iran’s inalienable right to enrich uranium for peaceful purpose by the 5+1 Group, was the result of the Islamic Republic’s refusal to yield to US lawlessness and to succeed in enriching uranium to 20 percent purity.
49 solar years ago, on this day in 1969 AD, Colonel Mu’ammar Qadhafi seized power in Libya through a military coup, while King Mohammad Idris was in Turkey for medical treatment. For the next 42 years until his downfall and killing in August 2011, Qadhafi, was in power in Libya through his covert ties with the US and Western Europe, although he claimed to be revolutionary and followed the socialist policies of the Soviet Union. He treated oil-rich Libya as his personal property and through his eccentric policies tarnished the image of Islam, especially by his brutal killing of the venerable Iranian-Lebanese religious leader, Imam Musa Sadr, who was invited to Tripoli and then imprisoned and tortured to death, while Qadhafi lied to the whole world that Imam Sadr had left Libya.
20 lunar years ago, on this day in 1419 AH, the Gnostic, Ayatollah Seyyed Abdul-Karim Kashmiri, passed away in holy Qom at the age of 72. Born in holy Najaf, Iraq, he was a prodigy, who attained the status of Ijtehad at a young age, while studying under Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Qassim Khoei. His other teachers included the famous scholars, Seyyed Abdul-A’ala Sabzewari and Seyyed Abdul-Hadi Shirazi. A prolific teacher, he used to give lessons on a wide variety of subjects every day, such as jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, and Arabic literature. In addition, he was an outstanding researcher as well as a Gnostic, renowned for his spiritual qualities. Because of the persecution of ulema and Iraq’s Shi’a Muslim majority by Saddam of the repressive Ba’th minority regime, he migrated to Iran and settled in Qom. On the border, the Ba’thist forces seized his scholarly diaries which contained his valuable researches.