This Day in History (13-06-1397)
Today is Tuesday; 13th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 23rd of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and September 4, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1378 lunar years ago, on this day in 61 AH, the two pre-teen sons of Muslim Ibn Aqeel, were martyred in Kufa, Iraq, by the Godless Hareth Ibn Urwah. There are two different accounts of the tragic martyrdom of 12-year old Mohammad and 10-year Ibrahim, whose shrine is a site of pilgrimage near the town of Musayyeb. According to one version, they accompanied Muslim, who was sent as emissary to the people of Kufa by his cousin, Imam Husain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Following the martyrdom of their father, who had entrusted them to the care of the dubious judge, Shurray, they tried to return to Medina, were caught, jailed, escaped from prison with the help of sympathizers, then caught again and mercilessly killed by the riverside on this day in 60 AH, with their heads taken as trophies to Obaidullah Ibn Ziyad, the tyrannical Omayyad governor. The second version says the boys were with Imam Husain (AS) when he reached Karbala, and were witness to history’s most heartrending tragedy. They were made captive along with the rest of the household of the Prophet, fell behind the caravan of captives as it departed for Damascus, imprisoned for several months in Kufa, escaped from prison, wondered unknowingly into the house of their executioner, treated kindly by his wife on learning of their identity, snatched by her husband, taken to the riverside, and cruelly beheaded this day in 61 AH. Instead of the expected reward for their heads, Hareth was killed on the orders of Ibn Ziyad.
1219 solar years ago, on this day in 799 AD (according to the solar Gregorian calendar), Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was martyred through food poisoning in Baghdad in the prison of the Abbasid tyrant, Haroun Rasheed, at the age of 55. The Islamic date of his martyrdom is 25th Rajab, 183 AH. Imam Kazem (AS), as the son and successor of Imam Ja'far Sadeq (AS) and the father of Imam Reza (AS), needs no introduction. He held aloft the torch of the true teachings of his ancestor, the Prophet, in those days of Abbasid tyranny for 35 long years, suffering several rounds of imprisonment but nonetheless grooming a large number of disciples in the genuine principles of Islam. His sprawling golden-domed mausoleum today majestically stands out as the largest shrine in the Iraqi capital, as he continues to rule over the hearts of not just the people of Baghdad but of the faithful throughout the world, while there is no trace of the grave holding the rotten bones of Haroun, the hero of Arabian Nights revelries.
1094 lunar years ago, on this day in 345 AH, the Islamic historian, geographer, scientist, and traveller, Abu'l-Hassan Ali ibn al-Hussain al-Mas'udi, passed away at the age of 60 near the then Egyptian capital Fustat in what would later become the city of Cairo. He was born in Baghdad and traced his lineage to the Prophet's companion, Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud. In his homeland he mastered the sciences of the day including theology, history, philosophy, and geology, in addition to learning the Persian, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Syriac languages. In his mid-twenties, he embarked on voyages to many Islamic and other lands that lasted almost till the end of his life. His journeys took him to most of the Persian provinces, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and other regions of the Caspian Sea; as well as to Arabia, Syria and Egypt. He also travelled to the Indus Valley and other parts of India, especially the western coast; and he voyaged more than once to East Africa. He sailed the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, visiting Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and China. After careful observations, he wrote his works and was one of the first to combine history and scientific geography in a large-scale work. His surviving masterpiece, titled “Murouj az-Zahab wa Ma'aden al-Jowhar” (Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems), is a universal geographical history. The titles of more than twenty books attributed to him are known, including several on Islamic beliefs, but most of his writings have been lost. His major work was “Akhbār az-Zamaan” (The History of Time) in 30 volumes. It was an encyclopedic world history, taking in not only political history but also many facets of human knowledge and activities.
1045 solar years ago, on this day in 973 AD, the prominent Iranian Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan Mohammad Ibn Ahmad al-Berouni, was born in Kath in the Iranian land of Khwarezm, a region adjoining the Aral Sea and presently in the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan. He was a multisided genius and wrote prolifically on history, geography, astronomy, mathematics, mineralogy, and various other topics. He authored over 180 books. His work on geometry, arithmetic, trigonometry, and algebra, is titled "at-Tafhim" in which he has calculated the weight of objects. Berouni, who was a follower of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, has written about the spherical shape of the Earth and its revolving on its axis as it orbits round the Sun, several centuries before the Europeans were to discover these facts. He was conversant in Arabic, Persian, Greek and Sanskrit, and after visiting India and spending several months in the company of its sages, he wrote the valuable book, “Tahqiq ma lil-Hind”. Among his valuable compilations, mention could be made of “Kitab at-Tafhim li-Awa’il Sina‘at at-Tanjim” (The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astronomy), and “Asaar al-Baqiyah an-il-Qoroun al-Khaliya” (The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries), which is a comparative study of calendars of different cultures and civilizations, interlaced with mathematical, astronomical, and historical information. He also wrote the “Qanoun al-Mas'oudi”, an extensive encyclopedia on astronomy, geography, and engineering. He passed away at the age of 77 in Ghazni (present day Afghanistan), where he was affiliated to the court of the Turkic conqueror, Sultan Mahmoud and his son, Sultan Mas’oud.
955 solar years ago, on this day in 1063 AD, Toghril Beg, the Turkic warlord who rose to power in Central Asia, Iran, Iraq, Anatolia, and parts of Syria, died at the age of 73 in Rayy, now a suburb of modern Tehran, where his tower-shaped tomb still stands. He, along with his elder brother, Chaghri Beg, rose to prominence in the service of the Khaqan of the Qara-Khanid Dynasty of Bukhara that had replaced the Iranian Samanid Dynasty in Central Asia. He then united the Turkoman warriors of the Eurasian Steppes into a confederacy of tribes that traced ancestry to an ancestor, named Seljuq, and after defeating the Qara-Khanids, vanquished the Ghaznavids of Khorasan and Afghanistan, before conquering eastern Iran. He established the Seljuq Sultanate after conquering the Iranian Plateau and Anatolia (modern eastern Turkey). The Abbasid caliph of Baghdad secretly invited him to Iraq to replace the Iranian Buwaihid Shi’ite Dynasty. Tughril marched upon Baghdad in 1055, and to the chagrin of the caliph, relegated the Abbasids to figureheads by taking command of the caliphate's armies in military offensives against the Byzantine Empire and the Syrian territories of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’a dynasty of Egypt and North Africa. In 1058, he lost Baghdad to the Fatemids but recaptured it two years later. On his death the childless Toghril, who had forcibly married the Abbasid caliph’s daughter, was succeeded after a brief struggle between the two sons of his deceased brother, Chaghri, by his surviving nephew Alp Arsalan, perhaps the greatest ruler of the Seljuq Dynasty.
272 solar years ago, on this day in 1746 AD, The Treaty of Kerden was signed between the Ottoman Empire and Nader Shah Afshar of Iran, reaffirming the border drawn in the Treaty of Zuhab and allowing Iranian pilgrims to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in the Hijaz, which was under Turkish occupation.
237 solar years ago, on this day in 1781 AD, Los Angeles, today the 2nd largest US city, was founded as “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula” (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola River). It was set up near an Amerindian Chumash village in the California region of what was then called New Spain – comprising of Mexico, southern states of the US, Florida and all Spanish-speaking countries till Panama – by a group of forty-four settlers, of whom 26 were of African ancestry and the rest Europeans, Mestizo and Mulatto. In 1821 Mexico seceded from New Spain and was almost attacked by an expansionist US, which by 1847 occupied large territories including Alta or Upper California, which was home to 300,000 Amerindians, or one-third of all indigenous people throughout North and South America. The Europeans began to decimate the native population, while the non-native population of California was not more than 8,000. The US, as part of its hegemonic and genocidal policies has obliterated almost all native Amerindians, who today account for a mere 1.7 percent of the 38 million population of California.
193 solar years ago, on this day in 1825 AD, Zoroastrian intellectual, Dadabhai Naorozji, known as the Grand Old Man of India, was born in Bombay (Mumbai). Of Iranian origin, he was an educator, a cotton trader, and a political and social leader, who was the first Asian to become a British MP, and was a founding father of the Indian National Congress. An ordained priest, in 1851, he founded in India an organisation to restore the Zoroastrian religion to what he considered its original purity and simplicity. In 1854, he launched a fortnightly publication “Rast Goftar” (Truth Teller), to clarify Zoroastrian concepts. In 1855, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at the Elphinstone College in Bombay. He travelled to London, established the cotton trading Dadabhai Naorozji & Co in 1859 and later became professor of Gujarati at University College, London. He was elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal Party member between 1892 and 1895. He refused to take the oath on the Bible as he was not a Christian, but was allowed to take the oath of office in the Name of God on his copy of “Khordeh Avesta”. In his political campaign and duties as an MP, he was assisted by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the future Muslim nationalist and founder of Pakistan, who was then a student in London. Naorozji set up the association to counter the theory that Europeans were intellectually superior to Asians, and his book “Poverty and Un-British Rule in India” brought attention to the draining of India's wealth into Britain. He estimated a 200–300 million pounds loss of revenue to Britain that is not returned. He described this as “vampirism”, with money being a metaphor for blood, which humanised India, and he called Britain's actions as “monstrous”. Naorozji returned to India, and was re-elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1906. He died in Bombay on 30 June 1917, at the age of 91. Books written by him include: “The Manners and Customs of the Parsees (Zoroastrians)” and “The European and Asiatic races”.
136 solar years ago, on this day in 1882 AD, Thomas Edison flipped the switch to the first commercial electrical power plant in history, lighting one square mile of lower Manhattan. This is considered as the day that began the electrical age.
110 solar years ago, on this day in 1908 AD, Afro-American novelist and poet, Richard Wright, was born near Natchez in Missouri. He wrote about the abuses of blacks in white-dominated American society, and how brutally the US treats people of African origin, whose ancestors were kidnapped from Africa and forced into slavery in the New World. His best known work is “Native Son” (1940). His other works include: “Uncle Tom's Children” (1938), “12 Million Black Voices: A Folk History of the Negro in the United States” (1941), “Black Boy” (1945), and “White Man Listen”. Wright died in self-exile in France in 1960.
80 lunar years ago, on this day in 1359 AH, the erudite scholar, Shaikh Abbas Qommi, popular as Muhaddith Qommi, because of his mastery over Hadith literature, passed away in Najaf at the age of 64 and was laid to reside beside his teacher, Mirza Hussain “Muhaddith” Noori, in the courtyard of the holy shrine of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). Born in holy Qom, after completion of preliminary studies, he left for Iraq at the age of 20 for higher studies at the famous seminary of holy Najaf, where fellow students included the well-known scholars Aqa Bozorg-e Tehrani, Ayatollah Shaikh Mohammad Hassan Kashef al-Gheta, and Seyyed Abdul-Husain Sharaf od-Din Musawi (of Lebanon). He returned to Iran after six years and engaged himself in the writing and compiling Islamic books in his hometown, having acquired valuable expertise in this field in Najaf, where he assisted his teacher Muhaddith Noori in the compilation of books. At the age of 39 he shifted to holy Mashhad and later left for Iraq. Abbas Qommi was second to none in the training of oneself, and considered it unjust to advise other people to perform supplications without having first performed himself. Thus, before delivery of manuscript to the publisher, of his famous prayer/supplication manual “Mafatih al-Jinan” (Keys of Paradise), he had not only gone through the book afresh over a year-long period, but also performed every supplication for each day that was recommended therein in order to observe “practice what you preach”. That is why this book is considered one of the best concerning supplications and “Ziyaraat” (pilgrimages). In addition to the famous “Mafatih” which is present in almost every Shi’a Muslim household in Iran and throughout the world, he authored several well-researched books in Arabic and Persian. Of these, mention could be made of “Safinat-al-Behaar wa Madinat-al-Hekam wa’l-Aasaar” (Guide to study of Allamah Majlisi’s famous encyclopedia “Behar al-Anwaar”), “al-Fawa’ed ar-Razawiyyah fi Taraajam Ulama al-Ja’fariyah” (Biography of Shi’a scholars), “Muntahi-al-Aamaal fi Tarikh an-Nabi wa’l-Aal” (History of the Prophet, Imams and their descendants), “Bayt al-Ahzaan fi Mas’aeb Seyyedat-an-Niswaan” (Martyrdom of Hazrat Fatema Zahra – SA), “Manazel al-Aakherah” (Stages of Afterlife), “Nafas ul-Mahmoom” (Tragedy of Karbala), and “Waqa’e al-Ayyam” (Islamic Chronology).
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1978 AD, the first million-strong demonstration of the Iranian people against the Pahlavi Shah's despotic regime started. These rallies started from four districts of the capital Tehran on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr and after performing of the Special Eid Prayer. The demonstrators, who were holding pictures of the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) called for independence and freedom and establishment of the Islamic Republic.
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1978 AD, 40-year old Hojjat al-Islam Ali Awsati, a leading activist against the despotism of the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi Shah, was martyred by the regime’s forces while returning from the Eid al-Fitr Prayer. A staunch follower of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), his funeral was attended by a huge rally that vented its anger against the regime.
20 solar years ago, on this day in 1998 AD, American students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Stanford University, founded “Google” as a multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Since then Google has moved increasingly into the communications field. As a social networking service (Google+), it provides email (Gmail) and each day processes over one billion search requests and about 24 petabytes of user-generated data. “Google.com” is listed as the most visited website in the world, and runs several other Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Blogger. Critics claim that like other social networking systems, Google is a tool of the US government for espionage and data-collecting activities around the world.
7 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, Iran’s first nuclear power plant was connected to the national power grid for a test run. The power plant in the southern port of Bushehr, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, was built with Russian help, after the German and French companies breached their contracts under US pressure on the victory of the Islamic Revolution, leaving work half-finished.
Shahrivar 13: is commemorated every year in honour of the great Iranian Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan Berouni, who flourished a millennium ago, and authored books on a wide variety of topics. As a follower of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, he determined the shape of the earth as spherical and revolving around the sun – preceding European scholars by almost half-a-millennium.