This Day in History (14-06-1397)
Today is Wednesday; 14th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 24th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and September 5, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1430 lunar years ago, on this day in 9 AH, the historic event of Mobahela took place in Medina between a delegation of the Christian Arabs of Najran and Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Mobahela means a challenge to invoke divine wrath on the liars, as is evident by ayah 61 of Surah Aal-e Imran of the holy Qur'an. It happened that after three days of dialogue when the Christians stuck to their weird belief on the divinity of Prophet Jesus (AS) despite the irrefutable proofs provided by the Prophet that the Almighty Creator is far too glorious to possess such human characteristics as the need to have a son or children, God commanded that the contending parties assemble at a place outside the city, along with their men, women, and children, for invoking malediction. The next day, as the Prophet calmly but confidently came to the appointed place along with his daughter, Fatema Zahra (SA), son-in-law Imam Ali (AS), and grandsons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS), the Christians were astonished to behold such enlightened visages which they had never seen before. They realized that the truth was with Islam and backed off from the challenge to invoke divine curse on the liars, since in the words of the chief bishop of Najran:
“I see such virtuous faces that if they raise their hands to invoke divine wrath, mountains would move from their places, and the Christians would be wiped out.”
This day is indeed a glorious event in history that saw triumph in a peaceful parley, as a manifestation of the status of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt or immediate family, for whom love, affection, respect, and obedience, is obligatory for all Muslims.
1430 lunar years ago, on the eve of this day in 9 AH, on the night preceding the historic Mobahela between the Christians and Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), “Ayat at-Tat-heer” (Verse of Purity) was revealed vouching the spotlessly pure personalities of the Ahl al-Bayt, when Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) prayed to God Almighty after assembling under his cloak his daughter, Fatema Zahra (SA), her husband Imam Ali (AS) and their two sons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS). This is ayah 33 of Surah al-Ahzaab which reads:
“Allah desires to keep away uncleanness from you Ahl al-Bayt and preserve you spotlessly pure.”
In a related development on this day in a different year, God revealed Ayahs 55 and 56 of Surah al-Ma’edah when the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), while in genuflection during the ritual prayer, gave away the ring of his finger by pointing it towards the beggar who was pleading for alms in the mosque:
“Your Guardian is only Allah, His Prophet, and the truly faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakāt while (bowed) in genuflection. “Whoever takes for his guardians Allah, His Prophet and the truly faithful [should know that] the Hizbullah (Party of Allah) are indeed the victorious.”
This ayah is yet another firm proof of God’s appointment of Imam Ali (AS) as the Prophet’s vicegerent that was formally proclaimed on 18th Zi’l-Hijjah 10 AH at the historic assembly of Ghadeer-Khom on revelation of ayah 67 of Surah al-Ma’edah.
1428 solar years ago, on this day in 590, Hormizd IV, the 21st Sassanid Emperor of Iran-Iraq-Afghanistan, was deposed, blinded and killed at the age of 50 after a reign of 11 years by Vistahm and Vinduyih, the maternal uncles of his son and successor, Khosrow II Pervez. Son of Khosrow I Anushirvan, he inherited his father’s wars against Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire in the west for control of Syria and Anatolia, and against the Turks in the northeast over Central Asia. Despite the victory of his armies over the Turks in the east, and success in checking the advance of the Romans in the west, it was the arrogance, violent temper and breach of promise of Hormizd IV that made his brothers-in-law turn against him in the midst of the rebellion of his victorious general, Bahram Chubin, who would seize the Sassanid capital, Ctesiphon (near Baghdad in Iraq) and style himself king, before being defeated and killed by Khosrow II.
1319 solar years ago, on this day in 699 AD, the Iranian Sunni Muslim Jurisprudent, Noman Ibn Sabet Ibn Zuṭa Ibn Marzuban, known as Abu Hanifa, was born in Kufa in a family of Zoroastrian origin from Kabul. He learned the holy Qur’an and hadith, and after only two years of study under Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he started his own jurisprudential school, known as Hanafi. Contrary to the definition of Ijtihad, based on the holy Qur’an and the genuine hadith of the Prophet, he resorted to "qiyas" or analogy regarding legal issues, despite warnings from Imam Sadeq (AS) that the first one to indulge in "qiyas" was Iblis (Satan). He died in Baghdad at the age of 68.
1207 lunar years ago, on this day in 232 AH, Watheq-Billah the 9th self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime died under suspicious conditions at the age of 31 in his capital Samarra after a 5-year reign, and there were no tears shed for him as the whole court leaving his corpse unattended, busied itself in celebrating the crowning of his brother, Mutawakkel. After the festivities when his corpse was taken for the ritual washing before burial, it was found that his eyes were missing from their sockets, having been eaten by mice. Son of Mutasem’s Greek concubine Qaratis, on succeeding his father, Watheq arrested several prominent officials and tortured them to surrender wealth they allegedly misappropriated. Devoid of any piety, he was renowned for his musical talents and is reputed to have composed over one-hundred songs. During his reign, a number of revolts broke out, the largest ones in Syria and Palestine, as a result of an increasingly large gap between Arab populations and the Turkish slave armies (Mamluk) formed by his father Mutasim, the son of Haroun Rasheed’s Turkic concubine. The revolts were put down, but antagonism between the two groups continued to widen, with the Turks gaining more power.
928 lunar years ago, on this day in 511 AH, Ghiyas od-Din Mohammad, the son of Sultan Malik Shah the last great Seljuq ruler of the Iran-based empire that included Iraq, most of Anatolia, parts of Syria, the Caucasus, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia, died after a reign of 13 years.
352 solar years ago, on this day in 1666 AD, the Great Fire of London, which began on September 2 finally ended. Ten thousand buildings including St Paul's Cathedral were destroyed.
246 solar years ago, on this day in 1772 AD, Fath-Ali Shah, the second king of the Qajarid Dynasty of Iran, was born. Son of Hussain Qoli Khan, the brother of the founder of the dynasty, Agha Mohammad Khan, he was governor of Fars and succeeded his childless uncle on his assassination in 1797. Much of his 37-year long reign that saw the gradual loss of vast areas of Iran in the Caucasus, Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, was marked by the resurgence of Persian arts and painting, as well as a deeply elaborate court culture. Portraiture and large-scale oil paintings reached new heights under his personal patronage. While the economic conditions of the people declined, Fath Ali Shah ordered the creation of royal regalia, including coronation chairs such as the bejeweled "Takht-e-Tavoos" (Peacock Throne) – modeled on the famous Peacock Throne of the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, which Nader Shah Afshar had brought as booty from India, and which was dismantled and distributed amongst his generals after his assassination. Fath Ali Shah also modified with a large number of pearls and gems his uncle’s crown, the "Taj-e-Kiyani". He led a life of luxury oblivious of the poverty of the people and the political humiliation to Iran’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as a result of the Russian-imposed Golestan and Turkmanchai Treaties, coupled with growing British pressures and encroachments. When his son and crown prince Abbas Mirza died on 25 October 1833, he named the latter’s son (his grandson) Mohammed Mirza as successor.
225 solar years ago, on this day in 1793 AD, the Reign of Terror began during the French Revolution as the National Convention instituted harsh measures to repress counter-revolutionary activities. A delegate claiming that the middle class Girondist (moderates) leaders be sentenced to death cried, "It is time for equality to wield its scythe over all the heads. Very well, Legislator, place Terror on the agenda!" The delegates agreed to arrest all suspects and dissenters, try them swiftly in the so-called revolutionary tribunals, and sentence them uniformly to death.
200 solar years ago, on this day in 1818 AD, the ministry of foreign affairs was established for the first time in Iran, with Mirza Abu’l-Hassan Khan Shirazi as foreign minister, operating under the country’s prime minister, who in turn was responsible to the Qajarid Shah. It was the first ministry in Iran, and before that the Department of External Affairs used to handle Iran’s foreign relations. Gradually other ministries were established to take care of the different areas of work entrusted to the prime minister, as bureaucracy grew.
170 solar years ago, on this day in 1848 AD, Mohammad Shah Qajar, the 3rd ruler of the Qajarid Dynasty of Iran, died at the age of 40, after a reign of 14 years, and was succeeded by his 16-year old son, Nasser od-Din Shah, with the famous reformist prime minster, Mirza Taqi Khan Amir Kabir as regent. Son of the famous crown prince, Abbas Mirza, who predeceased Fath Ali Shah, he succeeded his grandfather, and twice tried to unsuccessfully liberate Herat, the “Pearl of Khorasan” from Afghan occupation, but was thwarted by the British, who sent naval forces to the Persian Gulf to occupy Khark island and threaten Bushehr. It was during his rule that the symbol of “Shir-va-Khorshid” (Lion and Sun) against a red, white, and green background became the flag of Iran.
161 solar years ago, on this day in 1857 AD, the French philosopher and mathematician, August Comte, died at the age of 65. Considered Founder of Modern Sociology, he also presented significant views in mathematics, philosophy, physics, and astronomy. In the last years of his life he founded a new school of thought known as "Religion of Humanity". He wrote several books including "Philosophical Treatise on Popular Astronomy".
141 solar years ago, on this day in 1877 AD, four months after his peaceful surrender to end the warfare between the Amerindian natives and the US regime, Oglala Sioux chief ‘Crazy Horse’ was treacherously bayoneted to death by a white soldier at Fort Robinson in Nebraska, at the age of 37.
131 solar years ago, on this day in 1887 AD, the Yellow River floods in China took place. This major flooding lasted more than a month, claiming the life of nearly 900,000 people. Hundreds of villages and farmlands were destroyed.
113 solar years ago, on this day in 1905 AD, the Russo-Japanese War ended after a year and a half with signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty in New Hampshire, US, mediated by US President Theodore Roosevelt.
74 lunar years ago, on this day in 1365 AH, Head of the Islamic seminary of holy Mashhad, Ayatollah Shaikh Morteza Ashtiyani, passed away at the age of 84 and was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Imam Reza (AS) – the 8th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He completed his higher studies and reached the status of Ijtehad in holy Najaf, Iraq, where his teachers were the famous ulema, Mirza Habibollah Rashti, and Akhound Khorasani. On his return to Iran, he took up residence in Tehran for some years before shifting to holy Mashhad where he spent the last 25 years of his life, teaching and preaching.
49 solar years ago, on this day in 1969 AD, of the 22 cowardly US soldiers involved in sadistic savagery at My Lai village in Vietnam, only William Calley was charged with six specifications of premeditated murder for the cold-blooded killing of 109 Vietnamese men, women and children, including infants, on 16th March 1968. Some of the bodies were later found to be mutilated and many women raped prior to the killings. The massacre prompted global outrage when it became public knowledge in 1969. It also increased domestic opposition to the US involvement in the Vietnam War. Three US servicemen who had tried to halt the massacre and protect the wounded were denounced by several US Congressmen as traitors in an attempt to cover up the massacre. They received hate mail and death threats. The three were later widely praised and decorated by the army for their heroic actions. As for the chief culprit William Calley, he was originally given a life sentence, but only served three and a half years under house arrest before being released, which shows the highly flawed nature of justice in the US.
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1981 AD, Iran's Prosecutor General, Ayatollah Ali Qoddusi, was martyred due to detonation of a bomb planted by MKO terrorists. He was a student of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi, Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Tabatabai (the famous exegete of the holy Qur'an), and the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). On attaining the status of Ijtehad, he actively participated in religious affairs including the foundation of the Haqqani Seminary. In 1962, he joined the Imam in the struggle against the Shah's regime, and was imprisoned for his revolutionary activities. On victory of the Islamic Revolution, he was appointed Prosecutor-General.
27 lunar years ago, on this day in 1412 AH, prominent religious leader, Ayatollah Reza Madani Kashani, passed away in his hometown Kashan. The Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, paid glowing tributes to this scholar for his grooming of students and compilation of valuable books in Persian and Arabic, including the 4-volume "Barahin al-Hajj".
18 solar years ago, on this day in 2000 AD, the scholar, Seyyed Morteza Ayatollahzadeh Shirazi, passed away at the age of 72, and was laid to rest in the Shaykhan Cemetery, adjacent to the holy shrine of Hazrat Fatema Ma’suma (SA) in Qom. Born in holy Najaf in Iraq, he was a grandson of Grand Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Shirazi who had issued the tobacco prohibition fatwa to save Iranian economy from British exploitation. At the age of 23 he enrolled at Tehran University and on graduation travelled to Egypt, where he stayed for ten years, obtaining PhD in Arabic literature from Cairo University, and teaching Persian literature at al-Azhar University. He then left for Britain, where he completed a course at Cambridge University in Semitic languages. On return to Iran, he taught at Tehran University, where for 21 years he was also editor-in-chief of the Scientific-Research Journal of the Faculty of Literature. His articles appeared in academic journals in Iran and abroad. He wrote and translated some 25 books including “Farhang-e Istelahaat-e Rouz” (Lexicon of Current Phrases and Idioms), and the multilingual dictionary “Majma’ ol-Lughaat”.