This Day in History (17-06-1397)
Today is Saturday; 17th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 27th of the Islamic month of Zi’l-Hijjah 1439 lunar hijri; and September 8, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1401 solar years ago, on this day in 617 AD, in the Battle of Huoyi, a Sui Dynasty army was defeated by Li Yuan, opening the path to his capture of the imperial capital Chang’an and the eventual establishment of the Tang Dynasty.
1307 lunar years ago, on this day in 132 AH, on this day in 750 AD, the 13th and last self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime, Marwan II, titled “al-Hemar” (or the Donkey), was caught and killed in Egypt at the age of 62 after a 6-year rule while fleeing through Syria, Palestine, and North Africa, following defeat in the Battle of Zab on the banks of the river of the same name in northern Iraq at the hands of the Abbasids on January 25 the same year. Thus ended the 91-year Godless rule of the Omayyads established in 41AH on the seizure of the Islamic realm by Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan through a dubious treaty imposed upon Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the elder grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Prior to the decisive Battle of Zab, the hated Omayyads had suffered a series of defeats all the way from Iran to Iraq by the combined forces of the Abbasids, Shi’ite Muslims, and Iranians. At Zab, Marwan assembled a vast army made up of many veterans of earlier Omayyad campaigns against the Byzantine Empire, but the zeal of the opponents demoralized his forces and they fled in the face of determined attack. Marwan escaped the battlefield and was relentless pursued by the Abbasids, who cornered him in Abusir in Nile delta and executed him. Marwan had ruled for 6 years from Damascus after being governor of Armenia and Azarbaijan for 12 years during which he terrorized the people of the Caucasus and devastated cities in Georgia.
1219 lunar years ago, on this day in 220 AH, Ali al-Uraidhi, the son of Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), passed away at the ripe old age of a hundred years. He lived in an area called Uraidh, some 6 km from Medina, hence his epithet al-Uraidhi. He was a great scholar and transmitter of Hadith from his father, brother Imam Musa Kazem (AS) and nephew Imam Reza (AS). Once when he was preaching in the mosque, Imam Mohammad at-Taqi (AS), who was still beardless boy entered, and on seeing him, he quickly sprang to his feet without adjusting the cloak and without wearing the slipper he came forward to greet him. When his companions chided him for behaving in such respectable manner to a boy who was the grandson of his brother, he replied that since God has granted the Divine Trust of imamate to the young boy it is incumbent upon all others to hold him in reverence. Both Shi’a and Sunni scholars have transmitted hadith from Ali al-Uraidhi, and there is a compilation known as “Musnad Ali ibn Ja’far” attributed to him.
1190 solar years ago, on this day in 828 AD (according to the Gregorian calendar), Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Medina. As per the Islamic calendar his date of birth is 15th Zilhijja 212 AH. His period of imamate or divinely-decreed leadership was 34 years during which he groomed a large number of scholars in different branches of sciences in those dark days of Abbasid tyranny. He had to spend the last few years of his life in the Abbasid capital Samarra in Iraq, where he was forcibly brought by Caliph Mutawakkel and placed under house arrest most of the time. He strengthened the system of "wikala" or representation around the world of Islam before his martyrdom through poisoning at the age of 42 years, and passed it on to his son and successor, Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), for further consolidation during the crucial period of "Ghayba" (occultation) of his grandson, Imam Mahdi (AS), who will reappear as the promised savior of mankind to fill the earth with peace, prosperity and justice.
883 solar years ago, on this day in 1134 AD, Alfonso the Battler, the king of Navarre in Spain, died at the age of 61 after a reign of 30 years, during which he seized from Spanish Muslims the city of Zaragoza and the province of the same name, with the help of mercenaries from France and other parts of Europe. He was notorious for his wars against both Muslims and fellow Christians. Known in Arabic as Saraqusta, the region which had witnessed 414 years of glorious Islamic rule, was renamed Aragon by Alfonso.
748 lunar years ago, on this day in 691 AH, the world-acclaimed Persian poet of Iran, Shaikh Moslehoddin Sa’di, passed away in his hometown Shiraz. He left at a young age for Baghdad where he studied at the famous Nizamiyyah Academy, excelling in Islamic Sciences, law, governance, history, Arabic literature and theology. The unsettled conditions following the Mongol invasion of Iran led him to wander for 30 years through Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, and Anatolia or what is now Turkey. He also refers in his works about his travels in Sindh or present day Pakistan, as well as India and Central Asia. Sa'di performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Even during his travels he composed beautiful Persian and Arabic poems. On return to his hometown, Shiraz, he composed his two famous masterpieces, the “Bustan” or the Orchard and the “Golestan” or the Rose Garden. The poems in Bustan speak of such topics as justice, love, kindness, modesty, contentment, education, repentance, and prayers. The next year he completed the “Golestan”, which is in prose, and also contains his Arabic and Persian poems, in addition to moral and social anecdotes in 8 chapters. His collection of poems also includes odes and quatrains. The tomb of Sa’di in Shiraz is a frequently visited site.
638 solar years ago, on this day in 1380 AD, the Battle of Kulikovo was won by an alliance of Russian principalities under command of Prince Dmitri of Moscow against a Mongol-Tatar army of the Golden Horde Muslims led by Mamai, the regent for the immature Khan Mohammad Bolak, who was killed in the fray. Mamai fled to Crimea where he was assassinated. The victory did not end the vassalage of the Russian principalities to the Golden Horde and enabled the rise of Toktamysh as the Great Khan who would win battles as far as Lithuania until his defeat by the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur.
354 solar years ago, on this day in 1664 AD, after a period of hostilities, the Dutch formally surrendered to English soldiers the whole of New Netherlands including the city of New Amsterdam founded in 1625 on Manhattan Island in North America. The British soon renamed New Amsterdam as New York and the New Netherlands as New York State, as part of the New England colonies.
258 solar years ago, on this day in 1760 AD the greater part of New France that spanned what is now Canada and the US, from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains and from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, was surrendered by Governor Vaudreuil to a British invasion force at Montreal. Earlier, the native Amerindian allies of the French had surrendered to the British on 25 August and the Huron tribe on 5 September. The colony was under military occupation until a formal treaty of peace was imposed on 10th February 1763, thus ending the 7-year war involving Britain, France, and Spain. France ceded most of New France, except the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, to Britain, including the lands east of the Mississippi River and parts of Louisiana in what is now the US, while Spain received the territory to the west – the larger portion of Louisiana. Spain returned its portion of Louisiana to France in 1800 under the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso, but Napoleon Bonaparte sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Canada thus became a British colony, and although, as per the 1867 constitution the Confederation of Canada was granted self-rule by London, its foreign policy and defence remained in the hands of Britain till formal independence was granted in 1931.
85 solar years ago, on this day in 1933 AD, Faisal I, the imported king of Iraq, died at the age of 50 in Baghdad and was succeeded by his son, Ghazi. Faisal, the son of Sharif Hussain, the British agent of Hejaz, was installed as king against the wishes of the Iraqi people, after the British suppressed the popular revolution led by Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Shirazi and Ayatollah Kashef al-Gheta. Earlier in 1920, Faisal had been installed as King of Syria in Damascus, but was forced to flee after only four months in power. For his younger brother, Abdullah, the British carved out a new country called Jordan from Greater Syria and placed him as king. In 1958, the hated Iraqi monarchy was overthrown by General Abdul-Karim Qassim and Faisal II was caught and killed while fleeing.
77 solar years ago, on this day in 1941 AD, German Nazi troops besieged the Soviet city of Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg), but met with stiff resistance for two years and four months that forced Adolf Hitler in January 1944 to lift the siege during which almost a million people died, mainly because of food shortage and diseases. The Russian resistance turned the tide of the Second World War against the Germans.
74 solar years ago, on this day in 1944 AD, eminent Iranian writer, Houshang Moradi Kermani, best known for children's and young-adult fiction, was born at Sirch, a village in Kerman Province. For his lasting contribution as a children's writer, he was a finalist in 2014 for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest recognition available to creators of children's books. Several Iranian movies and TV-series have been made based on his books. In 2006, Dariush Mehrjui directed “Mehman-e Mamaan” based on Moradi Kermani's novel with the same title. Some of his books have been translated into English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, and Armenian. His auto-biography was published in 2005, titled “Shoma ke Gharibe Nisteed” (You are not a Stranger). He has won many national and international awards which include Hans Christian Andersen Honorary diploma (1992) and University of San Francisco book of the year (2000).
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1978 AD, the Shah's despotic regime brutally attacked a massive rally in Tehran on Friday, the weekly holiday, killing as many as four thousand defenseless men, women, and children. The day is known as Black Friday or the Day of Martyrs. The Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) from his exile in holy Najaf in Iraq, sent a message of condolences to the people of Tehran, saying: "This is the path of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), and of his son, the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS). The Iranian nation should be assured that, sooner or later, victory is yours."
23 solar years ago, on this day in 1995 AD, Safa Abdul-Aziz Khulusi, Iraqi historian, novelist, poet, lexicographer, journalist and broadcaster, passed away at the age of 78. He is known for mediating between Arabic-and English-language cultures, and for his scholarship of modern Iraqi literature. He is also remembered for his theories on Arabic grammar, on Shakespeare, as well as his role in Islamic education and his work on the poetry of al-Mutanabbi. In Oxford in 1972, he became one of the editors of the “Concise Oxford English-Arabic Dictionary of Current Usage”. In his book “Islam Our Choice”, first published in 1961, Khulusi set out a collection of personal accounts from individuals who converted to Islam from other religions.
September 8: is marked as International Literacy Day, following the decision taken by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world. Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.