Today is Thursday; 22nd of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 3rd of the Islamic month of Muharram 1440 lunar hijri; and September 13, 2018, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
Over 3,505 lunar years ago, on this day, Prophet Joseph (Yusuf), while an under-teen boy, was rescued from the well into which his brothers had thrown him, after initial deliberation to kill him, because of their jealousy towards him for the deep love and affection of their father Prophet Jacob (Ya’qub) for this pious and extremely handsome son. Joseph was sold as a slave and ended up in Egypt, where Divine Providence, after having again tested his firm faith, patience, and wisdom, through ordeals that included a lengthy prison term, granted him a lofty ministerial rank in the court of the monotheistic Pharaoh. Surah Yusuf of the holy Qur’an details his interesting account – including the magnanimity he showed to his brothers – and calls it "Ahsan al-Qasas” (the Most Excellent of Accounts).
1487 solar years ago, on this day in 531 AD, Khosrow I (Chosroes to the Greeks, Kasra to the Arabs) started his 48-year reign as the 22nd Emperor of the Sassanid Empire on the death of his father Qobad I who reigned for 41 years. He is known as Anoushirvan the Just and is the epitome of the philosopher-king in Iranian history. It was in his era that the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Mecca. Khosrow’s wide-ranging social, administrative, military, and tax reforms were adopted by the Muslims when they took over the Sassanid Empire. He patronized scholars and invited scientists from Greece, India, China and other places, and the outcome of this synthesis resulted in what is known as the "Bimaristan”, the first hospital that introduced a concept of segregating wards according to pathology. Greek pharmacology fused with Iranian and Indian traditions resulted in significant advances in medicine that were later fully utilized by the Muslims. He developed the famous academy Gondishapur as the centre of learning. In his foreign policy, Khosrow Anoushirvan, after agreeing to an "Eternal Peace” with Justinian of the Eastern Roman Empire that proved abortive, pursued a prudent policy to thwart Roman-Byzantine designs in Syria, Anatolia, Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. He made sure the Roman Empire would never be a threat to the Sassanid Empire by keeping close contacts with the Goths, the Huns, the Arabs, and the people of Yemen, which land he brought under Iranian influence to control the trade between India and Europe through the Red Sea and Egypt. In the northeast, he kept the Turks under check and his reign signifies the promotion of the Silk Road between ancient China, India, and the western world. He was the ancestor of Hazrat Shahrbano, the Iranian princess who was the wife of Imam Husain (AS) and mother of Imam Zayn al-Abedin (AS).
1433 lunar years ago, on this day in 7 AH, the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), sent letters to the world’s kings and emperors, officially inviting them to the truth of the universal religion of Islam. According to historians he sent some twenty-six letters to the then world leaders spread across the face of the earth, including the emperors of Rome, Iran, and China. Obviously, the Prophet’s approach in this regard shows that Islam speaks with logic and reasoning in its invitation to righteousness. A few years following these official invitations, Islam spectacularly spread across the major part of the known world.
1379 lunar years ago, on this day in 61 AH, the Omayyad commander, Omar ibn Sa’d arrived in Karbala with a force of 4,000 armed men to surround the small band of Imam Husain (AS), the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Omar was sent by the oppressive governor of Kufa, Obaidullah ibn Ziyad, to demand oath of allegiance from the Prophet’s grandson for the ungodly rule of Yazid, or bring him to his court. The Imam refused to yield to injustice, and for the next few days thousands of more forces converged on Karbala. Finally, on the 10th of Moharram, Imam Husain (AS), bravely courted martyrdom in an unequal battle that has made his stand and cause immortal, inspiring people in every age against oppression.
1232 solar years ago, on this day in 786 AD, Abdullah al-Ma'mun, the 7th ruler of the usurper Abbasid dynasty, was born to Marajil, the Iranian concubine of the tyrant Haroun ar-Rashid. On growing up he was made governor of the eastern lands extending from Iran to Central Asia, with Marv in Khorasan as the seat of power. In 813, five years after Haroun’s death, Ma’mun sent an army to Baghdad to attack and his kill his profligate elder step-brother, Amin, and proclaimed himself caliph. He ruled for 20 years and died in Tarsus in what is now Turkey, a horrible death of unquenchable thirst despite drinking gallons of cool water. Crafty and articulate, Mamoun’s greatest cardinal sin was the martyring of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), through a fatal dose of poisoned grapes, after inviting him to Khorasan and forcing him to accept being his heir, although the Imam was almost twenty years his senior.
1188 lunar years ago, on this day in 252 AH, Musta'in-Billah the 12th ruler of the usurper Abbasid regime was deposed by his masters, the powerful Turkic guards that had installed him as ruler in Samarra, after the suspicious death of his cousin, Muntasir-Billah. During his 4-year rule, Musta'in suffered two disastrous defeats at the hands of Christians in Armenia. His only success was his killing in unequal combat near Kufa, of the Prophet's descendant, Yayha Ibn Umar Ibn Yahya Ibn Hussain Ibn Zayd the Martyr – a son of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) the 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).The cause of his downfall was his quarrel with the Turkish guards, who released Mu'taz, the son of the murdered Mutawakkil-Billah from prison and declared him the 13th Abbasid caliph. Musta'in, the son of Wathiq-Billah, the 9th Abbasid caliph – whose corpse lay in negligence with eyes eaten by rats as his brother Mutawakkil immediately celebrated his own rise to power as the next caliph with festivities – was further humiliated by humbly paying homage to the new caliph, who imprisoned him in Baghdad and soon had him murdered. When the severed head was brought before Mu'taz who was playing chess, he said: "lay it aside, till I have finished the game." Then having satisfied himself that it was really the head of his cousin, he commanded 500 pieces of gold to be given to the assassin as reward. These events occurred during the last days of the 34-year imamate of the Prophet’s 10th Infallible Heir, Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), who in 254 AH was martyred through poisoning by Mu’taz in Samarra while under house arrest.
789 solar years ago, on this day in 1229 AD, Ogedei Khan was proclaimed the second Khaqaan (Great Khan) of the Mongol Empire in Kodoe Aral, Mongolia, following the death of his father, the bloodthirsty Buddhist tyrant Genghis Khan. During his 12-year reign, he continued the expansion of the empire which reached its farthest extent west and south in Europe and Asia. He participated extensively in conquests in China, Central Asia and Iran. In his administration, he made use of the experience of Muslims, and two of his leading ministers were the Khwarezmians, Mahumud Yalavach and Masoud Beg. Mohammad Juwaini and his son Baha od-Din Juwaini (father of the famous Iranian historian Ata Malik Juwaini), held the post of Saheb-e Divan for Ogedei.
697 solar years ago, on this day in 1321 AD, Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, known as the ‘Father of Italian Language’, died at the age of 56, and was buried in Ravenna. Born in Florence, he is famous for his book titled "Commedia”, which at times, although anti-Islamic and blasphemous, shows extensive borrowings from Islamic eschatological sources. It later came to be known as "Divine Comedy” for its Christianization of the themes. It is regarded as the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language. Dante lived in an era when southern Europe was in substantial literary and philosophical contact with the Muslim World. Dante’s work shows borrowings from "Risalat-al-Ghufran” (Epistle of Forgiveness) of the atheist Syrian Arabic poet Abu’l Ala al-Ma'arri, who in his imaginary journey in the realms of the afterlife includes dialogues with people in Heaven and Hell. Scholars note that Dante heavily borrowed from "Kitab al-Miraj” of the Iranian Sunni Muslim Hadith scholar, Abu'l-Qasim Abdul-Karim ibn Hawazin ibn Abdul-Malik al-Qushairi an-Naishaburi. Italian philologist Maria Corti has pointed out that during his stay at the court of Alfonso X of Aragon, Dante's mentor Brunetto Latini met Bonaventura de Siena, an Italian who in 1264 had translated the "Kitab al-Miraj” from Arabic into Latin as "Liber Scalae Machometi” (The Book of [Prophet] Mohammad's Ladder). Corti says Brunetto may have given a copy of that work to Dante. In 1919, Prof Miguel Asín Palacios of Spain published "La Escatología Musulmana en la Divina Comedia” (Islamic Eschatology in the Divine Comedy), an account of parallels between Islamic philosophy and Dante’s work, arguing that Dante derived many features and episodes about the hereafter from the writings of the Spanish Muslim Gnostic Mohy od-Din Ibn al-Arabi. Dante’s work gives great respect to the Muslim philosophers Avicenna (Abu Ali Ibn Sina) of Iran and Averroes (Ibn Rushd) of Spain.
581 solar years ago, on this day in 1437 AD, the Battle of Tangier resulted in a crushing defeat for the Portuguese invasion force led by Prince Henry the Navigator, Duke of Viseu at the hands of Moroccan army led by the Marinid vizier, Abu Zakariya Yahya al-Wattasi of Fez. The Portuguese intending to seize a series of Moroccan coastal citadels laid siege to Tangier in mid-September. The Moroccans subsequently encircled the Portuguese siege camp and starved it to submission. To preserve his army from destruction, Henry negotiated a treaty promising to return the citadel of Ceuta (occupied earlier in 1415) to Morocco, in return for being allowed to withdraw his troops. As it turned out, the terms of the treaty were never fulfilled; the Portuguese broke their promise to return Ceuta and allowed the Portuguese hostage, the king's own brother, Ferdinand the Holy Prince, to remain in Moroccan captivity, where he perished in 1443. Tangiers was a tremendous setback for the prestige and reputation of Henry the Navigator, who had personally conceived, promoted and led the invasion.
444 solar years ago, on this day in 1574 AD, the Ottoman fleet led by Ulugh Ali Raeis liberated Tunis from Spanish occupation after decisively defeating the combined naval forces of Spain, Portugal, France, and the papal states of Italy.
420 solar years ago, on this day in 1598 AD, Philip II of Spain died at the age of 71 after a 42-year reign, during which he was constantly embroiled in naval battles with the Ottoman Turks, who inflicted a number of defeats upon him except for the Battle of Lepanto which he won in 1571 and briefly occupied Tunis. A bigoted Catholic, in addition to being an avowed enemy of Muslims, he considered Protestants as heretics, and assembled a large armada in 1588 for the abortive invasion of England. In Mediterranean Sea his navy was no match in the battles against the Turkish Muslims.
199 lunar years ago, on this day in 1241 AH, the second Russo-Iranian war started. The cause was the continued hostility of Russia that had seized the northwestern territories of Iran in the Caucasus. Despite the courage displayed by Prince Abbas Mirza, who achieved initial success and pushed back the Russians, the Iranian army was defeated because of lack of supply and support from Tehran, where King Fath-Ali Shah was immersed in inefficiency and pleasures. The disgraceful Turkmenchai Treaty was forced upon Iran, which had to cede to Russia the region of Daghestan west of the Caspian Sea, and areas north of the River Aras, including what is now called the Republic of Azerbaijan.
136 solar years ago, on this day in 1882 AD, the Battle of Tel al-Kabir took place during the Anglo-Egyptian War. After discontented Egyptian officers under Ahmad Urabi revolted, the British on the pretext of protecting their vested interests in the country, and in particular the Suez Canal, attacked the Egyptians and defeated them with the help of 7,000 Indian mercenary troops.
133 solar years ago, on this day in 1885 AD, Portuguese author, Aquilino Ribeiro, was born. Following the completion of his studies, he turned into a political activist and was imprisoned for a while. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 1961. He died in 1963.
118 solar years ago, on this day in 1900 AD, Filipino fighters defeated the invading US army in the Battle of Pulang Lupa, during the US-Spanish War.
111 solar years ago, on this day in 1907 AD, Ayatollah Mirza Ibrahim Khoeyi, was martyred during the Constitutional Revolution in his hometown Khoey in northwestern Iran at the age of 76. His body was taken to holy Najaf, Iraq for burial. A product of the Najaf seminary, his teachers included Ayatollah Shaikh Morteza Ansari Dezfuli, and Seyyed Hussain Kuhkamraei. He wrote many books including "ad-Durrat-on-Najafiyya” a commentary on "Nahj al-Balagha” – the collection of the Sermons, Letters and Aphorisms of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), the divinely-designated heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
98 solar years ago, on this day in 1920 AD, the prominent activist of the Constitutional Era, Sheikh Mohammad Khiyabani, was martyred, thus ending the uprising in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz against the despotic Qajar Dynasty. After acquiring Islamic sciences, he struggled against the injustices of the monarchial system. He strove to awaken the people against the infiltration of foreign powers, believing that the root cause of the problems of the Islamic Ummah, were the oppressive rulers and their colonial masters. Following the ouster of Mohammad Ali Shah and his fleeing from Iran in 1908, Khiyabani was elected to the parliament in Tehran as representative of the people of Tabriz, from where he launched his uprising following signing of the ominous pact with Britain in 1919 by the corrupt Prime Minister Wosouq od-Dowlah. After succeeding in taking charge of the administration of Tabriz, he was captured in an unequal battle with the governmental forces and executed.
96 solar years ago, on this day in 1922 AD, the Great Fire of Izmir, started four days after the Turkish forces liberated Izmir from Greek occupation, and raged for 10 days until extinguished on September 1922, destroying much of the port city. An estimated 10,000-to-100,000 Greek and Armenian invading troops are said to have perished in the fire while fleeing after their defeat that effectively ended the Greco-Turkish War and the 3-year occupation of Izmir.
70 solar years ago, on this day in 1948 AD, invasion of the Muslim kingdom of Haiderabad-Deccan by the Indian Army started a day after the death of the Founder of Pakistani, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The invasion code-named "Operation Polo” was ordered by hardline Deputy Premier, Vallabhbhai Patel, to forcibly annex Deccan to India, despite the fact that following the British withdrawal from the Subcontinent in August 1947 and the birth of India and Pakistan, the landlocked kingdom, which was the size of France, had chosen to remain independent, and had even sent a representative to the UN for membership. Britain also betrayed the ruler, Osman Ali Khan Nizam ol-Mulk Asef Jah VII, conveniently forgetting the tens of millions of pound-sterling given by him as aid during the First and Second World Wars, as well as the pacts and treaties with his ancestors at the start of colonial rule. The Indian army invaded from four points and after several days of resistance, sensing the situation hopeless, the ruler negotiated surrender to avoid any further bloodshed of Muslims, thereby ending 224 glorious years of the rule of his dynasty founded by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s general of Central Asian Persian stock, Qamar od-Din Khan Nizam ol-Mulk Asef Jah. Some 200,000 mostly Muslim civilians were slaughtered by the Indian army during "Operation Polo" which was so named because of the large number of polo grounds in Haiderabad-Deccan – 17 in all.
25 solar years ago, on this day in 1993 AD, Yasser Arafat betrayed the Palestinian cause by signing an accord with Zionist premier, Yitzhak Rabin, to accept the illegal existence of the Israel in return for recognition of his Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Zionist entity, after gaining several concessions from Arafat, made the false promise of granting statehood to the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but has never kept its words till this day.
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)