Today is Monday; 23rd of the Iranian month of Bahman 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 6th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani 1440 lunar hijri; and February 12, 2019, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1054 lunar years ago, on this day in 386 AD, the Shafe’i Sufi scholar, Mohammad ibn Ali, known popularly as Abu Talib al-Makki, passed away in Baghdad. He was hadith expert and jurist as well, and author of "Quwwat al-Qulub” (The Nourishment of Hearts), a book used by the Iranian Shafe’i scholar, Abu Hamed Ghazali, as a source for some of the chapters of his work "Ihya Uloum ad-Din” (Revival of Islamic Knowledge).
1003 lunar years ago, on this day in 437 AH, the famous Iranian Ismaili Shi'a poet and scholar, Naser Khosrow, who was born in Qobadian in eastern Khorasan, which is now part of modern Tajikistan, started his journey to Fatemid Egypt to meet the Ismaili caliph. During the almost seven years he spent in travel until his return home, he visited different lands, such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Arabia, and Egypt, and performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina four times. He penned his travels in the famous book titled "Safar-Namah” or Travelogue that contains an interesting description of the peoples, their culture, customs, the political and economic conditions, and geographical factors of the lands he visited. He was well versed in astrology, as well as philosophy and interpretation of the holy Qur'an. He had studied Arabic, Turkic, Greek, Sanskrit, Sindhi, and even Hebrew. In separate journeys he also visited Multan and Lahore, and the splendid Ghaznavid court under Sultan Mahmud in what is now Afghanistan. Naser Khosrow has composed some very fine odes in Persian in praise of Imam Ali (AS), the First Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
901 solar years ago, on this day in 1128 AD, Zaher od-Din Toghtekin, the Turkic Mamluk (slave) Atabek (governor) of Damascus died after a rule of 24 years, during which he was a thorn in the side of the Crusader occupiers of Palestine and parts of Syria – though mostly suffering setbacks but thwarting the bid of the European invaders to capture Damascus. He lived in a crucial period of history when Seljuqid Syria was plunged into civil war following the death in battle in Rayy (near modern Tehran) in 1095 of his master, Amir Taj od Dowla Tutush I – younger brother of Malik Shah, the sultan of the Isfahan-based Great Seljuq Empire. At a time when Muslim unity in northern Syria and solidarity with the Fatemids of Egypt-southern Syria could have prevented the fall of Antioch (1097), Tripoli, Tyre and finally Bayt al-Moqaddas (1099) to the European invaders, Toghetin supported the rebellion of his late master’s second son, Shams ol-Mulouk Duqaq against the elder, Fakhr ol-Mulk Redhwan of Aleppo, thereby fragmenting the Seljuqs. In 1104, on the death of Duqaq, he displaced the latter’s sons to seize power of Damascus and its dependencies, and founded the short-lived Burid dynasty, which in 1154 was overthrown by the fellow Turkic Zengids of Mosul and Aleppo, who in turn gave way in 1176 to the Kurdish adventurer Salah od-Din – founder of the Ayyubid Empire of Egypt-Syria and liberator of Bayt al-Moqaddas in 1187.
517 solar years ago, on this day in 1502 AD, Spanish Muslims in the occupied emirate of Granada were forced to convert to the Catholic sect of Christianity by Queen Isabella of Castile. Those who refused were given choice between death and expulsion. Many did in fact flee to North Africa, while others fought to the death; however, most became Christians in name, on the assumption of saving their faith and children. In other words, Spain’s Muslim population went underground in 1502 for concealing their beliefs and actions from the Christian authorities in order to avoid being killed. These "converted” Muslims were known as Moriscos – a derogatory term – and were intently watched by the government. The Moriscos were not descendants of Arab settlers, but of native Iberian Christians who had embraced the truth of Islam, and were thus as ethnically Iberian as the Christians who persecuted, killed and expelled them. The government placed strict restrictions on them to try to prevent them from secretly practicing Islam, which many were, of course, doing. Moriscos had to leave the doors to their homes open on Thursday nights and Friday mornings, so soldiers can look in, to make sure they were not bathing, as Muslims are supposed to do on Friday. Those caught reading the holy Qur’an or making wudhu (ablution) could be immediately killed. Even under such difficult circumstances, the Moriscos retained their beliefs for several decades, and some for over a century, while the community activities of Islam such as the congregational prayer, alms giving, and pilgrimage to Mecca were forbidden. It is worth noting that in 1485, when the Mamluk Ruler of Egypt-Syria was all set to dispatch an army to help Granada repel the Christian aggression, Ottoman Sultan Bayazid II halted his European campaigns and turned eastwards to attack fellow Muslims in Anatolia and Syria, thereby starting the disastrous Ottoman-Mamluk Wars that continued for over three decades, while Spanish Muslims were being exterminated.
426 solar years ago, on this day in 1593 AD, during the Japanese invasion of Korea, approximately 3,000 Joseon defenders led by General Kwon Yul successfully repelled more than 30,000 Japanese forces in the Siege of Haengju. Together with the Siege of Jinju in 1592 and the Battle of Hansan Island, it is considered the greatest Korean victory during the seven years of war that ended in 1598 when the Japanese were forced to withdraw from the Korean Peninsula.
306 solar years ago, on this day in 1713 AD, Jahandar Shah, the 8th Moghal emperor of the subcontinent, was strangled to death in prison at the age of 52, after a brief 11-month disorderly reign, a month after his defeat in the Battle of Agra by his nephew Farrukhsiyar, the new emperor. Jahandar Shah, during the reign of his grandfather, Aurangzeb, had sailed around the Indian Ocean and become a very prosperous merchant. During the reign of his father, Bahadur Shah, he had served as governor of Sindh. On his father’s death, he seized the throne after liquidating his three brothers including Azim osh-Shan – father of Farrukhsiyar. He turned into a worthless debauch by throwing himself into sensual pleasures in the company of a dancing-singing girl named Lal Kunwar, to the neglect of affairs of state. The entire administration fell into utter confusion, as provinces began to secede, and governors calling him a usurper.
215 solar years ago, on this day in 1804 AD, German philosopher and scientist, Immanuel Kant, died at the age of 80. He wrote books on mathematics, logic, natural sciences, astronomy, and philosophy. He tried to introduce the role played by wisdom and experience in learning, and the boundaries of wisdom and senses in understanding the world. His philosophy is based on criticism of wisdom and therefore called ‘critical philosophy’. His books include "Critique of Practical Reason".
210 solar years ago, on this day in 1809 AD, British naturalist, Charles Darwin, was born. He claimed to have done studies on evolution of species and went on a voyage for completion of his research. Upon return, he published the controversial book "On the Origin of Species" which is mere speculation and for a period influenced people who lacked faith in God, the wonders of creation, and the realities of life. His theory was based on the Survival of the Fittest, where the stronger plants and animals survive and the weaker ones become extinct. Darwin died in 1882, and his theory of evolution has been subjected to analysis and disproved by scholars and Muslim ulema.
194 solar years ago, on this day in 1825 AD, Creek Amerindians were forced to cede the last of their ancestral lands in what is now the state of Georgia in the US, by imposition of the 2nd Treaty of Indian Springs. As part of the ethnic-cleansing policy of the Anglo-Saxon regimes in the White House Native Americans of the Creek Nation were forcibly relocated to the west of River Mississippi against their wish that led to resentment and the clashes which left scores of casualties. The first Indian Springs Treaty was signed four years earlier for similar displacement of Amerindians from their ancestral lands with the promise of payment in installations that were never fully paid. The US has a bleak, black, and bloody record of ethnic cleansing, genocide, wars and massacres, coupled with breach of promises, it never keeps.
107 solar years ago, on this day in 1912 AD, following the uprising of Chinese people and the military, the Manchu Dynasty was overthrown and a republic set up under presidency of Sun Yat-sen, known as Father of the Chinese nation. He was succeeded by Yuan Shikai. With the break out of disputes and skirmishes, China once again plunged into instability and tension. In 1941, the communist revolution took place under the leadership of Mao Zedong, and modern China was formally declared as the People's Republic in 1949 at the end of civil war. China is the most populous country in the world with a population of over 1.3 billion people.
70 solar years ago, on this day in 1949 AD, Hassan al-Banna, Founder of Egypt's Ikhwan al-Muslimin (or Muslim Brotherhood), was executed by the regime of King Farouq on the instructions of Britain for alleged involvement in the murder of a minister. The authorities also banned the Muslim Brotherhood in view of its popularity amongst not only the Egyptian Muslims but in neighbouring lands such as Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. The Brotherhood had a key role in mobilising the public to oust the US-backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak in 2012, but the government which it set up under President Mohammad Morsi on winning Egypt’s first fair and free elections, was overthrown after a year in power in 2013 in a military coup backed by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, a day after victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the provisional government appointed by Imam Khomeini (RA) formally started activities, as the people overpowered remnants of the ousted Pahlavi regime to take over key governmental installations. To ensure order in society, the Late Imam issued orders for formation of the Islamic Revolutionary committees in all localities thereby thwarting the plots of anti-revolutionary and foreign-funded elements.
17 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, a Russian-manufactured Tupolev Tu-154 passenger plane in the service of Iran Airtour, crashed in the Sefid-Kuh mountain outside Khorramabad in southwestern Iran while descending for a landing at the Airport, resulting in the death of 119 people and crew.
11 solar years ago, on this day in 2008, Emad Mughniyeh, known as Haaj Redhwan, one of the leaders of Lebanon's legendry anti-terrorist movement, the Hezbollah, was martyred in the Syrian capital Damascus, in a terrorist car bomb blast by agents of the illegal Zionist entity operating in tandem with the CIA and certain Arab reactionary states, such as Saudi Arabia, as part of the plot to destabilize Lebanon and Syria. Born in 1963 in the city of Tyre in southern Lebanon, his education was disrupted because of Israeli attacks and occupation of parts of Lebanon that compelled him to take up arms against the enemies of his homeland. He cooperated with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and later he joined the Amal Movement. In 1982, on formation of the Hezbollah, he became one of its key members. Mughniyeh planned and executed many strategic operations to dislodge Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, and as a result was placed on the hit list of the Zionist entity. In 2006 when Israel launched the 33-day war on Lebanon, he played a prime role in thwarting the aggression and forcing the Zionist army to retreat.
8 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, in Iraq, Saudi-backed terrorists blew through remote control a pilgrim bus after handing an unsuspecting passenger an-explosive-filled bag, resulting in the martyrdom of some 40 Sh’ia Muslims on their way to Samarra for pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS), respectively the 10th and 11th Infallible Heirs of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)