Today is Sunday; 23rd of the Iranian month of Tir 1398 solar hijri; corresponding to 11th of the Islamic month of Zil-Qa’da 1440 lunar hijri; and July 14, 2019, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1362 solar years ago, on this day in 657 AD, the Battle of Siffin was started by the Omayyad rebel, Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, following his refusal to step down on his dismissal from the governorship of the Province of Syria by the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), the First Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The war that lasted four months was fought in the region called Siffin, besides the River Euphrates in what is now the Reqqa District in Syria, a short distance from the city of Aleppo. In the final battle of the Siffin War, when Mu’awiyah was on the verge of defeat, his comrade-in-crimes, Amr Ibn al-Aas, ordered the Omayyad troops to raise on spear-points, what he claimed to be copies of the holy Qur’an, in order to deceive the people and sue for peace. Despite the warnings of Imam Ali (AS), many among the Iraqi forces were deceived and refused to continue the battle against the demoralized enemy troops. These gullible people forced the Imam to enter into arbitration with Mu’awiyah, and when the result turned out against their nefarious desires, they openly rebelled against the Prophet’s rightful successor. These misled people called Khwarej or renegades are considered outside the pale of Islam. It is an irony of Islamic history that Mu’awiyah, who had reluctantly accepted Islam to save his life at the fall of Mecca to Muslims two years before the passing away of the Prophet, was made governor of the newly conquered Christian majority province of Syria by those that had seized political power in Medina through a coup. Here, through propaganda and forging of hadith, he built a strong base against the Ahl al-Bayt. After the martyrdom of Imam Ali (AS), he seized the caliphate from Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) through deceit, thus laying the groundwork for the Godless Omayyad Dynasty that terrorized Muslims for 91 years.
1292 lunar years ago, on this day in 148 AH, Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Medina, two weeks after the martyrdom of his grandfather, Imam Ja'far as-Sadeq (AS). His father was Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) and his mother was the pious lady, Najma. At the age of 35 the mantle of divinely-decreed leadership came to rest on his shoulders following martyrdom in Baghdad of his infallible father in the year 183 AH. For the next 17 years he ably guided the ummah from his base in Medina, which alarmed Mamoun, the 7th self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, who forced him to come to distant Khorasan where the city of Merv (currently in Turkmenistan) was his capital. Here the Imam’s name was forcibly announced as Heir Apparent although Mamoun was twenty years his junior. The plan was to confine the Imam to the court and thereby drive a wedge between him and the ummah. However, to the bewilderment of the caliph, when the Imam's popularity increased, he had him martyred treacherously through a fatal dose of poison in 203 AH at the age of 55. Imam Reza (AS) was laid to rest in the suburbs of the city of Tous, which soon grew into "Mashhad-ar-Reza” or simply Mashhad, meaning the Martyrdom Place of Imam Reza (AS), and is a world famous centre of pilgrimage today.
1263 solar years ago, on this day in 756 AD, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty of China fled the capital Chang'an as the forces of An Lushan advanced toward the city. A general of Sogdian-Turkic ethnicity at the Tang court, An Lushan launched his revolt against Chancellor Yang Guozhong in Yanjing. The rebellion spanned the reigns of three Tang emperors before it was quashed in 763, and involved a wide range of regional powers, including Arab and Persian Muslims, Iranian Sogdian forces, and the pagan Gogturks. The rebellion and disorder resulted in a huge loss of life and large-scale destruction. It significantly weakened the Tang dynasty at a time when it was all set to defeat the Tibetan Empire, and led to the loss of the western regions. As a matter of fact, the western expansion of the Tang Empire was checked four years earlier in 751 by the victory of the Muslims over a large Chinese army in the Battle of Talas in the Ferghana Valley in Central Asia, following the defection of the Karluk Turks during the midst of the battle. An Lushan was given control over the entire area north of the lower reaches of the Yellow River, including garrisons about 164,000 strong. He took advantage of various circumstances, such as popular discontent with an extravagant Tang court, the Iranian-involved Abbasid Rebellion against the Omayyad Dynasty, and eventually the absence of strong troops guarding the palace. In 756, over 22,000 Arab-Iranian Muslims were sent by the Abbasid caliph to the aid of the Tang. They stayed in China after the war and intermarried with the Hui Chinese – who are predominantly Muslim till this day. During the rebellion the port of Canton – currently called Guangzhou, near the mouth of the South China Sea – was pillaged in 758 by sea-borne Arab and Persian forces.
1019 lunar years ago, on this day in 321 AH (934 AD), Iranian adventurer Ali ibn Buyeh conquered Fars and chose Shiraz as capital, thus establishing the Buwaihid dynasty. In the next few years (late 930s), his younger brother Hassan conquered parts of western and central Iran, and soon took control of Rayy (943), near modern Tehran. Two years later, the youngest brother, Ahmad conquered Iraq and made Baghdad his capital, receiving the honorific title of "Mo'iz od-Dowla". Ali took the title of "Emad od-Dowla", and Hassan the title of "Rokn od-Dowla". The family was from the Daylam region on the Caspian Sea in Gilan, and is also called Daylamites. They were devout followers of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Besides rebuilding the holy shrines of the Infallible Imams in Iraq, they patronized several leading Imami scholars. At its greatest extent, the Buwaihd dynasty encompassed most of today's Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria, along with parts of Oman, the UAE, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Abbasid caliph was reduced to a figurehead, and sometimes the Buwaihid rulers used the title of Shahanshah for themselves. The dynasty ruled for some 130 years and was replaced by the Turkic Seljuqs who swept into Iran and Iraq from Central Asia.
1004 lunar years ago, on this day in 336 AH, renowned theologian, Mohammad Ibn Mohammad Ibn Nu’man al-Ukbari, famous as Shaikh Mufid, was born in the town of Ukbar, north of Baghdad. He has left behind numerous compilations in almost all branches of Islamic sciences, some of which are: "al-Irshad”, "Ahkam an-Nisa”, and "Tashih E`teqadat al-Imamiyah” – the last named is a critical and edited version of his one-time teacher, Ibn Babwaih Shaikh Sadouq's "al-E'teqad”. He trained a great number of scholars, including the celebrated pair of brothers, Seyyed Murteza and Seyyed Radhi – the compiler of the famous book "Nahj al-Balagha” – as well as Shaikh at-Ta’efa Abu Ja’far Tousi, the founder of the famous seminary of holy Najaf.
230 solar years ago, on this day in 1789 AD, the infamous Bastille Prison was seized by tens of thousands of Parisian and a large section of it was destroyed during the French Revolution. Built in 1369 for military purposes, Bastille was a symbol of tyranny of the hated monarchial system.
203 solar years ago, on this day in 1816 AD, French novelist, diplomat and travel-writer, Joseph Arthur, Comte de Gobineau, who was an unabashed racist, believing in the supposed superiority of the white-skinned people, especially the so-called Aryans, and right of the aristocrats to rule over the masses, was born. Influenced by the absurdly rigid caste system of the Hindus, he propounded the theory of the Aryan master race and tried to legitimize racism and racial demography that was later picked up by German dictator Adolf Hitler and his Nazis. In the aftermath of the French Revolution of 1848, Gobineau wrote a 1400-page book, titled "An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races”, in which he claimed that aristocrats were superior to commoners and that they possessed more Aryan genetic traits because of less inbreeding with inferior races including the Alpines and the Mediterranean people. His writings were praised by white supremacist, pro-slavery Americans like Josiah C. Nott and Henry Hotze, who translated his book into English but omitted around 1000 pages, since parts of it negatively described Americans as a racially mixed population. His writings also influenced prominent anti-Semites such as Richard Wagner, the Romanian far-right politician professor A. C. Cuza and leaders of the Nazi Party. Gobineau served as a diplomat and was initially posted to Iran, before being assigned to Brazil and other countries. He reflected his disdain for ordinary people, claiming that French aristocrats like himself were the descendants of the Germanic Franks who conquered the Roman province of Gaul in the 5th century AD, while common French people were the descendants of racially inferior Celtic and Latin peoples. He derided Chinese culture as "without beauty and dignity”, and maintained that the Jews had polluted Europe. He was extremely hostile towards Slavic peoples, especially Russians. He called the people of southern and western Iran a "degenerative race”, and was sympathetic to the heretical Babi cult, some of whose writings he translated into French.
158 solar years ago, on this day in 1861 AD, the first machinegun was built by US industrialist, Kott Link. His weapon was not automatic, but later the technology was perfected and machineguns were used in wars.
152 solar years ago, on this day in 1867 AD, Swedish chemist, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, demonstrated use of dynamite for the first time at a quarry in Redhill, Surrey, Britain. In 1866 he had produced what he believed was a safe and manageable form of nitroglycerin called dynamite for quarrying minerals and building roads in mountainous terrains. Earlier in 1864, an explosion at his plant had killed his younger brother and four other workers. Deeply shocked by this event, he now worked on a safer explosive and in 1875 came up with gelignite. Other inventions followed, including ballistite, a form of smokeless power. Nobel was dismayed when his invention was misused by European regimes for sabotage and killing of fellow humans. In view of this, he set aside a huge sum as Trust for awarding a peace prize every year to a person who strives most for global peace and security. After him the Trust decided to increase the number of Nobel Prizes every year for outstanding persons in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, and literature – in addition to peace. Unfortunately, because of US hegemony, these prizes, especially the ‘peace prize’, have lost their meaning, and are awarded to mass murderers and agents of the West in Muslim and other countries who subvert their own societies in the interests of foreign powers.
145 solar years ago, on this day in 1874 AD, the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, Abbas II, was born. Named Abbas Hilmi Pasha, he was a great-great-grandson of Mohammad Ali Pasha, the founder of Egypt’s Albanian Muslim Dynasty, and in 1892 succeeded his father, Towfiq Pasha, as ruler. Because of his opposition to British meddling and his sympathies with the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, he was deposed in 1914, and replaced by his uncle Hussain Kamel, whom the British granted the title of Sultan and formally declared Egypt as their ‘protectorate’, thus ending nominal Ottoman suzerainty. The 150-year rule of the Mohammad Ali Pasha Dynasty, ended in 1952 with the ouster of King Farouq in the military coup led by General Mohammad Najib and Colonel Jamal Abdun-Nasser, whose uniformed heirs continue to deny the Egyptian Muslim people their democratic right, as was evident on 3rd July 2013 by the US-backed military’s overthrow of President Mohammad Morsi, the head of the year-long first ever freely elected government of Egypt.
61 solar years ago, on this day in 1958 AD, the British installed monarchy of Iraq was overthrown by popular forces led by the Kurdish general, Abdul-Karim Qassem, who became the nation's new leader. Iraq was declared a republic after the end of the 37-year monarchial system that the British had imposed in 1921 against the wishes of the Iraqi people by installing Faisal of Mecca as king in Baghdad, after crushing the popular uprising of the Iraqi people led by Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Shirazi and Ayatollah Kashef al-Gheta. In the coup, Faisal II, his uncle the former regent Prince Abdullah, and the pro-British premier, Noori as-Sa'eed were killed, while trying to flee.
51 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, Afghanistan’s prominent jurisprudent and reformist, Seyyed Ismail Balkhi, was martyred under suspicious circumstances at the age of 49 in Kabul. Born in Balkhab District of Sar-e Pol Province, he was a member of the Persian-speaking Shi’a Muslim Hazara community. An innovative poet, Gnostic, and charismatic political leader, after early education in Afghanistan, he travelled to Iraq for higher studies in Islamic theology and jurisprudence at the famous seminary of holy Najaf. On return to his homeland, he had to spend fourteen years in prison under the trumped up charges of conspiring to overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic. He believed in political change but never embraced any armed movement. His patriotism and love for his country are evident in a number of poems he composed whilst in prison, giving Afghans a message of freedom and democracy.
36 solar years ago, on this day in 1983 AD, Iran’s Assembly of Experts started its first 8-year term following nationwide elections. The 86-member body is made up of Ayatollahs with the rank of mujtahid and possessing political acumen, coupled with awareness of current issues. Elected directly through people’s votes, it is in charge of supervising the functions and performance of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution. It has the power to elect and dismiss the Leader. In the event of his resignation, dismissal or death, the Assembly of Experts shall take steps within the shortest possible time to choose the new Leader – as it did in June 1989 by electing Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei following the passing away of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA).
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1986 AD, the acclaimed Iranian poet, researcher, and author, Dr. Mahdi Hamidi Shirazi, passed away at the age of 72. He had PhD in Persian Language and Literature. He wrote books on history of literature, the different poetical styles and genres, and critiques of poets. Among his books of poetry are "Behesht-e Sukhan” and "Darya-e Gohar”.
26 solar years ago, on this day in 1993 AD, the prominent Iranian historian, Dr. Abdul-Hadi Ha'eri, passed away at the age of 58. He was born in the holy city of Qom and was a grandson of the famous Reviver of the Qom Seminary, Ayatollah Sheikh Abdul-Karim Ha'eri. Following the completion of preliminary studies in theology, Dr. Ha'eri traveled to Canada for higher studies. He was an expert on the Constitutional Revolution and the role played by Ulema in this movement. The outcomes of his extensive research have been stated in the valuable book, titled: "The Ulema and Constitutional Movement”, which has been published in both Persian and English.
6 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, the world's last telegram was sent in India. It was the last major country to shut down telegram service. India's 163-year-old telegram service was no longer needed as e-mail and texting had replaced bicycle telegram messengers. In Britain, telegram delivery ceased in 2008, while in the US, Western Union's dwindling service was terminated on 27 January 2006. The first formal telegram was sent by Samuel Morse in Washington to his business partner Alfred Vail in Baltimore, on 24 May 1844. Soon, wires were strung across the US and other countries, which eventually were connected by a Transatlantic cable under the ocean and more submarine cables.
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)