Today is Sunday; 4th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1398 solar hijri; corresponding to 24th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1440 lunar hijri; and August 26, 2019, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1431 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.
1431 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 zak?t 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.
1208 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.
948 solar years ago, on this day in 1071 AD, the crucial Battle of Manzikert took place in Asia Minor in which the Seljuq Turks led by Sultan Alp Arsalan decisively defeated the Byzantine Army at Manzikert (modern Malazgirt in Turkey), and captured Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes. The battle practically wrecked Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia, and led to the gradual Turkification of Anatolia, with the Seljuqs gaining an area of 78,000 square km in the next decade, which facilitated the mass movement of Turkic Muslims into central Anatolia. Alp Arslan, whose capital was Isfahan, had initially sought a peace treaty with the Byzantines, for he regarded the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite Caliphate of Egypt as his main enemy for control of Syria. A peace treaty was signed in 1069 and renewed in February 1071, to enable the Seljuqs to attack the Fatemid-controlled city of Aleppo, but Emperor Romanus tried to distract the Sultan long enough for leading a large army into Armenia. Alp Arsalan quickly realized the plot of the Christians and met and defeated them at Manzikert. When the captured Emperor Romanos IV was conducted into the presence of Alp Arslan, the Sultan forced him to kiss the ground, and asked him what would he have done if he was captured, to which he got the reply that he would have been killed or exhibited in the streets of Constantinople. Alp Arslan said: "My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free." Romanos remained a captive of the Sultan for a week, during which he was allowed to eat at his table whilst conditions were worked out for his release; including 10 million gold pieces as ransom for release, which the Sultan reduced to 1.5 million gold pieces as an initial payment followed by an annual sum of 360,000 gold pieces. Alp Arsalan before returning to Isfahan gave Romanos presents and an escort of two emirs and one hundred Mamluks on his route to Constantinople.
929 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.
716 solar years ago, on this day in 1303 AD, Sultan Ala od-Din Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate captured the strategic and heavily fortified city of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, thereby breaking the power of the Rajputs and consolidating Muslim rule in the Subcontinent. He subsequently enlarged his empire by conquering most of the Deccan or southern India which had so far not been subjugated by the Persianized Turkic Muslims. It is interesting to note that till this day the Hindus in their local languages in south India use the word "Turka” for all Muslims.
673 solar years ago, on this day in 1346 AD, Edward III of England defeated Philip VI's army at the Battle of Crecy in France. The longbow proved instrumental in the victory as French knights on horseback outnumbered the British 3 to 1. At the end of the battle 1,542 French lords and knights were killed along with 20,000 soldiers. The battle is regarded as one of the most decisive in European history, as it saw for the first time in Europe, the use of cannon, firing a round ball carved from rock. The English reportedly used 22 cannons, which in those days were mere psychological weapons, having no more power than the trebuchet, and unable to batter down the walls. However, the burst of fire and loud noise were effective in getting the enemy's attention, making it impossible for them to forget that their lives were in danger.
531 solar years ago, on this day in 1488 AD, the Battle of Aghajariyi near Adana in what is now south-central Turkey ended with the victory of the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt-Syria over the Ottomans. A few months earlier the Ottomans had launched a major attack from both land and sea, but while they managed to take control of Cilicia, their fleet was almost destroyed by a storm off the coast of Syria. The Mamluks responded by besieging Adana and taking it after three months, thus reasserting their control over Cilicia – a victory that made the local Muslim dynasties of Anatolia flock to their standard instead of siding with the Ottomans. The wars between these two great Turkic powers that started in 1485 and ended 32 years later in 1517 with the fall of Cairo to Sultan Selim, are indeed a series of unfortunate events of Muslim history that provided much-needed relief to Europe and emboldened Christian mercenaries to attack Spanish Muslims in their last stronghold, the kingdom of Granada, thereby ending almost eight centuries of Muslim rule in Spain. The beleaguered Spanish Muslims had appealed to both the Mamluks and the Ottomans for help, but after conquering Constantinople (Istanbul) and ending the Byzantine Empire in 1453, Mohammad al-Fateh, who was advancing towards Italy with sights set on the capture of Rome, fell victim to the deceit and intrigue of European powers, which turned him against fellow Muslims in the east. In 1468 he planned to attack the Mamluks in Syria but could not do so because of the refusal to cooperate with him by the Turkic dynasties of Anatolia, especially the Aq-Qoyounlu leader Sultan Uzun Hassan, whom he attacked and defeated in 1473. Finally in 1485, the next Ottoman Sultan, Bayazid II, got the pretext to start war with the Mamluks when the Egyptian forces detained an Ottoman ambassador who was returning from Deccan with an Indian ambassador and gifts for the Ottoman Sultan through the Red Sea.
276 solar years ago, on this day in 1743 AD, the French chemist, Antoine Laurent Lavoisiere, was born in Paris. He discovered the components of water which were oxygen and hydrogen and the role played by oxygen in combustions. He was executed on the charge of opposing the French Revolution.
230 solar years ago, on this day in 1789 AD, the valiant Iranian crown prince, Abbas Mirza, was born to King Fath Ali Shah, the second ruler of the Qajarid dynasty. He developed a reputation as a military commander during wars with expansionist Russia and the Ottoman Empire. He was intelligent, possessed literary taste, and modernized the Iranian army. At the same time he was noteworthy for the comparative simplicity of his life. As commander of the Iranian forces, his aid was solicited by both England and Napoleon, anxious to checkmate one another in the East. Abbas Mirza defended Iran against Russian attacks, but the French failed to provide him assistance, and the court in Tehran was also slow in realizing the situation on the borders, as a result of which he was defeated in the Battle of Aslanduz in 1813. Iran was forced to sign the Treaty of Golestan, ceding large parts of its territories in the Caucasus including present-day Georgia, Daghestan, and most of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In 1821 when the Ottomans attacked Iran, Abbas Mirza defeated them in the Battle of Erzurum, and through the Treaty of 1823, ensured Iran’s sovereignty. His second war with Russia, which began in 1826 with initial success, ended in 1828 with a string of costly defeats after which Iran was forced to cede nearly all of its Armenian territories as well as Nakhchivan, as per the Treaty of Turkmanchay. In 1833, while restoring order in the province of Khorasan in the east, Crown Prince Abbas Mirza died at the age of 44 in holy Mashhad. A year later in1834 when Fath Ali Shah Qajar died, Abbas Mirza’s eldest son, Mohammed Mirza, succeed him as the king of Iran.
136 solar years ago, on this day in 1883 AD, the eruption of Krakatoa Volcano in the Indonesian island of the same name, began its final, paroxysmal stage and culminated with several destructive eruptions of the remaining caldera. The next day, two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago. It was one of the deadliest and most destructive volcanic events in recorded history, with at least 36,417 deaths being attributed to the eruption itself and the tsunamis it created. Significant aftershocks were also felt around the world and the explosion was heard as far as Australia. The huge amount of volcanic dust thrust high into the stratosphere eventually travelled around the world. The dust blocked sunlight causing temperature drops, highly coloured sunsets, and chaotic weather patterns for several years afterward.
123 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, the Ottoman Empire forces attacked the Armenians for their assistance to Greeks in the riots against the Turks.
75 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.
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, Mahdi Eraqi and his son Hesam were martyred by MKO terrorists. Mahdi Eraqi was one of the prominent figures of the Islamic Revolution and for years had struggled against the Shah’s despotic regime. He was a close ally of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). He languished in the Shah’s dungeons for several years under torture. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he attained martyrdom.
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, Iranian poet, Mahdi Akhavan Salles, passed away at the age of 61. Born in Mashhad, he took the penname. "Omid” (Hope), and was one of the pioneers of Free Verse in Persian language. He gave up an interest in music to appease his father. When the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq was toppled by the US-British coup in 1953, he was imprisoned along with other political activists against the detested Pahlavi regime. After his release from prison in 1957, he started work at the radio, and soon after was transferred to Khuzestan to work in TV. Later on, he taught literature on radio and TV and at the university. After victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 he was granted membership to the Iranian Academy of Artists and Writers. He died in Tehran and is buried on the grounds of the mausoleum of the famous poet Abu’l-Qasim Ferdowsi in Tous, near his hometown Mashhad. His poetical compilations include: "Arghanoon” (Organ), "Zemistan” (winter), and "Akher-e Shahnameh” (End of Shahnameh).
28 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".
19 solar years ago, on this day in 2000, Akbar Adibi, the Father of electronics in Iran, passed away at the age of 61. Born in Songhor in Kermanshah Province, after obtaining masters in Electrical Engineering from Tehran University in 1965, he worked for the Alestom Power Plant and taught at the university. In 1973 he left for the US, where at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he obtained two Master of Science degrees – first in Microprocessor-based Computer Systems and the second in Solid State and Semiconductor Device. He completed his PhD in 1977 on Barrier Solar Cells. On return to Iran he resumed his job of lecturer at Tehran Polytechnic – renamed Amir Kabir University after victory of the Islamic Revolution. His notable achievements are: The creation of Iran’s first Solar Cell in 1978, more than 100 articles in internal and international publications, becoming Full Professor in 1995, earning the prestigious Khwarezmi National Prize for his contribution as one of the best projects in 1995, earning the respected title of "The Most Recognized and Elite University Professor of Iran" in 1996, and being named the "Father of Electronics and VLSI in Iran". Adibi is the author of several technical books such as "Pulse Techniques”, "Theory and Technology of Semiconductor Devices”, and "Digital Electronics”. He believed that electronics and VLSI technology could help Iran lower its dependency on oil. He was a member of numerous academic societies, including; New York Academy of Sciences, New York Planetary Society, Optical Society of America, and Iran's IEEE Student Branch Counselor. He was involved in many industry-based projects, namely; the design and implementation of a 32 channel PCM system, the design and construction of a DSP-based high voltage network protection system, and the design of a DCS-based control, until his death due to heart failure.
15 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, A mortar barrage fired by terrorists desecrated the sanctity of Kufa’s Grand Mosque filled with Iraqi worshippers, resulting in the martyrdom of at least 27 people and wounding of 63 others.
14 solar years ago, on this day in 2005 AD, acclaimed Iranian stuntman, 44-year old Javad Palizbanian, died while attempting to break the world record for jumping over buses on a motorcycle, at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. He was trying to leap over 22 buses parked side-by-side when his motorbike came crashing down on the 13th.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2009 AD, prominent Iraqi religious scholar and political leader, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, passed away due to lung cancer in Tehran at the age of 59. A son of Late Grand Ayatollah, Seyyed Mohsin al-Hakim, on the martyrdom of his elder brother, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, six years earlier in 2003, he became head of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq. He channeled rising Shi’a Muslim power after the fall of Saddam the tyrannical ruler of the Ba’th minority regime. In turn, Seyyed Abdul-Aziz was succeeded by his son, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ammar al-Hakim.
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)