Today is Saturday; 18th of the Iranian month of Aban 1398 solar hijri; corresponding to 11th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal 1441 lunar hijri; and November 9, 2019, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1325 solar years ago, on this day in 694 AD, Ergica, the Visigoth king of Spain, accusing Jews of collaborating with enemies for overthrowing Christian rulers, enacted a law declaring all Jewish-held lands forfeit, all Jews to be enslaved by Christians, all Jewish children over the age of seven to be taken from their homes and raised as Christians, and Jewish-owned Christian slaves to become owners of their masters’ property. Some 17 years later in 711, with the advent of Muslims in Spain and establishment of the glorious Islamic culture and civilization in this part of Europe when the rest of the continent was immersed in dark ages, the Jews were liberated, enjoyed all rights as citizens, along with the Christians, and produced statesmen and scholars, such as the philosopher-physician, Musa bin Maymoun of Cordoba, known by his Latinized name Maimonides, who flourished at the courts of the Muslim rulers of Spain, Morocco and Egypt.
1271 solar years ago, on this day in 748 AD, Nasr ibn Sayyar, the last Omayyad governor of Khorasan and killer of the Prophet’s venerable descendent, Yahya ibn Zaid, died in Saveh, southwest of Tehran at the age of 85, while fleeing the uprising of Abu Muslim Khorasani that replaced the Omayyads with the equally repressive Abbasid regime. For several decades, Nasr was in charge of northeastern Iran and Transoxiana, where, as an anti-Islamic Arab nationalist leading Syrian and north Arabian tribal forces, he terrorized the people, and as in other parts of the Omayyad Empire, prevented them from becoming Muslims, since this would deprive the self-styled caliphs in Damascus of the revenues they reaped by levying heavy taxes on non-Muslims. Yayha, the grandson of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was martyred in Jowzajan (currently in Afghanistan), and his head sent to Damascus.
869 lunar years ago, on this day in 572 AH, Qilij Arsalan II, the Seljuqid Sultan of Roum defeated Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos at the Battle of Myriokephalon. The defeat marked the end of Byzantine attempts to recover the Anatolian plateau, which was now lost to the Turks forever and today forms the center of the Republic of Turkey. Qilij Arslan died in 1192 after a reign of 36 years. He promoted Persian culture and was succeeded by Kaykhosrow.
527 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, prominent Persian poet and literary figure, Noor od-Din Abdur-Rahman Jami, passed away in Herat in Khorasan Province. He went to Samarqand to learn Islamic sciences, literature and history, and visited several other lands before settling in Herat. He has left behind a large number of works in prose and verse, including "Baharestan”. Jami, who died at the age of almost 80, has also composed beautiful odes in praise of Prophet of Islam and the Infallible the Ahl al-Bayt (peace upon him).
148 lunar years ago, on this day in 1293 AH, the great scholar and bibliographer, Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Mohsin, popular as Aqa Bozorg Tehrani, was born in Tehran. His father Haji Ali was active in the tobacco boycott campaign of 1891 and later wrote a book on the history of the movement to thwart British exploitation of Iran’s economy, thanks to the historic fatwa of Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi. After preliminary education in his hometown Tehran, at the age of 26 he migrated to Holy Najaf for higher studies, and spent the rest of his life in Iraq, with the exception of four brief return visits to Iran and two short journeys to Syria, Egypt, and the Hejaz – for the Hajj pilgrimage. Among his teachers were Akhund Mullah Mohammad Kazem ?horasani, Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Yazdi, Sheikh ash-Shari’a Isfahani and Mohaddith Mirza Hussain Noori. In turn he groomed several outstanding ulema including Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hussaini Sistani – the current marja’ in Najaf. At the age of 40, he went to Samarra to join the circle of the revolutionary scholar Mirza Mohammad-Taqi Golshan Shirazi. During his 24-year stay in this city, before returning to Najaf, he conceived, and began to execute, the plan of a comprehensive bibliographical survey of all classes of literature produced by Shi’a Muslim authors. His original intention was to refute a statement by the Christian Arab litterateur, Jorji Zaydan, belittling the Shi’a contribution to Arabic literature. However, the masterpiece that Aqa Bozorg produced in almost 30 volumes, titled "adh-Dhari’a ila Tasaneef ash-Shi’a”, became a major contribution to Islamic scholarship. In this encyclopedic work, the titles of all books written by Shi’a authors are listed alphabetically, together with a brief indication of authorship and content, as well as place and date of publication in the case of printed works, and location in the case of manuscripts. He also compiled a biographical encyclopedia of Shi’a Muslim scholars as a companion to "adh-Dhari’a”, titled "Tabaqaat A’laam ash-Shi’a”, but each section, pertaining to the scholars of a given century, also has a separate title. Aqa Bozorg Tehrani’s influence was not limited to the admiration elicited by his decades of industrious scholarship. He exchanged numerous "ijazaat” (permissions of transmission) with the scholars of Hadith, both Shi’a and Sunni, whom he met in the course of his travels – a practice he consciously sought to revive as vital to the cultivation of Islamic scholarship. He was also widely regarded for his piety and asceticism: He regularly led congregational prayer at several mosques in Najaf, and on Tuesday afternoons, used to walk from Najaf to Kufa to pray at Masjid Sahla which was the house of Prophet Idris (Enoch) and will be headquarters of the Prophet’s 12th and Last Infallible Heir, Imam Mahdi (AS) during his global government of peace, prosperity and justice. He passed away in Najaf in 1389 AH at the age of 96 and was laid to rest in his own library.
142 solar years ago, on this day in 1877 AD, the Poet of the East, Allamah Mohammad Iqbal Lahori, was born in Sialkot, Punjab in what is now Pakistan. After completing his studies, he went to Germany and Britain and stayed for four years to learn the philosophy of the West. He started composing poems in his teenage years in both Urdu and Persian. He was also active in politics to reform and unite the Muslims of undivided India. He believed in pan Islamism or the revival of Muslims worldwide, and used the medium of poetry, especially Persian poetry, to express his ideas and thoughts. Iqbal gave the concept of a separate homeland for the Muslims of northwest India, which several years after his death resulted in the birth of Pakistan. He has left behind a large number of poetical collections in Persian and Urdu. His poems include couplets, quatrains, odes, and lyrics, in several collections such as "Asraar-e Khudi” (Secrets of the Self), "Zabour-e Ajam” (Psalms of Persia), and the "Javid-Namah”, which he wrote as admonition and guidance for his young son, Javid. He passed away in 1938.
108 solar years ago, on this day in 1911 AD, the renowned Urdu poet, Mas’ood ul-Hassan "Tabish Dehlvi”, was born in Delhi. Great-grandson of the prominent Persian poet of India, Nizam od-Din Nizami, he had a flair for languages, and mastered Urdu, Persian, Arabic and English. Educated at Dar ul-Uloom in Haiderabad-Deccan where he became a disciple of the famous Urdu poet, Fani Badayuni, he composed ghazals (lyrics), na’at (eulogies), marsiya (elegies), free verse and national songs, besides writing essays and establishing himself as an authority in all spheres of Urdu literature. Endowed with a rich voice, he started his career at the All India Radio (AIR) in Delhi as announcer/newsreader in 1941. On the partition of the Subcontinent, he migrated to Pakistan and was a newscaster par excellence whose voice ruled over the skies for several decades. The masses would be glued to their radio sets in order to hear his sonorous voice presenting Urdu news bulletins. He could justifiably claim that he had announced many breaking news events. His collection of poetry includes: "Nimroz” (1963), "Chiragh-e Sahra” (1982), "Ghobar-e Anjum” (1984), and "Mah-e Shikasta” (1993). He passed away in Karachi at the age of 93 in 2004.
101 solar years ago, on this day in 1918 AD, following the defeats of the German army in World War I, and breakout of unrest in the country, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Germany was proclaimed a republic.
87 lunar years ago, on this day in 1354 AH, the prominent scholar and one of the renowned lecturers of the Najaf seminary, Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Sadr passed away. He was an outstanding jurisprudent who had attained the status of Ijtehad while quite young. At the age of 16 he went to holy Najaf to study under the leading ulema and nine years later moved to holy Samarra to study under the celebrated scholar, Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi (famous for his fatwa against tobacco consumption in Iran). He returned to Kazemain seventeen years later and soon became the leading mujtahed. He groomed many scholars, and wrote several books, including "Ta'sees ash-Shi'a", "Role of Shi’a Scholars in Development of Islamic Sciences”, "The Shi’a Muslims and Promotion of Islamic Arts”, and a refutation of the absurd viewpoints of the pseudo Syrian scholar Ibn Taimiyya.
66 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, who was installed by the British as King of the artificial country they created for him named Saudi Arabia, died at the age of 73. Born in Najd in a Wahhabi clan, he had fled to Kuwait as a teenager following the Ottoman victory over the Saudi clan in Najd. The British used him as a salaried servant against the Ottoman-supported Aal-e Rasheed dynasty as part of London’s project to destabilize Arabia. During World War 1 and decline of Ottoman power, he raided the eastern Shi’a Muslim part of Arabia and forced the local chiefs to enter into a time-bound agreement which he never honoured, especially after oil was discovered in this area. By 1921, with British help he decimated the 85-year rule of the Aal-e Rasheed dynasty and seized their dominions up to the borders of Iraq and Jordan. When he invaded the Land of Revelation Hejaz and ousted another British agent, Sharif Hussein, after massacring tens of thousands of Muslims in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Britain decided to gift him with a kingdom in 1932. In 1934, with British help he seized the northern Yemeni provinces of Najran, Jizaan and Asir. His most criminal act was the blasphemous destruction in 1925 of the sacred cemeteries of Jannat al-Mo’alla in Mecca that housed the holy tombs of family members of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and of Jannat al-Baqie in Medina that housed the holy shrines of four of the twelve Infallible Successors of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt – Imam Hasan Mojtaba, Imam Zain al-Abedin, Imam Mohammad Baqer, and Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (peace upon them).
66 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Cambodia in Southeast Asia gained independence from France after 86 years of colonialist rule. In 1975, power was seized by communist general Pol Pot, who installed the Khmer Rouge regime, changed the name of the country to Kampuchea and launched a bloodbath, killing at least three million people by 1976, including the ethnic Cham Muslims. Cambodia has the famous Angkor Vat ruins, regarded as the world’s largest religious monument, which was first a Hindu, and later a Buddhist temple. Buddhism is the official religion of the country, while Muslims number around 3 percent.
66 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Welsh author-poet Dylan Thomas, who wrote exclusively in English, died in New York at age of 39 during a poetry-reading blitz of the US. He has been acknowledged as one of the most important English poets of the 20th century and noted for his original, rhythmic and ingenious use of words and imagery. Some of his famous poems are "Do not go gentle into that good night” and "And death shall have no dominion”. His books include "The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas” and "Under Milk Wood”.
49 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, Charles Andre Joseph de Gaulle, French general, writer and statesman died in Paris at the age of 80. He was leader of Free France (1940–44) during World War 2, and headed the Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–46). In 1958, he founded the Fifth Republic and was elected as the 18th President of France, until his resignation in 1969. He gauged the seriousness of the Algerian people’s struggle for freedom and granted Algeria independence in 1962 against the wishes of the army which favoured annexing of this Arab Muslim North African country to France. He later gradually granted independence to other French colonies. As a military officer who saw action in both the First and Second World Wars, later as president of France during the Cold War Era, de Gaulle initiated his "Politics of Grandeur", asserting that France as a major power should not rely on other countries, such as the United States, for its national security and prosperity. To this end, he pursued a policy of "national independence" which led him to withdraw from NATO's military integrated command and to launch an independent nuclear development program that made France the fourth nuclear power. He restored cordial Franco-German relations in order to create a European counterweight between the "Anglo-Saxon" (American and British) and Soviet spheres of influence. He used to say that the Anglo-Saxons have always exploited France and the rest of Europe for their own vested interests, and twice he vetoed Britain's entry into the European Community. He also openly criticised the US intervention in Vietnam and the "exorbitant privilege" of the US dollar, in addition to supporting an independent Quebec, which should not be part of English-speaking Canada. Many French political parties and figures continue to claim the Gaullist Legacy.
43 solar years ago, on this day in 1976 AD, Hojjat al-Islam Nosratollah Ansari achieved martyrdom after six months of intense torture by the notorious SAVAK in the prison of the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime. Born in Bo’en Zahra near Qazvin, besides his religious activities, he was politically active in the Islamic movement.
30 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, Communist-controlled East Germany opened checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel to West Germany. This key event led to the eventual reunification of East and West Germany, and fall of communism in Eastern Europe including Russia.
22 solar years ago, on this day in 1997 AD, Ayatollah Shaikh Mohammad Hussain Kalbasi Isfahani, passed away at the age of 92. Born in Isfahan, at the age of 18 he went to Iraq to study at the famous seminary of holy Najaf, where he attended the classes of such prominent ulema as Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Hassan Isfahani, Ayatollah Ziya od-Din Iraqi, and Ayatollah Shaikh Mohammad Kazem Shirazi. After thirty years stay in Najaf during which he achieved the status of Ijtehad, he returned to Iran and busied himself with teaching at the seminary of holy Qom. He authored several books including one on the merits of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) Blessed Progeny, titled "Faza’el Ahl al-Bayt”.
13 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Iraq estimated the civilian death toll in the first three-and-a-half years of the US occupation around 600,000. The US withdrew in 2011 and was responsible for the death of over a 1.2 million Iraqis.
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)