Today is Monday; 13th of the Iranian month of Mordad 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 13th of the Islamic month of Zil-Hijjah 1441 lunar hijri; and August 3, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1442 lunar years ago, on this day in the year preceding the hijrah, or the historical migration to Medina of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), the Second Pledge of Aqaba took place, when a group of Muslims from Medina and other places came to Mecca to reaffirm their allegiance to Islam. This was follow up to the First Pledge of Aqaba that had ended the long feud between the Ows and Khazraj tribes, through the mediation of the Prophet, thus winning fresh adherents to Islam. After the Second Pledge of Aqaba, the people of Medina invited the Prophet to come to their city. The Prophet’s migration, on divine command, a year later, was a turning point in human history and opened a new chapter in the spread of Islam.
1065 lunar years ago, on this day in 376 AH, the Muslim mathematician Ali ibn Ahmad Antaki, passed away. He was born in the Syrian city of Antakya (formerly Antioch and under Turkey’s occupation since 1937), and later took up residence in Baghdad to learn sciences. Among the books written by him is "al-Mawazin al-Aadadiyah”.
1017 solar years ago, on this day in 1003 AD, aṭ-Ṭaʼi-Billah, the 24th caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, died at the age of 71, a dozen years after he was deposed in 991 by Amir Baha od-Dowla, the ruler of the Iranian Buwayhid dynasty of Iraq. During his 17-year reign, as a weak and incapable caliph, he lost Syria and Hijaz to the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’a Muslim dynasty of Egypt-North Africa, while the Turks consolidated their positions in Anatolia (modern Turkey) and the Buwayhid dynasty was split into parties fighting among themselves. In addition, the Byzantine Emperor John Tzimisces stormed the east in a victorious campaign in 975.
678 solar years ago, on this day in 1342 AD, the army of Castile, assisted by Christian mercenaries from other parts of Europe started the siege of the Spanish Muslim port city of al-Jazeera al-Khazra (Algeciras in Spanish), which was part of the Marinid Empire of Morocco. The 21-month siege that starved population of 30,000 led to the surrender.
673 solar years ago, on this day in 1347 AD, Hassan Gangu Bahmani titled Zafar Khan, was elected king with the title Ala od-Din Shah, following his victory over rivals, who two years earlier had joined together to declare the Deccan or southern India independent from the tyrannical rule of Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq of Hindustan or northern subcontinent by placing Naseer od-Din Ismail as the Shah at Dowlatabad. Ala od-Din Shah Bahmani, who claimed descent from the legendry Iranian king, Bahman son of Isfandiyar, shifted his capital further south to Gulbarga, and expanded his kingdom in all directions during his 11-year rule. The dynasty he founded ruled for over 170 years – first from Gulbarga and then from Bidar – promoting Islam and Persian language, culture and architecture in southern India, by virtue of its direct sea-route contact with Iran, from where poets, scholars, artists, statesmen, traders and soldiers of fortune flocked to the Bahmani court. The Bahmani Sultans respected Sufi saints and greatly revered Shah Ne’matollah Wali of Kerman and his devotion to the school of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The Bahmani Empire – which stretched from the western to the eastern coasts of Peninsular India – split into five independent Persianate kingdoms that ensured the independence of the Deccan from Hindustan for another 170 more years until the conquest by Aurangzeb, the Moghal Emperor. Of these five, the three powerful dynasties (Nizamshahis of Ahmadnagar, Adelshahis of Bijapur and Qutbshahis of Golkandah-Haiderabad) followed the Shi’ite Muslim creed and regarded the Safavid rulers of Iran as their emperor, rather than the Moghal rulers.
528 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, Italian Navigator, Christopher Columbus, commissioned by Spain to find a route to India through the Atlantic Ocean, commenced his journey. Columbus set sail with three ships and 120 sailors from the Spanish Port of Palos and after 33 days of voyage landed on Salvador Island in the Caribbean Sea, thinking he had reached India. He thus accidentally discovered the American continent, and is believed to have been guided to the New World by Spanish Muslim sailors.
225 solar years ago, on this day in 1795 AD, the Treaty of Greenville was signed at Fort Greenville in Ohio, following the loss of the Battle of Fallen Timbers the previous year by the Amerindians. The parties to the treaty were a coalition of Amerindian tribes, known as the Western Confederacy, and the United States. It established what became known as the Greenville Treaty Line, which for several years was a boundary between Amerindian territory and lands open to European settlers, who frequently violated the borders and continued to encroach on native lands.
106 solar years ago, on this day in 1914 AD, Panama Canal was officially inaugurated. The construction was started by French engineers, from whom the Americans took over and completed the work. This 68-kilometer canal links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
104 lunar years ago, on this day in 1356 AH, the Islamic scholar and revolutionary, Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Taqi Golshan Ha’eri Shirazi, passed away in the holy city of Karbala in Iraq at the age of 80 during the height of the struggle against British domination of the country, and is believed to have been martyred through poisoning by colonialist agents. He authored several books.
90 solar years ago, on this day in 1930 AD, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani was born in the holy city of Mashhad, Khorasan, northeastern Iran, in a family of religious scholars. During the Safavid period, his ancestor Seyyed Mohammad was appointed by Shah Sultan Hussain to the office of Sheikh ol-Islam in Sistan province, where he settled, and hence became known as "Sistani”. Grand Ayatollah Sistani began his religious education as a child, first in Mashhad and later in Qom. In 1951, Sistani traveled to Iraq to study in the famous seminary of the holy city of Najaf, and in 1960, at the young age of 30 years, attained Ijtehad. In 1992, following the deaths in quick succession of Grand Ayatollah Abu’l-Qassem Khoei and Grand Ayatollah Sabzevari, he became the leading authority of Iraq. During the years of Saddam’s repressive rule, he survived the violent Ba’thist repression and persecution that resulted in the martyrdom of several ulema. Since the overthrow of the Ba’th Party, Grand Ayatollah Sistani has played an increasingly prominent role in regional religious and political affairs and he has been called the "most influential” figure in today’s Iraq. He has a large worldwide following.
60 solar years ago, on this day in 1960 AD, the West African country of Niger gained independence from French colonial rule. Predominantly Muslim Niger covers an area of 1,267,000 sq km and shares borders with Libya, Chad, Mali, and Benin.
51 lunar years ago, on this day in 1389 AH Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Mohsin, popular as Aqa Bozorg Tehrani, passed away in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, at the age of 96. The masterpiece that Aqa Bozorg produced in almost 30 volumes, titled "az-Zari’a ila Tasaneef ash-Shi’a”, became a major contribution to Islamic scholarship. He also compiled a biographical encyclopedia of Shi’a Muslim scholars as a companion to "az-Zari’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.
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1987 AD, prominent scholar and poet, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Akbar Borqa’ie, passed away at the age of 88 in his hometown holy Qom. A product of the Islamic Seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq, in addition to writing poetry under the penname of "Kashef”, he was socially active during World War by organizing the Association for Helping the War-Stricken. After the war he addressed sessions of the World Congress for Peace in Paris and Vienna. On his return home, he was persecuted by the Pahlavi regime and banished to remote parts of the country. He authored several books such as "Manifestation of Truth” on the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), "Dawn of Brightness” on the reasons of Imam Hasan’s (AS) Treaty, "Focal Point of Sensibilities” on the movement of Imam Husain (AS), the Martyr of Karbala, and the 3-volume "Guide of the Intellectuals”.
12 solar years ago, on this day in 2008 AD Russian author and historian, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, died at the age of 90. Among his works are: "The Gulag Archipelago”, "The Cancer Ward”, and "Letter to Soviet Leaders”.