Today is Saturday; 29th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 1st of the Islamic month of Safar 1442 lunar hijri; and September 19, 2020 of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1405 lunar years ago, on this day in 37 AH, the Siffin War was started by the Omayyad rebel, Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, as a result of his refusal to step down, following 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 his 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. 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.
1386 solar years ago, on this day in 634 AD, Damascus, fell to the Arab Muslims, only seven years after the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius’ much trumpeted triumph in Syria and Upper Mesopotamia over the Sassanid Empire in the 26-year long final and most bloody round of the Roman-Persian Wars that were being fought intermittently for the past 720 years since 92 BC. Heraclius’ loss of Syria to the Muslims, who subsequently overran the Iranian capital, Ctesiphon (near Baghdad in Iraq, meant the curtain had come down on four centuries of Byzantine-Sassanid rivalry for regional supremacy, as new players took charge of the battlegrounds of Syria and Mesopotamia that would now see some of the most crucial battles in Islamic history.
1381 lunar years ago, on this day in 61 AH, some 20 days after the heartrending tragedy of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), the captive children and womenfolk of the Blessed Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), along with the heads of martyrs, mounted on spear-points, were brought to Damascus in fetters to the court of the Godless Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah – the self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime. The Omayyads decorated the bazaars and streets to mock at the Prophet’s noble family members. They celebrated the occasion as a day of festivity. Nonetheless, despite the severe sufferings, the noble captives, including Hazrat Ruqayya (SA), the less-than-four-year daughter of Imam Husain (AS), bore themselves with dignity. Yazid rejoiced, saying he had avenged the blood of his infidel ancestors, killed in the battles they had imposed on the Prophet at Badr and Ohad. The Imam’s sister, Hazrat Zainab (SA) and the Imam’s son and successor, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), delivered memorable sermons at Yazid’s court and the Great Mosque, to expose Omayyad blasphemy against the Prophet’s grandson and Ahl al-Bayt. The conscience of the Syrian people was thus aroused, alarming Yazid and making him release the noble captives.
1154 solar years ago, on this day in 866 AD, Byzantine Emperor, Leo VI, was born. Of doubtful paternity, since his mother was the mistress of Emperor Michael III and at the same time the wife of the future Emperor Basil the Macedonian, he succeeded to the throne on the latter’s death and ruled for 26 years till his own death in 912. His reign saw the loss of more territory to the Muslims in both Sicily and in Asia Minor, as well as islands in the Aegean Sea. The greatest setback for him was in 904, when the Greek Muslim admiral, Rasheeq al-Wardami, sailing from Syria, took control of Thessalonica, the second largest city of the Byzantium Empire. After a week’s stay, during which he seized some 60 ships and forced the Christians to free over 4,000 Muslim prisoners, Rasheeq sailed back to the Levant. Born as a Christian and named Leo by his parents, Rasheeq was an officer in the Byzantine navy, before discovering the truth of Islam and joining the Muslims. Also known as Ghulam Zurafa, three years later in 907, he had sailed up the Dardanelles and besieged Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, much to the horror of Emperor Leo VI. In May 912, just before the humiliated Leo VI died, Rasheeq al-Wardami and his fellow Greek Muslim admiral, Damian of Tarsus, known by his Muslim name, Ghulam Yazman, decisively defeated the Byzantine admiral, Himerios, off the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, in retaliation for an attack by Christians on the Muslims of Cyprus.
664 solar years ago, on this day in 1356 AD, the Battle of Poitiers occurred during the "Hundred Years War” in Europe when an English army under the command of Edward the Black Prince defeated a French army and captured the French king, John II.
283 solar years ago, on this day in 1737 AD, a devastating cyclone in India’s Bay of Bengal destroyed some 2,000 ships and other vessels. It was estimated that more than 30,000 people died in the densely populated area called the Sundarbans in what is now Bangladesh and the Indian state of Bengal.
150 solar years ago, on this day in 1870 AD, during the Franco-Prussian War, the Siege of Paris began, resulting in the surrender of Paris and a decisive Prussian victory on January 28, 1871.
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, the US imposed a military pact on the Persian Gulf emirate of Kuwait, for stationing troops and equipment on the claim of preventing a repetition of Iraq’s military aggression and occupation that had ended some six months ago. A year later, the former colonial power, Britain, followed by France also imposed similar pacts on Kuwait, as part of the plot to militarize the Persian Gulf. In the next few years, the US, along with Britain and France, imposed similar military pacts on Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, in order to seize billions of petro-dollars by supplying obsolete military hardware which the Arab states cannot use. These pacts have led to a rise in the unwanted military presence of foreign powers and fueled insecurity in the Persian Gulf.
26 solar years ago, on this day in 1994 AD, 20,000 US troops invaded and occupied Haiti in the Caribbean Sea on the pretext of reinstatement of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, three years after the coup staged by General Raoul Cedras to seize power. Aristide, who had sought refuge in the US, was reinstated in October 1994. The real intention of the US was control of Haiti, and a decade later, Washington, by openly supporting rioters, kidnapped Aristide from the presidential palace and replaced him with another president. The recurring aggressions of the US on Haiti are a clear example of violation of international rules and regulations and military interference in the affairs of other countries.
18 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, the prominent jurisprudent, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Ali Movahhed Abtahi, passed away at the age of 72. Born in Isfahan, at the tender age of 15 years he enrolled at the Qom seminary and studied under prominent ulema, such as Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Reza Golpayegani and the famous exegete of the holy Qur’an, Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Tabatabaie. At the age of 24 he left for the holy Najaf seminary in Iraq, where he spent twenty years, studying under the famous Grand Ayatollahs Seyyed Mohsin al-Hakim, and Seyyed Abu’l-Qasim Khoei, and reaching the status of Ijtihad. On his return to Iran he engaged himself in teaching, research and writing of books at the Qom seminary. He wrote over a hundred books and treatises on a wide variety of Islamic sciences, including the 5-volume "Tahdhib al-Maqal fi Sharh Rejal”, the 10-volume "Akhbar ar-Ruwwaat”, the 4-volume "Osoul-e Fiqh”, and the 2-volume "al-Me’raj” on Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) Ascension to the highest point in the heaven and back to Planet Earth in a fraction of the night.