Today is Tuesday; 8th of the Iranian month of Mehr 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 11th of the Islamic month of Safar 1442 lunar hijri; and September 29, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2542 solar years ago, on this day in 522 BC, a few months after the suspicious death of Emperor Cambyses II (son of Cyrus the Great) his lance-bearer and Achaemenian kinsman, who had seized power and styled himself Emperor Darius I, killed what he has claimed in the Bistoun Inscription: "Gaumata the Magian Priest impersonating Bardiya, the younger son of Emperor Cyrus the Great.” Darius, to justify his seizure of the Iranian throne, further claimed that Cambyses on becoming king of Persia and before setting out for Egypt, had killed Bardiya and kept this secret – but he never says how he came to know of this secret. According to historians, on his deathbed Cyrus had appointed Bardiya as satrap (governor) of some far-eastern provinces, and they are thus skeptical of Darius’ account, since following the death of Cambyses none of the women in the royal harem had doubts about the identity of Bardiya. The only speculation is that if Darius I – who now married Atossa the daughter of Cyrus to legitimize his rule – is telling the truth, Gaumata may have completely brought Bardiya under his control, thereby threatening to usurp the rule of the Achaemenians.
1404 lunar years ago, on this day and the subsequent night in 38 AH, the famous Battle of Laylat al-Harir took place during the War of Siffin, near Raqqa in Syria, when the army of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), pressed ahead with its decisive assault on the forces of the rebel, Mu’awiyya ibn Abu Sufyan, till the early morning hours. The Imam himself, with his flashing twin-bladed sword "Zulfeqar”, dispatched over five hundred enemies of humanity to the bowels of hell, while his commander Malek Ashtar displayed feats of bravery to reach within striking distance of the camp of Mu’awiyya, who was about to flee. At this crucial stage, when victory was in sight, the crafty enemy commander Amr ibn Aas ordered his troops to raise on spear-points what he said were copies of the holy Qur’an, pleading for peace, a ruse which made a band of hypocrites or more properly "khwarej” or renegades, to force the Imam to cease fighting.
1021 lunar years ago, on this day in 421 AH, Sultan Mahmoud, the prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid Turkic dynasty who for 34 years ruled the eastern Iranian lands, died. He turned Ghazni into the capital of an extensive empire that covered most of today’s eastern and southern Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, parts of Uzbekistan, as well as Northwest India.
941 lunar years ago, on this day in 501 AH, the prominent narrator of hadith, Ja’far ibn Hussain ibn Ahmad as-Sarraj, passed away in the city of Tyre in southern Lebanon at the age of 82. He was an expert in jurisprudence, Qur’anic sciences, Arabic grammar, and linguistics, and traveled to numerous lands including Egypt. He has left behind a collection of poems. His books include "Nizam al-Manasek”.
813 solar years ago, on this day in 1207 AD, the famous Persian poet and mystic, Jalal od-Din Mohammad Balkhi Rumi, was born to Iranian parents in the village of Wakhsh, near Balkh in Khorasan. Wakhsh is now in Tajikistan while Balkh is in Afghanistan. It is said that the most important influences upon the young boy, besides his scholarly father, Baha od-Din Walad, who was connected to the spiritual lineage of Gnostic, Najm od-Din Kubra, were the Persian poets Attar Naishapuri and Sana’i Ghaznavi. He was hardly ten years when the family had to flee Khorasan towards Iraq because of the barbaric Mongol invasion. After a sojourn in Baghdad and travel to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, followed by a brief residence in Damascus, he settled in Qonya in Anatolia which was under the Persianate Seljuq Sultanate of Rum, and hence his title Rumi. He produced his famous work "Mathnawi” here and died in 1273 AD at the age of 67. He was buried in Qonya (Konya) and his tomb is a place of pilgrimage for Sufis. Iranians, Turks, Afghans, Tajiks, and other Central Asians as well as Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent have greatly appreciated his spiritual legacy. His poems have been translated into many languages. In 2007 Rumi was described as the "most popular poet in the US.” His "Mathnawi” remains one of the literary glories of the Persian language. His poetry influenced Persian literature as well as Urdu, Punjabi, Turkish, Pashto, Chagatai language and Sindhi languages. Rumi in his poems has paid homage to the unsurpassed merits of Imam Ali (AS, the cousin, son-in-law and divinely-decreed heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
473 solar years ago, on this day in 1547 AD, Spanish author and novelist, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, was born near Madrid. His magnum opus is "Don Quixote”, considered to be the first modern European novel. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called "la lengua de Cervantes” (the language of Cervantes). "Don Quixote” has been regarded chiefly as a novel of purpose.
262 solar years ago, on this day in 1758 AD, Horatio Nelson, British naval commander who defeated the French and their allies on numerous occasions during Napoleonic Wars, was born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk.
119 solar years ago, on this day in 1901 AD, the Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, was born in Rome. He discovered the law on movement of gas molecules. He also conducted research on atomic changes of elements and succeeded in making an atomic battery through fission for release of atomic energy. He died in 1954.
118 solar years ago, on this day in 1902 AD, French journalist, author, and playwright, Emile Zola, died in Paris at the age of 62 as a result of inhaling carbon monoxide. He was the most well-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.
109 solar years ago, on this day in 1911 AD, Italy declared war on the tottering Ottoman Empire. The war lasted till October 18, 1912, and as a result, Italy captured the North African Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripoli itself. It changed the name of the land to Libya.
107 solar years ago, on this day in 1913, German engineer Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel who invented the internal-combustion engine that bears his name, died at the age of 55.
102 solar years ago, on this day in 1918 AD, during the last months of World War I, the Battle of St. Quentin Canal resulted in the victory of the Allied Powers, and breach of the solid Hindenburg Line of defence of the German-led Axis Powers.
62 lunar years ago, on this day in 1380 AH, Ayatollah Shaikh Mohammad Ali Ordubadi, the Source of Emulation for Muslims of Azarbaijan, the Caucasus and Soviet Union, passed away in holy Najaf. He wrote over 52 books, including the Arabic works "al-Qabasaat fi Usoul ad-Din”, "Manahej al-Yaqin”, "ash-Shehab al-Mobin”, "ash-Shuhub ath-Thaqeba”, and "Rujoum ash-Shayatin”.
28 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, Angola in southern Africa held its first free elections, resulting in victory for Jose Eduardo dos Santos of MEPLA, who retained his post of president, which he had won in 1976, a year after independence from Portuguese colonial rule.
7 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, a kangaroo court set up by the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime of the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain handed jail terms of up to 15 years to 50 Shi’a Muslim citizens, including a prominent Iraqi religious scholar.