Today is Wednesday; 23rd of the Iranian month of Mehr 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 26th of the Islamic month of Safar 1442 lunar hijri; and October 14, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1154 lunar years ago, on this day in 288 AH, the mathematician and astronomer, Sabet ibn Qurrah al-Harrani, died at the age of 77 in Baghdad. He was from Harran, which is presently under the control of Turkey although historically and culturally it is part of Mesopotamia. Sabet ibn Qurrah is said to have translated more than 130 books, and has left behind valuable compilations of his own.
1024 solar years ago, on this day in 996 AD, Abu Mansur Nizar, popular as al-Aziz-Billah, the 5th caliph of the Ismail Fatemid dynasty of Egypt-North Africa, died in Cairo at the age of 41 after a 21-year reign and was succeeded by his son, Abu Ali Mansur al-Hakem bi-Amrillah. The reign of Aziz-Billah was also culturally significant. His grand Vizier Yaqub ibn Killis, a Jewish convert to Islam from Baghdad, enlarged the famous al-Azhar Mosque and Academy into a university, with a library containing 200,000 volumes of books.
954 solar years ago, on this day in 1066 AD, the Battle of Hastings took place on Senlac Hill, 85 km southeast of London, resulting in the defeat and death of Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England and the victory of William the Conqueror of Normandy, shortly after his landing from France on the pretext that the throne of England was bequeathed to him by the deceased childless king, Edward the Confessor.
928 solar years ago, on this day in 1092 AD, the renowned vizier of the Seljuqid Dynasty, Hassan Ibn Ali Tousi, known by his title Khwaja Nizam ul-Mulk, was assassinated near Nahavand en route to Baghdad from Isfahan, at the age of 75. Nizam ul-Mulk is also widely known for his voluminous treatise on kingship titled "Siyasat-Nama” or "Siyar al-Molouk” (The Book of Government).
812 lunar years ago, on this day in 630 AH, as part of his string of victories to consolidate the Muslim rule in northern India, Sultan Shams od-Din Altamash captured the important Rajput fortress of Gwalior after eleven months of siege. A Persianized Turkic slave of Sultan Muiz od-Din Mohammad, the Iranian ruler of Ghor (in present day Afghanistan), he served as lieutenant to Qutb od-Din Aibak, the founder of the Slave (Mamluk) Dynasty of India, and later became the latter’s son-in-law. He was fluent in Turkic, Persian and Arabic, and was highly educated by his masters in Bukhara, Baghdad and Ghazna. Slaves in Islam are children of non-Muslims bought and brought up as Muslims and equivalent to adopted sons, and on no account should be confused with the concept of slavery in western and other non-Muslim cultures, where such persons are denied all basic rights and treated like chattels. In 1211, Altamash seized power from Aibak’s weak son, Aram Shah, to become Sultan and shifted his capital from Lahore to Delhi, where he remained the ruler until his death 25 years later on May 1, 1236. A wise man, he carried out reforms, invited scholars to his court from Khorasan and Central Asia, defended the country against Mongol attacks, and built several public projects, such as the "Hauz-e Shamsi” water reservoir in Delhi, which is still in use. The famous Iranian Islamic scholar, Fakhr od-Din Razi used to visit India when Altamash was governor of Lahore. During his reign, several translations of Arabic books into Persian were undertaken, including the renowned Iranian Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan al-Berouni’s book on pharmacology titled "Saydana” – a translation printed in Tehran.
698 solar years ago, on this day in 1322 AD, Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing the latter to accept Scotland’s independence.
555 solar years ago, on this day in 1465 AD, Romanian Muslim ruler of the principality of Wallachia, Radu Beg, issued a writ from his capital Bucharest, as the Ottoman Pasha (governor) of the region, after defeating his murderous elder brother, Vlad Tepes, who has earned lasting notoriety as Dracula (Son of Dragon) for his cold-blooded massacres of Muslims and Christians alike – almost 200,000. Named Radu cel Frumos (Radu the Handsome) by his father, Vlad II Dracul (the Dragon), he was sent along with Vlad Tepes to the Ottoman capital Edirne, where the two brothers were educated in logic, and the Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages and literature. Radu converted to Islam, entered Ottoman service, and became a prominent commander of the Jan-Nissari Corps, while Vlad developed a secret hatred for both his Muslim brother and the latter’s patron, the Crown Prince, who would later become Sultan Mohammad II. While Vlad was sent to Wallachia to succeed his father, Radu by the age of 22 became a leading figure at the Ottoman court. Having participated in 1453 in the conquest of Constantinople, he was sent to suppress a rebellion in Anatolia near the border with Iran, and served during the Battle of Otlukbeli against Uzun Hassan, the Aq Qoyunlu (White Sheep) ruler. On the start of Vlad’s rebellion, Radu and his Jan-Nissari battalion were given responsibility of leading the Ottoman army to victory. The brothers fought lingering battles with each other, and soon Radu gained control of his father’s principality of Wallachia, where at the age of 26 he was proclaimed the Ottoman Pasha. His sudden death, however, at the age of 40 in 1475 triggered the comeback of his brother Vlad the Impaler, who was finally killed in 1476.
478 solar years ago, on this day in 1542 AD, Mohammad Jalal od-Din Akbar, the 3rd Moghal Emperor of Hindustan (Northern Subcontinent) and eastern parts of Afghanistan, was born. Akbar, whose ancestors included the fearsome conquerors, Timur and Genghis Khan, ascended the throne as a youth of 13 years, following the death of his father, Humayun. Initially his rule extended only over the Punjab and the area around Delhi. With the help of his guardian, the famed Baharlu Turkman Chief, Bayram Khan, he won the 2nd Battle of Panipat in 1556 by decisively defeating the newly self-declared Hindu king, Hemu. As his power and prestige increased, the Rajput chieftains acknowledged his suzerainty. He continued his conquests, taking the Muslim kingdoms of Malwa (in 1561), Gujarat (in 1573), Bengal (in 1576), Kashmir (in 1586), and Khandesh (in 1601). He encouraged scholars, poets, painters, and musicians, making his court a centre of culture. He had Sanskrit classics translated into Persian. He not only granted lands and money for the mosques but the list of the recipients included a huge number Hindu temples in north and central India, Christian churches in Goa. He appointed as "Qazi al-Quzzat” (Chief Judge), the famous Iranian scholar, Seyyed Noorollah Shoushtari, the author of such books as "Majalis al-Momineen” and "Ahqaq al-Haq”, who was unfortunately martyred by his son and successor, Emperor Jahangir, on the insinuation of the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and is subsequently known as "Shaheed Salles” (3rd Martyr).
67 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, armed Zionists committed another horrific crime in the West Bank village of Qibya, massacring for two days Palestinian men, women and children, and razing their homes to the ground. The Zionist troops were led by Ariel Sharon, who three decades later was to earn lasting notoriety as the Butcher of Sabra and Shatilla in southern Lebanon. This ruthless slaughter is another example of Israel’s policy of state terrorism.
64 solar years ago, on this day in 1956 AD, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian Untouchable caste leader, and the main architect of the constitution of India following independence from British rule, converted to Buddhism along with 385,000 of his followers, because of oppression and discrimination by the so-called upper caste Hindus.
38 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, the representative of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), and the Friday Prayer Leader of the western city of Kermanshah, Ayatollah Ataollah Ashrafi Isfahani, was martyred by MKO terrorists while leading the Friday Prayer. Ayatollah Ashrafi Isfahani had led the people of Kermanshah in their struggle against Shah’s despotic regime and was detained and incarcerated on several occasions. Imam Khomeini paid glowing tributes to him, recalling the long period of acquaintance, and his calm, peaceful, and assuring spirit, as well as vast knowledge.
21 solar years ago, on this day in 1999 AD, the former Tanzanian leader, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, died at the age of 77. He rose to prominence in Tanganyika, becoming premier in 1961 and president in 1962. In 1964, he forcibly annexed the Muslim-ruled island state of Zanzibar-Pemba, merged it with Tanganyika and renamed the country Tanzania. He was president until the year 1985.