Today is Sunday; 27th of the Iranian month of Mehr 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 01st of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and October 18, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1700 solar years ago, on this day in 320 AD, Greek philosopher Pappus of Alexandria, observed an eclipse of the Sun in Egypt and wrote a commentary on "Almagest” or The Great Astronomer, a treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths, written by the Greek-Egyptian scientist Claudius Ptolemy.
1442 lunar years ago, on the eve of this day when the Arabs of Mecca plotted to assassinate Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he was commanded by God to migrate to Yathreb, which became known as "Medinat an-Nabi” (City of the Prophet), or simply Medina, as it is known to this day. On the night of 1st Rabi al-Awwal, the Prophet asked his dear ward and cousin, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), to sleep on his bed so that the assassins hovering around the abode of divine revelation would think their intended victim was still in the house, and this would enable the Prophet to leave Mecca undetected. The young Imam Ali (AS) gladly accepted the proposal at the risk of his life and limbs. At the break of dawn when the infidel Arabs burst into the house to carry out their murderous plot, to their surprise, up sprang from the bed the valiant Ali (AS), while the Prophet was nowhere to be found. The frustrated Meccans afraid to face the Imam, darted out in every direction hoping to find their victim, but the Prophet had safely taken refuge in the Cave of Thaur far away from the city. A party of infidels tracked his footprints to the said cave, but by the time they arrived there was a big cobweb on its mouth while a bird had laid eggs, presenting the spectacle of an undisturbed place. They left in despair and later when the danger had subsided the Prophet continued his trek toward Medina. As exegetes of the holy Qur’an agree, God Almighty pleased with this selfless act of Imam Ali (AS) revealed ayah 207 of Surah Baqarah in his praise, which reads:
"And among mankind is he who sells his soul seeking the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Most Kind to (His) servants.”
Hijra or the historic migration, thus heralds the emergence of Islam from a persecuted faith to a dynamic state religion, which eventually asserted its universal nature by enlightening most of mankind. After the Prophet’s passing away, the Hijra, as per the advice of Imam Ali (AS), was fixed as the basis of the Islamic calendar, but unfortunately, the 2nd caliph chose to retain the pagan practice of Muharram I as start of the New Year instead of Rabi al-Awwal I, the actual date.
1377 lunar years ago, on this day in 65 AH, the Tawwabin or Penitents launched their heroic uprising in Iraq to avenge the innocent blood of Imam Husain (AS), who was cruelly martyred in Karbala in 61 AH (680 AD) by the bloodthirsty hordes of the Omayyad usurper, Yazid. The Tawwabin were mostly inhabitants of Kufa and its surroundings who had invited the Prophet’s grandson to Iraq to free them from tyranny, but when Yazid sent the brutal Obaidullah Ibn Ziyad as governor, these people, despite numbering several thousand, lost the courage to support the Imam, and left him alone to be martyred along with 72 steadfast companions including his 6-month infant, Ali Asghar (AS). When the children and womenfolk of the Prophet’s household along with the heads of the martyrs mounted on lances, were paraded in Kufa these people were shocked, and soon on the death of Yazid they rose up to drive away Ibn Ziyad. Finally on this day in 65, after visiting the grave of the martyred Imam and beseeching God for forgiveness, the penitents, clad in white shrouds and numbering about 4,000 led by the Prophet’s aged 93-year companion, Sulayman bin Surad al-Khuzaie (one of the conquerors of Transoxiana or Central Asia), formally launched their uprising, swearing either to wreak vengeance upon the killers or achieve martyrdom in the process. They created awe and fear among the better armed Omayyad forces sent from Syria, and after initially routing the enemy, most of them achieved martyrdom. The remnants joined the uprising of Mokhtar Ibn Abi Obayda Thaqafi for the same purpose and succeeded in bringing to justice most of the killers of the Prophet’s grandson, including Ibn Ziyad, Omar Ibn Sa’d, Shemr Ziljowshan, Harmala bin Kahel, Khouli, etc.
900 solar years ago, on this day in 1130 AD, Zhu Xi, Chinese philosopher, politician, and writer of the Song dynasty, was born. He was a Confucian scholar who was the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China.
515 solar years ago, on this day in 505 AD, the Egyptian Sunni scholar Abdur-Rahman Jalal od-Din as-Suyuti, passed away in Cairo at the age of 60. His books are still taught today in Islamic seminaries. In his exegesis titled "ad-Dur al-Manthour” (Scattered Pearls), he has pointed to the ayahs revealed by God Almighty on the outstanding merits of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), i.e. Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), Imam Ali (AS), Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS). He wrote a separate book on Merits of the Ahl al-Bayt. Suyuti traveled to Syria, Hijaz, Yemen, India and Morocco, and settled down towards the end of his life in his homeland Egypt.
455 solar years ago, on this day in 1565 AD, Philippines was occupied by Spain, following the landing of Portuguese sailor, Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 AD.
348 solar years ago, on this day in 1672 AD, Poland and Turkey signed the Peace of Buczacz to end hostilities between the two powers in south-central Europe.
160 solar years ago, on this day in 1860 AD, Xianfeng Emperor, the 7th ruler of the Manchu Dynasty of China was forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Tientsin at the Convention of Peking, thereby formally ending the Second Opium War imposed on China by Britain, France, the US and Russia.
153 solar years ago, on this day in 1867 AD, the US took formal possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million on June 30 of the same year.
149 solar years ago, on this day in 1871 AD, Charles Babbage, English mathematician and inventor of a calculating machine, died at the age of 79. Considered a "father of the computer”, he is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs.
108 solar years ago, on this day in 1912 AD, Italy forced the tottering Ottoman Empire to sign a treaty by which it occupied Libya.
98 solar years ago, on this day in 1922 AD, the BBC Radio Station was founded in England.
89 solar years ago, on this day in 1931 AD, Thomas Alva Edison, the American inventor who held a world record 1,093 patents (including those held jointly) and created the world’s first industrial research laboratory, died at the age of 88.
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1987 AD, in a blatant act of state terrorism, the US, using 6 warships and 3 aircraft attacked and destroyed the two Iranian oil platforms of "Reshadat” and "Risalat” off Rostum Island in the Persian Gulf, to show its support for Saddam of Iraq’s repressive Ba’th minority regime whose forces were suffering defeats on the battlefronts of the 8-year imposed war.
11 solar year ago, on this day in 2009 AD, some fifty Iranian citizens, including 5 senior commanders of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC), 10 security personnel and the rest civilians, achieved martyrdom in Sistan-Baluchestan Province in a bomb blast triggered by the terrorist Jundullah outfit, operating from across the southeastern border in Pakistan and supported by the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Deputy Commander of IRGC ground forces, General Noor Ali Shooshtari, as well as a chief provincial IRGC commander, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh were among the martyrs.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2010 AD, the prominent Iranian bibliographer, Dr. Ali Naqi Monzavi, passed away at the age of 88. He has left behind several books, including "The Arabic to Persian Lexicon”.