Today is Monday; 19th of the Iranian month of Aban 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 23rd of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and November 9, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1326 solar years ago, on this day in 694 AD, Ergica, the Visigoth king of Spain, accusing Jews of collaborating with enemies for overthrowing Christian rulers, enacted a law declaring all Jewish-held lands forfeit, all Jews to be enslaved by Christians, all Jewish children over the age of seven to be taken from their homes and raised as Christians, and Jewish-owned Christian slaves to become owners of their masters’ property. Some 17 years later in 711, with the advent of Muslims in Spain and establishment of the glorious Islamic culture and civilization in this part of Europe when the rest of the continent was immersed in dark ages, the Jews were liberated, enjoyed all rights as citizens, along with the Christians, and produced statesmen and scholars, such as the philosopher-physician, Musa bin Maymoun of Cordoba, known by his Latinized name Maimonides, who flourished at the courts of the Muslim rulers of Spain, Morocco and Egypt.
1272 solar years ago, on this day in 748 AD, Nasr ibn Sayyar, the last Omayyad governor of Khorasan and killer of the Prophet’s venerable descendent, Yahya ibn Zaid, died in Saveh, southwest of Tehran at the age of 85, while fleeing the uprising of Abu Muslim Khorasani that replaced the Omayyads with the equally repressive Abbasid regime. For several decades, Nasr was in charge of northeastern Iran and Transoxiana, where, as an anti-Islamic Arab nationalist leading Syrian and north Arabian tribal forces, he terrorized the people, and as in other parts of the Omayyad Empire, prevented them from becoming Muslims, since this would deprive the self-styled caliphs in Damascus of the revenues they reaped by levying heavy taxes on non-Muslims. Yayha, the grandson of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was martyred in Jowzajan (currently in Afghanistan), and his head sent to Damascus.
1241 lunar years ago, on this day in 201 AH, Hazrat Fatema al-Ma’sumah (SA), the venerable descendent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), arrived in Qom, which proved to be her permanent abode, since seventeen days later her soul flew to the ethereal heavens from this city in the Iranian desert. The daughter of the Prophet’s 7th Infallible Heir, Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), she was on her way from Medina to Merv in Khorasan to meet her brother Imam Reza (AS), when her caravan was attacked near Saveh by agents of the tyrannical Abbasid regime. As a result, several people, including two of her brothers were martyred, and the exhausted lady, reportedly poisoned, asked the caravan to turn towards Qom, which was a centre of adherents of the Prophet’s Ahl-Bayt. People came out in large numbers to greet her and to escort her to the city – a ceremony that is enacted till this day by the people of Qom. On the 10th of Rabi al-Akher, she departed from the world at the young age of 28, and was laid to rest in an orchard near the riverbank. Her tomb soon grew into a sprawling mausoleum, topped by a gold-plated dome, which is the site of pilgrimage today for people from all over the world, who seek intercession with God and see their prayers answered. Imam Reza (AS) had remarked: "Whoever visits her (shrine), aware of her status, is like the one who has visited me.”
575 lunar years ago, on this day in 866 AH, Jam Nizam od-Din II, known as Nindo, the most powerful ruler of the Samma Dynasty, succeeded his father Sanjar Sadr od-Din and ruled for 48 years over Sindh, parts of Punjab, Baluchestan and Gujarat. Towards the end of his reign he defeated a Mughal army sent against him by Shah Beg Arghun from Qandahar. Founded by Rajputs who had embraced the truth of Islam, the Samma civilization contributed significantly to the evolution of the "Sindhi-Islamic" architectural style, which is a blending of Persian art as well. Thatta, which is in modern Pakistan, was the capital of this kingdom that lasted almost two centuries. The city is still famous for its necropolis, which covers 10 square km on the Makli Hill. Every year thousands perform pilgrimage to this site to commemorate the saints buried here. The graves testify to a long period when Thatta was a thriving center of trade, religion and scholarly pursuits.
528 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, prominent Persian poet and literary figure, Noor od-Din Abdur-Rahman Jami, passed away in Herat in Khorasan Province. He went to Samarqand to learn Islamic sciences, literature and history, and visited several other lands before settling in Herat. He has left behind a large number of works in prose and verse, including "Baharestan”. Jami, who died at the age of almost 80, has also composed beautiful odes in praise of Prophet of Islam and the Infallible the Ahl al-Bayt (peace upon him).
143 solar years ago, on this day in 1877 AD, the Poet of the East, Allamah Mohammad Iqbal Lahori, was born in Sialkot, Punjab in what is now Pakistan. After completing his studies, he went to Germany and Britain and stayed for four years to learn the philosophy of the West. He started composing poems in his teenage years in both Urdu and Persian. He was also active in politics to reform and unite the Muslims of undivided India. He believed in pan Islamism or the revival of Muslims worldwide, and used the medium of poetry, especially Persian poetry, to express his ideas and thoughts. Iqbal gave the concept of a separate homeland for the Muslims of northwest India, which several years after his death resulted in the birth of Pakistan. He has left behind a large number of poetical collections in Persian and Urdu. His poems include couplets, quatrains, odes, and lyrics, in several collections such as "Asraar-e Khudi” (Secrets of the Self), "Zabour-e Ajam” (Psalms of Persia), and the "Javid-Namah”, which he wrote as admonition and guidance for his young son, Javid. He passed away in 1938.
109 solar years ago, on this day in 1911 AD, the renowned Urdu poet, Mas’ood ul-Hassan "Tabish Dehlvi”, was born in Delhi. Great-grandson of the prominent Persian poet of India, Nizam od-Din Nizami, he had a flair for languages, and mastered Urdu, Persian, Arabic and English. Educated at Dar ul-Uloom in Haiderabad-Deccan where he became a disciple of the famous Urdu poet, Fani Badayuni, he composed ghazals (lyrics), na’at (eulogies), marsiya (elegies), free verse and national songs, besides writing essays and establishing himself as an authority in all spheres of Urdu literature. Endowed with a rich voice, he started his career at the All India Radio (AIR) in Delhi as announcer/newsreader in 1941. On the partition of the Subcontinent, he migrated to Pakistan and was a newscaster par excellence whose voice ruled over the skies for several decades. The masses would be glued to their radio sets in order to hear his sonorous voice presenting Urdu news bulletins. He could justifiably claim that he had announced many breaking news events. His collection of poetry includes: "Nimroz” (1963), "Chiragh-e Sahra” (1982), "Ghobar-e Anjum” (1984), and "Mah-e Shikasta” (1993). He passed away in Karachi at the age of 93 in 2004.
102 solar years ago, on this day in 1918 AD, following the defeats of the German army in World War I, and breakout of unrest in the country, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Germany was proclaimed a republic.
80 lunar years ago, on this day in 1362 AH, famous Iranian poet and scholar, Hussain Khan Danesh, died at the age of 70. He spent a major part of his life in Turkey, conducting research on Persian works in Ankara, Istanbul and other cities, and making efforts to publish them. Among his works, mention could be made of "Dastour Zaban-e Farsi" and "Saramadan-e Sokhan".
67 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, who was installed by the British as King of the artificial country they created for him named Saudi Arabia, died at the age of 73. Born in Najd in a Wahhabi clan, he had fled to Kuwait as a teenager following the Ottoman victory over the Saudi clan in Najd. The British used him as a salaried servant against the Ottoman-supported Aal-e Rasheed dynasty as part of London’s project to destabilize Arabia. During World War 1 and decline of Ottoman power, he raided the eastern Shi’a Muslim part of Arabia and forced the local chiefs to enter into a time-bound agreement which he never honoured, especially after oil was discovered in this area. By 1921, with British help he decimated the 85-year rule of the Aal-e Rasheed dynasty and seized their dominions up to the borders of Iraq and Jordan. When he invaded the Land of Revelation Hejaz and ousted another British agent, Sharif Hussein, after massacring tens of thousands of Muslims in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, Britain decided to gift him with a kingdom in 1932. In 1934, with British help he seized the northern Yemeni provinces of Najran, Jizaan and Asir. His most criminal act was the blasphemous destruction in 1925 of the sacred cemeteries of Jannat al-Mo’alla in Mecca that housed the holy tombs of family members of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and of Jannat al-Baqie in Medina that housed the holy shrines of four of the twelve Infallible Successors of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt – Imam Hasan Mojtaba, Imam Zain al-Abedin, Imam Mohammad Baqer, and Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (peace upon them).
67 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Cambodia in Southeast Asia gained independence from France after 86 years of colonialist rule. In 1975, power was seized by communist general Pol Pot, who installed the Khmer Rouge regime, changed the name of the country to Kampuchea and launched a bloodbath, killing at least three million people by 1976, including the ethnic Cham Muslims. Cambodia has the famous Angkor Vat ruins, regarded as the world’s largest religious monument, which was first a Hindu, and later a Buddhist temple. Buddhism is the official religion of the country, while Muslims number around 3 percent.
67 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Welsh author-poet Dylan Thomas, who wrote exclusively in English, died in New York at age of 39 during a poetry-reading blitz of the US. He has been acknowledged as one of the most important English poets of the 20th century and noted for his original, rhythmic and ingenious use of words and imagery. Some of his famous poems are "Do not go gentle into that good night” and "And death shall have no dominion”. His books include "The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas” and "Under Milk Wood”.
66 solar years ago, on this day in 1954 AD, Dr. Seyyed Hussein Fatemi, who served as foreign minister in the cabinet of Iranian prime minister, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq', was executed by the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime. Following the US-orchestrated coup of August 19, 1953 and dismissal of Mosaddeq, he was arrested on the Shah's order.
50 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, Charles Andre Joseph de Gaulle, French general, writer and statesman died in Paris at the age of 80. He was leader of Free France (1940–44) during World War 2, and headed the Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–46). In 1958, he founded the Fifth Republic and was elected as the 18th President of France, until his resignation in 1969. He gauged the seriousness of the Algerian people’s struggle for freedom and granted Algeria independence in 1962 against the wishes of the army which favoured annexing of this Arab Muslim North African country to France. He later gradually granted independence to other French colonies. As a military officer who saw action in both the First and Second World Wars, later as president of France during the Cold War Era, de Gaulle initiated his "Politics of Grandeur", asserting that France as a major power should not rely on other countries, such as the United States, for its national security and prosperity. To this end, he pursued a policy of "national independence" which led him to withdraw from NATO's military integrated command and to launch an independent nuclear development program that made France the fourth nuclear power. He restored cordial Franco-German relations in order to create a European counterweight between the "Anglo-Saxon" (American and British) and Soviet spheres of influence. He used to say that the Anglo-Saxons have always exploited France and the rest of Europe for their own vested interests, and twice he vetoed Britain's entry into the European Community. He also openly criticised the US intervention in Vietnam and the "exorbitant privilege" of the US dollar, in addition to supporting an independent Quebec, which should not be part of English-speaking Canada. Many French political parties and figures continue to claim the Gaullist Legacy.
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, Saddam’s Ba’thist forces occupied the southwestern Iranian port of Khorramshahr after a month-and-a-half of stiff resistance by the defenders, following the unprovoked invasion of the country on September 22. The Battle of Khorramshahr, because of the brutality against civilians by the Ba’thists made the Iranians to call the city ‘Khooninshahr,’ (City of Blood). Battles were fought house-to-house, floor-to-floor, and room-to-room. Khorramshahr, which used to be one of the world's major port cities, was completely devastated by Saddam’s forces, with very few buildings left intact. The city was finally liberated by Iran’s Muslim combatants on 24th May 1982 during Operation Bayt al-Moqaddas.
32 lunar years ago, on this day in 1410 AH, Grand Ayatollah Jawad Aqa Tehrani passed away at the age of 88. He was born in Tehran and after completing his studies in Qom left for Holy Najaf in Iraq to continue his higher studies. He groomed many scholars and was known for his piety and ascetic nature. Among the books written by him are: "Mizan al-Mataleb" in Arabic and "Aieen-e Zindagi" in Persian.
31 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, Communist-controlled East Germany opened checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel to West Germany. This key event led to the eventual reunification of East and West Germany, and fall of communism in Eastern Europe including Russia.
14 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Iraq estimated the civilian death toll in the first three-and-a-half years of the US occupation around 600,000. The US withdrew in 2011 and was responsible for the death of over a 1.2 million Iraqis.