Today is Monday; 26th of the Iranian month of Aban 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 30th of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and November 16, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
992 lunar years ago, on this day in 450 AH, the Shafei jurisprudent, Abu’l-Hassan Ali Ibn Mohammad Ibn Habib al-Mawardi, passed away at the age of 88. Born in Basra and son of a seller of rose-water or Ma’ Ward in Arabic, his family became known as "Mawardi”. Appointed as the chief judge of several districts near Naishapour in Khorasan, and Baghdad itself, he also served as a diplomat for the Abbasid usurper caliphs, al-Qa’em and al-Qader, in negotiations with the Buwaiyhid Iranian emirs, who had taken control of Iran and Iraq. A prolific writer with Mu’tazalite (rationalistic) tendencies, he is best known for his writings on government, on public duties and on constitutional law during a time of political turmoil. Among his books is "al-Ahkaam as-Sultaniyya wa’l-Wilayat ad-Diniyya” (Ordinances of Government), which provides a detailed definition of the functions of government, under the caliphate, which theoretically was an entire politico-religious system, but practically has lost its meaning and purpose because of the tyrannical and immoral life of almost all the caliphs. Hence the emphasis in [The Ordinances] placed on the qualifications, power and duties pertinent to senior officials, in order to facilitate the working arrangement reached by the Buwaiyhids and the Abbasid caliphs, and later followed by the Seljuqs.
780 solar years ago, on this day in 1240 AD, the famous Spanish Muslim philosopher and Gnostic, Mohi od-Din bin Mohammad Ibn al-Arabi passed away in Damascus, Syria at the age of 75. Born in Murcia, southern Spain, he was a child prodigy who after acquiring the sciences of the day in Seville, where his family had settled and where he met the famous philosopher, Ibn Rushd (Averroes). At the age of 30 he migrated to Fez in Morocco, from where after making several trips to Spain over the next five years to collect his works and other Islamic manuscripts in order to save them from the Christian vandals who were destroying the heritage of mankind, he finally left for the Levant through Egypt. The next half of his life was spent in Mecca (where he performed the Hajj), Medina (where he paid respects as the Prophet’s shrine), Palestine, Syria, Iraq and what is now Turkey, before he settled in Damascus. During the last twenty years of his life his close companion was the Iranian mystic, Awhad od-Din Hameed Kirmani, who transmitted to him teachings of many of the great spiritual masters of the Islamic East. Ibn Arabi, whose school of mystical thought had a profound impact for several centuries, was a prolific writer and the author of many books and treatises, including "Fusous al-Hekam” (Bezels of Wisdom), and "Futuhaat al-Makkiyya” (The Meccan Illuminations). In Chapter 366 of the voluminous "Futuhaat”, he has described the characteristics of the Awaited Saviour of mankind, saying that Imam Mahdi (AS), the namesake and offspring of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), is from the direct line of descent of the Immaculate Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), and when he reappears the world will be filled with the global government of justice. His Gnostic school of thought has continued to have a profound impact over the centuries despite the senseless attacks on him by the pseudo scholar Ibn Taimiyya, who failed to taint Ibn Arabi’s saintly personality for elaborating the Qur’anic concepts of "wasila” (means of attaining the proximity of God) and "shafa’a” (power of intercession) that God has granted to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the Infallible Imams.
488 solar years ago, on this day in 1532 AD, Francisco Pizarro and his Spanish marauders ambushed and captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa at the great plaza of Cajamarca in what is now Peru, killing counsellors, commanders and thousands of unarmed attendants, following months of espionage and subterfuge. Pizarro, who was born out of wedlock, treacherously executed Atahualpa despite receiving ransom for release of the Inca emperor that filled a room with gold and two rooms with silver, which he split amongst his closest associates after setting aside a share for the Spanish king. The Spaniards indulged in the mass rape of Inca women, and Pizzaro forced Atahualpa’s wife to become his mistress, while distributing among his men women of the Incan nobility. Atahualpa’s death effectively ended the Inca resistance, empire and the flourishing native culture.
377 solar years ago, on this day in 1643 AD, Jean Chardin, French-English jeweler and traveler who frequented the courts of Iran and India, was born in Paris. A jeweler’s son with an excellent education, he traveled with a merchant to Iran and India in 1665. At Iṣfahan, he enjoyed the patronage of Shah Abbas II. He visited the Deccan or southern India by landing at Surat on the coast of Gujarat, before proceeding to the court of King Abdullah Qotb Shah in Golkandeh-Hyderabad, where famous diamond mines were situated. On returning to France via Iran in 1670, he published in 1671 his eyewitness account of the coronation of Shah Soleiman Safavi, titled "Le Couronnement de Soleiman Troisième”. While in Isfahan, a learned nobleman, Mirza Safi, had taught him the Persian language, and assisted him in this work. Towards the end of 1671 he again set out for Iran by traveling through Turkey, Crimea, and the Caucasus. He reached Iṣfahan nearly two years later. He remained in Iran for four years, revisited India, and returned to France in 1677 via the Cape of Good Hope. Fleeing French persecution of the Huguenots in 1681, he settled in London, where he became court jeweler and was knighted by King Charles II. In 1683 he represented the East India Company in Holland. He mastered the Persian language and travelled all over Iran, selling jewels to the elites, besides the Safavid Emperor. He became an authority on Iran and the Persianate kingdoms of the Deccan, writing accounts of his travels, meeting with dignitaries, and adventurers. The complete account of his travels first appeared in 1711 in Journal du voyage du chevalier Chardin ("Journal of the Travel of Cavalier Chardin”). His ten-volume book in English "The Travels of Sir John Chardin” is regarded as one of the finest works of early Western scholarship on Iran and the Subcontinent in general. Chardin’s style of writing is simple and graphic, and he gives a faithful account of what he saw and heard. His work received praise from a number of thinkers of his age, among them Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire and Edward Gibbon. Latter-day scholars of Iran also vouch for his importance. According to John Emerson, "his information on Safavid Persia outranks that of all other Western writers in range, depth, accuracy, and judiciousness.” He died in London at the age of 70.
136 solar years ago, on this day in 1884 AD, William Wells Brown, African-American abolitionist lecturer, novelist, playwright, and historian, died in Massachusetts at the age of 70. His novel "Clotel”, published in 1853, is considered the first novel written by an Afro-American.
123 solar years ago, on this day in 1897 AD, Choudhry Rahmat Ali, who created the name Pakistan, was born in a Gujjar Muslim family in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, India. In 1933 AD, the name Pakistan was coined by him and accepted by the Muslims of the northwestern parts of the Indian Subcontinent who campaigned for a separate country. He is the author of the famous 1933 pamphlet titled "Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever,” also known as the "Pakistan Declaration”. The pamphlet started with the famous statement:
"At this solemn hour in the history of India, when British and Indian statesmen are laying the foundations of a Federal Constitution for that land, we address this appeal to you, in the name of our common heritage, on behalf of our thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN – by which we mean the five Northern units of India, namely: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Kashmir, Sindh and Baluchistan.”
In a subsequent book, Rahmat Ali discussed the etymology in further detail, saying:
"PAKISTAN is both a Persian and an Urdu word. It is composed of letters taken from the names of all our South Asia homelands; that is, Punjab, Afghania (or Pashtun-speaking areas of the Subcontinent), Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan. It means the land of the Pak – or the spiritually pure and clean.”
In 1947, at the birth of the country he had envisaged, he was unhappy over a Smaller Pakistan than the one he had conceived in his pamphlet.
75 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, in the wake of French colonial troops’ bid to reoccupy Vietnam after the Japanese defeat in World War 2, the struggle for independence of the Vietnamese people began under Ho Chi Minh, who went on to inflict a major defeat on the French forces in 1954. Later the US interfered and messed up matters in Vietnam, until it was defeated and driven out in 1976, after massacring hundreds of thousands of innocent people and ruining the country.
74 solar years ago, on this day in 1946 AD, artificial rain was invented by American meteorologist, Dr. Craig by impregnating clouds with chemical components. However, due to its high costs, it has never become common in any part of the world.
34 solar years ago, on this day in 1986 AD, Professor Mohammad Taqi Modarres Razavi, the prominent Iranian literary figure, author, and researcher, passed away at the age of 95. He was born in the holy city of Mashhad, in Khorasan, northeastern Iran. He settled in Tehran and mastered the French language. He groomed numerous students and cooperated with Professor Ali Akbar Dehkhoda in preparing the voluminous Dehkhoda Lexicon of the Persian Language. He was also well versed in jurisprudence, logic, and philosophy. He has left behind a large number of valuable works. Among the books edited by him, mention could be made of "Diwan-e Anwari” (collection of poems of the Persian poet of the later Seljuqid era, Auhad od-Din Ali Anwari) and a manuscript of "Tarikh-e Bukhara” (History of Bukhara), translated into Persian by Ahmad Ibn Mohammad Ibn Nasr al-Qubavi in 1128 AD from the original Arabic of Mohammad bin Ja’far Narshaki, who presented it around 948 AD to Nuh Ibn Nasr of the Samanid Dynasty of this important region of ancient Iran which now forms the republic of Uzbekistan.