Today is Saturday; 29th of the Iranian month of Azar 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 4th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and December 19, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
909 solar years ago, on this day in 1111 AD, the prominent Iranian Sunni Muslim scholar, Abu Hamed Mohammad Ghazali Tusi, passed away at the age of 53. He was proficient in theology and philosophy, and resorted to polemics against the "Batinis” at a time when secret Ismaili cells were winning adherents in Iran.
887 lunar years ago, on this day in 555 AH, historian and literary figure, Abu’l-Hassan Ali ibn Mohammad, known as Izz od-Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, was born in a Kurdish family in Jazirat Ibn Umar in Iraq, which was part of the Great Seljuq Empire, with its capital in Isfahan. He has written a specialized history of the Atabek Dynasty of Mosul titled "at-Tarikh al-Baher fi’l-Dowlat-al-Atabekiyah bi’l-Mawsil”. He also wrote the biographical encyclopedia on the companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), titled: "Osud al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat as-Sahabah”. Izz od-Din should not be confused with his elder brother, Majd od-Din Ibn Athir, the author of "Jame’ al-Usoul”, which is a compendium of the "Sihah as-Sitta” or the Six Authoritative Hadith Books of Sunni Muslims, compiled almost wholly by Iranian converts to Islam.
460 lunar years ago, on this day in 982 AH, The Ottoman Turks retook Tunis in North Africa from the Spanish occupiers following seizure of the heavily guarded fortress of Halq al-Wadi. In this battle, 5000 Spanish and Italian soldiers were killed and 3000 others captured. The Ottomans also captured 225 canons.
279 solar years ago, on this day in 1741 AD, Vitus Jonassen Bering, the Danish-Russian navigator who helped establish that Asia and America are two separate continents, died at sea at the age of 60. He joined the Dutch navy as a young man, and later the Russian navy. He was commissioned by Tsar Peter the Great to travel the coast of Asia to see if it was connected to North America. He sailed through the Bering Strait in 1728. He discovered Alaska on his second voyage in 1741, with several scientists on board, explored its coast, and discovered the Aleutian Islands. He died stranded during the winter following a shipwreck. The Bering Sea and Bering Island (where he died) are also named for him.
244 solar years ago, on this day in 1776 AD, English-American philosopher and author, Thomas Paine, published one of a series of pamphlets in The Pennsylvania Journal entitled "The American Crisis” to stir up sentiments of the colonists against the British crown. His sixteen "Crisis” papers, published between 1776 and 1783, helped to inspire the colonists during the ordeals of the revolution. He was an active advocate of the French Revolution as well. In his work "Rights of Man”, written in reply to Edmund Burke’s criticism of the French Revolution, he dismissed monarchy.
233 solar years ago, on this day in 1787 AD, Britain seized the West African land of Sierra Leone from the Portuguese occupiers. During Portuguese colonial rule tens of thousands of black men, women and children were sold as slaves in the Americas and Europe. The British continued this inhuman trade and made life miserable for the black people, the overwhelming majority of whom were Muslims. In 1961, Sierra Leone gained its independence and in 1971 became a republic. Sierra Leone covers an area of 71740 sq km. It is situated in West Africa and has a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, sharing borders with Guinea and Liberia. Muslims account for over 77 percent of the population, while some 20 percent are Christians.
177 solar years ago, on this day in 1843 AD, the British novelist, Charles Dickens, published his masterpiece, "A Christmas Carol”, which depicts how a very rich but stingy person was finally forced to change his miserly habits to help the poor. Dickens who was editor of "Bentley’s Miscellany” a general interest monthly magazine, from January 1837 to 1839, paid tribute to the Martyr of Karbala in it, by writing:
"If Husain had fought to quench his worldly desires…then I do not understand why his sister, wife, and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore, that he sacrificed purely for Islam.”
172 solar years ago, on this day in 1848 AD, English novelist and poetess, Emily Jane Bronte, died at the age of 31. The second of the three Bronte sisters – the eldest being the famous Charlotte and the younger being Anne – she is best known for her only novel "Wuthering Heights”, now considered a classic of English literature. She wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell.
105 solar years ago, on this day in 1915 AD, German psychiatrist, Alois Alzheimer, who recognized the disease that was subsequently named after him, died at the age of 51.
74 solar years ago, on this day in 1946 AD, the First Indochina War (also known as the Franco-Vietnamese War), began and lasted until 1 August 1954. Actually, fighting between Viet Minh revolutionaries and France, which tried to re-occupy Vietnam and neighbouring countries following the Japanese withdrawal from these areas and subsequent defeat in World War 2, started in September 1945.
71 lunar years ago, on this day in 1371 AH, the Islamic scholar, Haydar Qoli Khan Afghani, known as Sardar Kabuli, passed away. He was an authority in logic, Arabic literature, mathematics, astronomy, history, and geography. A devotee of the Ahl al-Bayt, he wrote a valuable book on the virtues of Imam Ali (AS), the 1st Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He also translated into Persian, the famous book "al-Muraja’at”, on exchange of letters on principles of faith between Allamah Seyyed Abdul-Hussain Sharaf od-Din of Lebanon and Dean of Egypt’s al-Azhar Academy, Shaikh Saleem al-Bishri. His translation is titled "Monazeraat”.
63 solar years ago, on this day in 1957 AD, the acclaimed Iranian musician, Abu’l-Hassan Saba, passed away. He was also highly interested in painting, literature, and flowers, in addition to being an expert on traditional Iranian music. He wrote books on Iranian musical instruments and their history.
38 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, Saddam’s Ba’thist forces targeted the southwestern Iranian city of Dezful with a large number of surface-to-surface missiles, martyring 60 civilians and wounding 287 others.
31 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, US forces launched an illegal raid on Panama in Central America and kidnapped its president, Manuel Noriega, who was locked up in the US till 2007 and then transferred to Paris to stand trial at a Kangaroo court which sentenced him to seven years imprisonment. Later he was brought back to Panama where he is currently serving a 20-year jail term.
30 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran’s Cultural House in Pakistan’s Lahore, Sadeq Ganji, was martyred by terrorists on the payroll of Global Arrogance. After almost four years of strengthening cultural ties between the people of Iran and Pakistan, he was cowardly gunned down while planning to return home at the end of his mission.
12 solar years ago, on this day in 2008 AD, Iran sent a warship to the coast of Somalia to protect its cargo ships against piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, five Iranian engineers working on an electricity power plant in Jandar, close to the city of Homs, Syria, were abducted by Takfiri terrorists backed by Saudi regime, the US and Israel. Two others working for Iran Power Plant Projects Management Company (MAPNA) were taken when they went to investigate their colleagues’ disappearance. Through Iran’s intense diplomatic efforts, especially with Turkey, the Iranian hostages were released and returned home after months of captivity.