Today is Saturday; 13th of the Iranian month of Dey 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 18th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and January 2, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1113 lunar years ago, on this day in 328 AH, the Spanish Muslim theologian and poet, Ahmad ibn Mohammad Ibn Abd Rabbihi, passed away. His poems are found scattered in many books, and here is a translation from Arabic of one of his couplets titled "The White Complexion”
529 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, Mohammad XII, the 22nd ruler of the emirate of Granada, was tricked into surrendering the last Muslim region in Spain to the Christian invaders made up of mercenaries from Spain, Italy, Switzerland and other states, thereby ending almost eight centuries of glorious Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. The people strongly defended their Spanish Muslim homeland during the 10-year war waged by Ferdinand and Isabel, who then resorted to bribes and deceit to gain control of the Nasrid Kingdom that was founded in 1238 on the collapse of the powerful al-Muwahhid Dynasty. The pleas to the Muslim world for help fell on deaf ears, because of the seditious diplomacy of certain European powers to involve into fratricidal wars the Ottomans (who were almost on the borders of Italy) and the Mamluk rulers of Egypt-Syria that prevented the army assembled by the Mamluk Sultan from being dispatched to the aid of the Spanish Muslims. About 200,000 Spanish Muslims migrated to North Africa after the fall of Granada including Mohammad XII, who died in Morocco 41 years later in 1533. The ruler’s energetic uncle, who had briefly ruled as Mohammad XIII (az-Zaghall) during his nephew’s imprisonment by the Christians of Castile, went across the Strait of Gibraltar to gather an army for liberation of Granada, but was prevented and imprisoned by the short-sighted ruler of Fez. Those of the Spanish Muslims who remained in their occupied homeland were promised rights to their property, laws, customs, and religion, all of which the Christians brutally violated, and by 1609 after systematic Christianization of the population, expelled to North Africa thousands of Muslims who refused to convert. However, Islamic culture, which led to the development of science and civilization at a time when Christian Europe was immersed in the dark ages, persisted and was incorporated in local cultures, thus leading to the Renaissance in Europe. Among the architectural wonders built by Spanish Muslims in Granada is the famous Alhambra Fortress complex, which is among the testimonies to the glories of Islam in Spain. It is said that while leaving his Spanish homeland for exile, when the defeated Muslim ruler reached a rocky prominence which gave a last view of his lost dominions, he reined in his horse and, surveying for the last time the Alhambra and the green valley that spread below, burst into tears. His mother, Fatema, who was active during the defence and had advised him against surrendering the emirate, reproached him saying: "You weep like a woman for what you couldn’t defend as a man.”
407 solar years ago, on this day in 1613 AD, the Persian poetess and highly cultured lady of the Moghal court of Hindustan (northern subcontinent), Salima Sultan Begum, who was a senior consort of Emperor Jalal od-Din Mohammad Akbar Shah, passed away in Agra at the age of 60. Emperor Jahangir in his memoirs "Tuzuk-e Jahangiri” praises his stepmother Salima both for her natural qualities and her acquirements, saying: "She was adorned with all good qualities... in women this degree of skill and capacity is seldom found.”
289 years ago on this day in 1732 AD, the renowned scholar and philanthropist, Haji Muhammad Mohsin was born in the Hooghly district of Bengal in eastern India in a virtuous family of Iranian origin from Isfahan. His parents were Haji Faizollah and Zainab Khanum, who owned vast lands and property in many districts. After mastering the Persian and Arabic languages, and gaining excellent knowledge of the holy Qur’an, the Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence, he set out in the prime of his youth to travel around Muslim countries. He spent 27 years abroad, performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, visiting the Prophet’s holy shrine in Medina, and then travelling to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq. He then proceeded to Iran, where in Isfahan he was warmly welcomed by his grandfather’s family members. Later he visited Turkey and Egypt, and returned to his native Bengal via Khorasan, Afghanistan, Punjab and Awadh. In Hooghly, his childless elder step-sister, Maryam Khanum (Munnujan), who had inherited a large fortune from her husband, placed him in charge of all family properties, which he sincerely managed by feeding the poor and establishing educational, religious, and charitable institutes. Some of these are the Hooghly Mohsin College and the Hooghly Imambara. In 1803 his sister died, and in 1806, Haji Mohsin who lived a simple ascetic life, created a Waqf or trust for education, religious programmes, and pensions to the elderly and disabled. He also gave 40 acres of land (out of 42 acres) for establishing the college in Khulna, (which is the 10th top college of Bangladesh today). He passed away on 29 November 1812 at 80 years of age in his hometown Hooghly. Due to his contributions in the field of education, Haji Mohsin is greatly respected to this day, with several educational institutions in India and Bangladesh named in his honour, such as the Government Haji Mohammad Mohsin College, Chittagong, Haji Mohsin Government College, Panchbibi, and the Haji Mohammad Mohsin Hall at the University of Dhaka. A Bangladesh Navy base located in Dhaka is also named after him. In India, the Haji Mohsin Trust runs the Hooghly Imambara Medical College, as well as a well-stacked library, a madrasah (religious school), and an academy of traditional Islamic medicine.
178 solar years ago, on this day in 1843 AD, postal service was modernized and the first post box was installed in the Austrian Capital, Vienna. In those days, postal letters and packages were transported by horses, camels, and special boats. But, later on, new methods were implemented and the postal service gradually developed to its current form.
155 solar years ago, on this day in 1866 AD, the Australian poet and researcher, Gilbert Murray, was born. He wrote several books including the "History of Ancient Greek Literature” and "Faith, War and Politics”.
101 solar years ago, on this day in 1920 AD, the American author and chemist of Russian origin, Isaac Asimov, was born in Russia in a village near what is now Belarus. He wrote 270 books on science, science-fiction, mathematics, and humanities, including the novel "I, Robot”. He coined the term "robotics”. Asimov died in 1992.
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, the first gathering of the world’s liberation movements opened in Tehran. The main goals of this gathering was to familiarize the international community with the wide-scale dimensions of the Islamic Revolution; to introduce the world’s liberation movements; and to set the stage for further unity of these movements against the injustices of Global Arrogance.
17 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, in a miraculous event, rescuers in Iran pulled a 97-year old woman named Shahrbanou Mazandarani from the rubble in the city of Bam, 9 days after the devastating earthquake that killed about 40,000.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, the Source of Emulation, Grand Ayatollah Mojtaba Shahidi Kalhori Tehrani, passed away at the age of 75. Among his works, mention can be made of "Akhlaaq-e Ilahi”, and "Solouk-e Ashurai”.
5 solar years ago, on this day in 2016 AD, Sheikh Nimr Baqer an-Nimr, the prominent religious leader of the eastern part of the British created entity called Saudi Arabia, was martyred by the Wahhabi regime at the age of 57 despite the appeals of several countries and human rights organizations. Born in Awamiyya, he completed his higher religious studies in Iran and Syria. As Friday Prayer Leader of his hometown, he strove for materialization of the deprived birthrights of the native Shi’a Muslim majority of the oil-rich Eastern Province. His popularity, especially among the youth and his bold criticism of the dictatorial policies of the regime in Riyadh, coupled with calls for free elections, led to his imprisonment and torture in 2006. He warned that if the rights of Shi’a Muslims are not materialized, the oil-rich East, which was occupied the Aal-e Saud during World War 1, had the right to reassert its independence. The Wahhabi regime arrested him and 35 other activists. During the 2011–12 protests, Sheikh Nimr called for protestors to resist police bullets using "the roar of the word” rather than violence, and predicted the collapse of the Saudi regime if repression continued. On 8 July 2012 Saudi police shot him in the leg and kidnapped him by opening fire into a crowd of thousands of protestors and killing several people. Sheikh Nimr was tortured in prison and started a hunger strike, as a result of which his health deteriorated before his cruel execution, which angered Muslims worldwide and brought condemnations for the US-backed Saudi regime.