Today is Wednesday; 17th of the Iranian month of Dey 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 22nd of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and January 6, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1357 solar years ago, on this day in 664 AD, the notorious Omayyad partisan and governor of Egypt, Amr ibn al-Aas, died at the age of around 90 in a state of acute mental agony while recalling his crimes against Islam and humanity, including how he had tried to cheat the Prophet’s righteous heir, Imam Ali (AS), of the caliphate by declaring the rebel Mu’awiyya ibn Abu Sufyan as the caliph. Born out of wedlock in Mecca to a morally-loose slave-girl, named Layla bint Harmalah and called "Nabigha”, his paternity was open to doubt in those freewheeling days of Jahiliyya because of the polyandrous relations of his mother with at least five persons at the same time including Abu Sufyan and Aas ibn Wa’el. Although Amr greatly resembled the stingy miser Abu Sufyan, his mother by openly citing the issue of maintenance claimed that the rather generous Aas had fathered her illegitimate child. With the advent of Islam, Amr showed bitter hostility toward Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). When the Prophet migrated to Medina, he was involved in almost all the battles imposed upon Muslims by the pagan Arabs of Mecca. Earlier, when a batch of persecuted Muslims led by the Prophet’s cousin, Ja’far ibn Abu Taleb, sought asylum in Abyssinia he led an unsuccessful mission to the court of the Christian king, Negus, for the handover of the refugees. In 8 AH, two years before the passing away of the Prophet and shortly before the surrender of Mecca to the Muslims, Amr, sensing the end of the days of paganism, came to Medina – along with that other avowed enemy of Islam, Khaled bin Waleed – to pretend conversion to Islam, although none of his deeds ever support his claim to be a Muslim. After the Prophet, when the neo-Muslim Arab armies swept in different directions, he led the attack on the Byzantine province of Egypt. When Mu’awiyyah consolidated power in Syria, he joined him as advisor in Damascus and was the evil mind in most of the plots against the Prophet’s divinely-decreed successor, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), including the hoisting of copies of the holy Qur’an on spear-points during the War of Siffeen in order to deceive Muslims and evade a definite defeat. Earlier during the battle, to escape certain death from the flashing blade of Imam Ali (AS), Amr while fleeing, shamelessly disrobed himself, making the Imam turn away from such an abhorred sight. In 38 AH, he again attacked Egypt and seized it by brutally martyring the legally appointed governor, Mohammad ibn Abu Bakr. Thus at the time of his agonizing death, he admitted that he felt as if the Mountain of Redhwa was hanging upon his neck and he was being dragged through the eye of a needle for his sins and crimes against Islam and humanity.
1137 solar years ago, on this day in 884 AD, founder of the Alawid state in Tabaristan, northern Iran, Hassan Ibn Zayd, known as "Da’i al-Kabeer” (Elder Missionary) and "Da’iil-al-Haq” (Inviter to Truth), passed away in Amol, Mazandaran, after a twenty-year reign. He was 6th in line of descent from Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the elder grandson and 2nd Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
981 solar years ago, on this day in 1040 AD, the Ghaznavid king, Mas’oud I, after a reign of nine years, was murdered by his nephew Ahmad, son of his deposed elder twin brother Mohammad, who was subsequently restored to the throne. The famous Iranian Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan Berouni has dedicated his work on astronomy titled "Qanoun al-Mas’oudi” to Mas’oud, whose son Mowdoud killed his uncle Mohammad a year later, and became king.
903 solar years ago, on this day in 1118 AD, the Spanish Muslim city of Zaragoza and the province of the same name, now called Aragon, was occupied by Alfonso the Battler, thereby ending 414 years of glorious Islamic rule.
609 solar years ago, on this day in 1412 AD, Joan of Arc, France’s national heroine, Jeanne d’Arc, known to the English as Joan of Arc or Maid of Orleans, was born in Domremy village in a family of farmers.
540 solar years ago, on this day in 1481 AD, Ahmed Ibn Kuchuk, the Khan of the Great Horde from 1465 was killed by the Siberian Ibak Khan of the Nogay tribe at the mouth of the River Donets. He seized power from his elder brother Mahmoud and in 1472, entered into alliance with the Polish king Casimir IV against Ivan III of Russia. In 1480, he launched a military campaign against Moscow.
529 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, Christian occupiers of the Spanish Muslim emirate of Gharnata (Granada), led by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, entered the magnificent Islamic fortress complex of "al-Hamra” ("The Red” in Arabic and mispronounced ‘Alhambra’ by the Europeans). Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories. Spanish Muslim poets described it as "a pearl set in emeralds,” in allusion to the colour of its buildings and the woods around them.
328 solar years ago, on this day in1693 AD, Mohammad IV, the 19th Ottoman sultan and the 10th self-styled Turkish caliph, died in Edrine during imprisonment 6 years after being deposed.
231 lunar years ago, on this day in 1211 AH, the Iranian astronomer and mathematician, Mirza Hussein Doost Mohammad Isfahani, was born. He passed away at the age of 81 years and was laid to rest in the holy city of Najaf in Iraq.
169 solar years ago, on this day in 1852 AD, the blind French educator Louis Braille, who developed a tactile form of printing and writing for the blind, died at the age of 43. He became blind at the age four following an accident.
138 solar years ago, on this day in 1883 AD, famous Levantine Arab writer and poet, Khalil Jebran Khalil, was born in Bsharri in the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate of the Syrian Province of the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Lebanon). Although a Christian he was highly influenced by Islam and the dynamic personalities of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). He wrote: "I am Christian and I am proud of it, but I am in love with Prophet of Islam and have great regard for his name.”
On Imam Ali (AS), he writes: "In my view, (Imam) Ali was the first Arab to have contact with and converse with the universal soul. He died a martyr of his greatness; he died while prayer was between his two lips. The Arabs did not realise his value until appeared among their Persian neighbors some who knew the difference between gems and gravels. He was like a prophet sent for a nation other than his own during a period to which he did not belong.”
85 solar years ago, on this day in 1936 AD, the British-installed Pahlavi potentate, Reza Khan, tried to insult the dignity of Iran’s Muslim women by banning the Hejab. Earlier he had forbidden Iranian men from wearing traditional clothes as part of his policy to deprive the Iranian nation of its cultural and Islamic identity. He was blindly emulating the western-dictated policies of the Turkish dictator, Kamal Ata Turk, who had also banned the Islamic dress code for women in Turkey and forced men to adopt European clothing. The Iranian ulema and freedom-seekers strongly opposed Reza Khan’s moves, risking imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom. When the agents of this unlettered soldier tried to unveil women on the streets, many respectable women of Iran vowed never to venture out on the streets in order to safeguard their dignity and Islamic values.
53 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, Iran’s wrestling champion, Gholam-Reza Takhti, was killed by agents of the Shah’s despotic regime.
17 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, a 57-year-old man was miraculously pulled out alive from the rubble 13 days after the deadly earthquake that hit Bam in south-eastern Iran.
15 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, in a case of racism, Afro American teenager, 14-year old Martin Lee Anderson died a day after he was brutally beaten at a juvenile detention camp in Florida by white US officers. Videotape showed that he was punched and kicked. In May 2007 the Florida state legislature agreed to pay Anderson’s family $5 million to settle civil claims, but a few months later, an all-white jury acquitted 8 former boot camp workers of manslaughter, despite evidence.