Today is Thursday; 23rd of the Iranian month of Bahman 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 28th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani 1442 lunar hijri; and February 11, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2681 solar years ago, on this day in 660 BC, a certain Jimmu was supposedly crowned as Japan’s first emperor. However, no historically firm dates can be assigned to his life nor his reign and neither to the reigns of his early successors. Most historians dismiss this entire period as pre-history that cannot be confirmed. The reign of Kimmei (509–571 AD), believed to be the 29th emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession is the first for which historiography is able to assign verifiable dates. Today, the Japanese emperor holds a ceremonial post while the main power is wielded by the elected prime minister. The Japanese mark the anniversary of the so-called first day of monarchic system as a national festivity ever year.
1777 solar years ago, on this day in 244 AD, Roman Emperor, Gordian III, was killed by Iranian soldiers in the Battle of Misikhe near present day Fallujah in Iraq, resulting in a major victory for Sassanid Emperor, Shapur I, who has recorded this victory in the stone inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam near Shiraz: "When at first we had become established in the (Sassanid) empire, Gordian Caesar raised in all of the Roman Empire a force from the Goth and German realms and marched on Babylonia against the Empire of Iran and against us. On the border of Babylonia at Misikhe, a great frontal battle occurred. Gordian Caesar was killed and the Roman force was destroyed. And the Romans made Philip (the Arab) Caesar. Then Philip Caesar came to us for terms, and to ransom their lives, gave us 500,000 dinars, and became tributary to us. And for this reason we have renamed Misikhe Peroz-Shapur.”
1494 lunar years ago, on this day 52 years before Hijra, as was the custom among the noble Arab families, the infant Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was entrusted to the care of a wet-nurse named Halimah as-Sa’diya, selected by his grandfather and guardian, Abdul Muttalib, who felt it necessary to employ an honourable, chaste, trustworthy and monotheist lady to look after the orphan of his deceased son, Abdullah. Halimah, who was from the desert-dwelling Hawazen tribe, was in Mecca along with her husband Hareth and infant son, Zomrah. It is said that one of her breasts had dried up, and when the infant Prophet refused to suck the one with which she used to suckle her own son, she reluctantly gave him the dried one, and to her amazement it miraculously flowed with milk. With the permission of the family, Halimah used to take the infant Prophet to her dwellings in the desert, and the very day he entered her house, good fortune and blessings entered with him. Her life, which had been filled with poverty and destitution, suddenly changed into a happy and prosperous one. The pasture of the sheep and camels of that region turned fresh and green. The reason the noble urban families allowed their toddler sons to be taken to the desert was because of the pureness of the desert air, coupled with the hardships of the desert, which enabled their physical disposition to grow sounder and equipped them with a natural adaptability towards different conditions. Over two decades later when the Prophet had married Hazrat Khadija (SA), Halimah came to Mecca and was given several sheep and camels. On the Prophet’s proclamation of the universal mission of Islam, the monotheist Halimah and Hareth, formally became Muslims. The Prophet used to greatly respect her, and whenever, Halimah visited him, he would spread his cloak on the ground so that she would sit on it.
1380 solar years ago, on this day in 641 AD, Emperor Heraclius of Byzantium or the Eastern Roman Empire, died at the age of 67, after suffering a string of defeats at the hands of the newly emergent Muslims and losing Syria and Egypt to the forces of Islam. Born into an Armenian family, he was the son of Heraclius the Elder, who had served as governor of North Africa. In 610, on landing in Constantinople he overthrew Emperor Phocas and declared himself emperor in the midst of the war against Iran’s Sassanid Empire which had inflicted a series of defeats on the Romans in Syria, Anatolia, and Egypt. Although his first battles ended in defeat as the Iranian army advanced on the Bosporus and besieged the capital Constantinople, Heraclius started rebuilding the military and twelve years later in 622 managed to push back the Persians out of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). In 624, he advanced into northern Media, where he destroyed the great fire-temple of Ganzhak. Two years later in 626, he captured Colchis in Georgia in the Caucasus from Iran, and then in 627 he penetrated Iraq, defeating the Iranians in the Battle of Nineveh. Soon the Sassanid Emperor, Khosrow II, was assassinated and peace was restored to the two empires. But shortly after his victory, Heraclius, who some years earlier had received a letter of invitation to Islam from Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), faced Muslim armies in Syria, where he was defeated and withdrew, as the Arabs swept across the Levant. In order to check the Muslim advance, Heraclius entered into an alliance with the Iranian Emperor, Yazdegird III, and sent a massive army of Slavs, Greeks, Franks, Georgians, Armenians and Arab Christians. The Muslim tactic of sending a separate force to Iraq thwarted this alliance. Thus the total defeat of the numerically superior Roman army at Yarmouk (636) by lightly armed Muslims saw the fall of Damascus as well, and a year later led to the liberation of Bayt al-Moqaddas without bloodshed. As Muslim armies swept across Armenia and Egypt, the crestfallen Heraclius died.
940 lunar years ago, on this day in 502 AH, the renowned Iranian scholar of Arabic literature, Abu Zakariyya Yahya Ibn Ali Ibn Mohammed at-Tabrizi, passed away. He is the author of several commentaries on divans of Arabic poets, like "al Mu’allaqat as-Saba”, "al Mufadhaliyaat” and "al-Hamasa”.
852 lunar years ago, on this day in 590 AH, the famous reciter of the Holy Qur’an, Qasem Ibn Fera ash-Shatebi, known as "Imam al-Qurra” passed away in Cairo, Egypt. He authored a book on the seven different ways of recitation.
663 solar years ago, on this day in 1358 AD, Hassan Gangu Zafar Khan, who was elected as the first king of the Bahmani Dynasty of Iranian origin of the Deccan (southern India) with the title Ala od-Din Bahman Shah, passed away after a 11-year reign in his capital Gulbarga. In 1345, he and other nobles had joined together to declare the Deccan independent from the tyrannical rule of Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq of Hindustan (northern subcontinent) by placing Naseer od-Din Ismail as the Shah at Daulatabad. Two years later Naseer od-Din Ismail resigned in favour of Ala od-Din Bahman Shah, who claimed descent from the legendry Iranian king, Bahman son of Isfandiyar. He shifted his capital further south to Gulbarga, and expanded his kingdom in all directions. The dynasty he founded ruled for over 170 years – first from Gulbarga and then from Bidar – promoting Islam and Persian language, culture and architecture in southern India, by virtue of its direct sea-route contact with Iran, from where poets, scholars, artists, statesmen, traders and soldiers of fortune flocked to the Bahmani court. The Bahmanis respected Sufi saints and greatly revered Shah Ne’matollah Wali of Kerman for his devotion to the school of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The Bahmani Empire – that stretched from the western to the eastern coasts of Peninsular India – split into five independent Persianate kingdoms that ensured the independence of the Deccan from Hindustan for another 170 more years until the conquest by Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor. Of the five, the three powerful dynasties (Nizamshahis of Ahmadnagar, Adelshahis of Bijapur and Qutbshahis of Golkandah-Haiderabad) followed the Shi’a Muslim creed and regarded the Safavid rulers of Iran as their emperor.
442 solar years ago, on this day in 1578 AD, Sultan Mohammad Khodabanda was proclaimed 4th Shah of Iran’s Safavid Empire on the sudden death of his fratricidal younger brother, Ismail II, who a year earlier had seized the throne after executing several of his brothers, following the long 52-year reign of their father, Shah Tahmasp I. Of weak eyesight as well as weak-willed, the mild-mannered Khodabanda ruled for 9 years, mostly with the help of his wife, Khayr on-Nisa Begum, until replaced by his teenaged energetic son, Shah Abbas the Great. Sultan Khodabanda’s reign was marked by court intrigues and factionalism amongst the powerful Qizilbash tribes that allowed encroachments on Iranian territories, by the Ottomans in the northwest and Caucasus, and by the Uzbeks in Khorasan. He was a poet and wrote under the penname "Fahmi”. He died in Qazvin in 1596, nine years after being deposed.
371 solar years ago, on this day in 1650 AD, French philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, known as "father of modern western philosophy” died at the age of 53. His work "La Geometrie” includes his application of algebra to geometry that led to emergence of Cartesian geometry. During 1620-28, Descartes travelled through Europe, before settling in Holland. Soon after, he began work on his first major treatise on physics. This work was near completion when news reached him that the Italian scientist Galileo was condemned to house arrest by the Christian Church because of divulging scientific facts about the earth and the planets, based on the study of works of the early Islamic scholars. Descartes decided not to publish that work during his lifetime. Later, he turned to philosophy, and his most famous quote is "I think, therefore I am.”
236 solar years ago, on this day in 1785 AD, Ali Murad Khan, the 6th ruler of Iran’s Zand dynasty, after a 4-year tyrannical reign, was defeated and executed, by Ja’far Khan Zand, who thus avenged the murder of his father, Sadeq Khan Zand the 5th ruler. After the death of the founder of the Zand Dynasty, the benevolent Karim Khan, who never took the title of Shah despite restoring stability to Iran following the killing of Nader Shah Afshar, the country again became fragmented. Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar who was a hostage — in order to prevent an outbreak of war between the Qajar tribes in northern Iran and the Zands — escaped and reached Mazandaran. Subsequently he took command of his tribe in Astrabad, and declared independence from the Zand Shah. Karim Khan’s brother Zaki dispatched an army under the command of his nephew, Ali Murad Khan against the Qajar chief, but the latter betrayed Karim Khan’s son and successor, Abul-Fath Khan, and left him defenseless in the capital to die under suspicious circumstances. Ali Murad then captured Isfahan. He levied high taxes on the people, and tortured and slew whoever refused. Finally on March 14, 1781 he captured Shiraz, and slew Karim Khan’s brother Sadeq Khan and sat on the throne, until he was overthrown by the latter’s son Ja’far, who became the next ruler and defeated Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar in several battles. The fratricide amongst the Zands brought about their own downfall and led to establishment of the Qajar dynasty under Agha Mohammad Khan in 1794.
192 solar years ago, on this day in 1829 AD, the Russian ambassador in Tehran, Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov, had to pay with his life and that of several staff members, when angry Iranians stormed the embassy, for his mischievous role in the imposing of the Treaty of Gulistan (1813) and Treaty of Turkmenchay (1828), which forced the Qajar Dynasty to cede Iran’s northern territories comprising Transcaucasia and parts of the North Caucasus, including what is now Armenia, eastern Georgia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Chechnya, and Daghestan. The inefficient Iranian ruler, Fath Ali Shah, instead of supporting the Muslim masses demanding return of Iran’s occupied territories, panicked over the prospects of another war, and in a move to compensate Russia for the attack and the death of its ambassador, sent his grandson Khosrow Mirza to St. Petersburg to the court of Tsar Nicholas I with gift of the priceless Shah Diamond – excavated from the famed mines of Golkandah-Haiderabad in Deccan or southern India.
174 solar years ago, on this day in 1847 AD, US inventor, Thomas Alva Edison was born. He held a world record 1,093 patents (including those held jointly) and created the world’s first industrial research laboratory. He showed an early curiosity for explanations of how everything worked and was especially interested in chemistry. He began selling newspapers on the railroad at age 12, and learned how to operate a telegraph. In 1868, his first invention was an electric vote-recording machine. He invented phonograph in 1877 and the first prototype of a commercially practical incandescent electric light bulb in 1879. Other inventions included storage batteries, a dictaphone and a mimeograph. By the late 1880s he made motion pictures, and by 1912 was experimenting with talking pictures.
140 lunar years ago, on this day in 1302 AH, Iranian theologian and literary figure, Mirza Mohammad Ibn Soleiman Tonekaboni, passed away. He wrote many books, including "Qessas al-Ulema” on the biographies of prominent Islamic scholars, and "al-Fawa’ed fi Usoul ad-Din” – a versified presentation of principles of religion.
115 lunar years ago, on this day in 1327 AH, the 6th Qajarid king of Iran, Mohammad Ali Shah, following the defeat of his army by popular constitutionalist forces, sought asylum in the Russian embassy. On the afternoon of the same day, the constitutionalists held a meeting to formally depose and replace him with his 11-year old son, Ahmad Shah. Over a month-and-a-half earlier on Rabi as-Sani 6, Mohammad Ali Shah was forced by the constitutionalists to revive the Majlis (parliament), which he had dissolved two years earlier, shortly after succeeding his father, Mozaffar od-Din Shah, to the Peacock Throne. A repressive and inefficient ruler, he had previously bombarded the parliament with the help of the British and Russian forces. On being disposed, he fled to Russian-ruled Odessa (in present day Ukraine), from where he plotted his return. Two years later he landed at Astarabad on the Caspian coast of Iran, but his forces were defeated. He again fled to Russia, then to Istanbul and later to San Remo, Italy, where he died on 5th April 1925, the year the 131-year rule of the Qajarid Dynasty ended when the British formally declared their agent, Reza Khan Pahlavi as the new king, while Ahmad Shah was on an almost 2-year long visit, to Europe. Every shah of Iran since Mohammad Ali Shah has died in exile.
92 solar years ago, on this day in 1929 AD, with the signing of the Latran Treaty, Vatican, the seat of the Catholic sect of Christianity, was recognized by Italy as an independent enclave. Following Italy’s unification in 1870 as a country, the government had seized the territories of the Catholic Church, which in the middle ages used to wield extensive powers not just in Italy but in France and other parts of Europe, crowning and dethroning kings. The Popes who had their capital in Rome even declared themselves emperors before the birth of nation states in Europe and the end of their power. Vatican is considered the smallest and least populated country in the world. It covers an area of less than half a square kilometer; and its population stands at around 1,000 people.
44 solar years ago, on this day in 1977 AD, Fakhr od-Din Ali Ahmed, the 5th president of India, died at the age of 72, after three years in office. He was the second Muslim to serve in the country’s topmost post. Born in Delhi to Colonel Zu’n-Nour Ali of Assam, his mother was a daughter of the Nawab of Loharu in Punjab. After higher studies at Cambridge University, he qualified as a barrister from the Inner Temple of London. He returned to India to begin legal practice at the Lahore High Court in 1928. He joined the Congress Party and actively participated in the freedom movement against the British, suffering arrest and imprisonment as a result. After Independence he served as elected representative, both at the state level in Assam and in the national parliament. He joined the cabinet of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as minister holding such portfolios as Food and Agriculture, Cooperation, Education, Industrial Development and Company Laws, before becoming president.
42 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, a day after victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the provisional government appointed by Imam Khomeini (RA) formally started activities, as the people overpowered remnants of the ousted Pahlavi regime to take over key governmental installations. To ensure order in society, the Late Imam issued orders for formation of the Islamic Revolutionary committees in all localities thereby thwarting the plots of anti-revolutionary and foreign-funded elements.
31 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, Leader of the anti-racist struggles of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was released after 22 years in prison. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1963 for his struggles against the White minority Apartheid Regime. Upon release he was accorded a very warm welcome by the black people of South Africa. In 1991, an agreement was reached between Mandela and the minority regime for ending the Apartheid System, and in 1994, after holding of the first multiracial elections Mandela was elected as the first black president of South Africa. Mandela died on 5 December 2013.
19 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, a Russian-manufactured Tupolev Tu-154 passenger plane in the service of Iran Airtour, crashed in the Sefid-Kuh mountain outside Khorramabad in southwestern Iran while descending for a landing at the Airport, resulting in the death of 119 people and crew.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s US-supported tyrannical president, was toppled by the popular uprising after 30 years in power. He had taken over the presidency in October on the revolutionary execution of President Anwar Sadaat by Khalid Islamboli during a parade, for signing of the scandalous Camp David Accord with the illegal Zionist entity. A client of the usurper state of Israel and an enemy of the Muslim people of Egypt, Mubarak ruled by clamping a state of emergency and denying participation to Islamic groups in the state-managed elections. He ruined Egypt’s economy, before finally falling victim to the wave of Islamic Awakening sweeping North Africa that had erupted in Tunisia. Egyptian people made history by assembling in millions in Cairo’s Tahrir Square where the revolutionaries stayed day and night for 18 days despite the threats and attacks of the regime’s forces. On this day, Mubarak yielded to popular demands and ceded power to a council of generals, who a few months later were forced to try him and his corrupt sons in a bid to calm down the Egyptian nation. Unfortunately the military, with the backing of the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, staged a coup in 2013 to seize power from the first-ever popularly elected government of Egypt.