Today is Tuesday; 17th of the Iranian month of Farvardin 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 23rd of the Islamic month of Sha’ban 1442 lunar hijri; and April 6, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1429 lunar years ago, on this day in 13 AH, in Harb al-Jisr or Battle of the Bridge fought in Iraq, the Sasanian forces led by Bahman Jaduyeh defeated the Arabs under the command of Abu Ubayd in the only major Persian victory over Muslims. The Arab Muslims had already taken Hira on the banks of the River Euphrates after defeating the Christian Arab allies of the Sassanids. Abu Ubaid encountered the main Iranian army near what is now Kufa. The two forces faced each other on opposing banks of the River Euphrates, connected by a bridge or "jisr” in Arabic. When Abu Ubaid crossed the river, the sight of elephants in the Iranian army frightened the Arab horses. An elephant tore Abu Ubaid from his horse with its trunk and trampled him under foot. At their inability to push back the Iranians who had formed a rigged line close to the bridge, the Arabs panicked and fled. This was, however, a temporary setback. In the subsequent battles the Sassanids were defeated, and the Iranian people accepted Islam almost en masse.
1138 lunar years ago, on this day in 304 AH, Seyyed Hassan al-Utrush, known as "Nasser li’l-Haq” (Defender of Faith) passed away at the age of 75, after an eventful life and a 3-year reign as reviver of the Alawid state of Tabaristan in what is now the Caspian Sea Provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan in northern Iran. His shrine in the city of Amol is still a site of pilgrimage. Born in Medina, he was fifth in line of descent from Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the great-grandson and 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). His mother was an Iranian lady from Khorasan. When Hasan ibn Zayd, a descendant of the Prophet’s elder grandson, Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS), was invited by the people of the Caspian coast of Iran to set up his rule over Tabaristan, Hassan al-Utrush joined him, but after falling out with his successor, Mohammad ibn Zayd, he left for the east where he allied himself with the ruler of Khorasan, Mohammad ibn Abdullah al-Khujistani, who imprisoned and scourged him, as a result of which he lost his hearing and received the sobriquet "al-Utrush” or "the Deaf”. On release from prison, he returned to Tabaristan, but had to flee to Rayy when Mohammad ibn Zayd lost the battle and his life near Gorgan against the Samanids of Bukhara, who ended the Alawid state and occupied the region for fourteen years. Hassan al-Utrush now engaged in Islamic missionary activities and his efforts led to the people of Gilan and the Daylamites to become Muslims. His efforts were crowned by success, as the mountain Daylamites and the Gilites east of the Sefid Roud River hailed him as their Leader. The Samanid ruler Ahmad ibn Isma’il sent an army to oppose the revival of the Alawid state of Tabaristan, but al-Utrush inflicted a crushing defeat upon the invaders at Burdidah on the River Burroud, west of Chalous. He made Amol his capital and extended his sway till Gorgan. The famous Iranian Islamic historian Abu Ja’far Tabari, has said about him: "The people had not seen anything like the justice of al-Utrush, his good conduct, and his fulfillment of the right”. Hassan al-Utrush wrote an exegesis of the holy Qur’an titled "Tafsir al-Kabir”, and his granddaughter Fatema, who was married to Seyyed Hussain ibn Musa – fifth in line of descent from the Prophet’s 7th Infallible Heir Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) – was the mother of the celebrated scholars, Seyyed Murtaza Alam al-Huda and Seyyed Razi, the compiler of "Nahj al-Balagha” – the famous collection of the sermons, letters, and maxims of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS).
950 lunar years ago, on this day in 492 AH, the Islamic city of Bayt al-Moqaddas was captured by European Crusaders from the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’a Muslim Dynasty of Egypt-Syria-Hijaz-North Africa, after a siege of over 40 days. The invaders savagely massacred men, women and children, numbering more than 70,000 people, including Iranian Muslims settled there.
771 solar years ago, on this day in 1250 AD, Egypt defeated the 7th Crusade of European powers and captured King Louis IX of France in the Battle of Fareskur. The Christian invaders suffered a resounding defeat as thirty thousand French and other European soldiers fell on the battlefield while thousands of others were taken prisoner, along with King Louis IX who was captured in the nearby village of Moniat Abdullah (now Meniat an-Nasr), while trying to escape. He, along with his brothers Charles d’Anjou and Alphonse de Poitiers as well as some French nobles, was chained and confined in the house of Ibrahim Ibn Loqman, under care of the eunuch, Sobih. Louis was ransomed for 400,000 dinars, after pledging not to return to Egypt, and left with his brothers and 12,000 war prisoners whom the Egyptians released. The Battle became a source of inspiration for Muslim writers and poets. One poem ended with the verses: "If they (the Franks) decide to return to take revenge or to commit a wicked deed, tell them: The house of Ibn Loqman is intact, the chains still there as well as the eunuch Sobih”.
709 lunar years ago, on this day in 733 AH, hadith scholar Sharaf od-Din Hussain ibn Abdullah Tayyebi, passed away. He wrote an exegesis of the Holy Qur’an
701 solar years ago, on this day in 1320 AD, Scotland announced its independence in the Declaration of Arbroath. The letter to the Pope read: "As long as only one hundred of us remain alive we will never on any conditions be brought under English rule.”
625 lunar years ago, on this day in 817 AH, prominent Persian poet and literary figure, Noor od-Din Abdur-Rahman Jami was born in Jam, in Khorasan, northeastern Iran. He went to Samarqand to learn Islamic sciences, literature and history, and visited several other lands, before settling in Herat. He has left behind a large number of works in prose and verse, including "Baharestan”. Jami, who passed away at the age of 81, also composed beautiful odes in praise of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA)
568 solar years ago, on this day in 1453 AD Ottoman Sultan Mohammad II began his siege of Constantinople, capital of Byzantine, which fell on May 29 to the Muslims and was renamed Islambol. It is known as Istanbul today and is Turkey’s largest city.
514 lunar years ago, on this day in 928 AD, Shah Beg Arghun, who established his rule over Sindh by defeating Jam Firuz of the Samma dynasty, died after invading Gujarat. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Shah Hussain. A Persianized Mongol, Shah Beg initially ruled Qandahar as a vassal of the Timurid rulers of Herat, but with the rise of another Timurid prince, Zaheer od-Din Babar in Kabul, he realized the futility of ruling Qandahar and decided to carve out a separate state by seizing Sindh.
501 solar years ago, on this day in 1520 AD, Italian painter, Raphael Sanzio, who painted the "The Sistine Madonna” in the Vatican, died on his 37th birthday. His works include "The Veiled Lady” and a set of cartoons that were woven into 10 tapestries as "Acts of the Apostles”.
441 solar years ago, on this day in 1580 AD, Portugal was annexed by its Iberian rival Spain, mainly because of Portuguese colonial gains in South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Most of Portugal’s colonies were seized by Spain and its subsidiary, Holland. In 1640 the Portuguese people drove out the Spanish to regain independence. For several centuries both Spain and Portugal formed part of the Islamic world, until their seizure by European Christians, who converted mosques into churches, and forced almost entire populations to become Christians, leave the country, or be killed.
309 solar years ago, on this day in 1712 AD, the Slave Revolt began in New York near Broadway, when black people from Africa forced into slavery in North America, rose against the oppression by the whites. The uprising was brutally crushed. Over a hundred black persons were captured, jailed and tortured, while 21 were executed.
135 solar years ago, on this day in 1886 AD, Osman Ali Khan, Asef Jah VII, the Last Muslim ruler of the Deccan in southern India was born in Hyderabad. He became king in 1911 and transformed the realm into a centre of learning. He ruled for 37 years, until his surrender to the Indian forces in September 1948 following a three-pronged attack to end the last independent Muslim state in India. A patron of learning, beside building libraries, hospitals, universities, and religious centres, he was an accomplished poet in Persian, Urdu, and Turkish. He died in 1967.
127 lunar years ago, on this day in 1315 AH, the Arabic poet, Seyyed Ja’far al-Hilli, passed away at the age of 39. He wrote moving elegies on the tragedy of Karbala.
125 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, in Athens, the first modern Olympic Games were inaugurated 1,503 years after the ancient pagan Greek games were banned in 393 AD, by Roman Emperor Theodosius I, who earlier in 380, along with co-emperors Gratian and Valentinian II, had issued the Edict of Thessalonica, forcing all Roman citizens to convert to the Trinitarian form of Christianity, or else be branded as heretics, subject to punishment. This weird concept of ‘godfather’, ‘godson’ and the ‘holy ghost’ – an invention of Paul the Hellenized Jew who was a staunch opponent of Prophet Jesus (AS) during his mission on earth and after him feigned to be his follower – was designed to suit the polytheist beliefs of European pagans, in opposition to the monotheist message of the Virgin-born Messiah.
108 lunar years ago, on this day in 1334 AH, the jurist and pious scholar, Shaikh Baqer ibn Mullah Mohammad Qomi, passed away. He was in Samarra for a long time and then returned to holy Najaf where he used to lead the congregational prayers.
104 solar years ago, on this day in 1917 AD, the US Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany and entered World War I on the Allied side.
91 solar years ago, on this day in 1930 AD, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India’s independent struggle, raised a lump of mud and salt in Gujarat, in protest to the British ban on Indians producing salt, and declared, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.” He said he adopted his non-violent struggle by studying the life of Imam Husain (AS), the Martyr of Karbala and the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
76 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD during World War 2, the attack of Japanese suicide pilots, known as Kamikazes, began on US warships, following Japan’s retreat from southeast Asia. Although the Japanese warplanes inflicted heavy damages on American warships, the US forced Japan into surrendering by criminally dropping atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, resulting in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
27 solar years ago, on this day in 1994 AD, the Rwandan Genocide began when an aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down. The gory battle between the two major tribes of Hutu and Tutsi led to the massacre of more than 800,000 people in three months, while more than two million people became homeless. The dispute was fanned by West European powers.
21 solar years ago, on this day in 2000 AD, Tunisian politician Habib Bourqiba, who in 1957 a year after the country’s independence from France overthrew the Hussainid monarchy to become president, and ruled with an iron fist for the next three decades, died under house arrest, 13 years after his overthrow by his own protégé, Zain al-Abedin bin Ali. Though born in a Muslim family he was anti-Islamic.
16 solar years ago, on this day in 2005 AD, in India police beat up hundreds of people protesting against the razing of their homes in the country’s financial hub, Bombay. Authorities flattened an estimated 90,000 shanties in the city early in January. The slum clearance drive has left more than 300,000 people homeless.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, noted Pakistani scholar of Urdu, Persian, Sindhi and Arabic, Nabi Baksh Khan Baloch, passed away at the age of 94. He wrote many books on Sindh’s History and 42 volumes on Sindhi Folklore. In addition, he compiled a 5-volume Sindhi dictionary. He wrote books in Sindhi, Urdu, English and Persian. These include the editing of the ancient text of "Chach-Namah” and its translation into English, "Baqiyaat az Kalhora” in Persian, "Beglar-Namah” of the Persian poet Idraaki Beglari, and "Takmilat-ut-Takmilah”, which is an addendum to the Persian books of Qania’s "Maqalat -ush-Shu’ara” and Mohammad Ibrahim Khalil’s "Takmila”.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, thousands of protesters in the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain demanded release of ailing human rights activist, Abdul-Hadi al-Khwajah, but the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime, used force to crush them.