Today is Saturday; 18th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1397 solar hijri; corresponding to 2nd of the Islamic month of Rajab 1440 lunar hijri; and March 9, 2019, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1219 lunar years ago, on this day in 221 AH, the renowned Arabic poet, Ali ibn Abbas ibn ar-Rumi, was born in Baghdad. The son of an Iranian Muslim mother and a half Greek Muslim father, named Abbas ibn Jurayj, by the age of twenty he was an accomplished poet. His patrons included the Taherid ruler of Khorasan, Obaydallah ibn Abdullah, and the Persian Ismail ibn Bulbul. He was a follower of the School of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He composed numerous poems in praise of Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) – the Prophet’s 10th and 11th Infallible Heirs. He died of illness at the age of 59, although some have suggested he was poisoned. His Diwan is a masterpiece of Arabic poetry.
1133 solar years ago, on this day in 886 AD, Iranian Islamic astronomer, Abu-Ma'shar Ja'far ibn Mohammad al-Balkhi, passed away in al-Waset, Iraq, at the age of almost a hundred years. Born in the Khorasani city of Balkh (presently in Afghanistan) he spent most of his life in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. He used ancient sources written in Pahlavi, Arabic, Sanskrit, Syriac, and Greek. He believed that all sciences have a divine origin, and the signs of God’s revelation are observed in every science. He has left behind a large number of books; the most important of which include "al-Mudkhal al-Kabir”. Known to Europe by his Latinized name "Albumasar”, he wrote several manuals on astrology that profoundly influenced Muslim intellectual history and, through Latin translations, that of Europe. Some of his works that were used by Roger Bacon and others are: "Kitab ad‐Dalalaat ala'l‐Ittesalaat wa‐Qiranaat al‐Kawakeb" (Book of Indications of the Planetary Conjunctions), and "Kitab al‐Milal wa'l-Duwal" (Book on Nations and Dynasties).
1072 lunar years ago, on this day in 368 AH, the Iranian Arabic philologist, Hassan ibn Abdullah Sirafi, passed away in Baghdad. He was among the childhood teachers of Seyyed Radhi, the famous scholar and compiler of the "Nahj al-Balagha” – the collection of sermons, letters and maxims of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). Once the child Radhi had a lively discussion with him on the wrong track the caliphate took after Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
1000 lunar years ago, on this day in 440 AH, the prominent Iranian Islamic scientist, Abu Rayhan Mohammad ibn Ahmad al-Berouni, passed away in the city of Ghazni, in present day Afghanistan at the age of 77. He was a multisided genius and wrote prolifically on history, geography, mathematics, astronomy, mineralogy, and various other topics. He wrote over 180 books. His work on geometry, arithmetic, trigonometry, and algebra, is titled "at-Tafhim" in which he has calculated the weight of objects. Born in Khwarezm, a region adjoining the Aral Sea and presently in Uzbekistan, Beiruni, who was a follower of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), has written about the spherical shape of the Earth and its revolving on its axis as it orbits around the Sun, several centuries before Europeans were to discover these facts. He was conversant in Arabic, Persian, Greek and Sanskrit, and after visiting India and spending several months in the company of its sages, he wrote the valuable book, "Tahqiq ma lil-Hind”. Among his works, mention could be made of "Kitab Sina‘at at-Tanjim” (The Book of the Elements of the Art of Astronomy), and "Aasaar al-Baqiyah an-il-Qoroun al-Khaliya” (The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries), which is a comparative study of calendars of different cultures and civilizations, interlaced with mathematical, astronomical, and historical information. He also wrote the "Qanoun al-Mas'oudi”, an extensive encyclopedia on astronomy, geography, and engineering.
565 solar years ago, on this day in 1454 AD, Italian astronomer, navigator and cartographer, Amerigo Vespucci, whose name the Europeans gave to the new landmass discovered by Christopher Columbus as "America”, was born in Florence. He served the Portuguese and then the Spanish. He demonstrated that Brazil and the so-called West Indies did not represent Asia's eastern outskirts as conjectured, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass unknown to Europeans – although the Muslims had known this great landmass and travelled it. He is reportedly the first recorded European who landed on what came to be called America.
520 lunar years ago, on this day in 920 AH, the Battle of Chaldiran took place between the Ottoman and the Safavid Empires, in which Sultan Selim who was on the verge of defeat and contemplating flight, unexpectedly found victory as Shah Ismail’s forces suddenly gave way after brave resistance. The Turks, who were afraid of the growing influence of the Iranians in Anatolia and Syria, succeeded in checking Shah Ismail’s advance in what is now Turkey, but withdrew from Tabriz and retreated on hearing news of reorganization of the famous Qizilbash Corps by the Iranians. This was the first of the many battles between the two sides that continued intermittently for almost two-and-a-half centuries.
296 lunar years ago, on this day in 1144 AH, a treaty was signed after wars between the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, according to which the Turks withdrew from the western border areas of Iran and the Iranians regained sovereignty over Azerbaijan and parts of the Caucasus
162 solar years ago, on this day in 1847 AD, as part of its expansionist policies, the US launched a large-scale amphibious assault on Mexico and besieged the port city of Veracruz. The 20-day siege ended with the surrender of the city. What are now the southern and southwestern states of the US are occupied Mexican lands.
122 solar years ago, on this day in 1897 AD, pan-Islamist thinker and pioneer of the anti-colonial struggles of Muslim lands, Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi, attained martyrdom in Istanbul at the age of 59 on being poisoned on orders of the Ottoman Sultan, Abdul-Hamid II. Born in Asadabad near Hamedan in west Iran, he honed his skills in religion, philosophy, astronomy, and history. He was well-versed in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, English, French, and Russian. He strove for Islamic solidarity and was a staunch opponent of colonialists in Islamic lands. At the age of 17, he started his travels, first studying theology in Iraq, and then visiting India at a crucial period in its history, a year after the British overthrew Wajed Ali Shah of the Naishapuri kingdom of Iranian origin of Awadh, and then in 1857 brutally crushed the uprising by massacring Muslims and exiling to Burma the last king of the Timurid Moghal dynasty, Bahador Shah Zafar. The young Jamal od-Din was profoundly affected by events and lived for several years in the Muslim state of Haiderabad-Deccan under patronage of its prime minister, Salaar Jung Mokhtar ol-Mulk. Here he countered through pamphlets and treatises the "naturist” views of the pro-British Sir Seyyed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Anglo-Mohammadan College that later became Aligarh Muslim University. These were later published in book form for the first time in Haiderabad in 1881 under the title "Haqiqat-e Madhhab-e Naychari wa Bayan-e Hal-e Naychariyan” (Truth about the Neichari Sect and an Explanation of the Necharis). After a brief detention in Calcutta, he had to leave India under pressure from the British, and after performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, he returned to Iran. A few years later in 1866 he left for Afghanistan to serve as advisor to Amir Dost Mohammad Khan. On being expelled from Kabul by the next ruler, Sher Ali Khan, he went to Egypt in 1871, where until his expulsion in 1879, he won several admirers and students – such as Shaikh Mohammad Abduh, who wrote a commentary on the Nahj al-Balagha (Collection of Imam Ali’s [AS] sermons, letters and maxims). Forced to leave Egypt, he went to Istanbul, from where he travelled around Europe, visiting Paris, London, Munich, Moscow and St. Petersburg. From France in 1884, he published the daily "al-Orwat al-Wosqa” and from Britain "Zia al-Khafeqin” to awaken the Muslims. He was invited back to Iran by Nasser od-Din Shah Qajar to serve as political advisor, but soon fell out with the autocratic king and took refuge in the holy shrine of Seyyed Abdul-Azim al-Hassani, before being expelled seven months later in 1891 to Iraq. He informed the marja’ of the times, Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi of the ruin brought on Iranian economy by the granting of the tobacco concession to the British. The Ayatollah’s fatwa against tobacco consumption saved Iran. In 1892, he was invited to Istanbul by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul-Hamid. Here he was visited by several of his disciples including Mirza Reza Kirmani, who in 1896 assassinated Nasser od-Din Shah. Jamal od-Din Asadabadi eventually fell out with the Ottoman Sultan and was poisoned to death. His reformist and pan-Islamist ideas were opposed by colonial powers and the repressive Muslim regimes. Among his works is "ar-Radd ala ad-Dahriyyiin” (Refutation of the Materialists), in answer to Darwin's absurd theory of evolution titled "On the Origin of Species”. Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi, who at times called himself ‘Afghani’ in order to conceal his Iranian and Shi’a Muslim identity, profoundly impacted many thinkers of his age and the next generations. Among these were the Persian-Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal Lahori, Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Founder of Pakistan), and Indian Muslim educationist, Abu’l Kalaam Azad. In Egypt, he deeply impacted Mohammad Abduh, Rashid Redha, Ali Abdur-Razeq, Qasim Amin, Lutfi as-Sayyid and Osman Amin, while in Turkey: Namik Kemal, Said Nursi and Mohammad Akef Ersoy. The Constitutional Movement that triumphed in Iran in 1905 was also influenced by him.
85 solar years ago, on this day in 1934 AD, Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who became the first recorded human being to travel into outer space, was born in the Soviet Union. He performed the first manned orbital flight in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1). In 1968, he was killed in an air accident.
74 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, Bombing of Tokyo by the United States Army Air Forces began, one of the most destructive bombing raids in history. A total of 334 US B-29 Super-Fortresses attacked Tokyo with 120,000 fire bombs, devastating the city and killing over a hundred thousand men, women, and children.
51 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, the Moro National Liberation Front started its armed struggles against the despotic regime of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines – a US stooge who killed thousands of Muslim Filipinos. After the dismissal of Marcos in 1986, and following negotiations with the government, a ceasefire was agreed and a peace treaty signed, but not fully implemented. Finally, in 1996, a new agreement was inked between Moro National Liberation Front and the government, according to which the Muslims in Mindanao region attained autonomy.
27 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, Menachem Begin, one of the founders of the illegal Zionist (Israel), died at the age of 79. He was from Belarus and had no connection to Palestine or to the ancient Israelites. He illegally entered British-ruled Palestine and set up the terrorist outfit Irgun. He played a leading role in the massacre of innocent Muslim men, women and children, and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of others in 1948, at the illegal birth of Israel. He was so ruthless and bloodthirsty that even his own colleague, David Ben-Gurion, used to call him a second Hitler. After holding ministerial posts in several Zionist cabinets, he was appointed as premier in 1977. Following the cold-blooded slaughter of over 5,000 Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila Camps of Lebanon in 1982 by his henchman, Ariel Sharon, he was forced to step down from his post, before melancholia and death overtook him.
8 solar year ago, on this day in 2011 AD, the Iranian bibliographer and Iranologist, Dr. Iraj Afshar, passed away at the age of 86. Born in the central city of Yazd, he studied law at Tehran University. His PhD thesis was on "Minorities in Iran”. In 1952, he launched the cultural magazine "Farhang-e Iran Zamin”. In addition to lecturing, he carried out extensive research on Iranology and bibliography, as is evident by his writing of at least 2000 articles. He also published 300 books on Iran’s culture, history, and literature.
7 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, Simin Daneshvar, the wife of the famous Iranian writer, Jalal Aal-e Ahmad, died at the age of 91 years in Tehran. She was an academic, novelist, fiction writer and translator, largely regarded as the first major Iranian woman novelist. In 1948, her collection of Persian short stories was the first by an Iranian woman to be published. "Daneshvar's Playhouse”, a collection of five stories and two autobiographical pieces, is the first volume of translated stories by an Iranian woman author. Her husband Jalal Aal-e Ahmad had a profound influence on her writing, and she wrote the book "The Dawn of Jalal" in memory of her husband, the author of the famous book "Gharbzadegi” (Westoxication). Daneshvar was also a very good translator, and of her translations mention could be made of "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov and "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
7 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, tens of thousands of Bahraini people flooded a major highway in one of the largest protest rallies against the repressive British-American backed Aal-e Khalifa minority regime, which mercilessly attacked the peaceful demonstrators with tear gas and fire arms. The popular uprising in the Persian Gulf island state has continued despite the imprisoning, torture, and murder of innocent men, women, and children, in addition to desecration of mosques, Hussainiyahs and even copies of the holy Qur’an by the regime forces, in collaboration with the Saudi occupation forces.
(Courtesy: IRIB English Radio – http://parstoday.com/en)