Today is Wednesday; 5th of the Iranian month of Shahrivar 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 6th of the Islamic month of Muharram 1441 lunar hijri; and August 26, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2052 lunar years ago, on this day, Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist) was martyred by the Jewish king, Herod, when an adulteress after an enticing dance before him, asked for the head of the Prophet, who was tragically beheaded. Prophet Yahya has been mentioned several times in the holy Qur’an. In ayah 12 of Surah Maryam, God Almighty says: "O Yahya! Hold on with power to the Book! And We gave him judgement while still a child.” According to hadith Yahya, whose birth to the aged Prophet Zakariyya and his equally old wife, was a miracle, was a mere 3-year old boy when God the All-Wise granted him the scripture and the sense of judgement.
1381 lunar years ago, on this day in 61 AH, Habib ibn Mazaher al-Assadi, a loyal companion of Imam Husain (AS), with the permission of the Imam who was surrounded by the Yazidi forces in Karbala, rode out under cover of darkness towards the tribal areas of his clansmen, the Bani Assad, to urge them to rally to the aid of the besieged grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Some 90 tribesmen answered his call and rode towards Karbala, but the commander of the Omayyad forces, Omar ibn Sa’d, on being informed of the situation, dispatched a 400-strong force under Azraq ash-Shami to block their entry. After a brief skirmish, seeing the odds were heavily against them, the Bani Assad tribesmen dispersed while Habib returned to Imam Husain (AS), who was the least perturbed and said there is no Power except that of God and we are content with the Will of the Almighty Creator. The 75-year old Habib, who had the honour of the company of Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali, Imam Hasan, and Imam Husain (peace upon them), attained martyrdom on the Day of Ashura, fighting the Omayyad hordes to the last drop of his blood in defence of Islam, justice and all other virtues.
1381 lunar years ago, on this day in 61 AH, Imam Husain (AS) wrote a letter to his brother Mohammad al-Hanafiyya, and followers of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt in Medina, emphasizing: "Indeed, anyone joining me (in Karbala) will attain martyrdom, while anyone who does not join me will not attain victory.” The letter has several messages. Firstly, it shows Imam Husain (AS) was aware of his impending martyred, along with his loyal companions in his epic stand against the tyrannical rule of Yazid. Secondly, after explicitly spelling out the fate of anyone standing firm beside him, he meant to say that all those desiring any other objective in siding with him, should leave – as is clear by his emphasis on several occasions that he was waiving aside the pledge of allegiance to him by his companions so that everyone was free to leave him without any hesitation. Thirdly, there is no victory for his killers even if they celebrate his death and the imprisoning of the children and womenfolk of the Prophet’s Household with festivities, as would soon be evident by the ignominious end of the perpetrators of the Tragedy of Karbala – battlefield commanders such as Omar ibn Sa’d, Shimr, etc; Obaidullah ibn Ziyad the cruel governor of Iraq in Kufa, and Yazid the Omayyud ryph in Damascus. Fourthly, his message may also refer to the numerous uprisings launched by followers of the Ahl al-Bayt to avenge the innocent blood of the martyrs of Karbala with varying degrees of success, but never fully victorious by the sword alone.
1036 lunar years ago, on this day in 406 AH, the famous Islamic scholar Seyyed Mohammad Ibn Hussain al-Musawi al-Baghdadi, better known as Sharif Razi, passed away at the age of 47. He wrote several books on a wide variety of topics such as exegesis of the holy Qur’an, theology, history, Arabic literature, and hadith. His fame, however, rests on his compilation of the book "Nahj al-Balaghah” (Highway of Eloquence), which contains the sermons, letters, and maxims of the Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet’s First Infallible Successor, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). The book is testimony to the Imam’s unparalleled eloquence which is considered, even by non-Muslim Arabic scholars, to be next only to God’s Revealed Word, the holy Qur’an. His other works include: "Haqa’eq at-Tanzeel”, and "Mu’jazaat al-Qur’an”.
949 solar years ago, on this day in 1071 AD, the crucial Battle of Manzikert took place in Asia Minor in which the Seljuq Turks led by Sultan Alp Arsalan decisively defeated the Byzantine Army at Manzikert (modern Malazgirt in Turkey), and captured Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes.
717 solar years ago, on this day in 1303 AD, Sultan Ala od-Din Khilji of the Delhi Sultanate captured the strategic and heavily fortified city of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, thereby breaking the power of the Rajputs and consolidating Muslim rule in the Subcontinent. He subsequently enlarged his empire by conquering most of the Deccan or southern India which had so far not been subjugated by the Persianized Turkic Muslims. It is interesting to note that till this day the Hindus in their local languages in south India use the word "Turka” for all Muslims.
674 solar years ago, on this day in 1346 AD, Edward III of England defeated Philip VI’s army at the Battle of Crecy in France. The longbow proved instrumental in the victory as French knights on horseback outnumbered the British 3 to 1.
532 solar years ago, on this day in 1488 AD, the Battle of Aghajariyi near Adana in what is now south-central Turkey ended with the victory of the Mamluk dynasty of Egypt-Syria over the Ottomans.
277 solar years ago, on this day in 1743 AD, the French chemist, Antoine Laurent Lavoisiere, was born in Paris. He discovered the components of water which were oxygen and hydrogen and the role played by oxygen in combustions. He was executed on the charge of opposing the French Revolution.
231 solar years ago, on this day in 1789 AD, the valiant Iranian crown prince, Abbas Mirza, was born to King Fath Ali Shah, the second ruler of the Qajarid dynasty.
137 solar years ago, on this day in 1883 AD, the eruption of Krakatoa Volcano in the Indonesian island of the same name, began its final, paroxysmal stage and culminated with several destructive eruptions of the remaining caldera. The next day, two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago.
90 solar years ago, on this day in 1930 – Iran’s famous wrestling champion, Gholam-Reza Takhti, was born in a middle class family in Tehran. His popularity among people and his opposition to the Shah’s despotic policies led agents of the Pahlavi regime to murder him at the age of 38.
30 solar years ago, on this day in 1990 AD, prominent Iranian calligrapher, Ali Akbar Kaveh, passed away at the age of 98. Born in Shiraz, he was a student of renowned masters such as Mirza Taher Kateb and Homayoun Hamedani. He was a member of Tehran’s Iran Calligraphy Association.
16 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, a mortar barrage fired by terrorists desecrated the sanctity of Kufa’s Grand Mosque filled with Iraqi worshippers, resulting in the martyrdom of at least 27 people and wounding of 63 others.
11 solar years ago, on this day in 2009 AD, prominent Iraqi religious scholar and political leader, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, passed away due to lung cancer in Tehran at the age of 59. A son of Late Grand Ayatollah, Seyyed Mohsin al-Hakim, on the martyrdom of his elder brother, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, six years earlier in 2003, he became head of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq. He channeled rising Shi’a Muslim power after the fall of Saddam the tyrannical ruler of the Ba’th minority regime. In turn, Seyyed Abdul-Aziz was succeeded by his son, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ammar al-Hakim.
8 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran opened in Tehran the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), attended by heads of state, foreign ministers and senior delegates of 120 member countries and 17 nations with observer status. This was a slap at the US and a handful West European states that dominate the UN and manipulate the Security Council to dictate terms to the free world, and illegally impose sanctions on independent countries, such as Iran.
5th Shahrivar of the Iranian Calendar: is commemorated every year in the Islamic Republic as "Zakariya Raazi Day” and consequently "Pharmacology Day” in honour of this great Iranian-Islamic physician Mohammad ibn Zakariya Raazi who was born in 854 and passed away in 925 at the age of 71 in his hometown Rayy. Known as "Rhazes” to medieval Europe, he made fundamental and enduring contributions to various fields of medicine and related sciences, which he recorded in over 200 books and treatises.