Today is Wednesday; 3rd of the Iranian month of Dey 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 8th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and December 23, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1760 solar years ago, on this day in 240 AD, Queen Zenobia, who built a short-lived empire encompassing Syria, Egypt and most of Anatolia (modern Turkey) was born to a local Amalekite chieftain in the rich and flourishing oasis city of Tadmor (Palmyra of the Romans) in the Syrian Desert, located along the caravan routes linking Persia with the Mediterranean ports of Syria and Phoenicia. On marrying Septimius Odaenathus, the Rome-appointed Amalekite ruler of the kingdom of Palmyra, she became known as "Septimia Zenobia”, although she used the Aramaic form "Bat-Zabbai” to sign her name. Some attribute her lineal descent to the Greek Seleucid line of the Ptolemies, while others claim she was an Israelite. The early Iranian Muslim historian Abu Ja’far Tabari, who wrote in Arabic, says her original name was Zaynab, and her father was Amr ibn az-Zarib. On her husband’s death in 267, she took power as regent for her young son, and threw off the Roman yoke by conquering all of Syria, Egypt and parts of Anatolia. She had the stated goal of protecting the Roman Empire from Sassanid Iran. Known for her military prowess as well as her beauty and chastity, she refused to surrender to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius despite her defeat in 273 in Emessa, and with the help of the Iranians, she and her son escaped by camel, but were captured on the Euphrates River by Roman horsemen. Marcus took her as captive to Rome, paraded her in chains in his triumph, and is said to have executed her in 275.
1056 solar years ago, on this day in 962 AD, Byzantine troops, led by the future emperor, Nicephorus Phocas, stormed the city of Aleppo in Syria, which was the capital of the Hamdanid Shi’ite Muslim Dynasty, and carried off 10,000 Muslims as prisoners. Soon Emir Sayf od-Dowla recovered and refortified Aleppo and counterattacked the Byzantines by raiding deep into Asia Minor. The Byzantine-Hamdanid Wars were part of the Christian-Muslim conflict for supremacy in northern Syria and Asia Minor (present day Turkey) and were continuation of the Greek-Achaemenid, Roman-Parthian, and Roman-Sassanid Wars of the past millennium-and-a-half for control of the region. They continued in the subsequent centuries in the form of Byzantine-Turkic wars, starting with the rise of the Iran-based Seljuqs and culminating in 1453 with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans.
243 solar years ago, on this day in 1777 AD, Alexander I of Russia was born in Saint Petersburg to Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, later Emperor Paul. He is said to have been involved in the murder of his father, whom he succeeded as Emperor of Russia in March 1801 and ruled till his death in 1825.
230 solar years ago, on this day in 1790 AD, French Orientalist, Jean-François Champollion, was born.
186 solar years ago, on this day in 1834 AD, Thomas Robert Malthus, English economist and demographer, died at the age of 68.
181 lunar years ago, on this day in 1261 AH, the prominent religious scholar of Isfahan, Ayatollah Mohammad Ibrahim bin Mohammad Hassan Khorasani, popularly known as "Haji Karbasi”, passed away in his hometown Isfahan at the age of 81. He completed his higher studies at the Najaf Seminary in Iraq, and on returning to Iran, lived a life of piety. He wrote numerous valuable works including "al-Hidaya wa Minhaj al-Hidaya”.
129 lunar years ago, on this day in 1313 AH, the scholar, Mirza Mohammad Baqer Zain al-Abedin Khwansari, passed away in Isfahan. An expert in hadith and biographies of ulema and scholars, he served as head of the Isfahan Seminary, and wrote many books, including the 8-volume biographical work "Rowzaat al-Jannaat”.
119 lunar years ago, on this day in 1323 AH, Egyptian revolutionary scholar, Shaikh Mohammad Abduh, passed away in Alexandria. A product of Cairo’s famous al-Azhar Academy, he attended the classes of Iran’s pan-Islamist activist, Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi in Cairo, benefiting from his thoughts and ideas. After Asadabadi’s departure from Egypt, Abduh took over the movement against British colonialist influence in Egypt, for which he was exiled to Syria, from where after a six-year stay, he went to Paris and joined Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi in publication of the newspaper, "al-Orwat al-Wosqa” or the Firmest Bond. Upon return to Egypt, he served as judge. Like Asadabadi, he called for the unity of the World of Islam and Islamic denominations. He urged Muslims must close ranks against disbelievers and colonialists. He made great efforts to preach harmony between Sunnis and Shi’ite Muslims, and was highly influenced by "Nahj al-Balagha” the compilation of the sermons, letters and maxims of Imam Ali (AS), the 1st Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Abduh also wrote exegeses on the holy Qur’an and was introduced to the "Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya”, the eloquent collection of supplications from the Prophet’s 4th Infallible Heir, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS).
71 solar years ago, on this day in 1948 AD, as per the verdict of an International Tribunal in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, seven senior officials of Japan’s imperial government, including former premier, Hideki Tojo, were executed for war crimes committed during World War II. The court was held simultaneous with the Nuremberg Tribunal in Germany for prosecution of Nazi war criminals. It tried 25 Japanese officials and sentenced 18 of them to prison terms.
67 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Lavrenity Pavlovich Beria, Head of the Soviet Union’s dreaded security apparatus and the No.2 man during Joseph Stalin’s rule, was tried and executed on charges of deviation from the principles of the communist party, and for conspiracy against the Soviet system. Upon Beria’s order many people were killed, and gory purges took place within the communist party and the Red Army, as a result of which, an atmosphere of fear dominated the Soviet Union. Following Stalin’s death in March 1953, the new leaders executed Beria.
50 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, the construction of the World Trade Center in New York City reached 1353 feet high (411 meter), its highest point. This was a complex of 7 buildings including the twin 110-storey towers, having 9 million sq. feet of office space. The towers’ design by architect Minoru Yamasaki used a steel frame with glass curtain walls. Observation decks at the top of the towers gave a view of 45 miles. The building had three vertical zones served by express elevators to skylobbies at the 41st and 74th floors and local elevators within the three zones. Once the highest skyscrapers in the world (until surpassed by the Sears Tower, Chicago), the twin towers were totally destroyed by fire on 11 September 2001 by remote-controlled unmanned planes in a conspiracy hatched by the FBI and the Zionist spying agency Mossad, in order to lay the blame on Muslims for a pretext to attack and occupy Afghanistan.
48 solar years ago, on this day in 1972 AD, a destructive quake jolted Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, claiming almost 10,000 lives, while 15,000 others sustained injuries. Half of Managua’s residents were made homeless, and huge damage inflicted on the city and its environs.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD new evidence came to light of the genocide carried by France in Algeria where fifteen percent of the Muslim population was massacred by the colonialists, and beginning in 1945 many Algerians were burned in oven. With the weakening of Ottoman power, France invaded and occupied Algeria in the 1830s after crushing the heroic resistance of Amir Seyyed Abdul-Qader al-Hassani al-Jazayeri. After a hard fought war of independence lasting from 1954 to 1962, during which 1.5 million more Algerians were killed by the French, the country became free.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime of the Persian Gulf island state of Bahrain, banned the weekly peaceful protest by the people in Manama, after attacking with bullets and teargas the headquarters of al-Wefaq, the main opposition party. The vast majority of the Bahraini people are deprived of their birthrights, and this year the tyrannical regime desecrated mosques and hussainiyahs.