Today is Friday; 6th of the Iranian month of Dey 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 11th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1442 lunar hijri; and December 26, 2020, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1060 lunar years ago, on this day in 382 AH, the Mu’tazalite theologian, Ali ibn Eisa ar-Rummani, passed away. Among his important works is the "E’jaz al-Qur’an” on the Living Miracle that the holy Qur’an is. Here it would not be out of context to note his encounter with the famous Shi’a Muslim scholar, Shaikh Mohammad bin Nu’man and the reason he conferred upon him the title "Shaikh al-Mufid” (Most Beneficial Scholar). The Shaikh’s tutor had sent him to attend the theology lessons of Rummani, along with a letter of introduction. The Shaikh says: I entered his class, and was impressed by the large number of students. I sat at the end of the crowd and crept forward as some got up and left. Then I saw a person enter, saying: "(O Master), there is someone at the door from Basra who insists on being admitted to your presence.” On permission the man from Basra entered and after a long conversation, asked ar-Rummani: "How do you view the event of "al-Ghadeer” (the day the Prophet, on God’s commandment, proclaimed Imam Ali [AS] as his vicegerent on 18th Zilhijja, 10 AH while returning from his Farewell Hajj pilgrimage) as well as the report of "al-Ghar” (or incident of the cave in which Abu Bakr accompanied the Prophet on the night of Hijrah)?” Ar-Rummani replied that "the report of al-Ghar was a recognised event, while al-Ghadeer was just a narration; and a narration is not as mandatory as a recognised event.” The man from Basra left without making any reply. The Shaikh says: Then I stood up and said: "I have a question.” Ar-Rummani said: "Ask.” I said: "What do you say about the one who fights a Just Imam?” He said: "Such a person would be an infidel.” Then, after a pause, he rectified himself and said: "He would be a transgressor.” I asked: "What do you say about the Commander of the Faithful, Ali bin Abi Taleb (AS)?” He said: "I believe he was an Imam.” So I asked: "Then what do you say about the Day of Jamal and about Talha and Zubair?” Ar-Rummani retorted that both of them had repented for their revolt. I said: "The Battle of Jamal is a recognised event, while their repentance is a mere narration.” Upon this, he said: "Were you present when the man from Basra put his question?” I said "yes.” Then he asked: "What is your name and who is your tutor?” I said: "I am known as Ibn al-Mu’allem, and my tutor is Abu-Abdallah al-Jual.” He said: "Stay a moment.” Then he went to a room and came out with a letter, instructing me to hand it over to my tutor. When I gave the letter to my tutor, he read it and laughed, saying: "What transpired between you in his class? He has asked me to confer upon you the title "al-Mufid”.
845 lunar years ago, on this day in 597 AH, the famous Iranian Islamic theologian and scientist, Mohammad ibn Hassan, known as Khwaja Naseer od-Din Tousi was born in Tous in Khorasan. An outstanding philosopher, scientist, mathematician and astronomer, who made valuable contributions to science and civilization, his genius was acknowledged even by the Mongol invader Hulagu Khan. Ṭousi in his book on astronomy "at-Tadhkirah fi Ilm al-Hayyah” written three centuries before the Italian Galileo, has described the real essence of the Milky Way: "The Milky Way, i.e. the galaxy, is made up of a very large number of small, tightly-clustered stars, which, on account of their concentration and smallness, seem to be cloudy patches. Because of this, it was likened to milk in colour.”
Tousi wrote some 80 books in both Arabic and Persian on various subjects such as "Tajrid al-Eʿteqad” on theology, "Akhlaq-e Naseri” on ethics, "Sharh al-Isharaat Ibn Sina” on philosophy, and "Kitab ash-Shakl al-Qatta” on mathematics, etc. It is to be noted that a 60-km diameter lunar crater located on the southern hemisphere of the moon is named after him as "Naseereddin”. A minor planet discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1979 is named after him "10269 Tusi”. Naseer od-Din Tusi died in Iraq and was laid to rest in the holy mausoleum of Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
826 solar years ago, on this day in 1194 AD, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor was born in Iesi, Marche, Italy. An ethnic German, residing in Sicily with his capital at Palermo, which still had Muslim culture and a sizeable Muslim population, at his coronation, he said to have worn the red silk mantle bearing an Arabic inscription that had been crafted during the reign of Roger II, indicating the year 528 AH of the Islamic calendar. It incorporated a generic benediction (du’a), wishing the wearer "vast prosperity, great generosity, high splendour, fame, magnificent endowments, and the fulfillment of wishes and hopes. This robe is housed in the Schatzkammer of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. During his 30-year reign, Fredrick who was a multilingual person, well versed in Arabic and interacting with learned Muslims, sent questions to the courts of Muslim rulers, on various issues including optical phenomena like the curving of objects in water. The Pope and the Church were hostile to him because of his religious tolerance, at times excommunicating him. On being crowned, he settled some 60,000 Sicilian Muslims in southern Italy – 20,000 in Lucera (Lugherah in Arabic), 30,000 in Apulia and its surroundings, and the rest in Stornara, Casal Monte Saraceno, Castel Saraceno and Campania. These included Iranians of Sicily as well, in particular, the Khwarezmi community of Palermo. In February 1229, Fredrick II took part in the 6th Crusade to Palestine to annul papal excommunication, and through a treaty with the Ayyubid Sultan al-Kamel, took control of Bayt al-Moqaddas (Jerusalem), Bethlehem and Nazareth, that stipulated Muslim control of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. In 1244, he lost Bayt al-Moqaddas and other towns that were liberated by the Muslims including the powerful Iranian Khwarezmian clan based in Egypt.
531 solar years ago, on this day in 1489 AD, the Christians occupied the thriving Spanish Muslim city of Almería which was part of the Nasrid emirate of Granada, during the rule of Muhammad XIII.
490 solar years ago, on this day in 1530 AD, Emperor Mohammad Zaheer od-Din Babar, the Founder of the Moghal Dynasty of the Subcontinent, died in his capital Kabul in what is now Afghanistan. Born in Ferghana to the local ruler, Omar Shaikh, in what is now the border region of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, he was a great great-grandson of the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, while on his mother’s side he was descended from the bloodthirsty Mongol marauder, Chingiz Khan. A Persianized Turk, Babar, as a protégé of Shah Ismail I, the Founder of the Safavid Dynasty of Iran, following his failure to take control of Samarqand, set himself up in Kabul, and in 1526 conquered North India to establish the famous Moghal Dynasty. His army included Qizilbash Iranian fighters, who as one of the most influential groups in the Moghal court, would promote Persian language and culture in the subcontinent, as well as the teachings of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt.
127 solar years ago, on this day in 1893 AD, Founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong, was born. He established the communist party of China in 1921. He had the support of farmers and peasants who had for long suffered at the hands of the rulers. Following end of World War 2 the communists defeated the western-supported nationalists, and declared China as the People’s Republic in1949. During his rule, Mao shaped a powerful central government. Mao died in 1976.
48 solar years ago, on this day in 1972 AD, during the Vietnam War, the US forces in Operation Linebacker II, savagely bombarded Hanoi and other cities with 120 B-52 bombers in a carpet-bombing that destroyed hospitals, schools and residential areas. Despite the barbaric crimes of the Americans and the huge loss of life, the Vietnamese continued to resist, until victory.
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, the Soviet Red Army occupied Afghanistan, starting its longest operations against an independent country. It was one of the major mistakes of the Kremlin, and two years after the end of the Red Army’s ten-year occupation, the Soviet Union disintegrated.
16 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, a 9-magnitude quake jolted the Indian Ocean, resulting in a Tsunami that inflicted losses on several littoral states. Since the epicenter of the earthquake was in Southeast Asia, the countries of this region including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, and India suffered huge losses. As many as 220,000 people were killed and 2 million left homeless, while billions of dollars in losses were inflicted on these countries.