Today is Saturday; 4th of the Iranian month of Bahman 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 9th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani 1442 lunar hijri; and January 23, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1050 solar years ago, on this day in 971 AD, troops of the Song Dynasty soundly defeated the war elephant corps of the southern Han kingdom at Shao, largely due to intensive crossbow fire. This defeat not only marked the eventual submission of the southern Han to the Song, but was also the last instance where a war elephant corps was employed as a regular division of a Chinese army.
822 solar years ago, on this day in 1199 AD, Ya’qoub al-Mansur, the 3rd ruler of the al-Muwahhed Dynasty of Morocco and Muslim Spain, died in Marrakesh at the age of 39 after a 15-year rule. Known as Moulay Ya’qoub, his reign saw the flourishing of trade, architecture, philosophy and the sciences, coupled with military victories, especially over the Christian rebels of what is now Portugal and Spain, as well against the Crusaders off the coast of Syria. He avenged his father’s killing by the Christians in what is now Portugal by liberating several cities and forts of that land and transporting to Morocco some three thousand captives.
743 lunar years ago, on this day in 699 AH, the Spanish Muslim historian and hadith scholar, Shehab od-Din Ahmad Ibn Faraḥ al-Is̲h̲billi, passed away in Egypt. Born in Seville, as his surname "al-Ishbili” indicates, he was taken prisoner by the Christians under Ferdinand III of Castile when he attacked and occupied Seville the capital of the al-Muwahedoun dynasty. He, however, escaped to Egypt, and continued to groom students and write books.
653 solar years ago, on this day in 1368 AD, in a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascended the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming Dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.
507 solar years ago, on this day in 1514 AD, Hai Rui, original name Haider, the famous Chinese official of Muslim origin, of the Ming Dynasty, who was known for his honesty and integrity in office, was born in Qiongshan, Hainan. His great-great-grandfather, a native of Guangzhou, was also named Haider. Having lost his father at the age of three, Hai Rui was raised by his mother, who was also from a Muslim (Hui) family that originated from the subcontinent. Hai Rui, noted for his Neo-Confucian philosophical works, never discussed Islam openly to avoid any hostility.
505 lunar years ago, on this day in 937 AH, corresponding to 1531 AD, the Ottoman fleet defeated the Portuguese fleet composed of 190 warships and 210 ships carrying 26,000 soldiers in a naval battle near Diu Island, 250 km north of Bombay.
465 solar years ago, on this day in 1556 AD, one of the deadliest earthquakes shook the Chinese State of Shaanxi – a densely populated province located on fault lines. This terrible quake killed an estimated 830,000 people besides inflicting huge loss on the infrastructure.
232 solar years ago, on this day in 1789 AD, Ja’far Khan, the 7th ruler of the Zand Dynasty of Iran, was killed after a 4-year reign, by Murad Khan, who threw his decapitated head over the citadel walls and declared himself Shah, only to be defeated and killed four months later by the deceased ruler’s son, the popular Lotf Ali Khan. A capable military commander and son of Sadeq Khan – the nephew of the Zand Dynasty’s founder, Karim Khan – Ja’far inflicted numerous defeats on Agha Mohammad Khan the Qajarid warlord, who in 1794 finally succeeded in overthrowing the Zands and becoming king of the new Qajar Dynasty of Iran.
189 solar years ago, on this day in 1832 AD, the French Painter, Edouard Manet, was born. He was a pivotal figure in the transition from the painting school of Realism to Impressionism. His works include "Olympia”. He died in 1883.
151 solar years ago, on this day in1870 AD, in Montana, US cavalrymen cold-bloodedly killed almost two hundred Amerindians, mostly women and children, in what became known as the Marias Massacre. This was yet another incident of state terrorism and genocide by the white men against the native populations.
123 solar years ago, on this day in 1898 AD, film theorist and director, Sergey Mikhailovich Eisenstein, was born in Russia. He directed his first film, "Strike”, in the year 1924. His second film: "The Battleship Potemkin”, led to a huge development in the world’s film industry. He was a pioneer in the use of montage. His other major films include: "October”.
102 solar years ago, on this day in 1919 AD, the Fascist Party of Italy was founded by Benito Mussolini.
91 solar years ago, on this day in 1930 AD, Iran’s celebrated contemporary painter, Mahmoud Farshchian, was born in Isfahan. He studied under the tutelage of Haji Mirza-Agha Imami and Eisa Bahadori for several years. After receiving diploma from Isfahan’s High School for Fine Arts, he left for Europe, where he studied works of the great western masters of painting. Consequently, he developed an innovative artistic style with universal appeal. Upon return to Iran, he worked at the National Institute of Fine Arts and in time, was appointed director of the Department of National Arts and professor at the University of Tehran’s School of Fine Arts. All the while, word of his exemplary works spread far and wide. So far, he has held 57 individual exhibits and 86 group shows in Iran, Europe, the US, and Asian countries. His works adorn several museums and major collections worldwide. "The Museum of Master Mahmoud Farshchian”, set up at Sa’dabad Cultural Complex in Tehran in 2001 includes such paintings as the pathetic scene of "Sham-e Gharibaan” – or the evening following the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS), as well as the Martyrdom of Ali Asghar, (the infant son of the Imam) and the "Zamen-e Ahou” that depicts the Deer Hunter, the released doe with her fawns, and Imam Reza (AS). Farshchian has designed the Zarih (the silver grill latticed enclosure of the tomb of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala), as well as the roof, door and cellar in the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad. He is the founder of his own unique school of Iranian Painting, which adheres to classical form while making use of new techniques. His powerful and innovative paintings on vibrant canvases have an appealing fusion of the traditional and the modern.
42 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, on reports of the return home from exile of the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), the fugitive Shah’s premier, Shapour Bakhtiyar, ordered closure of all airports in Iran. The people demanded their opening, and led by Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hussaini Beheshti, staged a sit-in at Tehran University’s Mosque.
32 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, Spanish surrealist painter and founder of the Cubism Style, Salvador Dali, died in Catalonia at the age of 84. His talent in painting became apparent in his youth and thereafter he catapulted to global fame. Dali attributed his love of everything that is gilded and excessive, as well as oriental clothes to a self-styled "Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Muslim Moors – who were forcibly Christianized.
8 solar years ago, on this day in 2013AD, in northern Iraq Saudi-backed Takfiri terrorists handed a bagful of explosives to an unsuspecting person and then blew him through remote control in the midst of a funeral ceremony of ethnic Turkmen Shi’a Muslim mourners, martyring around fifty and wounding some 150 others.