Today is Monday; 20th of the Iranian month of Bahman 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 25th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani 1442 lunar hijri; and February 8, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1139 solar years ago, on this day in 882 AD, Mohammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid, the Founder of the Ikhshidid Dynasty of Egypt, was born in Baghdad in a Turkic family. His grandfather Juff ibn Yitakin was from the Farghana Valley region of Central Asia, where he was bought as a slave-soldier to serve the Abbasid regime in Samarra, Iraq. Mohammad spent a great part of his youth in the Levant, where his father Tughj served as governor to the dynasty founded by Ahmad ibn Tulun – son of the fellow Turkic slave-soldier, Tulun. Here, at his father’s side, he gained valuable experiences in war and administration – serving Tughj as sub-governor of Tiberias in Palestine. After years of fluctuating fortunes, he established himself as a senior official in Egypt and his position in the Abbasid court helped his recognition as governor of Egypt and southern parts of Syria in 935. In 938, he asked the caliph in Baghdad to grant him the honorific title of "Ikhshid”, held originally by the Iranian kings of his ancestral homeland Farghana. He died in 946 and the dynasty set up by him collapsed in 969 with the Fatemid conquest of Egypt.
771 solar years ago, on this day in 1250 AD, the Seventh Crusade of a strong European Christian force led by Louis IX, King of France, after invading Egypt in June 1249 and occupying the port city of Damietta, clashed at al-Mansurah with the Ayyubid forces led by Amir Fakhr od-Din Yusuf, and the Turkic Mamluk (slave) generals, Farres od-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Bunduqdari, resulting in a resounding victory three days later for the Muslim defenders. The goals of the Crusaders were to destroy the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria and capture Bayt al-Moqaddas.
756 solar years ago, on this day in 1265 AD, Hulagu Khan, the founder of the Ilkhanid Mongol Dynasty of Iran-Iraq, and parts of Syria, Turkey, Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, died at the age of 47 after a rule of 9 years that saw his bloodthirsty Buddhist armies massacre over a million Muslims in Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Grandson of the savage Mongol marauder, Genghis Khan, in 1255 he was sent by his elder brother, Mongke the Great Khan, to destroy the remaining Muslim states in southwestern Asia.
733 lunar years ago, on this day in 709 AH, Ahmad ibn Mohammad Ibn Ataollah al-Iskandari, the third sheikh of the Shadhili Sufi Order, passed away in Cairo. He was from Alexandria and systematized the Order’s doctrines by recording the biographies of its founder, Sidi Abu’l-Hassan ash-Shadhili, and his successor, Sidi Abu’l-Abbas al-Mursi. Ibn Ataollah authored a treatise on "dhikr”, titled "Miftah al-Falah” (Key to Salvation), which is a Sufi manual of invocation. His compilation of aphorisms helped to make the group very popular. The wide circulation of his written works led to spread of the Shadhili order in North Africa.
334 solar years ago, on this day in 1687 AD, Moghal Emperor, Aurangzeb, after occupying the city of Haiderabad, laid siege to the impregnable Golkandah fortress, the capital of the Qutb Shahi Sultanate of Iranian origin. For over seven months the siege dragged on, with the Moghals being exhausted as a result of casualties suffered from the regular sorties launched by the defenders. The crafty Aurangzeb (who had imprisoned his own father and killed his brothers and nephews) bribed an Afghan commander named Abdullah Khan Panni to open in the night a door of the fortress, through which the Moghals entered and overcame the surprised defenders. It was through treachery that the 170-year long rule of the Qutb Shahis of Qara Qoyonlu origin from Hamedan in western Iran, ended in the Deccan. The last sultan, Abu’l-Hassan Tana Shah, was taken prisoner and confined to Daulatabad Fort until death. The Qutb Shahi sultans, who maintained cordial relations with Iran and considered the Safavids as emperors, were great patrons of Persian art, architecture, literature, medicine, astronomy and religious sciences. Many prominent Iranians from all walks of life settled in Haiderabad and richly contributed to the flowering of civilization.
296 solar years ago, on this day in 1725 AD, Peter the Great, the 5th ruler of the Romanov Dynasty who expanded the Tsardom of Russia into the Russian Empire, and crowned himself the first emperor, died at the age of 53.
193 solar years ago, on this day in 1828 AD, Jules Verne, French author and poet, best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction, was born in the Atlantic seaport of Nantes.
132 lunar years ago, on this day in 1309 AH, the tobacco concession to the British by Nasser od-Din Shah Qajar had to be cancelled, following the Iranian nation’s support for the fatwa issued from the holy city of Samarra in Iraq – after due warnings – by Grand Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi against tobacco consumption, since it was ruining Iran’s economy. His verdict read: Tobacco consumption is tantamount to war against the Imam of the Age (God hasten his reappearance). Even the wife of the Shah broke the pipes and forbade tobacco in the royal palace.
117 solar years ago, on this day in 1904 AD, Russo-Japanese war broke out on the refusal of the militarized Meiji regime in Tokyo to negotiate with the declining power of the Tsars in Moscow. The major theatres of operations were the Japanese occupied Chinese territories of southern Manchuria, specifically the area around the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden; and the seas around Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea.
58 solar years ago, on this day in 1963 AD, Colonel Abdus-Salaam A’ref, with the help of Ba’thist army officers, seized power in Iraq as president, after bombarding the residence of President Abdul-Karim Qasim and killing him. Three years later in 1966, he was killed in a plane crash while returning to Baghdad from Basra, where in a speech broadcast on radio he had indulged in blasphemous demagoguery by questioning the famous sermon of the Prophet’s First Infallible Heir, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) concerning the fickleness of faith of the Iraqi people.
42 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, mercenary soldiers of the tottering Pahlavi regime attacked an air force base in Tehran following the pledge of allegiance given a day before by air force officers and personnel to the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). The public on learning of this dastardly attack, rushed to the airbase and despite being lightly armed overcame the Shah’s mercenaries to rescue the air force personnel. This was an important development in the events of the Islamic Revolution that triumphed two days later.
35 solar years ago, on this day in 1986 AD, Muslim combatants of Iran launched the Val-Fajr-8 Operations against the Ba’thist occupiers and after liberating Iranian territory crossed the Arvandroud or Shatt al-Arab waterway to take control of the Faw Peninsula on the Iraqi side of the border that shattered the morale of the enemy forces. Over 50,000 of the heavily-armed Ba’thist troops were either killed or wounded in this heroic operation while 600 tanks and 45 aircraft were destroyed. Saddam’s Western and Eastern backers, who used to supply his forces state-of-the-art weaponry besides intelligence on movement of Iranian troops, were amazed and astounded by the speed and effectiveness of the Iranian defenders.
27 lunar years ago, on this day in 1415 AH, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Araki passed away in holy Qom at the age of 103. A student of the Reviver of the Qom Seminary, Ayatollah Abdul-Karim Ha’eri, he taught for 35 years, and for 30 years led the daily prayer at the Faiziyeh Theological School. He was among the teachers of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (God bless him).
24 solar years ago, on this day in 1997 AD, Master Seyyed Abu’l-Fotouh Arabzadeh "Rassam”, the Father of Modern Iranian Carpets, passed away at the age of 82.