Today is Monday; 4th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 10th of the Islamic month of Rajab 1442 lunar hijri; and February 22, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1382 lunar years ago, on this day in 60 AH, the infant Martyr of Karbala, Hazrat Ali Asghar (AS), was born in Medina to the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain (AS). He was the youngest son of the Imam. He was only six months old when he was brutally martyred by an arrow shot by the heartless Harmala bin Kahel that pierced his tender throat, when his father took him in his arms and asked the cruel forces of Yazid to at least provide some water for the thirsty infant. Every year millions of Muslims around the world commemorate the martyrdom of the infant Ali Asghar in the month of Moharram by taking out processions of empty bloodstained cradles, followed by wailing mothers carrying children in their arms – a pathetic sight that brings tears to the eyes of even the hardest hearts. It is also customary to distribute milk to the children and others in the month of Moharram in memory of the Infant Martyr of Karbala.
1247 lunar years ago, on this day in 195 AH, Imam Mohammad Taqi (AS), the 9th Infallible Successor to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in the city of Medina. The mantle of Imamate rested on his shoulders at the tender age of 8 years following the martyrdom of his infallible father, Imam Reza (AS). Due to his proverbial generosity, not just in material matters but also in the realm of diffusion of knowledge and wisdom, he earned the epithet of al-Jawad or the Exceptionally Generous. His period of imamate or divinely-decreed leadership of mankind was 17 years, during which he groomed a great many scholars in various fields. His lively debates with scholars of various creeds and schools of thought are recorded in books of hadith and history. He reposes in eternal peace besides his grandfather, Imam Musa Kazem (AS) in the holy double-domed shrine of Kazemain, north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. We hereby congratulate all Muslims across the world on the auspicious occasion of birth anniversary of Imam Jawad (AS), and later in our programme will present you a special feature on his life and times.
614 solar years ago, on this day in 1407 AD, the Timurid ruler, Pir Mohammad was murdered by his ambitious vizier, Pir Ali Taz, near Balkh some six months after his second defeat by his cousin, Khalil Sultan (son of Miran Shah), the other claimant to the throne of Samarqand. He had declared himself king two years earlier on the death of his grandfather, the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur. He was the son of Jahangir Mirza who was the actual successor to the throne but had died before his father. Next in line was Omar Shaikh Mirza but he too died. That left Shahrukh Mirza, whom Timur considered too meek to rule and Miran Shah who suffered from mental trauma. Timur felt that none of his sons were capable of ruling so he named as successor, his grandson, Pir Mohammad, who was governor of Qandahar since 1392 and controlled territories from the lands west of the Hindu Kush Mountains to the Indus River. In the fall of 1397 he had led the first wave of Timurids into India, and was invested with the rule of Multan as well. Unfortunately for Pir Muhammad, none of his relatives supported him following Timur’s death. He was unable to assume command in the capital Samarqand, but was allowed to retain his territories after defeats at the hands of Khalil Sultan, who in turn was defeated in 1409 by his uncle Shahrukh Mirza and sent to Rayy (near Tehran) as governor. The Timurids were Persianized Turks, and patronized Persian poetry and literature.
509 solar years ago, on this day in 1512 AD, Italian astronomer, navigator and cartographer, Amerigo Vespucci, whose name the Europeans gave to the new landmass discovered for Spain by Christopher Columbus as "America”, died. He first served the Portuguese and was then hired by the Spanish. He demonstrated that Brazil and the so-called West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus’ voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to the Europeans – although the Muslims had known this great landmass and travelled to it.
509 solar years ago, on this day in 1514 AD, Shah Tahmasp I, was born in Isfahan to the Founder of the Safavid Empire of Iran, Shah Ismail I. He ascended the throne at the age of 10 on the death of his father, His reign of 52 years is the longest of any Muslim king of Iran, and was marked by foreign threats, primarily from the Ottomans in the west and the Uzbeks in the northeast. Upon adulthood, he was able to reassert his power and consolidate the dynasty against internal and external enemies. Although he lost Iraq and parts of Anatolia to the Ottoman invaders, his pious nature made him avoid unnecessary shedding of Muslim blood. As a result, after thwarting Ottoman designs in the Caucasus, Shah Tahmasp concluded the Treaty of Amasya, with Sultan Sulaiman, resulting in a peace that lasted 30 years and led to the development of Iran. He continued his father’s policy of enlightening the people with the teachings of the Blessed Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA), and assembled at his court in Qazvin leading ulema from all over Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Lebanon. As a descendant of the Prophet and head of the Safavid spiritual order tracing to Safi od-Din Ardebili, he was acknowledged as suzerain by the Shi’a Muslim sultanates of the Deccan (Southern India). Shah Tahmasp is also known for the reception he gave to the fugitive Mughal Emperor Naseer od-Din Humayun of Hindustan (Northern Subcontinent) when the latter was ousted from power and provided him military aid to recover his kingdom. Shah Tahmasp was an enthusiastic patron of arts with a particular interest in Persian miniature, especially book illustration. The most famous example of such work is the "Shahnama-e Shah Tahmaspi”, containing 250 miniatures by the leading court artists of the era. Shah Tahmasp’s another more lasting achievements was his encouragement of the Persian carpet industry on a national scale in response to the economic effects of the interruption of the Silk Road carrying trade during the Ottoman wars.
466 solar years ago, on this day in 1555 AD, the 2nd Mughal Emperor, Naseer od-Din Humayun re-conquered with Iranian help eastern Afghanistan and the northern subcontinent, fifteen years after losing the throne of Delhi to the Pashtun adventurer, Sher Shah Suri. Born in 1508 in Kabul, where his father, the Timurid prince Zaheer od-Din Babar had established himself with the assistance of Shah Ismail I the founder of the Safavid Dynasty of Iran, he succeeded to the throne of Delhi in 1530, while his step-brother Kamran Mirza obtained the sovereignty of Kabul and Lahore. His peaceful personality, in addition to his addiction to opium, cost him the kingdom ten years later, forcing him to seek refuge in Iran, where he was cordially received by Shah Tahmasp I, who provided financial aid and 14,000 troops to regain his Empire. Humayun, along with his trusted general, Bairam Khan, crossed the Indus River and in February of 1554, he occupied the Punjab, including Lahore, without any serious opposition. To check the Moghul-Persian advance, Sikandar Shah of Delhi sent a huge army of Afghans and Rajputs that was defeated. On restoration of Mughal, thousands of Iranians continued to migrate every year to Hindustan and were given high civil and military positions. This signaled an important change in Mughal court culture, as the Central Asian origins of the dynasty were largely overshadowed by the influences of Persian art, architecture, language and literature. Humayun’s most noted achievement was in the sphere of painting. His devotion to the early Safavid School, developed during his stay in Iran, led him to recruit Persian painters of merit to accompany him back to India. These artists laid the foundation of the Mughal style. Even Humayun’s tomb was built in the Iranian style by his widow, Hamida Bano Begum (daughter of Shaikh Ali Akbar Jami, an Iranian Shi’ite Muslim descended from the mystic Shaikh Ahmad Jami of Torbat-e Jam in Khorasan). It is said Humayun had embraced the school of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt while in Qazvin at the court of Shah Tahmasp.
289 solar years ago, on this day in 1732 AD, George Washington, who led the New England rebels against the British and became the first president of the 13 rebellious colonies that had banded together as the United States of America (USA), was born in an English family in Virginia. In his youth he mastered geometry and trigonometry, and started career as a surveyor, proficient at drafting, mapmaking, and designing tables of data. He enlisted in the British colonial army and was involved in the wars against the Amerindian tribes, as well as against the French, before siding with the revolutionaries to defeat the British armies.
233 solar years ago, on this day in 1788 AD, German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, was born. He arrived at many of the same conclusions of Eastern philosophy, and would say: "Hatred comes from the heart; contempt from the head; and neither feeling is quite within our control.”
198 solar years ago, on this day in 1823 AD, the Greeks during their rebellion against the Ottoman Turks massacred 12,000 Muslims in the city of Tripolitsa, with the help of Britain, France, Russia, and Austria.
63 solar years ago, on this day in 1958 AD, Indian scholar and statesman, Abul-Kalaam Azad died at the age of 70. He was active in the struggle for independence of India from British rule. As a member of the ruling Congress Party, he was elected to the parliament after India gained independence in 1947, and was later made Minister of Education. As a scholar of Urdu, Arabic, Persian and English languages he wrote many valuable books, including an exegesis of the holy Qur’an, titled, "Tarjuman al-Qur’an”. He was greatly influenced by the famous 19th century pan-Islamic Iranian thinker, Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi, especially concerning the importance of Ijtehad in awakening the Muslim societies. Among his other works are: "War from the Islamic Point of View” and "Shahid-e Azam” (Great Martyr) which is a book on the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain (AS).
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, following drafting of the Islamic Republic constitution and setting up of the Majlis (or parliament), as per the decree of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Husseini Beheshti was elected as the first Chief Justice of Islamic Iran. Ayatollah Beheshti was martyred in a terrorist bomb blast in Tehran by the notorious US-backed MKO terrorist outfit in July 1981 along with 72 senior Iranian officials, including cabinet ministers and parliament members.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, the famous Urdu poet of the Subcontinent, Shabbir Hassan Khan "Joosh” passed away in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan at the age of 88. Born in a Pashtun family in Malihabad, northern India, after mastering Urdu and English, he studied Arabic and Persian, and in 1925 began to supervise translation work at the famous Osmania University in the semi-independent state of Haiderabad-Deccan. After ten years he returned to his hometown and founded the magazine "Kaleem” in which he openly wrote articles in favour of independence from Britain. As his reputation spread, he came to be called "Sha’er-e Inqelab” (Poet of the Revolution), and developed personal friendship with Jawaharlal Nehru, who was to become prime minister on India’s independence in 1947. Over a decade later in 1958, disillusioned with the declining status of Muslims and Urdu language in India, he migrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi, where he joined Anjuman-e Tarraqi-e-Urdu for promotion of the Urdu language. Joosh Malihabadi has left behind valuable works in poetry and prose, including lengthy odes in praise of the Ahl al-Bayt, especially Imam Ali (AS) and Imam Husain (AS) – regarded as masterpieces of Urdu poetry.
15 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, terrorists backed by the US shocked the civilized world and hurt Islamic sentiments by blasphemously blowing the magnificent golden dome of the holy shrine in Samarra, which houses the venerated tombs of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) 10th and 11th Infallible Heirs - Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS). The sacred shrine is being rebuilt, thanks to the devotional efforts of Iraqi and Iranian Muslims.
11 solar years ago, on this day in 2010 AD, Abdul-Malek Rigi, ringleader of an anti-Iranian US-backed terrorist outfit, was captured by Iranian security personnel in a well-planned operation. Rigi, whose satanic outfit which wrongly styles itself as Jundullah or soldiers of God, was based in Pakistani Balouchistan and had committed several acts of terrorism, killing scores of innocent men women, and children, including Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. On learning that he had boarded a plane in Dubai for Kyrgyzstan in order to meet senior American officials for planning more acts of terrorism against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian air force waited till the airplane carrying him was in Iranian airspace, before sending its jet fighters to intercept the commercial flight and force it to land at Bandar Abbas airport. Rigi was nabbed, jailed, and tried in a court where he admitted his murderous acts of terrorism that in addition to bomb blasts including kidnapping and cold-blooded killing of his victims. He also confessed to his connections with the US, the illegal Zionist entity Israel, and certain Arab and western regimes, thus belying Washington’s claim to fight terrorism. Rigi was executed by hanging on June 20, 2010.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, two Iranian warships entered Egypt’s Suez Canal heading for Syria, the first time in three decades that Iran sent military vessels through the strategic waterway to the Mediterranean Sea.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, as part of the popular uprising in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain against the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime, tens of thousands of people marched in protest on learning of the martyrdom of seven victims killed by police and the army forces during previous peaceful protests. Bahraini is in the grip of a popular revolution for overthrowing the US-backed hereditary rule.