Today is Wednesday; 6th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 12th of the Islamic month of Rajab 1442 lunar hijri; and February 24, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1410 lunar years ago, on this day in 32 AH, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttaleb, the paternal uncle of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), passed away in Medina at almost 90 years of age and was laid to rest in the sacred Baqie Cemetery by his worthy son, Abdullah, the hadith narrator and exegete of the holy Qur’an, who was a disciple of Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). Abbas, who had become a rich merchant in the days of ignorance, did not openly profess Islam in Mecca, but it is said that he stood beside his nephew when a group from Medina came to the Prophet for the secret allegiance of Aqaba. He was forced by the pagan Arabs to accompany them to the Battle of Badr in which he was captured by the Muslims and allowed to ransom himself and return to Mecca. Shortly before the peaceful takeover of Mecca by the Prophet, he disassociated from the Meccans and submitted to the Muslims, some twenty year after his wife, "Omm al-Fazl Lubaba bint al-Hareth had accepted Islam, claiming to be second woman to do so. Thereafter he accompanied the Prophet, like other members of the Hashemite clan in various endeavours. Abbas knew that after the passing away of the Prophet, his other nephew, Imam Ali (AS), was the divinely-decreed leader of mankind as was evident by the historic declaration at Ghadeer-Khom. Unfortunately, some of his descendants in blind pursuit of the material world, turned away from the truth, usurped political power by deceiving the Muslims, wrongly called themselves caliphs, and indulged in the persecution of the Prophet’s progeny, to the extent that six of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt were martyred through poisoning by the Abbasids.
1236 lunar years ago, on this day in 206 AH, the narrator of hadith and historical events, Abu Hudhayfa, passed away. Among his important compilations, mention could be made of "al-Mubtada” on the creation of mankind and the biography of prophets. He has also narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the account of Prophet Mohammad’s Me’raj or ascension to the ethereal heavens and back in a fraction of the night.
863 lunar years ago, on this day in 479AH, Spanish Muslims led by Yusuf bin Tashfin defeated Spanish Christians under command of Alphonse VI in the glorious battle of "az-Zalaqa”. This decisive battle halted for over two-and-a-half centuries the bid by the Christian powers to drive out Spanish Muslim from the Iberian Peninsula.
718 solar years ago, on this day in 1303 AD, the Battle of Roslin took place during the First War of Scottish Independence – lasting from the invasion by England in 1296 until the de jure restoration of Scottish independence with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328 (de facto independence was established in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn). England under Edward I attempted to establish its authority over Scotland while the Scots fought to keep English rule and authority out of Scotland. The Second War of Scottish Independence was fought from 1332-to-1357 against English encroachment. In 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the thrones of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland, and thus became King James I of what later came to be known as the United Kingdom. The Scots have always resented English domination of their homeland. The Scottish National Party, which supports Scottish independence, won an overall majority in the 2011 general election. An independence referendum was held on 18 September 2014, with independence-seekers polling 45% of the 85% voter turnout.
717 solar years ago, on this day in 1304 AD, the renowned Muslim worldwide traveler, Shams od-Din Mohammad bin Abdullah, known as Ibn Battuta, was born in the northwest African city of Tangiers – in today’s Morocco. As a young man he started his initial journey to perform the Hajj, but after the pilgrimage to Mecca, he kept on travelling, visiting over a period of thirty years, most of the Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands in the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. His journeys including trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, and to West Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, cover a total of 75,000 miles or 121,000 km, surpassing by threefold the travels of his near-contemporary Marco Polo of Venice. In Iraq, he visited the shrine in holy Najaf of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), and has related how people seek intercession with God through the First Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and are cured of their ailments. Ibn Battuta then travelled all over Iran, and after visiting the Byzantine Empire, Europe and Russia, he arrived in India, where he was appointed the Qazi of Delhi by Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq. On his return to his homeland Morocco, he also served as Qazi. He dictated to scribes the details of his travels in his book titled "ar-Rehla”, and died at the age of 66.
496 solar years ago, on this day in 1525 AD, the Portuguese poet, Luis Vaz de Camoens, was born in Lisbon. His most important work is "The Lusiads”, which some compare to the renowned Iranian epic Poet Abu’l-Qassem Ferdowsi’s masterpiece "Shahnamah”. He died in 1580.
282 solar years ago, on this day in 1739 AD, the historic Battle of Karnaal was fought near a village of the same name, some 110 km north of Delhi, between the Iranian army of Nader Shah Afshar and the army of the Indian Mughal ruler, Mohammad Shah, known as "Rangeeleh” or colourful, because of his patronizing of singers and dancers, at the expense of negligence of state affairs. The Iranians won a decisive victory losing only 2500 soldiers, while the death toll of the Indian army was over 20,000. The cause of invasion was the failure and inability of Mohammad Shah to prevent the entry into Mughal-controlled Kabul and the eastern areas of Afghanistan and Punjab, of Hotaki and Ghilzai rebel leaders who were driven out from Iran by Nader Shah, following his ending of the Afghan occupation of the country. When a series of letters from Nader Shah did not entail any positive result or response from Mohammad Shah, the Iranian army began its invasion from Qandahar, and after taking Kabul and Peshawar, marched unopposed all the way till Karnaal, where the Indian army was defeated in little more than three hours. The battle began after one o’clock in the afternoon, with a discharge of arrows from both sides. The superior artillery power of the Iranians that continued for two hours threw the Mughals and their war elephants into disarray. Mughal forces began to disintegrate and of their commanders, Khan-e Dowraan was killed, while Sa’adat Khan Burhan ol-Molk was taken prisoner. The Iranian cavalry was swifter and out-maneuvered the Mughals. As the Indian morale plummeted, soldiers started to flee while Indian camp followers looted their own camps. Mohammad Shah was taken prisoner but was treated with respect by Nader Shah, who entered Delhi along with him and after a stay of some weeks, returned to Iran by restoring the Mughal ruler his rule, but taking with him the fabulous Koh-e Noor Diamond, the Darya-e Noor Diamond, the famous Peacock Throne, the Tent of Pearls and other jewels.
232 lunar years ago, on this day in 1209 AH, Lotf Ali Khan, the last ruler of the Zand Dynasty of Iran, died under torture in prison in Tehran at the age of 25, three years after he was captured through deceit and bribing of the governor of Bam by Agha Mohammad Khan the founder of the Qajarid Dynasty. He was buried in the mausoleum of the Prophet’s descendant, Imamzadah Zaid, near the Tehran Grand Bazaar. An extremely handsome and gallant person, he was an accomplished swordsman who fought for two hours and killed several of his opponents until overpowered. Lotf Ali Khan ruled Iran for five years from his capital Shiraz, and had almost won his last battle against his mortal enemy, Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, who was put to flight. A tactical error and betrayal by his subordinates cost him the throne and his life. The extremely cruel Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar had him blinded and castrated, and also castrated his minor sons. A few months later, Agha Mohammad Khan was assassinated in Qarabagh, Caucasus. Founded by Karim Khan, a general of Nader Shah Afshar, the Zand dynasty lasted for 45 years, and at its peak held sway over almost all of Iran, along with Basra and parts of the Caucasus, except for Greater Khorasan. To legitimize his rule, Karim Khan had placed the Safavid prince, Ismail III, as a figurehead, and never took the title of Shah, contenting himself with the honourary epithet "Wakil ar-Re’aya” (Representative of the People). He based his administration on social justice, and to this day he has the reputation as one of the most able rulers in Iranian history.
214 lunar years ago, on this day in 1227 AH, the prominent jurisprudent, Shaikh Ja’far bin Khizr al-Ḥilli an-Najafi, popular as Kashef al-Gheta, an epithet by which his progeny of scholars became well-known, passed away at the age of 73. A student of the famous scholars, Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Mahdi Bahr al-Uloum, and Waheed Behbahani, he campaigned against Akhbaris, writing books and essays to reject their views. During the Wahhabi attack on holy Najaf, Kashef al-Gheta defended the city, and was the first Shi’a Muslim scholar who wrote against the heretical Wahhabi cult. He wrote several books and groomed many scholars, including the famous jurisprudent, Shaikh Mohammad Hasan Najafi, the author of "Jawaher al-Kalaam”.
190 solar years ago, on this day in 1831 AD, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, went into effect, as part of the US policy of ethnic cleansing of native Amerindians in Mississippi. It resulted in the seizure of 11 million acres of the lands of the Choctaw by White settlers of European origin. It was the first treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act passed by the Congress. The US is notorious for ethnic discrimination, genocide, wars and massacres.
173 solar years ago, on this day in the year 1848 AD, King Louis Philippe of France was forced to abdicate and go into exile, three days after start of the Second French Revolution that led to proclamation of the Second Republic of France. In French history this ruling system is referred to the rule of journalists, because eleven republican journalists, led by the French poet and author, Alphonse de Lamartine, were part of the administration. On December of the same year elections were held and Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected president. In 1852, he staged a coup against republicans; suppressed the opponents and declared himself emperor, thus ending the Second Republic.
165 solar years ago, on this day in 1856 AD, Russian mathematician, Nikolay Ivanovich Lobachevsky, died at the age of 64. He served as Chancellor of Kazan University in Tataristan. He gained fame due to his researches and innovations in geometry and for rejection of the 5th principle of Euclidean geometry. He conducted extensive research on the features of spherical surfaces and presented important theories.
131 lunar years ago, on this day in 1110 AH, Omani sailors who dominated Zanzibar and the eastern coast of Africa defeated the Portuguese in the sea Battle of Mombasa, off the coast of what is now Kenya.
124 solar years ago, on this day in 1897 AD, Henri Frankfort, the Dutch-American archaeologist who established the relationship between Egypt and Mesopotamia, was born. He completed a documented reconstruction of ancient Mesopotamian culture and art. He directed excavations in Egypt (1922, 1925-29) and Iraq (1929-37) with exemplary scholarship.
104 solar years ago, on this day 1917 AD, during World War I, the US ambassador in London was given by British intelligence the decoded Zimmermann Telegram, in which Foreign Secretary of the German Empire, Arthur Zimmermann, had messaged to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt, to persuade the government of Mexico to ally itself with Germany in case the US entered the war on the side of Britain. Germany pledged to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, California and the entire southwest to Mexico that the US had seized in the 19th century. The message was intercepted by British intelligence, and its revelation made the US openly declare war on Germany in April that year. Mexican President Venustiano Carranza assigned a military commission to assess the feasibility of liberation of the said territories from US occupation. It was concluded that it would not be possible for Mexico, which was in the midst of a revolution and far weaker militarily, economically and politically, to defeat the US.
88 solar years ago, on this day in 1933 AD, East African academic and political scientist, Professor Ali Mazrui, was born in Mombasa, Kenya. On completing higher education in Britain, he taught at the University of Uganda in Kampala, and after expulsion by the dictator Idi Amin, he settled in the US, where he taught as professor in several universities. An expert writer on African and Islamic studies as well as North-South relations, he was critical of African socialism and all strains of Marxism. He argued that communism was a Western import just as unsuited for the African condition as the earlier colonial attempts to install European type governments. At the same time he was a prominent critic of the current world order. He believed the capitalist system was deeply exploitative of Africa, and that the West practiced global apartheid. He opposed the West’s interventions in the developing world, such as the US war on Iraq, and was against the policies of the Zionist entity – linking Israeli treatment of Palestinians with South Africa’s apartheid. As a well-known commentator on Islam and Islamism, he rejected violence and terrorism and praised the anti-imperialist sentiment that plays an important role in the modern world. He maintained that the dynamism of the sharia law is compatible with democracy. Mazrui wrote several books, including on his native Swahili language and culture. In October 2014, he died in New York, where he was Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University. As per his will, his body was taken to his native Mombasa and buried in his ancestral graveyard according to Islamic rites.
72 solar years ago, on this day in 1949 AD, a ceasefire came into effect between Egypt and the illegal Zionist entity following the signing of an agreement on Rhode Island. In May 1948, while withdrawing from Palestine, the British colonialists, who had illegally settled hundreds of thousands of European Jews in this Islamic land between the two world wars, created an artificial entity called Israel. The Zionists immediately lounged expansionism in different directions after expelling over 400,000 Palestinians. The Zionists attacked Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, occupying parts of the three countries. According to this treaty, Gaza was placed under Egyptian protection, but in later wars it was occupied by Israel.
72 solar years ago, on this day in 1949 AD, the first manmade rocket reached outer or extraterrestrial space. The two-stage rocket was launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, US. It was the first to carry telemetry transmitting technical information to ground stations, including high-altitude temperature measurements. It reached a speed of 5,150 mph and an altitude of 244 miles.
63 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, the discovery of a pulsar (a pulsating radio source) was announced. The first pulsar was discovered by a graduate student, Jocelyn Bell, on 28 Nov 1967. The star emitted radio pulses with clock-like precision. It was observed at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, England. A special radio telescope was used with 2,048 antennae arrayed across 4.4 acres. Pulsars prompted studies in quantum-degenerate fluids, relativistic gravity and interstellar magnetic fields.
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, the western Iranian cities of Koh Dasht, Pol-e Dokhtar, Saqqez, Mahabad, Khorramabad and Borourjerd were savagely bombarded by the air force of the US-backed repressive Ba’th minority regime of Saddam, resulting in the martyrdom of over 50 civilians and injuries to 400 others, besides the destruction of the cities’ infrastructure. The bombardment followed the defeat of the Ba’thist forces during the Khaibar Operations in the Majnoon Islands sector. The UN and world countries not just silently watched this aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran, but actively supported Saddam and his war machine.
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, the brave Iranian commander, Hamid Bakeri, who played a crucial role in the victory of the Muslim combatants of Iran against the invading Ba’thist forces, achieved martyrdom on the war fronts.
12 solar years ago, on this day in 2009 AD, Iranian and Russian technicians conducted a test run of Iran’s first nuclear power plant near Bushehr on the Persian Gulf – a major step toward launching full operations at the facility. Iran, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has peaceful nuclear programme under supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).