Today is Saturday; 9th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 15th of the Islamic month of Rajab 1442 lunar hijri; and February 27, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1749 solar years ago, on this day in 272 AD, Constantine I, who imposed the Pauline Creed on the Roman Empire, was born in Dardania in the Balkans. His father, Flavius Valerius Constantius, was an army officer, and it is not known whether his mother Helena was a wife or a concubine. When his father became deputy emperor of the west in 293, Constantine was sent east, where he became a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius – notorious for their persecution of the monotheist followers of Prophet Jesus and those who later came to be known as Christians. In 305, his father was raised to the rank of Augustus, or senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled to the west to campaign in Britannia. Acclaimed as emperor by the army on his father’s death in 306, Constantine emerged victorious in civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both the west and the east by 324. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and named it New Rome, but it was called Constantinople in his honour. Later the city served as capital of Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire for over a thousand years, before falling in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks, who renamed it Islambol (Istanbul), and made it capital of their empire for the next 470 years. Constantine has earned lasting notoriety for persecuting Arianism and the purely monotheistic followers of Prophet Jesus. The form of Christianity he imposed is actually the innovation of Paul the Hellenized Jew, who was a fierce opponent of Prophet Jesus, but after him, claimed to be his follower in order to distort the monotheistic message of the Messiah, by coining the weird concept of Trinity that was more closer to the Roman pantheon of deities.
1641 solar years ago, on this day in 380 AD, the Edict of Thessalonica was issued by Roman Emperor Theodosius I, with co-emperors Gratian and Valentinian II, forcing all Roman citizens to convert to the Trinitarian form of Christianity, or else be branded as heretics subject to punishment. This weird concept of ‘godfather’, ‘godson’ and the ‘holy ghost’ – an invention of Paul the Hellenized Jew who was a staunch opponent of Prophet Jesus and after him feigned to be his follower – was designed to suit the polytheist beliefs of European pagans, in opposition to the monotheist message of the Virgin-born Messiah.
1449 lunar years ago, on this day, 7 years before his migration from Mecca to Medina, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) instructed a group of early Muslims, suffering from the persecution of pagan Arabs, to migrate to Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia), across the Red Sea, where the ruler, King Negus (Najashi) was a justice-loving monotheist. The 15-member group made up of 11 men and 4 women was led by the Prophet’s trustworthy companion Othman bin Madh’oun. A year later, the second migration of Muslims to Abyssinia took place when the Prophet instructed his paternal cousin, Ja’far ibn Abi Taleb (AS) to lead a group of some 88 persons. The pagan Arabs, alarmed at the hospitality accorded to the Muslims in Abyssinia, and resenting the spread of Islam, sent a delegation to King Negus, led by the notorious disbeliever, Amr ibn Aas, to extradite the believers. It is a well known fact of history, how Hazrat Ja’far (later at-Tayyar) refuted the accusations of the pagan Arabs in the Abyssinian court and by providing proof from the holy Qur’an of the prime position in Islam of Prophet Jesus (AS) and his virgin-mother, Mary (SA), convinced King Negus of the righteousness of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) universal mission. Hazrat Ja’far (AS) returned to Arabia for good thirteen years later in 7 AH, incidentally on the day the impregnable Jewish fortress of Khayber was single-handedly conquered by his younger brother, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS). He attained martyrdom a year later in the Battle of Mu’ta against a joint force of the Byzantine Empire and its Christian Arab allies, the Ghassanids, in what is now Jordan. His elder son, Abdullah was married to Imam Ali’s (AS) elder daughter, the Prophet’s granddaughter, Hazrat Zainab (SA).
1440 lunar years ago, on this day in 2 AH, upon God’s command, the "qibla” or focal point of worship for Muslims changed from the direction of Bayt al-Moqaddqas in Palestine to the holy Ka’ba in Mecca. The change of direction happened when Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was leading the prayers in Medina in the mosque known till this day as "Zu-Qiblatayn” or Mosque of the Two Qiblahs.
1379 lunar years ago, on this day in 63 AH, Hazrat Zainab (SA), the venerable granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was martyred in a garden outside Damascus by an enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt who struck a fatal blow on her head with a pickaxe. The Heroine of Karbala who bequeathed to posterity the life-inspiring mourning ceremonies of Moharram and Safar for her brother, Imam Husain (AS), needs no introduction. We offer condolences to all listeners, and later in our programme, we will present you a special feature on her life and times.
1166 lunar years ago, on this day in 276 AH, the Iranian philologist of Arabic, Abu Mohammad Abdullah bin Muslim ibn Qutaybah ad-Dinawari, passed away in Baghdad. He was born in Kufa in Iraq, while his father was from the Khorasani city of Merv in what is now Turkmenistan. Having studied hadith and philology he became qazi or judge in Dinawar, near Hamedan in western Iran, and afterwards a teacher in Baghdad. He was the first representative of the eclectic school of Baghdad philologists that succeeded the schools of Kufa and Basra. He is regarded by Sunni Muslims as an authority on hadith. Among his works are "Gharib al-Qur’an” on its lexical issues, "al-Imama wa al-Siyasa” in which he has exposed the deviation of the caliphate from its goals, and "ash-She’r wa’sh-Shu’ara” on poetry and poets.
730 lunar years ago, on this day in 712 AH, the Iranian mystic and poet, Najm od-Din Zarkoub Tabrizi, passed away. He is the author in Persian of the "Futuwwat-Namah”, on the rites of "Jawan-mardi” or chivalry into which Sufis are initiated for serving the cause of God and humanity.
512 solar years ago, on this day in 1509 AD, nine years after the discovery of Brazil by the Portuguese explorer, Pedro Alvarez Cabral, Portugal formally established its hegemony on this large swathe of South America. Until the independence of Brazil in the year 1822, France and Holland on several occasions tried to seize this territory but failed. Over the centuries, the Portuguese forcibly brought three million black people from Africa to Brazil for forced labor in sugarcane plantations. At the same time, the persecution of the indigenous Latin American people led to numerous uprisings against the Portuguese colonialists; which were all brutally suppressed. Although Brazil gained its independence in the year 1822, the presence and infiltration of the Portuguese in this country continued for several more decades.
330 solar years ago, on this day in 1691 AD, English publisher, Edward Cave, who founded "The Gentleman’s Magazine” in 1731, was born in Newton near Rugby in Warwickshire. "The Gentleman’s Magazine” was the first to use the term magazine for a periodical from the French word magazine, meaning "storehouse”. A monthly digest of news and commentary on any topic the educated public might be interested in, from commodity prices to Latin poetry, it ran uninterrupted for almost 200 years, until 1922. The famous lexicographer Samuel Johnson’s first regular employment as a writer was with "The Gentleman’s Magazine”.
214 solar years ago, on this day in 1807 AD, American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was born in Portland, Maine. His famous poems include "The Children’s Hour”, "Evangeline” and "What is time?” He died in 1882.
177 solar years ago, on this day in 1844 AD, Dominica, which the Haitian revolutionary leader, Toussaint Louverture, had seized from the Spanish in 1801, declared its independence. In 1916, it was occupied by the US, which 8 years later in 1924, due to the resistance of the Dominican people, was forced to sign a treaty for gradual withdrawal of its occupation forces. Colonel Rafael Trujillo staged a coup in 1930 and for 30 years until his assassination, he ruled the country. Thereafter, the US has often interfered in this country, which shares the Hispaniola Island with Haiti.
142 solar years ago, on this day in 1879, AD, saccharin, the artificial sweetener, was accidentally discovered by Constantin Fahlberg, while he was researching coal tar compounds for Ira Remsen at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. With hands unwashed since leaving his laboratory work, during meal he accidentally discovered its intensely sweet taste when his fingers touched his lips. He subsequently obtained patents on its synthesis, and with his uncle, Dr. Adolf List, started a factory to produce and market it. Fahlberg became wealthy by taking the outcome of a laboratory experiment and pursuing a commercial path for it.
125 lunar years ago, on this day in 1317 AH, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Qasim Musavi Khoei, was born in Khoy in Iran’s West Azarbaijan Province. After initial studies in Tabriz, he left for holy Najaf in Iraq at the age of 13 to continue his studies. Here, his piety and knowledge attracted the attention of the India-based Iranian religious scholar, Mirza Ahmad Najafi-Tabrizi, who gave his daughter in marriage to him and lodged him in his own house. Mirza Ahmad used to frequent the semi-independent state of Banganapalle in south India, ruled by a Seyyed family of Iranian origin, who were patrons of scholars and learning. Soon Ayatollah Khoei mastered logic, rhetoric, theology, jurisprudence and philosophy, and in the process attained the status of Ijtehad. In 1971, he succeeded Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohsin al-Hakim as the leading Marja’ of the Islamic world and thereafter groomed a large number of scholars from Iran, Iraq, the Subcontinent, Bahrain and Lebanon. Among his valuable books are "Lectures in the Principles of Jurisprudence”, in 10 volumes, "Islamic Law” in 18 volumes, and "Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith” in 24 volumes. The last named is an authoritative work on evaluation of narrators of hadith. During the 8-year war imposed on Iran in the 1980s by the US through Saddam, he refused to yield to the Ba’thist minority regime’s pressures to denounce the Islamic Republic, even though his house was frequently subjected to water and electricity cuts. He passed away in Kufa at the age of 96, a year and some five months after Saddam brutally crushed popular uprising of the Iraqi people. It is believed the regime martyred him through poisoning.
119 solar years ago, on this day in 1902 AD US novelist John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. His works are: "The Grapes of Wrath” and "Of Mice and Men”.
89 solar years ago, on this day in 1932 AD, neutron was discovered by Dr. James Chadwick at Cambridge University of Britain. He suggested that the new radiation consisted of uncharged particles of approximately the mass of the proton, and he performed a series of experiments verifying his suggestion. These uncharged particles were called neutrons, apparently from the Latin root for neutral and the Greek ending -on (by imitation of electron and proton). Neutron has been a key to the production of nuclear power. In 1933 it was realized that it might mediate a nuclear chain reaction. When nuclear fission was discovered in 1938, it became clear that if the process also produced neutrons, this might be a mechanism to produce neutrons for chain reaction. This was proven in 1939, opening the path to nuclear power production. These findings led to the first self-sustaining, man-made, nuclear chain reaction in 1942, and its subsequent misuse resulted in 1945 in the production of the first nuclear weapons, which the US criminally dropped in an act of state terrorism on the unsuspecting Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when World War 2 had virtually ended.
79 solar years ago, on this day in 1942 AD, during World War II, major air strikes of Japanese warplanes against the Allied Powers’ naval units started. These operations took place in the Sea of Java and destroyed many US, Australian and British warships.
45 solar years ago, on this day in 1976 AD, the Spanish occupied territory of Western Sahara, declared its independence under auspices of the Polisario Front as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Because of western and Arab reactionary support to Morocco, SADR remains a partially recognized state that controls only 20-to-25% of its territory, as the rest remains under Moroccan occupation. The claimed capital of the SADR is El-Aaiún, while the temporary capital has been moved from Bir Lehlou to Tifariti. The Sahrawi Republic maintains diplomatic relations with 40 UN states, and is a full member of the African Union.
24 solar years ago, on this day in 1997 AD, a 6.1 earthquake at Ardebil in northwest Iran struck at 4:27 p.m. local time. The quake damaged 110 villages and killed some 3,000 people. A second 5.1 quake followed in 2 days.
19 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, anarchists torched a train, the Sabarmati Express, in Godhra in Gujarat state of India, while it was returning from Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where the Hindus were campaigning for building a temple on the ruins of the criminally destroyed Babri Mosque, and then blamed on the Muslims the incident in which 59 Hindus were reportedly killed, in order to ignite flames of communal violence. Hindu anarchists went rampaging throughout Gujarat state and in the following days slaughtered some 3,000 Muslim men, women and children, as the state government of Chief Minister Narendra Modi – currently the prime minister of India – not just mutely watched the massacre, but its police and security forces helped the anarchist mobs.
15 lunar years ago, on this day in 2007 AD, Chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Faiz Meshkini, passed away at the age of 86. Born in Meshkin Shahr in Ardabil Province, he studied at the Qom Seminary under Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Borujerdi and the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). He joined the movement against the despotic rule of the Shah, and as a result suffered imprisonment and banishment to the remote parts of the country. He was Friday Prayer Leader of Qom for several years, and his sermons were eagerly listened for their religious and political analyses.
11 solar years ago, on this day in 2010 AD, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile, toppling homes, collapsing bridges and plunging trucks into the fractured earth. The death toll was over 700, while 1.5 million Chileans were affected and 150,000 left homeless. A tsunami caused by the quake swept across the Pacific, devastating coastal communities near the epicenter. Damages were later estimated at $30 billion.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, former Turkish premier, Najm od-Din Erbakan, passed away at the age of 84. Born in the northern Turkish city of Sinop he studied Mechanical Engineering at Istanbul University, on the completion of which he left for Germany to earn a PhD at Aachen University. On return to Turkey, he became a university professor in 1967. He entered politics in 1969, and was soon elected MP. He founded several Islamic-oriented parties, which the military authorities forcibly dissolved. He became leader of the Welfare Islamic Party in 1987, and in 1996 was democratically elected as Prime Minister. His policy of expansion of Turkey’s relations with Muslim countries was unbearable for the military, the Zionist regime of Israel, and the US. For this reason, the military officers forced him to resign.