Today is Tuesday; 12th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1399 solar hijri; corresponding to 18th of the Islamic month of Rajab 1442 lunar hijri; and March 2, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1435 lunar years ago, on this day in 7 AH, Ibrahim, the infant son of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), passed away at the age of a year and six months. His mother was the virtuous Maria Qibtiyya (Mary the Copt), who was sent to the Prophet by the Byzantine governor of Egypt, Muqawqis, along with other presents, in response to the letter of invitation to Islam. The Prophet wept at his death and personally laid him in the grave in the Baqie Cemetery, addressing the dead child with tearful eyes that this is the Will of God. Earlier in his youth the Prophet had also lost to the cold hands of death his two infant sons by his first and long standing wife, the Mother of all True Believers (Omm al-Momineen), Hazrat Khadija al-Kubra (SA) – Qassim and Abdullah.
1016 lunar years ago, on this day in 426 AH, the Spanish Muslim mathematician, astronomer, and physician, Asbagh ibn Mohammad Ibn Samh al-Gharnati, passed away at the age of 56 years. He wrote his "Kitab az-Zij” in astronomy mainly based on the Iranian Islamic scientist, Mohammad ibn Musa Khwarezmi’s book "Sindhind”. He also wrote a treatise on the construction of the astrolabe and another on its use. He also extensively quotes in his "Kitab al‐Amal” from another Iranian Islamic astronomer, Ahmad ibn Abdullah Habash al‐Haseb al-Mervazi of Merv, Khorasan, which is evident of the profound influence of the Islamic East on Europe.
968 solar years ago, on this day in 1053 AD, Farrokhzad Jamal od-Dowlah ascended the throne of Ghazni as the 9th sultan, having escaped the massacre of Ghaznavid princess by Toghrul the Usurper. Son of Mas’oud I and grandson of the famous Sultan Mahmoud, his 6-year reign was one of benevolence, prosperity and tranquility, free from the chaotic turbulence of palace slaves who had destabilized the rule of his predecessors. A devout Muslim, he used to fast during Rajab, Sha’ban and Ramadhan, and reinstated as vizier the able Iranian administrator, Abdur-Razzaq Maymandi, who had formerly served his brother Maudud and uncle Abd ur-Rashid. He also freed from imprisonment the celebrated Iranian scholar, Abu’l-Fazl Bayhaqi, who wrote his famous history in Persian (Tarikh-e Bayhaqi), which is one of the most credible sources about the Ghaznavid Empire. Chagri Beg Seljuq launched an invasion soon after Farrokhzad’s ascension, but was defeated. Around 1058, Farrokh invaded Tukharistan in hopes of removing the Seljuqs to whom his father Mas’oud had lost Khorasan and parts of Transoxiana in the Battle of Dandanaqan in 1040. His army was initially successful, capturing the Seljuq Atabeg Qutb ad-Din Kul-Sarigh. However, Alp Arslan counter-attacked and defeated the Ghaznavid army. A subsequent peace treaty, drawn up by Abu’l-Fazl Bayhaqi allowed for exchange of prisoners and a mutual non-aggression pact. Depressed and sickened after an attempt on his life by palace slaves, Farrokhzad withdrew from worldly affairs and died on 4 April 1059 at the age of thirty four.
887 lunar years ago, on this day in 555 AH, Abdullah ibn Yousuf al-Azeed, the last self-styled caliph of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite Muslim dynasty of Egypt, Syria and North Africa, ascended the throne in Cairo at the age of 11. He was a pawn in the hands of his powerful vizier Shawar who frequently changed alliances, ranging from the Zangids of Syria to the Crusader occupiers of Palestine that brought about the doom of the Fatemid state. His eleven-year reign ended with his dethronement by the Kurdish general, Salah od-Din Ayyoubi, whom he had appointed as vizier on the assumption of containing the power of his own courtiers. Salah od-Din, who had entered Egypt as deputy to his uncle, Shirkoh, sent by Noor od-Din Zangi of Aleppo to protect Egypt from the Crusaders, brutally persecuted Shi’ite Muslims, burned entire libraries, and forced the people to become Sunnis, thereby ending over two-and-a-half centuries of Fatemid rule. The Fatemid rulers were buried in the grand mosque of Cairo known as "al Mashhad al Husain” in honour of the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS), the younger grandson and 3rd Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
496 solar years ago, on this day in 1525 AD, Budapest, the capital of Hungary was taken by the Ottoman Turkish army. The Turks had earlier defeated the Hungarian king in the Battle of Mohacs and in this manner the boundaries and borders of Ottoman Empire reached the Austrian Capital, Vienna.
334 solar years ago, on this day in 1687 AD, Prince Muhammad Mu’azzam was charged with treacherous conduct during the Mughal sieges of the Deccan sultanates of Iranian origin of Bijapur (1686) and Golkandah-Haiderabad, and imprisoned for seven years on the orders of his father, Emperor Aurangzeb. Earlier in the year he had defeated the Qutb-Shahi forces at Malkhed in what is now Karnataka State, but the Qutb-Shahis put up strong resistance from the impregnable Golkandah fortress till September of the same year, when through deceit and treachery the 170-year old dynasty founded by Sultan Quli, the Qara Qoyounlu adventurer from Hamedan in western Iran, collapsed. On Aurangzeb’s death, Mu’azzam rebelled against his brother Azam Shah (descended on his mother’s side from the Safavid emperors of Iran), who as the heir-apparent had crowned himself emperor, and after defeating and executing him, seized the throne with the titles of Shah Alam I and Bahadur Shah I. He died five years later.
224 solar years ago, on this day in 1797 AD, Horace Walpole, English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician, died at the age of 80. In 1754 AD, by playing with Persian words, he had coined the word "Serendipity” meaning a "fortuitous happenstance” or "pleasant surprise”. In a letter to a friend he explained an unexpected discovery he had made by reference to a Persian tale titled "The Three Princes of Serendip”, who were "always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.” "Serendip” was the ancient Iranian name for Sri Lanka. In its modern vernacular, "serendipity” is commonly associated with luck and accidental discovery. The notion of serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of scientific innovation such as Alexander Flemming’s accidental discovery of Penicillin in 1928, and the invention of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer in 1945, to name but a few. In contrast, "Bahramdipity” is derived from the 15th Sassanid Emperor of ancient Iran, Bahram Gur, and means suppression of serendipitous discoveries or research results by powerful individuals.
222 lunar years ago, on this day in 1220 AH, the prominent Islamic scholar, Hojjat al-Islam Mullah Mohammad Ashrafi, was born in northern Iran. He left for the seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq for higher studies, and soon became an authority on hadith, exegesis of the holy Qur’an, and philosophy. He passed away in 1315 AH. One of his books is "Asrar ash-Shahada” (Secrets of Martyrdom).
185 solar years ago, on this day in 1836 AD, German orientalist and Islamic scholar, Theodor Noldeke, was born in Harburg. He studied in Göttingen, Vienna, Leiden and Berlin, mastering several languages including Arabic and Persian. In 1859 his history of the holy Qur’an won for him the prize of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and in the following year he rewrote it in German (Geschichte des Qorâns). In 1861 he began to lecture at the university, where three years later he was appointed extraordinary professor. In 1868 he became ordinary professor at Kiel, and in 1872 was appointed to the chair of Oriental Languages at Strassburg, which he resigned in 1906. His range of studies was wide and varied, but the main focus of his work has followed the two lines indicated by his prize essay, Semitic languages, and the history and civilization of Islam. While a great deal of his work (e.g. his translations from the Arabic of the history of Tabari, 1881–1882) is meant for specialists, many of his books are of interest to the general reader. Noldeke’s articles dealing with Iran were republished in a German volume, titled "Aufsätze zur Persischen Geschichte” in Leipzig in 1887. He died in 1930.
148 solar years ago, on this day in 1873 AD, George Smith, British Assyriologist, arrived at the ruins of Nineveh outside Mosul in Iraq. Over the next few weeks he found tablets referring to more pieces of the Gilgamesh story, a record of kings in the Babylonian dynasties, as well as lists of cuneiform symbols.
125 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, French physicist, Henri Becquerel, discovered the radiation feature of radioactive material in uranium. The discovery won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in the year 1905; five years prior to his death.
98 solar years ago, on this day in 1923 AD, Iranian musician, Morteza Hannaneh, was born. For a while, he was conductor of Tehran’s Symphonic Orchestra, and then joined Iran Radio. An expert in classical Iranian music, he died at the age of 67 in 1990. He authored several books, including the translation and commentary of the book "Maqased al-Alhaan”.
65 solar years ago, on this day in 1956 AD, Morocco gained independence from French colonial rule. In 1912, after decades of meddling by European powers, France had declared this Muslim country as its protectorate. The same year the Moroccan people, under the leadership of Abdul-Karim Rifi, started the liberation struggle and managed to free the mountainous parts of the country, until they were defeated in 1926 by the French.
30 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, in the wake of the defeat of the Iraqi army in Kuwait by the US-led coalition, Iraqi people started their popular uprising against the repressive rule of Saddam’s Ba’th minority regime, as the long suppressed Shi’a Arab majority rose in the south, while the ethnic Kurd minority rose in the north. After initial gains, when the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala had been liberated and the noose was being tightened around Baghdad, the US allowed Saddam to use missiles and fixed-wing aircraft to brutally crush the popular uprising and to desecrate the holy shrines. The result was catastrophic. Saddam massacred at least seven hundred thousand Shi’a Arabs, and forced some two million Kurds to seek refuge across the borders in Iran and Turkey.
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, the Iranian lady scholar of the holy Qur’an, Banu Kowkab Pour-Ranjbar, passed away at the age of 88. Born in Shiraz, at the age of 16 she completed her Islamic studies and started her career as a teacher that led to her collection of copies of the holy Qur’an and correction of several of its manuscripts prepared in the Subcontinent. At the age of 27 after becoming blind she miraculously regained her eyesight on seeing in her dream Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), the Immaculate Daughter of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). Thereafter she devoted her life to the teaching of the holy Qur’an. She revolutionized the teaching of the holy Qur’an for children by adopting simple methods to teach this heavenly scripture.
20 solar years ago, on this day in 2001 AD, in Afghanistan the Taliban terrorists began the destruction of the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan despite international protests. The pair of Buddha statues was not the object of worship to be destroyed. These were relics of the skill of craftsmen of the ancient past who had hewn mountains to carve them. The Taliban used dynamite, anti-tank missiles, and artillery fire to destroy the two statues.
17 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, the holy cities of Karbala and Kazemain were rocked by several terrorist attacks, in which at least 170 people were martyred and 500 others injured. These attacks were carried out by the Takfiri terrorists on the Day of Ashura (10th of Moharram) – the martyrdom anniversary of the Prophet’s grandson Imam Husain (AS) – when millions of devotees were attending mourning processions for the first time after the fall of Iraq’s US-installed dictator, Saddam. The terrorists were never identified, but believed to be the agents of the US and Saudi Arabia.