Today is Saturday; 14th of the Iranian month of Farvardin 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 20th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban 1442 lunar hijri; and April 3, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1057 lunar years ago,on this day in 385 AH, famous Islamic historian and bibliographer, Mohammad Ibn Is’haq Ibn an-Nadeem, passed away. He was a follower of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt and the author of the famous encyclopedic work "al-Fehrist”. In his own words, this work is "an Index of the books of all nations, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, which are extant in the Arabic language and script, on every branch of knowledge; comprising information as to their compilers and the classes of their authors, together with the genealogies of those persons, the dates of their birth, the length of their lives, the times of their death, the places to which they belonged, their merits and their faults, since the beginning of every science that has been invented down to the present epoch: namely, the year 377 of the Hijra.” Ibn an-Nadeem’s choice of the rather rare Persian word "pehrest” (Arabicized as fehrist/fehris) for the title of his masterpiece on Arabic literature is noteworthy. This work is ample testimony to his knowledge of pre-Islamic, Syriac, Greek, Sanskrit, Latin and Persian books. He gives the titles only of those books which he had seen himself or whose existence was confirmed by a trustworthy person.
696 solar years ago, on this day in 1325 AD, the second most prominent mystic of India, Seyyed Nizam od-Din Awliya, passed away at the age of 87 in Delhi, where his tomb is a site of pilgrimage. He traced his descent to Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and belonged to the Cheshti Sufi order founded in the Subcontinent by the Iranian saint of Ajmer, Seyyed Moin od-Din Cheshti, who is famous for his tribute in Persian poetry to the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (AS). Nizam od-Din wrote several books including the spiritual treatise "Fawa’ed ol-Fu’aad” in Persian and trained many disciples such as the great Persian poet of the Subcontinent, Amir Khosrow Dehlavi. Nizam od-Din Awliya’s criticism of the eccentric policies of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq had enraged the king and made him issue threats of punishment after returning to Delhi, at which the mystic smiled and calmly said in Persian "Hanouz Dilli dour ast” (Delhi is still far). The Sultan died on his way.
590 lunar years ago, on this day in 852 AH, Ottoman Sultan Murad II decisively defeated a united European Christian Crusader army of 100,000 soldiers in the Second Battle of Kosovo, led by the king of Hungary, after three days of fierce fighting. The Crusaders arrived at the Kosovo Field, the same place the famous First Battle of Kosovo had occurred 60 years earlier between the Serbs and Ottomans, and resulted in Turkish domination of the Balkans. In this Second Battle of Kosovo, the 60,000-strong Muslim army completely destroyed the numerically superior Christian army, and five years later ended the existence of the tottering Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire by taking its capital Constantinople and renaming it Islambol (present day Istanbul).
341 solar years ago, on this day in 1680 AD, Shivaji, the Maratha guerilla chieftain of the Bhosle clan who carved out a kingdom in western India, died at the age of 50. His father was Shahji, a general in the service of the Adel-Shahi and Nizam-Shahi Persianate dynasties of the Deccan, who was named "Shah” by his father Maloji in honour of the Muslim mystic "Shah Sharif” of Ahmadnagar, whose prayers had granted him two sons – the second was named Sharifji. Shivaji was not on good terms with his own father, and unlike him, rebelled against the Adel-Shahi sultanate of Bijapur, whose famous general of eastern Iranian origin, Afzal Khan, he deceitfully slew at Pratapgarh in 1659 during a supposedly unarmed meeting between the two sides for submission to the central authority and end of insurgency. An expert in guerilla warfare, Shivaji was invited to Agra by Moghal Emperor Aurangzeb and according to protocol, restrictions were placed on his movements from the mansion where he was lodged. On learning that Aurangzeb was planning to send him and his guerilla forces to the northwestern frontier for the campaign to retake Qandahar – in what is now Afghanistan – from the Safavid Empire of Iran, Shivaji became fearful and fled south without notice. Back in the Deccan, by 1674 he carved out an independent enclave from the declining sultanate of Bijapur and chose Raigarh as his capital, which was his base for raiding the territories of the Qutb-Shahis, the Adel-Shahis and the powerful Moghal Empire that brought retaliation from Aurangzeb. In the areas under his control, he replaced the Persian language with his mother-tongue Marathi for official use. In the next century, the Marathas expanded their power in the north as far as Delhi, Punjab and the borders of Kashmir, bringing them into direct confrontation with the Afghans. Their pillaging and looting had alienated the Sikhs, the Jats, and even fellow Hindu Rajputs, enabling Ahmad Shah Durrani to inflict a crushing defeat on them at the Battle of Panipat in 1761 from which the Marathas never recovered, and were gradually absorbed by the British.
155 lunar years ago, on this day in 1287 AH, the great scholar, Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Najafi Isfahani, known as Masjid-Shahi, was born in the holy city of Najaf in Iraq. After attaining the status of Ijtihad, he came to Iran and settled in his ancestral city of Isfahan, where he engaged in teaching. In 1344 AH, on the invitation of Ayatollah Sheikh Abdul-Karim Ha’eri Yazdi, he went to holy Qom to help strengthen the revival of the Islamic seminary, and during his short stay of a year-and-a-half, before returning to Isfahan, he groomed several budding scholars, including the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). Besides the principles of jurisprudence, Imam Khomeini and other scholars regularly studied under him the Critique of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Imam Khomeini had profound memories of Ayatollah Masjid-Shahi and in his book "Makaseb Muharramah” (Prohibited Professions) has quoted extensively from his teacher’s "Risalah Rawdhat al-Ghina”, which he considers the best work on the critique of music. He has also quoted this respected teacher as authority in his discourse on the terminology of the principles of jurisprudence concerning the sanctioned or lawful things. Ayatollah Masjid-Shahi, who authored some 34 books, was among the teachers who authorized Imam Khomeini to relate hadith as the latter has mentioned in his book "Arba’een” (Collection of Forty Hadith). Among Ayatollah Masjid-Shahi’s books is "Wiqayat al-Adhan”, "Naqd-e Falsafa-e Darwin” and "Amjadiyyah”. He was also an expert in Arabic literature, and a poet himself. He was laid to rest in the Takht-e Fulad Cemetery of Isfahan.
131 solar years ago, on this day in the year 1890 AD, Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, was dismissed by the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, following disputes between the two, despite his efforts to unite Germany as a nation state in 1871. After his dismissal he started writing his political testament, in which he highly criticized the German emperor. Bismarck died in 1898.
109 lunar years ago, on this day in 1333 AH, Ayatollah Mullah Mohammad Akhund Kashi, passed away at the age of 84 in Isfahan. A student of famous scholars such as Aqa Mohammad Reza Qomshe’i, Mullah Hassan Nouri, and Mullah Abdul-Jawad Khorasani, he became a prominent teacher and promoter of the philosophy of Mullah Sadra Shirazi. In addition to philosophy, he mastered mathematics, astronomy, jurisprudence, and Gnosis, and is reported to have displayed "karamaat” or supernatural abilities. He groomed several students he became outstanding ulema, such Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Hassan Isfahani, Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Modarres, and Haj Aqa Rahim Arbab.
92 solar years ago, on this day in 1929 AD, Renowned Muslim architect, Fazl ur-Rahman Khan, who initiated important structural systems for skyscrapers and is considered the "father of tubular designs for high-rises”, was born in Dhaka in what is now the capital of Bangladesh. Khan, who died in 1982 at the age of 53, was also a pioneer in computer-aided design (CAD). He designed the 108-storey Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower of Chicago), the second-tallest building in the United States (and tallest in the world for many years) and the 100-story John Hancock Center. He came to the US in the 1950s on scholarship from what was then the government of East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh) and became an American citizen in 1967. Khan helped usher in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the 20th century. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat named their lifetime achievement medal after him. He was also responsible for designing notable buildings in Bangladesh, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
80 solar years ago, on this day in 1941 AD, during the struggles of the Iraqi people against the British regime and its puppet monarchy, Baghdad was taken over in a coup by two-times nationalist prime minister, Rashid Aali Gilani, who resented London’s plot to involve in the Second World War. The British forces brutally suppressed the uprising. Gilani, who came from a distinguished Sunni Muslim Iraqi family of Iranian origin, sought refuge in Iran. However, on 25 August 1941, the armed forces of Britain and the Soviet Union invaded Iran to remove Reza Khan Pahlavi from power and install on the Peacock Throne his 21-year old son, Mohammad Reza as the new puppet. Gilani, sensing danger, left for Berlin, where he was recognized as the leader of the Iraqi government in exile. Upon the defeat of Germany, he again fled and found refuge, this time in Saudi Arabia. Gilani only returned from exile after the revolution that overthrew the Iraqi monarchy in 1958. Once again he attempted to seize power, and plotted a revolt against Colonel Abdul Karim Qassem’s government. The revolt was foiled and he was sentenced to death. Later pardoned, he went into exile in Beirut, Lebanon, where he died in 1965.
55 solar years ago, on this day in 1966 AD, Luna 10, the first spacecraft to orbit the moon entered lunar orbit, and completed its first orbit 3 hours later. It was launched by the Soviet Union from an Earth orbiting platform on 31 March 1966. The scientific instruments on board included a gamma-ray spectrometer, triaxial magnetometer, and a meteorite detector. Other instruments investigated the solar-plasma, infrared emissions from the Moon, radiation conditions of the lunar environment and gravitational studies. It was battery powered, operated for 460 lunar orbits and made 219 active data radio transmissions before it discontinued on 30 May 1966.
21 solar years ago, on this day in 2000 AD, the prominent Iranian researcher and cartographer, Abbas Sehaab, passed away in Tehran at the age of 79. Born in Tafresh to the famous Professor Abu’l-Qasem Sehaab, who established the first- ever Geography and Cartography Institute of Iran, he specialized in geography and cartography, and as assistant to his father, travelled throughout Iran to prepare maps of towns and cities, while making trips abroad as well. He prepared the first- ever map of Tehran and was entrusted by his father with management of the Sehaab Institute of Geography and Cartography, whose library today contains over 16,000 books on geography and cartography; 18,000 geographical periodicals, and 20,000 maps. He authored the book "Art of Calligraphy from Earliest Times till Today”, as part of the UNESCO project for its Atlas of the History of Islamic Arts.
19 solar years ago, on this day in the year 2002, the Zionist army brutally attacked the city of Jenin as part of the campaign to terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank in a bid to end the Second Intefadha. Nearly 200 tanks, dozens of choppers, and 10,000 troops participated in the aggression, pounding Jenin continuously. Despite the power cut, severance of water supplies, and obstruction of relief aid, the Palestinian people and combatants resisted for nine days. Israel brutally suppressed and massacred hundreds of men, women and children; demolished their homes and hearths, hospitals, and the infrastructure; to the extent that 70% of the city was flattened and 5,000 Palestinians were made homeless.
19 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, renowned Iranian mathematician Professor Ahmad Birashk passed away in his hometown Tehran at the age of 96. After graduation he taught architecture at the university for 19 years before serving as Deputy Ministry of Education. He translated, wrote and compiled several books on mathematics, engineering, philosophy and history, including a biographical work on scientists and intellectuals. Known as "Father of Mathematics” in Iran, Professor Ahmad Birashk is known for his encyclopedic work titled "A Comparative Calendar of the Iranian, Muslim Lunar, and Christian Eras for Three-Thousand Years”. This is a manual of the three major calendars in use in Iran: the Islamic lunar hijri calendar, the Iranian solar hijri calendar, and the Western Gregorian calendar. This book includes tables for the conversions of dates among these three calendars from 639 BC to 2621 AD.