Today is Wednesday; 18th of the Iranian month of Farvardin 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 24th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban 1442 lunar hijri; and April 7, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1570 solar years ago, on this day in 451 AD, Attila the Hun sacked Metz in north- eastern France and attacked other French cities and towns, massacring people and plundering properties. Of Turkic-Mongoloid origin, and known as the scourge of God because of his barbaric nature, during his 19-year rule, he spread the nomadic Hunnic Empire from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the River Danube to the Baltic Sea. After the devastating defeat he suffered in Armenia in 441 AD at the hands of Yazdegerd II, the Sassanid Emperor of Iran, Atilla never ventured again near the borders of the Persian Empire, and invaded the Eastern Roman Empire, the success of which emboldened him to invade the Western Roman Empire as well. He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople (modern Istanbul). He invaded Roman Gaul (France), crossing the Rhine in 451 and marching as far as Orleans. He subsequently invaded Italy and devastated its northern provinces but was unable to take Rome. He died in 453.
1097 solar years ago, on this day in 924 AD, Berengar I of Italy, died at the age of 79, nine years after being crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John X following the Battle of Garigliano in southern Italy against the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite Muslim Caliphate of North Africa, which from its colony of Sicily held sway over southern Italian principalities. Berengar had been king of several northern Italian principalities since 887 and was backed by the papacy in view of the existential threat to Rome and the catholic sect of Christianity by the growing power of the Muslims in Europe.
300 solar years ago, on this day in 1721 AD, Russian Emperor, Peter the Great, attacked Sweden, and after defeating it, imposed the Treaty of Nystad, according to which Finland and parts of Sweden were occupied by Russia.
251 solar years ago, on this day in 1770 AD, prominent English poet, William Wordsworth, was born in England. In 1798, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the joint publication of "Lyrical Ballads”. His magnum opus is considered to be "The Prelude”, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years which he revised and expanded several times. Wordsworth was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.
232 solar years ago, on this day in 1789 AD, Selim III became the 29th Ottoman sultan and 20th self-styled Turkish caliph on the death of his uncle, Abdul-Hamid I – four months after the disastrous defeat of the Turks by the combined Russian-Austrian armies and the fall of Ochakov in what is now Ukraine to Russia, which massacred all its 20,000 Muslim inhabitants. Born in 1762 to the Georgian concubine Agnesa, who on conversion to Islam was given the name Mehr-e Shah (Sun of the King), on ascending the throne Selim III embarked on plans to modernize the Empire, including the army in view of the disastrous wars with Austria and Russia. His most ambitious military project was creation of an entirely new infantry corps, called the "Nizam-e Jedid” (new order). This was opposed by the Janissari Corps, which rose in revolt, and in 1807 induced the Sheikh ul-Islam to grant a fatwa against the reforms. He was dethroned after a reign of 18 years, and replaced by his cousin Mustafa IV. A year and 2 months later he was killed in the harem when news reached the new sultan that a large army led by Alamdar Pasha was approaching Istanbul to reinstate him on the throne. Selim III carried on personal correspondence with Louis XVI, and was distressed by the setting up of the republic in France. On July 1, 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte’s French forces landed in Egypt, he declared war on France. In alliance with Russia and Britain, the Turks were in periodic conflict with the French on both land and sea until March 1801. Selim’s assistance was sought by Fath Ali Khan Tipu Sultan of the independent Muslim Sultanate of Mysore in the Deccan (southern India) during the Third Anglo-Mysore War. The British appealed to him to tell Tipu Sultan to halt the war against the colonialists, prompting the Ottoman Sultan to write a letter to the Sultan of Mysore, criticizing the French, and offering to act as intermediary between him and the British. Tipu Sultan wrote twice to Selim III, rejecting his advice, and began to consolidate his relations with France, as result of which Napoleon invaded Ottoman Egypt in 1798, causing a furor in Constantinople. Immediately, the British unilaterally broke the truce and launched the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War to defeat and kill Tipu Sultan during the Siege of Seringapatam in 1799.
221 lunar years ago, on this day in 1221 AH, the Ottoman empire issued a decree confirming Albanian general, Mohammed Ali Pasha, as governor of Egypt, a few years after his successful ending of the political and administrative crisis in the Land of the Nile. Later, following the sacrilegious Wahhabi attack on the shrine of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, Iraq, and the desecration of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina by Godless elements from the Najd, the Ottoman Sultan tasked Mohammad Ali to end the sedition. He successfully accomplished the mission by restoring order to the Hijaz and sending his sons to pursue the Wahhabis right into their heartland Najd, where he ordered the destruction of their capital, Diriyya, and sent Wahhabi chieftain, Abdullah ibn Saud, in chains to Istanbul for execution for his unpardonable crimes. The dynasty founded by Mohammad Ali was known as "Khedive” from the Persian word for prince or ruler. It was overthrown in 1952 through military coup by Gen Najib and Col Jamal Abdun-Nasser.
210 solar years ago, on this day in 1811 AD, Albanian philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and religious teacher, Hassan Tahsini, was born in the village of Ninat, Konispol, Albania in the Ottoman Empire, to religious scholar, Osman Efendi. He was tutor to the sons of Khayrullah Efendi, the Minister of Education, who later appointed him to the staff of the Ottoman school of Paris, where Tahsini taught Turkish and religious sciences, while serving as imam at the Ottoman embassy and studying mathematics and natural sciences at the university. He was influenced by Iran’s pan-Islamic activist, Seyyed Jamal od-Din Asadabadi. In 1870 he became the first rector of the newly established Istanbul University, where he gave lectures on physics, astronomy and psychology.The court mullahs considered Tahsini’s scientific experiments as witchcraft, declared him a heretic, dismissed him from the university, and disallowed him to give lectures. The university was closed for a period because of Seyyed Jamal od-Din’s support for him. Tahsini wrote the first Turkish language treatise on psychology and the first Turkish language book on modern astronomy. His other works in Turkish include a translation from the French of Constantin François de Chassebœuf’s "Loi Naturelle”. Along with Sami Frasheri, one of the most important figures of the Albanian National Awakening, he developed a unique alphabet of the Albanian language, which according to him was devised in such way that each letter required the least hand movements to be written. Tahsini, who passed away in Istanbul in 1881was a leading member of the "Central Committee for Defending Albanian Rights”, set up in 1877 in the Ottoman capital.
132 solar years ago, on this day in 1889 AD, acclaimed Latin American poetess and author, Gabriela Mistral, was born in Chile. Admiration of the important status of mothers and their sentiment is evident in her poems. She was the first Latin American poetess to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in (1945).
130 lunar years ago, on this day in 1312 AH, Source of Emulation Grand Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Shirazi, passed away at the age of 82 in Samarra, Iraq. Born in Shiraz, after completion of preliminary studies, he left for the Najaf Seminary in Iraq, where he studied under the celebrated Ayatollah Sheikh Morteza Ansari Dezfuli. The name of Mirza Shirazi brings to mind the famous fatwa or edict he issued for boycott of Tobacco which forced the Qajarid king, Nasser od-Din Shah, to cancel the monopoly over tobacco production in Iran that he had granted to the British Talbot Company.
99 solar years ago, on this day in 1922 AD, German Islamologist, Annemarie Schimmel, was born in Erfurt, Germany in a cultured family. She developed a keen interest in orientalism and obtained her PhD in Islamic studies from Berlin University at the age of 19. The title of her thesis was "The Position of the Caliph and the Qadhi in Late Medieval Egypt”. Interested in Islamic mysticism, she mastered several languages, and was fluent in English, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, and Bengali. She wrote extensively on Islamic culture and became internationally renowned, as an authority on classical Persian poets such as the Iranians Mowlana Jalal od-Din Rumi, Khwajah Hafez Shirazi, and Sheikh Sa’di.In 1954 she was appointed Professor of the History of Religion at Ankara University, where she spent five years immersing herself in the culture and the mystical tradition of that country. She became a professor at the US Harvard University in 1967 and the same year she inaugurated the Indo-Muslim studies program at Harvard, where she remained for the next twenty-five years till 1992. Professor Schimmel received honorary degrees and prizes on several occasions from various countries. She authored over fifty books, in addition to hundreds of articles. Books written by her include "And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety”, "Islam and the Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom”, "A Dance of Sparks: Imagery of Fire in Ghalib’s Poetry”, "A Two-Coloured Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry”, "Gabriel’s Wing: Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal”, "I Am Wind, You Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi”, "Im Reich der Grossmoguls: Geschichte, Kunst, Kultur” ("The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art, and Culture”), "Classical Urdu Literature: From the Beginning to Iqbal”, "Islamic Literatures of India”, "Make a Shield from Wisdom: Selected Verses from Nasir-e Khosrow’s Divan”, and "Pain and Grace: A Study of Two Mystical Writers of Eighteenth-Century Muslim India”. She died in 2003in Bonn at the age of 81.
84 solar years ago, on this day in 1937 AD, Italy launched a massive attack to occupy Albania. Some 10,000 soldiers, backed by 400 planes, defeated the Albanian army in a five-day battle.
75 solar years ago, on this day in 1946 AD, Syria’s independence from France was formally recognized. Greater Syria or Bilaad ash-Shaam, which for four centuries had been occupied by the Ottoman Turks, was seized by the Allied powers of Britain and France in 1917 during World War I. The victors divided Syria between them, with the British creating Jordan and Palestine, and the French creating present-day Syria and Lebanon. Following independence from colonial rule, Syria went through instability for 24 years with frequent coups, counter-coups and overthrow of military and civilian governments that saw the rise and fall of more than a dozen regimes. The situation was stabilized and progress became possible, only with the coming to power in 1970 of President Hafez al-Assad, who during his 30-year rule made Syria a strong bulwark of resistance against the designs of the West and the illegal Zionist entity. He was succeeded in 2000 by his son, Dr. Bashshar al-Assad, who for the past 18 years has ably led the country, although at present he is facing an insurrection and state-sponsored terrorism incited by the US, Britain, France, Israel, Turkey and Arab reactionary states, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
74 solar years ago, on this day in 1947 AD, US inventor, Henry Ford, died at the age of 84. Born in a poor family, he made watches while working as a mechanic. Later he invented motor cars and built a major auto industrial empire.
73 solar years ago, on this day in 1948 AD, the UN established the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 1950, April 7 has been celebrated as World Health Day.
57 solar years ago, on this day in 1964 AD, following mass protests throughout Iran, the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) was freed from detention by the British-installed and US-backed Pahlavi regime. He was detained by the regime, following his historic speech on the eve of June 4, 1963 against the anti-Islamic and anti-national policies of the Shah.
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, the United States of America unilaterally severed relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a year and two months after the victory of the Islamic Revolution which threw into the dustbin of history the British-installed and American-backed despotic Pahalavi regime. The US has never ceased its hostility towards Iran, and in its vain bid to undermine the popular Islamic system of government, has resorted to various plots including the 8-year war during the 1980s through Saddam, and the current illegal economic sanctions. The pretext for the US to sever ties was takeover of its embassy in Tehran by revolutionary students who resented its turning into a den of spies in violation of diplomatic norms. Imam Khomeini (RA) called this US measure as the only good thing Washington has done to the Iranian people, because diplomatic ties were misused for decades to oppress Iran and plunder its resources. The US has continued to plot against Islamic Iran in all spheres – political, economic, military, cultural, scientific etc. – but has failed to succeed, thanks to Divine Grace that enabled the Iranian nation’s resolve to attain self-sufficiency in all fields.
26 solar years ago, on this day in 1995 AD, during the First Chechen War, Russian troops began a massacre of Muslim civilians in Samashki, Chechnya, before they were repulsed with great loss. In 1999 Russia launched another war to occupy the oil-rich Caucasian republic. It is worth noting that Chechnya, along with Daghestan, the present day Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia and eastern Georgia, was part of Iranian for the past two millenniums, before being occupied by the Russians, as per the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Gulistan imposed in 1813 on the Qajarid Dynasty.
15 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Takfiri terrorists backed by the US and Saudi Arabia, blew through remote control bags of explosives they had handed to unsuspecting persons at the famous al-Buratha Mosque in northern Baghdad, martyring over a hundred Shi’a Muslim worshippers, and wounding many others.