Today is Monday; 23rd of the Iranian month of Farvardin 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 29th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban 1442 lunar hijri; and April 12, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1781 solar years ago, on this day in 240 AD, Shapur I was crowned as the 2nd Shahenshah or king of kings of the Sassanid Empire by his father Ardashir I, the founder of the dynasty two years before his own death. During his 30-year rule, he enlarged the empire in the east and the west that brought him into conflict with Roman Emperor, Gordian III, who was killed in 244 by Iranian soldiers in the Battle of Misikhe near present day Fallujah in Iraq. Shapur I has recorded this victory in the stone inscription at Naqsh-e Rustam near Shiraz:
"When at first we had become established in the (Sassanid) empire, Gordian Caesar raised in all of the Roman Empire a force from the Goth and German realms and marched on Babylonia against the Empire of Iran and against us. On the border of Babylonia at Misikhe, a great frontal battle occurred. Gordian Caesar was killed and the Roman force was destroyed. And the Romans made Philip (the Arab) Caesar. Then Philip Caesar came to us for terms, and to ransom their lives, gave us 500,000 dinars, and became tributary to us. And for this reason we have renamed Misikhe, Peroz-Shapur.”
In 250 AD, the 2nd war of his reign against the Roman Empire started as a result of Roman incursions into Armenia, and Shapur I annihilated a Roman force of 60,000 at the Battle of Barbalissos in Syria. The Iranian armies swept across the region and reached the Mediterranean Sea coast. In the north, Armenia and Georgia came under the control of Shapur I by 252. In 257, when the next Roman Emperor Valerian (notorious for his persecution of Christians and the monotheist followers of Prophet Jesus), marched against the Persian Empire with a huge force, Shapur I advanced into Asia Minor and decisively defeated him at Edessa in what is now south-central Turkey. Valerian was captured and brought to Iran as prisoner along with thousands of Roman captives, who were employed in the construction of the dam on River Karoun – known till this day as Band-e Qaiser, or Caesar’s Dam. The Roman Emperor’s capture is presented in a mural at Naqsh-e Rustam, where Shapur I is represented on horseback wearing royal armour and crown, while before him kneels Valerian, asking for grace. Shapur I, who built several cities such as Naishapur in Khorasan, Bishapur in Fars, Gundishapur in Khuzestan, and Perozeshapur in Iraq, allowed the monotheist followers of Prophet Jesus as well as Christians, freedom to practice their religion at a time when they were persecuted in the Roman Empire.
1284 solar years ago, on this day in 737 AD, Zayd, the son of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) – the 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – launched his uprising against the usurper Omayyad regime. Two years later he was cruelly martyred near Kufa in Iraq at the age of 42. His mother was a virtuous lady from Sindh in what is now Pakistan, and he rose up against the tyranny of Hesham bin Abdul-Malik, the 10th self-styled Omayyad caliph in order to safeguard the achievements of the uprising of his Infallible Grandfather, Imam Husain (AS). After being deserted by the Kufans, he bravely fought until he was martyred. His son Yayha buried him in the riverbed of the Euphrates by briefly diverting the waters and then restoring their normal flow, but the Omayyads bribed turncoats to betray the location. They took out the corpse of this pious and learned member of the Prophet’s Household, decapitated it, hung it on the gallows for four years, and finally burned it. Zayd’s martyrdom was foretold by the Prophet more than a hundred and ten years earlier when he put his hand on the back of his younger grandson, and said:
"O Husain, it will not be long until a man will be born among your descendants. He will be called Zayd; he will be killed as a martyr. On the day of resurrection, he and his companions will enter heaven.”
Zayd’s body was later buried, and his head which had been sent to Damascus was, after the fall of the hated Omayyads, buried in Karak in Jordan, which was then part of Syria. Zayd’s sons were also persecuted, especially Yayha, who was martyred in 125 AH, after a valiant fight in Khorasan in the area called Jowzajan which is presently in Afghanistan. Many of Zayd’s followers made mountainous Yemen the base of their struggle against the Omayyad and Abbasid regimes, and some of them in Tabaristan in Iran’s Caspian Sea provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan. The Zaydi Shi’a Muslims of Yemen, who make 40 percent of the national population (excluding the Ismaili and Ithna Ashari [Twelver] Shi’a Muslims of Yemen), revere Martyr Zayd as an Imam, although he never claimed the imamate, and was obedient to his elder brother, Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), and after him to his nephew, Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS). Yemen, which for over a thousand years, was ruled by successive Zaydi Shi’a Muslim dynasties, especially in the north, is today in the grip of a crisis, with aerial bombing by Saudi Arabia, whose founder, Abdul-Aziz in 1934 occupied large parts of Yemen, including Jizan, Aseer, and Najran, and whose new ruler, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, with the help of the US, Israel, and reactionary Arab regimes, is trying in vain to install a puppet regime.
1223 lunar years ago, on this day in 219 AH, the jurisprudent and hadith authority, Fadhl bin Dukin ibn Na’eem, passed away at the age of 89. He is considered a reliable narrator of hadith by Sunni Muslims and has quoted accounts of the crimes against Islam of Khaled ibn Waleed. An expert on biography of narrators of hadith, he wrote several books and groomed many students.
1209 solar years ago, on this day in 812 AD, Imam Mohammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS), the 9th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Medina. His birthday according to the Islamic calendar is 10th of Rajab 195 AH, a day which is widely celebrated by the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt worldwide. He was the son and successor of Imam Reza (AS), and his period of imamate was 17 years during which he groomed a great many scholars. He also held interesting debates with the adherents of various schools of thought in order to prove the truthful nature of the pure and pristine teachings of the Prophet’s Household. The 9th Imam reposes in eternal peace besides his grandfather, Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS) in the magnificent gold-plated twin-domed shrine of Kazemain, north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
1124 lunar years ago, on this day in 318 AH, acclaimed Iranian Shafe’i jurisprudent, Mohammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Mundhir Naishaburi, passed away in holy Mecca at the age of 77. Born in Naishabur in Khorasan, after mastering hadith and Qur’anic sciences, he travelled to Hejaz where he spent the rest of his life in Mecca, as Shaikh al-Haram. He was well versed with the differing opinions amongst the scholars of hadith, and wrote several books, the largest of which was titled "al-Mabsout”, which has not survived. He abridged this voluminous work as "al-Awsat”, but only a few volumes of it have been found, and even fewer printed. He further abridged this book into a still smaller version titled "al-Ishraaf”, which is regarded as the best book of its kind, since he briefly mentions in it all the different opinions regarding each topic and occasionally mentions the opinion he prefers.
273 solar years ago, on this day in the year 1748 AD, the French biologist and botanist, Laurent Jussieu, was born in the city of Lyon. Like his father and uncles, he dedicated his efforts to the science of botany. He died in 1836.
198 solar years ago, on this day in 1823 AD, the prolific Russian playwright, Alexander Ostrovsky, was born. He graduated in Law but turned toward writing screenplays. He wrote a historical or satirical screenplay almost every year, depicting the deteriorating state of the Russian society. He was highly influential in the Russian theater and is considered as the leading playwright o the Era of Realism. He died in 1886.
160 solar years ago, on this day in 1861 AD, the American Civil War started with the Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The cause of the war was the refusal of the rich plantation owners of the south to obey the federal law of abolishment of the slavery of the black African people, and resulted in the victory of the northern Unionists four years later. Over 620,000 soldiers died in the war, in addition to a large number of civilian casualties.
157 solar years ago, on this day in 1864 AD, during the American Civil War, the Fort Pillow massacre occurred in the state of Tennessee when Confederate forces killed in cold blood over 300 black African soldiers after tricking them to surrender.
117 lunar years ago, on this day in 1325 AH, the draft of Iran’s first Constitution was signed, albeit reluctantly, by the despotic king Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar. It was hastily drafted and contained 107 articles. The constitution was tampered with and changed constantly, especially during the despotic rule of the British-installed and American-backed Pahlavi regime. Passages pertaining to people’s rule and the Islamic shari’ah were eliminated, while clauses were added to spread corruption and depravity in society for weakening the people’s cultural values in order to strengthen the repressive rule of the Pahlavis. Following the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that ended domestic despotism and foreign hegemony, the Iranian people voted for a popularly drafted constitution to replace the obsolete one.
109 lunar years ago, on this day in 1333 AH, the Gnostic Shaikh Baqer Bahari Hamedani passed away in his hometown Hamedan at the age of 58 and was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Imamzadeh Abdullah. After preliminary studies in the village of Bahar under his father, he left for Iraq for higher studies at the Islamic seminary of Holy Najaf, and benefitted from the classes of such prominent scholars as, Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi, Muhaddith Noori, Mirza Habibollah Rashti, Akhound Khorasani, and Fazel Iravani. On attaining the status of Ijtihad, he returned to Iran to serve the people of Hamedan. A pious person, known for his simple life, he was nevertheless a strong opponent of despotism and foreign hegemony. He trained a large number of students, and wrote some 40 books and treatises, on a wide variety of subjects.
60 solar years ago, on this day in 1961 AD, Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first recorded human being to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1). In 1968, Gagarin was killed in an air accident. April 12 is thus marked as The International Day of Space Flight.
39 lunar years ago, on this day in 1403 AH, Iran’s lady jurisprudent and exegete of the Holy Qur’an, Bano Nosrat Amin, passed away in the central Iranian city of Isfahan at the age of 97. She was regarded as equivalent to a mujtahed, and groomed numerous lady students. She also wrote several books including a 15-volume exegesis of the Holy Qur’an titled "Makhzan al-Irfan” in Persian. She also authored for the moral uplifting of Iranian women the book "Ravesh Khoshbakhti va Towsiyeh beh Khaharan-e Imani” which means "Methods of Happiness and Prosperity for Sisters-in-Faith. Another of her excellent books is on the unsurpassed merits of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (AS) titled "Makhzan al-La’ali Manaqeb Mawla al-Mawali, Ali.” She was a staunch supporter of the Islamic Revolution and was held in deep respect by Imam Khomeini (RA).
29 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, the Iranian university lecturer and author, Mohsen Saba, passed away. On completion of preliminary studies at Dar ul-Fonoun School, he left for France and after receiving a PhD in Law he returned to Iran to serve as university lecturer. He was the founder of Iran’s National Bibliography Society and The National Archive Committee, affiliated to the UNESCO. He has left behind numerous important compilations.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, Karim Fakhrawi, Bahraini journalist and co-founder of independent al-Wasat newspaper, was tortured to death in prison by the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime at the age of 49. He was detained on April 5 when he complained that police were threatening to demolish his home. He was falsely accused of "deliberate news fabrication and falsification” by the Bahraini authorities and tortured for a week to death.