Today is Wednesday; 25th of the Iranian month of Farvardin 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 1st of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 14, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
Today marks the First Day of the blessed fasting month of Ramadhan – the month of revelation of the Holy Qur’an and the season of divine blessings. In description of the grandeur of this month, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) has hailed its days and nights as the best days and nights of year, while calling on Muslims to benefit from the blessings of Ramadhan. The Night of Qadr marks the night that the Holy Qur’an was revealed. The martyrdom anniversary of the Prophet’s 1st Infallible Successor, Imam Ali (AS) and the birth anniversary of his elder son, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the 2nd Infallible Imam, are the other important events of Ramadhan. We call on God Almighty to assist us to make use of the spiritual blessings of the fasting month of Ramadhan in the best possible manner.
1234 lunar years ago, on this day in 208 AH, the virtuous lady Seyyedah Nafisa passed away at the age of 63 in Fustat in what later became Cairo in Egypt, while engrossed in the recitation of the holy Qur’an. Daughter of Hassan al-Anwar and granddaughter of Zayd al-Ablaj, a son of Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) – the Prophet’s elder grandson and 2nd Infallible Heir – she was born in Medina and was the wife of Seyyed Ishaq al-Mo’tamen, a son of Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS), the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Heir. In 193 AH, she had visited Damascus, Syria, for pilgrimage to the shrine of the Heroine of Karbala, the Prophet’s granddaughter Harzat Zainab (peace upon her). Seyyedah Nafisa, like her husband, was considered an authority on Hadith, and people would flock to the classes that she held in Egypt for acquainting the people with the religious sciences of the Ahl al-Bayt. She performed the annual Hajj pilgrimage some thirty times and was known for her piety and miraculous powers that included curing the ill and saving Egyptians and the Nile River from drought. She was mother of Seyyed Qasim and Seyyedah Omm Kolthoum, while her equally pious niece, Seyyedah Zainab (daughter of her brother Seyyed Yahya), also has a much-visited shrine in Cairo, which some people wrongly think to be the resting place of the Heroine of Karbala, Hazrat Zainab (peace upon her). The shrine of Seyyedah Nafisa is among the most visited pilgrimage centres in Egypt. Today, especially on Sundays and Thursdays, thousands of people visit her shrine. It is also a custom to hold wedding ceremonies near there. Each year on the birth anniversary of Hazrat Nafisa on the 11th of Rabi al-Awwal, ceremonies are held in Egypt.
1014 lunar years ago, on this day in 428 AH, Abu Ali Hussain Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina, the prominent Iranian Islamic genius, who was a physician, mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer, passed away at the age of 58 in Hamedan. He had memorized the Holy Qur’an at a young age and then mastered logic, astronomy, and geometry, to such an extent that at the age of 18, he was considered an authority in most sciences of his day. Due to successful medical treatment of the Samanid King, Nouh ibn Mansour, he was allowed to use the royal library at Bukhara. He was a genius, who because of his political views and religious tendencies in favour of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), found himself persecuted by Sultan Mahmoud of Ghazna. Known as Avicenna to medieval Europe, his works were translated into Latin and for several centuries were taught at most western universities. Among his valuable books, mention can be made of the book: "Shafa” on philosophy; and "al-Qanoun fi’t-Tibb” on medicine.
895 solar years ago, in 1126 AD, Spanish Muslim philosopher and polymath, Mohammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd (known as "Averroes” to medieval Europe), was born in Qurtuba (Cordoba) In Islamic Spain in a family with a long tradition of legal and public service. An expert in medicine, astronomy, philosophy, jurisprudence, Qur’an and hadith at a time when Christian Europe was immersed in ignorance and darkness, at the age of 25, he conducted astronomical observations in Morocco, discovering a previously unobserved star. He was of the view that the Moon is opaque and has some parts which are thicker than others, with the thicker parts receiving more light from the Sun than the thinner parts. He gave one of the first descriptions on sunspots. His well-known book in medicine is "Kitab al-Kulliyaat fi’t-Tibb”, whose Latin translation known as "Colliget” aroused much interest in medieval Europe. He has shed light on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cure and prevention of diseases. Known as "the jurisprudent philosopher”, as a follower of the Maliki School, he compiled a summary of fatwas or jurisprudential edicts of previous jurists. His works include interpretation of Qur’anic concepts. His philosophical masterpice is "Tahafut at-Tahafut” ("Incoherence of the Incoherence”), which is a refutation of the Iranian Shafei theologian, Ghazali’s "Tahafut al-Falasefa” ("Incoherence of the Philosophers”). Ghazali had criticized as self-contradictory and an affront to Islamic teachings, the presentation of Aristotle’s thoughts by the Iranian Islamic genius, Abu Ali Ibn Sina. Ibn Rushd has shown Ghazali’s arguments as mistaken. He passed away at the age of 72, while on a visit to Marakesh, from where his body was brought back to Spain and buried in his birthplace Cordoba.
710 lunar years ago, on this day in 732 AH, the Muslim historian and historiographer, Abdur-Rahman ibn Mohammad Ibn Khaldun, was born in Tunis into an affluent Spanish Arab family that had settled in North Africa because of Christian onslaughts. He is regarded as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology, and economics. He travelled widely around Egypt, North Africa and Spain, where the Sultan of Granada, Mohammad VI, sent him on a mission to the Christian King of Castile, Pedro the Cruel. He returned to Egypt, whose Mamluk ruler sent him to negotiate with the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, during the siege of Damascus. In his autobiography, Ibn Khaldun has written on his discussions with Timur, who asked him in detail about North Africa and Spain. Among his many works is a voluminous universal history, but his fame rests on the "Muqaddemah”, which is considered a unique work. He died in Cairo in 808 AH at the age of 76 years.
322 solar years ago, on this day in 1699 AD, Sikhism was formalized in India’s Punjab region as the Khalsa of Sant-Sipahis (Brotherhood of Saint-Soldiers) by Guru Gobind Singh. It is a monotheistic religion founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, who had become disillusioned by the weird practices of the Hindus such as idol-worship, the divisive caste system, etc. He travelled widely, as far as Baghdad and holy Mecca, and as is clear from his teachings, he became profoundly impressed by the divine message of Islam. He thus taught that God is One, is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, without shape and form, not bound by time, and cannot be perceived by the physical eye of creatures. According to him the Sikhs should have control over their internal vices and adhere to the virtues clarified in their religious book, the Guru Granth Sahib. Among prohibitions in Sikhism are idol-worship and superstition, ban on consumption of all sorts of intoxicants (alcohol, drugs, and even tobacco), abstention from adultery and extra marital relations, and refraining from cutting hair. The Sikh population is estimated to be 30 million worldwide, with the majority of them living in India, especially in Punjab State.
205 solar years ago, on this day in 1816 AD, the Bussa Revolt started on the Barbados Island against the British. It was led by Bussa, who was kidnapped by Europeans off the coast of West Africa and sold as slave in the Caribbean Sea. He commanded a force of 400 men, who bravely fought for three days until routed by the superior firepower of the British. Bussa was killed fighting on April 16. He is remembered as the first national hero of Barbados. His uprising inspired similar revolts against the tyranny of the British colonialists in Jamaica and Guyana.
175 solar years ago, on this day in 1846 AD, the Orientalist and Iranologist, Friedrich Carl Andreas, was born in Batavia, Java, Indonesia. Of mixed Armenian, German, and Malayan descent, after education in Hamburg and Geneva, he pursued Iranian and other Oriental studies at Göttingen, Halle, and Leipzig universities, before completing his graduate work in Copenhagen and Kiel. Between 1875 and 1881, he conducted field work in India with the Parsees or Zoroastrians of Iranian origin, and also in southern Iran. His research in Europe focused on the languages and music of Iranic region of Ossetia in the Caucasus and the Indo-Afghan borderlands. From 1903 till his death in 1930, he was professor of Western Asiatic Philology at Göttingen. Iranologists of several generations, such as Kaj Barr, Arthur Christensen, Bernhard Geiger, Walter Bruno Henning, Paul Horn, Wolfgang Lentz, Herman Lommel, and Oskar Mann, owe him decisive influences on their work. Among his fundamental insights was the recognition that the difference between "Arsacid” (i.e., Parthian) and "Sasanian” (i.e., southwestern) Middle Iranian Language is essentially one of dialect, rather than of time sequence. Working with the Manichean fragments from Turfan in Xingjian, he isolated the texts written in Parthian (which he called the "northern dialect”) and identified another "Pahlavi dialect” as the Sogdian or the eastern Iranian language of what is now Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
149 solar years ago, on this day in 1872 AD, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the translator of the holy Qur’an into English, was born in Bombay to an Indian merchant family. He received a religious education and went on to memorize the entire Qur’an. He learned Arabic and studied English literature during his education at several European universities, including the University of Leeds in the UK. His best-known work is "The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary”, published in 1938 by Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf Publishers in Lahore, India (later Pakistan). Unfortunately, in the later, revised editions of this book, the author’s notes on the exclusive God-given virtues of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – that is, Imam Ali, Hazrat Fatema Zahra, Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (peace upon them) – have been removed by the publishers, including those pertaining to ayah 107 of Surah Saffaat, where Abdullah Yusuf Ali had explicitly explained the term "Zibhin Azim” (Great Sacrifice) that ransomed Abraham’s offering of Ishmael. He wrote: "This was the type of service which Imam Husain (AS) performed, many years later in 60 AH, as I have noted in a separate pamphlet.”
This and similar remarks by Abdullah Yusuf Ali regarding the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt have been erased and are not found in the distorted editions of his work that are available.
140 solar years ago, on this day in 1881 AD, Husain Salah od-Din, the Maldivian writer and an influential poet and scholar of English, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and the local Dhivehi language of the Maldives archipelago, was born. He greatly contributed to Maldivian literature. He also served as the Chief Justice of the Maldives for a long time. His most famous work is the Biography of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), which is broadcast till this day in the month of Ramadhan by Radio Maldives.
132 solar years ago, on this day in 1889 AD, British historian, Arnold Toynbee, was born in London. His 12-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, titled "A Study of History”, took 27 years to complete, and is a synthesis of world history, based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global perspective. After initially supporting the Zionist movement at the turn of the 20th century, he gradually changed his outlook and by 1950, two years after the illegitimate birth of Israel, was a strong opponent of the Zionist entity, and supported the Arab cause.
131 solar years ago, on this day in 1890 AD, the Pan American Union, which later on changed its name to The Organization of American States (OAS), was founded. The OAS has lost its influence because of US attempts to exploit Latin American states under cover of this organization. An increasing number of South and Central American countries now no longer follow the dictates of Washington.
60 solar years ago, on this day in 1961 AD, Cuban anti-revolutionaries with the help of the US, attempted a diversionary landing near Baracoa, Oriente Province, prior to the full scale invasion of Cuba through the Bay of Pigs waterway on April 17, but were swiftly defeated by forces led by Fidel Castro. On April 19, the Bay of Pigs invasion collapsed and Cuba’s success greatly discredited the US.
35 solar years ago, on this day in 1986 AD, hailstones as large as one kg fell on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92. These are the heaviest hailstones ever recorded.
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1988 AD, the Soviet Union signed an agreement in the Swiss Capital, Geneva, for withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan after ten years of occupation. This was largely the result of the open policies of Michael Gorbachev, who realized that total victory and complete control of Afghanistan in the face of stiff resistance was impossible and means only more bloodshed and deaths. In February 1989, the Soviet forces completed their pullout by withdrawing all support from the dictatorial communist regime of President Najibollah, which eventually collapsed in 1992.
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1988 AD, the tyrannical Ba’th minority regime of Saddam, formally admitted the use of internationally-banned chemical weapons against Iranian combatants, thereby validating Iran’s official complaints to the UN and related international bodies of Iraq’s frequent use of such weapons throughout the 8-year imposed war. Western powers, especially Germany, had supplied Saddam with these internationally banned toxic weapons which the Ba’thists used at least 3,500 times against Iran, including 30 times on Iranian residential areas.
25 solar years ago, on this day in 1996 AD, the prominent Iranian historian, philologist, and researcher, Dr. Mohammad Javad Mashkour, passed away at the age of 77 in his hometown Tehran. After graduation from Iran he travelled to France and earned his doctorate from Sorbonne University of Paris. On his return to Iran, he taught at Tabriz University and then at Tehran University. He was fluent in Persian, Arabic, French and English, and was also acquainted with Turkish and some ancient languages. He wrote a total of 47 books and over a hundred articles on various topics such as history of Iran and Islam, literature, Islamic sects, and ancient Iranian languages.
Farvardin 25 is commemorated every year in the Islamic Republic of Iran as National Day for the acclaimed Persian poet and mystic, Farid od-Din Attar Naishapuri, who was killed during the Mongol massacre of the inhabitants of the city of Naishapur sometime in April 1221, at the age of 76. The son of a pharmacist, he followed his father’s profession and led a prosperous life before experiencing an inner revolution that made him turn to mysticism and frequent travels that took him to Iraq and Arabia including holy Mecca, as well as to the different cities of Iran and Transoxiana. One of his valuable prose works is "Tazkerat al-Awlia” on the status of mystics. His poetical masterpieces manifest the power of imagination as is evident by the versified book (Discourse of the Birds). He composed several volumes of poetry. Attar, who in some of his poems also pays tribute to the peerless personality of Imam Ali (AS), had a profound influence on the great Persian poet, Mowlana Jalal od-Din Balkhi Roumi.