Today is Tuesday; 31st of the Iranian month of Farvardin 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 7th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 20, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1444 lunar years ago, on this day in the second year prior to Hijra, Abu-Taleb, the father of Imam Ali (AS) and uncle and protector of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), passed away in Mecca. On the death of his father Abdul-Muttaleb, he and his wife, Fatema bint Asad, had taken charge of the 8-year orphan of Abdullah, his deceased brother, and brought up the future Prophet as their own son. Abu Taleb was a staunch monotheist following the creed of his ancestor, Prophet Abraham, and when God formally appointed his now 40-year old nephew as the Last and Greatest Messenger to mankind, he firmly believed in the message of Islam and protected the Prophet against the taunts and attacks of the pagan Arabs. When the Meccans imposed the social-economic boycott on the Prophet, he took his nephew and the whole neo Muslim community under his protection to the safety of the gorge outside Mecca which is still called "She’b Abi Taleb” in his honour. His death saddened the Prophet and since earlier in the same year, the Prophet’s loyal wife, the Mother of all True Believers (Omm al-Momineen) Hazrat Khadija also passed away, the year is known in Islamic history as "Aam al-Hozn” (Year of Grief).
1218 lunar years ago, on this day in 224 AH Ibrahim bin Mahdi, stepbrother of the Abbasid tyrant Haroun Rashid, died at the age of 62 in Baghdad. Born of an African concubine and known as Ibn Shakla because of his dark complexion, he was proclaimed as caliph in Baghdad in 201 AH by the Abbasids in protest to the seemingly pro-Hashemite policies of the reigning caliph, his nephew Mamoun, in declaring the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir, Imam Reza (AS) as Heir Apparent. Two years later in 203 AH, with the Mamoun’s return to Baghdad after martyring Imam Reza through poisoning in Tous, he resigned and spent the rest of his life as a singer and a musician. Ibn Shakla reportedly had a phenomenal vocal range.
1119 solar years ago, on this day in 902 AD, Amr ibn Layth, the second ruler of the Saffarid Dynasty of Iran, was executed in Baghdad after a reign of 22 years, by the self-styled caliph, Mu’tamid, on falling victim to the Abbasid bait to militarily confront the powerful fellow Iranian Samanid Dynasty of Central Asia and suffering defeat, capture, and handover to the caliph. He started life as a mule-driver and a mason, and when his elder brother, the coppersmith Ya’qoub ibn Layth, embarked on a military career, he fought alongside him. In 875 he became governor of the Khorasani city of Herat (currently in Afghanistan). When Ya’qoub died in Fars in 879 after his abortive invasion of Iraq, Amr managed to become the next Saffarid ruler and immediately made peace with the Abbasids. In 898, he was deceitfully declared as governor of Transoxiana, which was ruled by the Samanids. Mu’tamid enticed Amr to confront the Samanids, but was crushingly defeated and captured. The Samanid ruler, Isma’il ibn Ahmad, sent him in chains to Baghdad, where he was executed in 902.
1081 lunar years ago, on this day in 361 AH, the grand al-Azhar Mosque and Madrasah was officially opened by Jowhar as-Saqali, the Sicilian general of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite dynasty who completed the grand project three years after conquering Egypt and establishing the city of Cairo, as the new capital of the Empire that now stretched from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.”al-Azhar” is a derivative of "az-Zahra” (or the Radiant), the famous epithet of Hazrat Fatema (SA) the daughter of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) in whose honour the mosque and the religious school were built. The Fatemids restored the full form of the Azaan or call for the daily prayers, from the minarets of al-Azhar and other mosques, by bearing testimony to the imamate of Imam Ali (AS) after the Prophethood of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The phrase "hayya ala khayr il-amal”, meaning "hasten to the best of deeds”, which was dropped from the Azaan by the second caliph, was also revived. Exactly, a year later on this same date in 362 AH, the Fatemid caliph, al-Mu’iz le-Dinillah arrived in his new capital Cairo, from Mahdia in what is now Tunisia, the then capital of the Fatemid state.
931 lunar years ago, on this day in 511 AH, the famous Imami theologian, Seyyed Abu’l-Makarem Ibn Zuhra, was born in Aleppo, Syria. He studied in Najaf in Iraq under prominent students of the famous scholar Abu Ja’far Shaykh at-Tayefa Tousi, and on return to Syria groomed several scholars. He has left behind several books including "al-Ghunyah” on fiqh. He passed away in 585 AH.
624 solar years ago, on this day in 1397 AD, Mahmud I, the 5th king of the Bahmani kingdom of Iranian origin of the Deccan (southern India) died in his capital Gulbarga after a reign of 19 years. His son Ghiyas od-Din succeeded him, but was blinded and imprisoned by the Turkish slave Lalchin Khan, who placed the younger brother, Shams od-Din on the throne. Five months later, Lalchin and his puppet were deposed by Mahmoud Shah’s cousin Taj od-Din Firouz Shah, the greatest ruler of the dynasty who reigned for 25 years. The Bahmanis patronized and promoted Persian language and poetry, as well as Iranian art, culture, and architecture in the Deccan by inviting from Iran thousands of qualified persons in various fields. The famous Iranian poet Hafez Shirazi was also invited, but changed his mind midway through the journey, sending an excellent piece of poetry to the Bahmani court. The famous Gnostic of Kerman, Shah Ne’matollah Wali, was also requested to come to the Deccan, and instead sent his grandson and later son, who preached the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt in the Bahmani kingdom.
498 lunar years ago, on this day in 944 AH, one of the renowned historians and poets, Seyyed Nizam od-Din Mohammad M’asoum Safai Tirmizi, who wrote under the penname "Naami”, was born in India. His ancestors were from Qandahar in Afghanistan. He and his father served the Sultans of Gujarat in western India. He has left behind valuable books, such as "Tibb-e Naami” on medicine. He passed away in 1019 AH.
482 lunar years ago, on this day in 960 AH, Ottoman admiral Turgut Raees took control of the Mediterranean island of Corsica and the city of Catania in Malta, to free some seven thousand Muslim captives. He gave Corsica to the French, who soon lost it to the Spanish.
269 solar years ago, on this day in 1752 AD, started the Konbaung–Hanthawaddy War, a new phase in the Burmese Civil War (1740–57). It was fought between the Konbaung Dynasty and the Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom of Burma (Myanmar) from 1752 to 1757. The war was the last of several wars between the Burmese-speaking north and the Mon-speaking south that ended the Mon people’s centuries-long dominance of the south. The fall of the 16-year-old southern kingdom soon followed in May 1757 when its capital Pegu (Bago) was sacked.
252 solar years ago, on this day in 1769 AD, the Amerindian chief of Ottawa, Obwandiyag or Pontiac, as he was called by the British, against whom he resisted, was assassinated. He struggle against British military occupation of the Great Lakes region began in the May 1763 when Pontiac and followers attempted to take Fort Detroit. In July 1763, he defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Bloody Run, but was unable to capture Detroit. In October he lifted the siege and withdrew to the Illinois Country. The British resorted to diplomacy and as the talks prolonged his influence grew, until he was treacherously killed.
213 solar years ago, on this day in 1808 AD, Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, later President Louis Napoleon of the First French Republic and then Napoleon III of the Second French Empire, was born in Paris to Louis Bonaparte – younger brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and king of Holland from 1805-to-1810. On Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1814 and exile to St. Helena, the family moved to Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and later to Britain. In between, after brief visits to Paris where his presence was not liked by Emperor Louis-Philippe because of the popular appeal the name Bonaparte carried for the French masses, Charles Napoleon visited Brazil and the US, and led two attempts to seize power in France – the Strasbourg coup of 1936 and the Bolougne adventure of 1940 during which he was captured and imprisoned for life. While in prison, he wrote poems, political essays and articles on diverse topics; contributing articles to newspapers and magazines and becoming quite well known as a writer. His most famous book was "L’extinction du Pauperism” in 1844 – a study of the causes of poverty in the French industrial working class, and proposals to eliminate it. After his dramatic escape from prison in 1846 and fleeing to Britain, he intensified his plans of return to France. The opportunity came with the French Revolution of 1848 and the abdication of Emperor Louis-Philippe that made him set out for Paris where he found the Second Republic declared under a Provisional Government with several factions competing for power. Back in London in March 1848, he watched the unfolding events in Paris, where in the September elections for the National Assembly, he polled the highest number of votes and returned in triumph to Paris to take his place in the National Assembly. The new constitution called for a strong executive and he announced his candidature and went on to win the December polls with a record 74 percent of votes, thereby becoming the first President of France to be elected by a direct popular vote. In 1851, when he was blocked by the constitution and parliament from running for a second term, President Louis Napoleon organized a coup d’etat to seize absolute power and on 2nd December 1852, the 48th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation, he crowned himself as Napoleon III. One of his first priorities was modernization of the French economy. During his 18-year rule, he initiated an energetic foreign policy which aimed to remove the limitations imposed on France since 1815, and succeeded in reasserting French influence in Europe and France’s colonial empire. He led allied action against Russia in the Crimean War and secured the Papal States against annexation by Italy by defeating the Italians at Mentana. In Southeast Asia, he established French rule in what is now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, as well as New Caledonia. French interests in China were upheld in the Second Opium War; an abortive campaign against Korea was launched in 1866 while a military mission to Japan ended in failure. French intervention in Mexico was also unsuccessful, and ended in 1867 due to local resistance and US diplomatic pressure. Eventually, the French Empire was overthrown three days after his defeat 1870 in the Battle of Sedan by the Prussian (German) Empire that resulted in his capture, imprisonment and exile to London where he died in 1871 at the age of 65. In France, Napoleon III’s reign saw an era of prosperity and industrialization. He rebuilt Paris, built new aqueducts, rebuilt the sewers, created new boulevards and avenues and laid parks.
132 solar years ago, on this day in 1889 AD, Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, was born in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary (in present day Austria), close to the border with the German Empire. His father was the illegitimate son of a Jew. He joined the German army in World War I and after the war, resentful of the humiliating defeat, founded the Nazi Party by blending his socialist and radical nationalistic views. He was imprisoned for eight months in 1923 for attempts to stage a coup, during which he wrote his book "Mein Kemp” (My Struggle), to introduce his political beliefs. Shortly after release he became German chancellor and a year later the German president. Thereafter, through the dreaded Gestapo, he suppressed his opponents and heavily militarized Germany as part of his plan to avenge the defeat in World War 1. In 1939 he started World War 2 with the goal of conquering all of Europe and if possible the world, by forging alliances with Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. After initial victories all over Europe, the German Nazi forces were pushed back and finally defeated in 1945. Hitler committed suicide in a bunker in the German capital, Berlin, when the Allied forces converged from all sides for the final assault upon him to end World War 2.
77 solar years ago, on this day in 1944 AD, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hassan Najafi Qochani, Khorasan, passed away in his hometown Qochan at the age of 67. After initial studies in Isfahan, he left for the famous seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq for higher studies under the prominent ulema of his time. After attaining the status of Ijtehad he returned to Iran, and spent the rest of his life in Qochan, grooming student and writing books. Among his prominent works is "Journey to the Unseen World Man”, in which he dwells on the human being’s instinctive desires to have an understanding of afterlife, or the life after death and the state of the Barzakh – the interval between death and Resurrection.
34 solar years ago, on this day in 1987 AD, the Iranian Islamic scholar and exegete of the Holy Qur’an, Mohammad Taqi Shariati, passed away at the age of 80. He studied Islamic sciences in the holy city of Mashhad, and published several books after setting up the Association for Publication of Islamic Facts. He was the father of the sociologist Ali Shariati, who was martyred by the Shah’s dreaded security force, SAVAK, in London.
11 solar years ago, on this day in the year 2010 AD, an explosion in the Deepwater Horizon oil platform of the British Petroleum Company, led to leakage of oil in the Gulf of Mexico off the US coast on a huge scale. The blast killed 11 workers and the huge volume of the oil which gushed out of this oil platform amounted to more than four million barrels, damaging the fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico and killing a large number of aquatics. After five months, the well could be capped. British Petroleum was ordered by the court to compensate the damages and forced to pay almost $20bn.