Today is Wednesday; 1st of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 8th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 21, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1080 solar years ago, on this day in 941 AD, Abu’l-Hussain Bajkam al-Makaani, the Turkic military commander of the usurper Abbasid regime, was killed in Iraq in a skirmish with Kurd brigands during a hunting expedition. Originally a slave of a senior Iranian official of the Alawid (Seyyed) Dynasty of Tabaristan, Makaan ibn Kaki, who trained and educated him, Bajkam showed gratitude by adopting his patron’s name (Makaan) as his surname (Makaani). Bajkam then entered the service of Mardavij, the founder of the Ziyarid dynasty of northern Iran, and after his assassination in 935, joined the Abbasids of Baghdad. In Iraq, he rapidly rose from Saheb ash-Shurta (Chief of the Police) to Amir al-Umara (Chief Commander), increasing his influence over the Caliphs ar-Raazi and al-Muttaqi. Bajkam was challenged by various opponents, including his predecessor as Amir al-Umara, Ibn Ra’eq, the Basra-based al-Baridis, the Hamdanids of Mosul and Syria, and the Buwaiyids of Iran. He was ruthless and power-thirsty and his death led to a void in central power, resulting in a period of instability in Baghdad, until the Buwaihid Amir, Moiz od-Dowla Daylami brought Iraq under his control.
1011 lunar years ago, on this day in 431 AH, Mohammad Ibn Mikaeel Ibn Seljuq, known as Toghril Beg, won the Battle of Dandanaqan, and seized Khorasan from the Ghaznavid Empire, thereby heralding the rise of the Seljuq Turks of Central Asia as a new power in Iran, and eventually Anatolia (Turkey), Syria, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf coastline of the Arabian Peninsula. Highly Persianized in culture and language, the Seljuqs who ruled for over a century-and-a-half, played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition, even exporting Persian culture to Anatolia.
987 lunar years ago, on this day in 455 AH, the Seljuqid ruler, Mohammad ibn Mikaeel ibn Seljuq, popular as Toghril Beg, died at the age of 75 in Rayy, south of Tehran, where his grave in a conical mausoleum still stands. He established the vast Seljuqid Empire, by seizing Khorasan from the Ghaznavids and subsequently occupying Baghdad on the secret invitation of the scheming Abbasid caliph, al-Qa’em-Billah, to end the 110-year rule of the Iranian Buwaihid Dynasty of Iraq-Iran. To legitimize his rule and expand his empire, he forced the figurehead Abbasid caliph to give him his daughter in marriage, and to sign decrees for wars against the Byzantine Christian Empire in Anatolia and the Syrian territories of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite Muslim caliphate of Egypt-Syria-Hijaz-North Africa. Born in Central Asia in what is now Kazakhstan to the chief of the Oghuz, he strove to unite the Turkic tribes of the vast Eurasian Steppes into a confederacy. Along with his elder brother, Chaghri Beg, he rose to prominence in the service of the Khaqan of the Qara-Khanid Dynasty of Bukhara that had displaced the Iranian Samanid Dynasty in Central Asia. He turned against the Qara-Khanids and in 1040 defeated the Ghaznavids of Khorasan-Afghanistan at the Battle of Dandanqanan. His hordes gradually swept across the Iranian Plateau before marching into Anatolia and Iraq. In 1058, he lost Baghdad to the Fatemids but recaptured it two years later. On his death in Rayy at the age of 73 the childless Toghril was succeeded after a brief struggle between the two sons of his deceased brother, Chaghri, by his surviving nephew Alp Arsalan – perhaps the greatest ruler of the Seljuq Dynasty. The Seljuqs who ruled for over a century-and-a-half, became Persianized and played a vital role in the development and spread of the Persian language and culture in Anatolia, where a branch of them ruled until 1307 as the Seljuq Sultanate of Roum.
767 lunar years ago, on this day in 675 AH, Najm od-Din Ali Dabiraan Qazvini al-Katebi, the prominent Iranian astronomer, philosopher, logician, theologian and chemist, passed away. He was part of the scientific team assembled by his teacher, Iranian-Islamic genius Khwaja Nasir od-Din Tousi, at the famous observatory of Maragha, and wrote numerous books on various topics, including "Jame’ ad-Daqa’eq”. His work on logic, titled "ar-Risala ash-Shamsiyya”, was commonly used as the first major text on logic in madrasahs, until the twentieth century and is perhaps the most studied logic textbook of all time. His logic was largely inspired by the formal Avicennian system of temporal modal logic of the famous Iranian-Islamic polymath Abu Ali Ibn Sina, but is more elaborate and departs from it in several ways. While Ibn Sina considered ten modalities and examined six of them, Katebi considers many more modalized propositions and examines thirteen which he considers ‘customary to investigate’. Great scholars such as Allamah Hilli and Qotb od- Din Mahmoud Shirazi studied in his presence.
515 solar years ago, on this day in 1506 AD, the 3-day Lisbon Massacre ended in the Portuguese capital with the slaughter of over 1,900 Jews by Christians of the Catholic sect. Known as the Easter Slaughter, Christian sailors from other parts of Europe whose ships were anchored in the port of Tagus, joined in the massacre by torturing, killing, and burning at the stake hundreds of people who were accused of being Jews and, thus, guilty of heresy. This incident took place thirty years before start of the Inquisition in Portugal and nine years after the Jews were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism in 1497, during the reign of King Manuel I.
495 solar years ago, on this day 1526 AD, the last ruler of the Pashtun Dynasty of Hindustan (northern subcontinent), Ibrahim Lodhi, was defeated and killed in the First Battle of Panipat near Delhi, by the Central Asian invader, Mohammad Zaheer od-Din, Babar, who established the Moghal Dynasty that ushered in the golden age of Muslim rule in the Subcontinent. Babar, whose grave is in Kabul, which was his capital, was a great grandson of the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, and hence the Moghals are often called Timurids. Unlike their ferocious ancestor, Babar and his successors were highly cultured, patronized Persian art, literature and poetry, and maintained excellent relations with the Safavid Dynasty of Iran through frequent exchange of ambassadors and men of learning. The Moghal Empire reached its peak during the 50-year rule of the 6th Emperor, Mohammad Alamgir Aurangzeb, covering all of today’s India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and western Afghanistan. Thereafter it weakened and shrunk to Delhi and its surroundings, until the British colonialists dethroned the last monarch, Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857. Babar, besides being a poet in both Persian and his native Chaghtai Turkic, was inventor of the Babari style of Arabic calligraphy, in which he wrote a copy of the holy Qur’an, which is kept in the Qur’an Museum of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad, Iran.
349 solar years ago, on this day in 1672 AD, Abdullah Qotb Shah, the 6th ruler of the Qara Qoyunlu Iranian-Turkic dynasty of the Deccan (southern India), died after a rule of 46 years that was marked by aggressions and gradual encroachment on his territory by the Mughals of Hindustan (northern India). He patronized art, architecture, literature, and sciences, as migration of scholars continued from Iran. An accomplished Persian poet, he established religious institutions in his capital, Haiderabad, which are still active today. His mother, the sagacious lady, Hayat-Bakhshi Begum, was daughter of the founder of Haiderabad, Mohammad Qoli Qotb Shah, while his father Sultan Mohammad Qotb Shah was nephew and successor of the former. Abdullah maintained regular correspondence with Shah Abbas II of the Safavid Empire of Iran, whose name was read in the Friday Prayer sermons as emperor – a matter that irritated the Moghals. During his rule, several valuable works were written in Persian, such as "Akhlaq-e Abdullah Qotb Shahi” on ethics by the scholarly prime minister, Sheikh Mohammad ibn Khatoun, the lexicon "Burhan-e Qate’” by Ibn Khalaf Tabrizi, and Ali ibn Tayfur’s Persian translation of Ibn Babawaiyh Qomi’s celebrated book "Oyoun Akhbar ar-Reza” on the 8th Infallible Imam of the Prophet’s Household titled "Toḥfa-e Malaki”.
312 solar years ago, on this day in 1709 AD, the Georgian king of Kartli, George XI or Gurjin Khan, who was appointed by the Safavid Emperor, Shah Sultan Hussain, as governor-general of what is now western Afghanistan to suppress the Pashtun tribes, was treacherously murdered in Qandahar by Mirwais Khan Hotak, the Ghilzai clan chief, who had invited him to a banquet to carry out the plot. It was a tactical blunder by the Shah to appoint a brutal Christian, as governor of Muslims. For the moment Mirwais was recognized as governor, but a dozen years later, his son, Mahmoud Hotaki burst into open rebellion, defeated the Safavids, seized Isfahan, ousted Shah Sultan Hussain, and styled himself Shah of Iran.
239 solar years ago, on this day in 1782 AD, German pedagogue, Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel, was born. He laid the foundation for modern education based on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. He created the concept of the "kindergarten” and coined the word now used in German and English. He developed the educational toys known as Froebel Gifts.
229 solar years ago, on this day in 1792 AD, Brazilian revolutionary, Jose da Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes or Teeth-Puller for his apprenticeship to a dentist, was hanged, drawn and quartered in Rio de Janeiro, for leading the movement for independence from Portugal. His head was exposed in Vila Rica, and pieces of his body were exposed in the cities between Vila Rica and Rio, to discourage independence-seekers. After Brazil’s independence in the 19th century, Tiradentes has been considered a national hero and patron of the Military Police.
219 solar years ago, on this day in1802 AD, some 12,000 tribesmen of the Wahhabi cult of Najd, led by Abdul-Aziz ibn Mohammad ibn Saud – son-in-law of the heretic Mohammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab – attacked the holy city of Karbala in Iraq and martyred about 5,000 people, mostly Iranian pilgrims. They damaged the shrine of Imam Husain (AS) and stripped the dome of its gold covering. These Godless elements then desecrated the other holy sites in Iraq, including the shrine of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), in Najaf. The area till Basra lay desolate and the Wahhabis took with them millions in loot after destroying towns, displacing people, and killing many. The destruction brought memories of the sack of Baghdad by the Buddhist Mongols, although the non-Muslim Hulagu Khan was courteous enough to spare the holy cities. In 1803, Abdul-Aziz paid the price of his blasphemy and was killed in his stronghold Dirriyah by a faithful Iraqi Muslim from Ammarah, who in order to avenge the desecration of the holy shrines, had travelled to Najd and infiltrated Wahhabi ranks. In the next couple of years, the Wahhabis, led by Saud bin Abdul-Aziz attacked the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and desecrated the holy shrines, including the Sacred Jannat al-Baqi Cemetery. They wanted to destroy the Prophet of Islam’s shrine but were prevented. At this sacrilege, the Ottoman Sultan ordered his governor of Egypt, Mohammad Ali Pasha to punish the Wahhabis. The Egyptian ruler, after driving them from Mecca and Medina, relegated command to his son, Ibrahim Pasha, who pursued the Wahhabis into their heartland Najd, destroyed their capital, Dirriyah, captured the chieftain Abdullah ibn Saud, and sent him to Istanbul in 1818 for public execution, because of complicity in his father’s sacrilege of holy sites in Mecca, Medina, Karbala, and Najaf. The Saudi clan is descended from Arabicized Israelite tribes who were bitter opponents of the Prophet and later after reluctantly accepting Islam, became apostates by joining the imposter Musaylemah Kazzab. In the next generations they sided with the Khwarej or renegades, and were deeply distrusted by both the Omayyad and Abbasid caliphates. During Ottoman times, they used to loot trade and Hajj caravans, and in 1744, to legitimize their crimes and bloodshed under guise of faith, they entered into alliance with the heretic Mohammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab. In 1932, the British gifted them with a pseudo country called Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, on US-Zionist behalf, are chief sponsors of Takfiri terrorism to create sedition amongst Muslims and tarnish the image of Islam.
193 solar years ago, on this day in 1828 AD, French critic and historian, Hippolyte Adolphe Taine, was born. He was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism, a major proponent of sociological positivism and one of the first practitioners of historicist criticism. Taine is particularly remembered for his three-pronged approach to the contextual study of a work of art, based on the aspects of what he called "race, milieu, and moment”.
112 solar years ago, on this day in 1909 AD, Mirza Mustafa Iftikhar ol-Ulema Ashtiyani, one of the leaders of the Constitutional Movement, was shot and martyred at the age of 43 during a sit-in protest of religious scholars at the shrine of Seyyed Abdul-Azim al-Hassani in Rayy, where he was laid to rest. Son of Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Ashtiyani, who was active during the anti-Tobacco campaign, he studied under his father and other ulema to reach the status of ijtehad, before joining the people’s movement against the despotism of the Qajar dynasty. He strove to ensure that constitutionalism does not stray from the Shari’a.
111 solar years ago, on this day in 1910 AD, US author and humorist, Mark Twain, died at the age of 78. His childhood and teenage years were adventurous and these adventures later turned into the themes of his books. He wrote numerous stories for children and teenagers, including "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and "Prince and the Pauper”.
97 solar years ago, on this day in 1926 AD, the heretical Wahhabi hordes of the desert brigand of Najd, Abdul-Aziz Aal-e Saud, a year after occupying the holy city of Medina through bloodshed, desecrated the sanctity of the sacred cemetery of Jannat al-Baqi and destroyed the graves including the magnificent mausoleum housing the holy tombs of 4 of the Infallible Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), Imam Mohammad al-Baqer (AS) and Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS). These were razed to the ground and plundered. An eyewitness account by British convert Eldon Rutter compared the demolition to an earthquake, saying: "All over the cemetery nothing was to be seen but little indefinite mounds of earth and stones, pieces of timber, iron bars, blocks of stone, and a broken rubble of cement and bricks, strewn about.” Both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims protested against the blasphemous destruction and rallies are held annually on the 8th of Safar, the lunar Islamic date of this heinous crime against humanity, which is commemorated as Day of Sorrow. Despite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s frequent appeals for rebuilding the Baqie Cemetery, Saudi Arabia, which the British created in 1932 as a kingdom for their salaried servant, Abdul-Aziz Aal-e Saud, has continued to ignore the demands of world Muslims.
83 solar years ago, on this day in 1938 AD, the Poet-Philosopher of the East, Allamah Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Lahori, passed away at the age of 61. He was an outstanding personality of the subcontinent who through his excellent poems in both Urdu and Persian, endeavoured to awaken the conscience of Muslims in undivided India and the Muslims world. He was acquainted with the English and German languages as well, and stayed in Germany and England for four years to learn western philosophy. Iqbal had predicted the birth of Pakistan, which happened nine years after his death. He has left behind many works in Urdu, Persian and English. His Persian poetry has been published several times in Iran, especially after the victory of Islamic Revolution. He also composed some excellent odes in praise of Prophet Mohammad, Imam Ali, Hazrat Fatema Zahra, Imam Hasan, and Imam Husain (peace upon them).
75 solar years ago, on this day in 1946 AD, British economist, John Maynard Keynes, died. His ideas profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics and shaped the economic policies of western governments. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics and its various offshoots. Keynes at times explained the mass murder during the first years of the communist era in Russia on a racial basis as part of the "Russian and Jewish nature”. Writing in his "Short View of Russia” published after a trip to Russia that there is "beastliness on the Russian and Jewish natures when, as now, they are allied together” Keynes later in life became a supporter of Zionism.
70 solar years ago, on this day in the year 1951 AD, the celebrated Iranian poet and author, Mirza Mohammad Taqi Bahar, titled "Malek osh-Sho’ara” (Poet Laureate), passed away at the age of 64. Born in the holy city of Mashhad, he displayed his sublime talent in writing poems as of a young age. To enhance his knowledge of Persian and Arabic, he attended the classes of the classical poet and scholar, Adib Naishapouri. Bahar who started his studies in an Islamic seminary, knew by heart a good portion of the holy Qur’an at a very early age. At seven he read the "Shahnamah” and grasped the meaning of Ferdowsi’s epic poems, and at 8, he composed his first poem, choosing the penname "Bahar” (spring). At 14, he was fluent in Arabic and soon mastered French. At the onset of the Constitutional Movement, he resigned his court position of Poet Laureate and joined the revolutionaries. He clandestinely published the newspaper "Khorasan” in collaboration with Hussein Ardebili, and the journals "Nou-Bahar” (New Spring), and "Tazeh-Bahar” (Fresh Spring), in collaboration with his cousin Sheikh Ahmad. He wrote articles exhorting readers to strive to bring about a parliamentary system of government. After victory of the Constitutionalists, he was elected as Member of Parliament for successive terms. When Reza Khan Pahlavi seized power with British help, he was imprisoned and exiled. Following release in 1934, he served as Professor of Persian Literature at the newly founded Tehran University, where he dedicated most of his time to writing and editing books on Persian Literature and History. In 1945, he served for a short period as Minister of Culture and Education. Notable amongst the works written and edited by Bahar are: "Tarikh-e Sistan” (History of Sistan), "Tarikh-e Mokhtasar-e Ahzaab-e Siyasi” (A Concise History of Political Parties), "Jawame’ ul-Hikayaat” (Anthology of Stories), and two volumes of verse, consisting of his own poems.
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, Iranian poet and painter, Sohrab Sepehri, died at the age of 52. Born in Kashan, he is considered as one of the five famous Persian poets of the new style known as "Modern Poetry” (without meter or rhyme). His paintings were exhibited in Iran and abroad and won prizes.
24 solar years ago, on this day in 1997 AD, Ayatollah Mirza Ali Gharavi Alyari Tabrizi, passed away in his hometown Tabriz at the age of 96 and was laid to rest in Qom in the holy mausoleum of Hazrat Ma’soumah (SA). A product of the seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq, he attained ijtehad and was an expert in jurisprudence, ethics, theology, gnosis, and philosophy. On his return to Iran, he taught for 65 years at the Tabriz seminary and wrote several books, including a commentary in 15 volumes on "al-Orwat-al-Wosqa”.
23 solar years ago, on this day in 1998 AD, Ayatollah Murtaza Boroujerdi was martyred in the holy city of Najaf at the age of 70 by agents of Saddam’s Ba’th minority regime, because of reviving the Friday congregational prayer at the Grand Mosque of Kufa. Two months later the regime also martyred another prominent religious scholar of Najaf, Ayatollah Gharavi.
Ordibehesht First is commemorated every year in the Islamic Republic of Iran as National Day for the celebrated Persian poet and mystic, Shaikh Mosleh od-Din Sa’di of Shiraz, who was born in 606 AH and died in 691 AH. He travelled widely and his mausoleum in his hometown Shiraz is a popular site for visitors. He was a master of both Persian prose and poetry, and his works such as "Golestan”, "Bostan”, Nasihat al-Molouk” (Advice to Kings), and an Anthology of Poems.