This Day in History (April 25)
Today is Sunday; 5th of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 12th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 25, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
2425 solar years ago, on this day in 404 BC, the armies of the Greek state of Sparta and its allies, led by General Lysander, decisively defeated the Athenians, thus ending the 27-year long Peloponnesian War against Athens that had gradually grown into an empire following the Iranian withdrawal from southwestern Europe. Lysander, an artful diplomat, who had cultivated good personal relationships with the Persian prince Cyrus, the son of Darius II, completely outwitted Athens and its allies, who facing starvation and disease from the prolonged siege, surrendered. The defeat stripped Athens of its walls, its fleet, and all of its overseas possessions. The nearly fifty years that preceded the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC had seen the emergence of Athens as a major power in the Mediterranean Sea. Its empire began as a small group of city-states, called the Delian League – from the island of Delos. After the withdrawal of Iran from Greece in 480 BC, Athens led a coalition of Greek city-states that continued to attack Persian territories in the Aegean and Ionia. Soon Athens proceeded to conquer all of Greece except for Sparta and its allies – known as the Peloponnesian League that completely shattered Athenian power.
A Little over Two Millennia ago, on this day (Ramadhan 12), God revealed the Evangel to Prophet Jesus (AS) for the guidance of the Israelites who had long deviated from the path of Prophet Moses (AS). It was a purely monotheistic scripture, whose contents were later distorted by those that emerged as Christians. Currently, there are countless and contradictory versions of the Bible amongst the various Christian sects, whose beliefs are against what Prophet Jesus (AS) preached. For instance, Jesus (AS) has been turned into a godson, while passages pertaining to the advent of Islam and the mission of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), called "Ahmad” (Hmda in the original Evangel), have been removed
1246 solar years ago, on this day in 775 AD, the Battle of Bagrevand resulted in the decisive crushing of the year-long Armenian rebellion against the Abbasid Caliphate, thanks to an elite force of 30,000 Iranians from Khorasan under Amir ibn Isma’il, following the failure of the Arab governor Hassan ibn Qahtaba to pacify the situation. As a result, Muslim control over Transcaucasia was solidified, while several major Armenian families lost power and fled to the Byzantine Empire.
1441 lunar years ago, on this day in 1 AH, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), some six months after his migration to Medina from Mecca, established the Accord of Fraternity among Muslims, with each Mohajer or Migrant from Mecca becoming the brother-in-faith of an Ansar or Muslim Helper from Medina. The Accord of Fraternity was a key factor in fostering unity and burying the age-old tribal differences of the Arabs. It was so firm and enduring that if a pair was martyred in battle (the infidels used to impose upon Muslims), the two would be buried in a single grave. By the command of God, the Prophet paired 740 of his companions, every two of them on the basis of their characteristics, sharing of habits – whether good or bad – and above all their natural inclinations and friendship towards each other. Thus Salman Farsi and Abu Zar Gheffari were paired as brothers, while another pair was Meqdad ibn Aswad and Ammar ibn Yasser – these four were noted for their lofty degrees of faith and firm adherence to the path of truth which would become manifest both during the Prophet’s lifetime and after him when they would stand firmly beside his divinely-decreed vicegerent, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). Of the others paired together were Zubair and Talha; Abu Bakr and Omar Ibn Khattab; Osman Ibn Affan and Abdur-Rahman Ibn Auf, etc. For his own, part, the Prophet, whose merits and superiority were beyond any Mohajer or Ansar, took hold of the hand of his worthy cousin, Imam Ali (AS), to declare him brother in this world and in afterlife.
845 lunar years ago, on this day in 597 AH, the famous scholar, Abdur-Rahman Ibn Ali Ibn Mohammad, popular as Abu’l-Faraj Ibn al-Jowzi, passed away in Baghdad at the age of 87. He is known for his works in exegesis of the holy Qur’an as well as his numerous hadith writings and books on history. Although a Sunni, he is also famous for the theological stance that he took against other Hanbalis. Ibn al-Jowzi is perhaps the most prolific author and his writings total over 200 books and treatises, which are over 300 in numbers. Among his famous books, mention can be made of the 10-volume history "al-Montazam fi Tarikh al-Omam” and a book on the unsurpassed merits of Imam Ali (AS), as well as one permitting the cursing of Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyya, the killer of Imam Husain (AS) titled:”ar-Radd ala’l-Muta’seb al-Anid al-Mane’ min Dham al-Yazid”
807 solar years ago, on this day in 1214 AD, Louis IX of France was born. He has earned lasting notoriety for his enmity towards Islam and invasion of Egypt, as part of the 7th crusade, in league with the Buddhist Mongols, who were ravaging Iran and the Muslim World from the east. In 1249, he occupied Damietta and advanced towards Cairo via the Nile Delta. After initial success against the tottering Ayyubid dynasty, he was decisively defeated by the Mamluk-led resurgent Muslim forces at the Battle of Fareskur in 1250, losing 30,000 French and other European soldiers. While trying to flee, he was captured along with his brothers, Charles d’Anjou and Alphonse de Poitiers, and confined in the house of Ibrahim Ibn Loqman, under the care of the eunuch, Sobih. Louis IX was ransomed for 400,000 dinars – a third of France’s total annual revenues those days. After pledging not to return to Egypt, the French king surrendered Damietta and left with his brothers and 12,000 war prisoners whom the Egyptian Muslims agreed to release. The Battle became a source of inspiration for Muslim writers and poets. One poem ended with the following verses:
"If they (the Franks) decide to return to take revenge or to commit a wicked deed, tell them:
"The house of Ibn Loqman is intact, the chains still there as well as the eunuch Sobih”.
Louis IX, as an avowed enemy of Islam and Muslims, mobilised the 8th Crusade and in 1270 invaded Tunis along with his brother, Charles of Anjou, and Prince Edward of England, to use it as a base for attacking other Muslim lands, and Palestine if possible. However, disease and dysentery broke out in the camps of the Christians, and many died including the French king himself on 25 August, thereby aborting the Crusade.
431 solar years ago, on this day in 1590 AD, the Sultan of Morocco launched his successful attack to capture Timbuktu. Morocco sent 4,000 soldiers under the Spanish Muslim general, Judar Pasha, to conquer Songhai. After a five month journey across the Shara, Pasha arrived with only 1,000 men, but his soldiers carried guns. The 25,000 men of the Songhai were no match for the guns and Gao, Timbuktu and most of Songhai fall.
302 solar years ago, on this day in 1719 AD, British author and spy, Daniel Defoe’s novel "Robinson Crusoe” was published in London. The character of "Crusoe” was partly based on the story of Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721), a Scotsman who spent four years stranded in the Juan Fernandez Islands – the island Selkirk lived on was named Mas-a-Tierra [Closer to Land] at the time and was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966. Defoe’s novel was also inspired by the Latin/English translation of the book "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan” by the Spanish Muslim polymath Ibn Tufail, who drew the name of the tale and most of its characters from an earlier work by the Iranian Islamic multi-sided genius, Abu Ali Ibn Sina (Avicenna).
277 solar years ago, on this day in 1744 AD, Swedish astronomer, Anders Celsius, died at the age of 43. He is famous for the temperature scale he developed. Celsius was born in Uppsala where he succeeded his father as professor of astronomy in 1730. It was there also that he built Sweden’s first observatory in 1741. He and his assistant Olof Hiortner discovered that aurora borealis influence compass needles. Celsius’ fixed scale (often called centigrade scale) for measuring temperature defines zero degrees as the temperature at which water freezes, and 100 degrees as the temperature at which water boils. This scale, an inverted form of Celsius’ original design, was adopted as the standard and is still used in almost all scientific work
162 solar years ago, on this day in 1859 AD, ground was broken for the Suez Canal in Egypt. The first blow of the pickaxe was given by Ferdinand Vicomte de Lesseps at Port Sa’id. It was built to link the Mediterranean and the Red seas, and opened on 17th November 1869, thus materializing the age-old dreams of the Pharaohs, Emperor Darius I of the Persian Empire, the Fatemids, the Mamluks, and the Ottomans.
147 solar years ago, on this day in 1874 AD, Italian electrical engineer, Marchese Guglielmo Marconi, who invented the wireless telegraph (in 1935), known today as radio, was born. In 1894, he began experimenting on the "Hertzian Waves” – the radio waves Heinrich Hertz had first produced in his laboratory a few years earlier. Lacking support from the Italian Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, he turned to the British Post Office. Encouraging demonstrations in London and on Salisbury Plain followed. Marconi obtained the world’s first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy in 1897, and opened the world’s first radio factory at Chelmsford, England in 1898. In 1909 he became a Nobel laureate.
140 solar years ago, on this day in 1881 AD, 250,000 Germans petitioned to bar foreign Jews from entering Germany because of their treason against Prophet Jesus and the slandering of his Virgin Mother, Mary, in addition to their fleecing of Christians of money through usury.
123 solar years ago, on this in 1898 AD, the US declared war on Spain by deceitfully blowing up its own ship "Maine” in the Havana harbor of Spanish ruled Cuba. The war lasted four years during which the US occupied the Spanish possessions of Cuba, Philippines and Guam Island.
106 solar years ago, on this day in 1915 AD, during World War I, the Battle of Gallipoli began when the Peninsula of the same name in Turkey was invaded by a joint force of British, French, Australian, and New Zealand troops. The aim was to capture the Ottoman capital, Istanbul and join it with Greece, but ended in a major failure for the Allied forces who withdrew on 9 January 1916. It was one of the majort Ottoman victories during World War I. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the nation’s history.
99 lunar years ago, on this day in 1343 AH, the renowned theologian, Ayatollah Shaikh Mahdi Khalesi, passed away at the age of 66. Born in the holy city of Kazemain in Iraq, he built a reputation for promotion of virtue and prevention of vice in society. He opposed the British invasion of Iraq, and along with other scholars, such as Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Shirazi and Shaikh Mohammad Hussain Kashef al-Gheta, joined the revolution against the turning of Iraq into a monarchy led by the imported king, Faisal, a son of the British agent of Hejaz, Sharif Hussain. During his stay in Iran he taught at the howza. Books written by him include "Kifayat al-Osoul”, and "Anaween al-Osoul”.
50 solar years ago, on this day in 1971 AD, as part of public protests in the US against the war in Vietnam, over 200,000 Americans staged anti-war demonstrations in Washington against the administration’s military policies. The US which invaded Vietnam in 1964, deployed as many as 500,000 troops, of which a tenth, that is, 50,000 were killed and tens of thousands of others wounded. In 1975 was forced to withdraw its troops, having failed to break the resolve of the Vietnamese people, despite its brutal tactics, including use of internationally-banned chemical weapons.
47 solar years ago, on this day in 1974 AD, a leftist military coup known as the Carnation Revolution, overthrew the fascist Estado Novo regime of Portugal. Marshal Antonio de Spinola was named head of state by a 7-member military junta. The Portugal changed from an authoritarian dictatorship to a democracy after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso), characterized by power dispute between left and right wing parties.
41 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, the stealth US military attack on Iran with a number of choppers and planes, floundered in the sands of Tabas in the northeastern parts of the country in the dead of night, as desert sands miraculously swirled to blind and confuse the pilots, resulting in confusion and collision amongst the US aircraft. Soon there were huge flames all around as the aircraft were reduced to ashes and American soldiers turned into charred bodies, without the Muslim nation of Iran knowing what was really happening. It was indeed heavenly help for the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the panicked Americans fled the country leaving behind burned machines and dead bodies. The well-rehearsed invasion shattered President Jimmy Carter’s plan for re-election by freeing the US spies being held in the Den of Spies in Tehran, as the American embassy had become. On the humiliating military failure of the US, the Father of Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) noted now that the Great Satan conducted an absurd act, and the courageous Iranian nation should get prepared for a confrontation with the foes with reliance upon God’s Infinite Power.
38 lunar years ago, on this day in 1404 AH, the reclusive Gnostic Seyyed Hashem al-Haddad, passed away at the age of 86 in his hometown Karbala, Iraq. He was a student of the famous Gnostic Jurisprudent Seyyed Ali Qazi Tabatabai, with whom he was associated for 28 years in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. In turn he was the teacher of such prominent ulema as Ayatollah Abdul-Hussain Dastghayb, Ayatullah Seyyed Abdul-Karim Razawi Kashmiri, Ayatollah Seyyed Mustafa Khomeini, Ayatoallah Morteza Motahhari, Seyyed Ahmad Fihri Zanjani and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Hussaini. The last named scholar wrote the excellent book "Rooh-e Mojarrad” (or The Detached Soul) on Gnosis, in which he has mentioned in detail how Seyyed Hashem Haddad’s spiritual guidance totally transformed him, taking him to higher levels of spirituality. Seyyed Hashem loved poems of the Persian masters Shams Maghrebi, Hafiz Shirazi and Mowlana Rumi. He was also a great admirer of the Spanish Muslim Gnostic Mohy od-Din Ibn Arabi, but at times has criticized some of his views. He regarded the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) as the supreme example of love for God, the most beautiful manifestation of glory and the beauty of the attributes of Divine Mercy and Wrath. In his opinion, if a spiritual wayfarer becomes cognizant of even a little of the divine manifestations of the epic of Ashura, he will go unconscious forever.
27 solar years ago, on this day in 1994 AD, two Catholic Hutu Nuns in Rwanda ordered some 600 frightened Tutsis out of their Benedictine compound into the hands of Hutu soldiers, who promptly massacred them. In 1997 the Nuns, Gertrude Consolata Mukangango and Maria Kisito Juliene Makubutera, having escaped to Belgium, were put on trial on the basis of eyewitness accounts. In 2001 they were convicted, and let off with light sentences, despite their complicity in mass murder. Gertrude was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Kisito to 12 years.
8 solar years ago, on this day in 2013 AD, Iranian novelist and prominent literary figure, Amir Hussain Fardi, who for 31 long years was chief-editor of the children’s magazine "Kayhan-e Bachaha”, passed away at the age of 64. Born in Ardabil, he was active during the Islamic Revolution, and took major steps in promotion of the Literature of the Islamic Revolution, as well as grooming of talented writers. His works include "Nest in the Fog” and "Imam Khomeini”.