Today is Monday; 6th of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 13th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 26, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1900 solar years ago, on this day in 121 AD, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor was born. In 161 AD, he was declared emperor and commenced his 19-year rule that saw his generals emerge as victors of the 5-year long war (161-65) against the Parthian Empire of Iran in Armenia and Mesopotamia (Iraq), following initial Iranian victories in Syria and Anatolia (present day Turkey). The Roman success, however, was short-lived, and despite the sacking of the Iranian-controlled Greek city of Seleucia on the eastern banks of the Tigris and plunder of the Parthian capital, Ctesiphon, on the eastern banks of the same river, the Iranians soon remobilized and reclaimed lost ground, although Armenia was briefly lost. The Parthian Empire was at that time under the long 44-year rule of Balaash, known to the Romans as Vologases IV. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the supposedly 5 good emperors in Roman history.
1347 lunar years ago, on this day in 95 AH, the tyrannical governor-general of the Godless Omayyad regime, Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, died of pain in his stomach at the age of 54. Of uncertain paternity and born to a morally-loose woman in Ta’ef, he was named "Kulayb” – Arabic for whelp, that is, offspring of dog or wolf. Although later in life he changed his name to Hajjaj and added the surname Thaqafi, without any connection to the famous Thaqafi clan, his innate canine characteristics were evident throughout his bloodthirsty life. His mean mentality earned him the post of "Shurta” or police chief in Damascus, and his subsequent cruelties against any form of dissent caught the attention of the Omayyad usurper, Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, who appointed him governor-general of Iraq and Iran, to crush the followers of the blessed household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). It is said that as many 125,000 Muslims were killed on the orders of Hajjaj, in addition to those who died fighting against his tyrannical rule. Among the prominent and pious figures martyred by this tyrant was the Prophet’s venerable companion, Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari and two of the most loyal followers of Imam Ali (AS) – the devoted servant Qanbar and the faithful disciple, Kumayl bin Ziyad to whom the Imam had taught the famous supplication of the same name that is recited by believers on Friday eve. Among the other unpardonable sins of Hajjaj was his storming of the holy Ka’ba in Mecca in pursuit of the self-styled caliph, Abdullah ibn Zubair, who was eventually killed along with 10,000 of his men. The holy Ka’ba also suffered extensive damage and desecration. On his death when prisons were opened, over 50,000 men and women were released, while thousands of corpses were discovered.
1264 solar years ago, on this day in 757 AD, Hisham I, the 2nd Omayyad emir of Muslim Spain was born to Abdur-Rahman I and his wife, Halul, a couple of years after his fugitive father, fleeing the persecution of his clan in Syria and Egypt by the Abbasids, arrived in Andalusia, and was welcomed by Syrian commanders. In 788, he became ruler, and faced with threats from France, sent his general Abdul-Malik ibn Abdul-Wahid ibn Mughith across the Pyrenees mountains to defeat Louis the Pious’ Carolingian mentor William of Orange. Despite this victory, the Muslims did not advance further into France as they had done half-a-century earlier, advancing till Poitiers before their historic defeat in 732. In 794, Ibn Mughith suppressed a Basque rebellion and soundly defeated the Christian principality of Asturias in southern France. Hisham died in 796 at the age of 40 after eight years as ruler.
457 lunar years ago, on this day in 985 AH, Ismail II, the 3rd king of the Safavid dynasty died at the age of 40 on consuming poisoned opium after a brief 15-month reign of terror and fratricide in Iran. Imprisoned by his father Shah Tahmasp I for plotting to seize the throne he was freed and declared king by a faction of the powerful Qizilbash Guard in the dispute that ensued on the death of Shah Tahmasp. The Qizilbash were split between him and his younger brother Haydar Ali. The pro-Haydar faction was briefly successful in placing their candidate on the throne but Haydar was killed in the ensuing fight between supporters and opponents that made his tutor, the great scholar, Mir Mohammad Momin Astarabadi to leave Iran for the safety of the Deccan in southern India, where he became Prime Minister of the Qotb-Shahi Dynasty of Iranian origin of Golkandah and helped found the city of Hyderabad. Another faction tried to make a third son of Tahmasp as king, but was thwarted by Ismail’s supporters. It seems the almost 20-year imprisonment of Ismail at the fortress of Qahqaha had affected his mind. As well as executing members of the faction that had opposed him, he also turned on his own supporters. He killed or blinded five of his own brothers and four other Safavid princes. He is known in Iranian history as "Ismail-e Murted” (The Apostate) for turning away from the path of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The Qizilbash began to regret their choice and plotted to assassinate him with the help of his sister Pari Khan Khanum. lsmail was succeeded by his almost blind brother, Mohammad Khodabandah, the father of Shah Abbas the Great.
416 solar years ago, on this day in 1605 AD, Europe’s first weekly newspaper titled "Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien” was published in German language by Johann Carolus in the city of Strasbourg, which is currently in France but was then part of Germany’s Holy Roman Empire. It seems the Europeans came up with the idea of a newspaper through their contacts with the Muslim World, especially the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires, in what is now Turkey, Iran and the Subcontinent, where the Waqia-Navis or Newswriter used to release weekly record of various events in the form of Waqianameh or newsletters to keep the court officials and the elite informed.
300 solar years ago, on this day in 1721 AD, a massive earthquake devastated the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz in eastern Azarbaijan Province, killing more than 80,000 people and destroying buildings, including many historical structures. The quake was interpreted as an omen of misfortune, or a demonstration of divine wrath, resulting in economic difficulties at a time when political chaos had gripped the border areas of the Safavid Empire, with Bahrain invaded by Oman, Lizgis in revolt in the Caucasus, and Ghilzai Afghans in rebellion in Qandahar – all due to gross mismanagement from the capital Isfahan. As the Safavid Dynasty collapsed the next year after two centuries and over two decades of glorious rule, the Ottomans invaded and occupied quake devastated Tabriz, while Russia seized Daghestan and advanced into Azarbaijan.
216 solar years ago, on this day in 1805 AD, a regiment of US led a band of Greek and Arab mercenaries against forces of Tripoli to attack and occupy Derne, the capital of the North African province of Cyrenaica, during the First Barbary War which it imposed on the Ottoman lands of Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. It was the first military expedition of the US abroad and met with mixed results as the Muslims regrouped and defeated the American fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.
121 solar years ago, on this day in 1900 AD, American seismologist, Charles Francis Richter, was born. He devised the Richter Scale that measures earthquake magnitudes which he developed with his colleague, Beno Gutenberg, in the early 1930s. The scale assigns numerical ratings to the energy released by earthquakes. Richter used a seismograph to record actual earth motion during an earthquake. That is an instrument generally consisting of a constantly unwinding roll of paper, anchored to a fixed place, and a pendulum or magnet suspended with a marking device above the roll. The scale takes into account the instrument’s distance from the epicenter. Gutenberg suggested that the scale be logarithmic so, for example, a quake of magnitude 7 would be ten times stronger than a 6.
114 lunar years ago, on this day in 1328 AH, the Iranian theologian and mystic, Mirza Jahangir Khan Qashqai, passed away. Born among Qashqai nomads in central Iran, he became a prominent Islamic scholar, and groomed numerous students in the seminary of Isfahan, including Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Modarres, and Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi, during his 50-year teaching career. He passed away at the age of 85 in Isfahan.
102 lunar years ago, on this day in 1340 AH, the prominent theologian, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani (grandfather of the current Source of Emulation Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani of holy Najaf) passed away in holy Mashhad, Khorasan in northeastern Iran. The reason the family is called Sistani is because of the appointment of an ancestor to the religious post of Shaikh ol-Islam in Greater Sistan Province by Shah Sultan Hussain Safavi, for promotion of the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). Ayatollah Sistani, after completion of studies in Najaf, returned home to Iran and settled in Mashhad. He used to lecture on theology and jurisprudence, in addition to leading the Friday Prayers at Gowhar-Shad Mosque adjacent to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir. He was jailed for a while during the Constitutional Movement due to his struggles against despotism of the Qajarid regime.
95 solar years ago, on this day in 1926 AD, Iran’s first radio transmission and wireless telegraph station became operational. Soon more such stations were set up the same year in Mashhad, Tabriz, Shiraz, Khorramshahr, and Kermanshah. The next year all Iranian cities became connected to the national network.
88 solar years ago, on this day in 1933 AD, the dreaded Gestapo organization was formed in Germany by Nazi Field Marshal, Hermann Goering, one of the senior aides of Adolf Hitler. The term Gestapo means state secret police. The goal was identification, detention, and execution of those who were against Nazism and Hitler. The most infamous head of Gestapo was Heinrich Himmler.
78 solar years ago, on this day in 1943 AD, Kashmiri religious scholar and politician, Mowlavi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, organizer of the Grand Ashura Procession in Kashmir on the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Husain (AS), was born in Srinagar. He completed his religious education at Sultan al-Madares in Lucknow. In 1962, he succeeded his father Mowlavi Mohammad Jawad Ansari as president of All Jammu and Kashmir Shi’a Muslim Association. He was a sitting member of the Jammu-Kashmir Legislative Assembly as representative of the Jammu-Kashmir People’s Democratic Party. He was earlier a member of National Conference and Congress. Ansari was thrice the target of unsuccessful assassination attempts. In June 2000 he barely escaped the explosion of a landmine while addressing a religious congregation at Gund Khwaja Qasim. The blast killed twelve of his followers. On 1 September 2000 Ansari was injured by an IED explosion that killed two policemen and a driver. Police suspected Hizb ul-Mujahideen of carrying out this terrorist attack. Iftikhar Hussain Ansari passed away at the age of 72 in 2014.
57 solar years ago, on this day in 1964 AD, with the forced union of the Muslim populated Zanzibar Island with Tanganyika on the African mainland, following the overthrow of the Sultanate of Zanzibar and Pemba, the Republic of Tanzania was formed. Earlier in 1961 and 1963, the two countries of Zanzibar and Tanganyika had respectively gained independence from British colonial rule. Julius Nyerere who engineered the overthrow and annexation of Zanzibar is called the father of Tanzania, which is a federal republic. It covers an area of almost 950,000 sq km in eastern Africa and lies on the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. It shares borders with Kenya, Kongo, Uganda, Rwanda, Brunei, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. Some 50 percent of the people of Tanzania are Muslims, with many following the school of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt.
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, a prominent figure of the Islamic Revolution, Hojjat al-Islam Mahdi Shahabadi, attained martyrdom at the warfronts against Saddam’s despotic Ba’th minority regime. Following the completion of his Islamic studies, Martyr Shahabadi actively participated in the struggles against the Shah’s dictatorship. He was incarcerated by the Pahlavi regime on several occasions and was ruthlessly tortured. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he was elected as a lawmaker. With the outbreak of the imposed war, he left for the warfronts to defend the country. He would say: "If martyrdom can safeguard our monotheist system; and if martyrdom can convey our Islamic thoughts to the world; we are prepared for martyrdom.”
36 solar years ago, on this day in 1985 AD, the UN Security Council condemned Iraq’s use of internationally banned chemical weapons against Iran during the war imposed by the US through Saddam, although it did not issue any resolution in this regard, because of pressure of western, eastern and Arab states. The condemnation was made possible in view of Iran’s sending the chemical victims to hospitals in Europe for treatment.
35 solar years ago, on this day in 1986 AD, in Pripyat in the Soviet Union on the borders of Ukraine and Belarus, one of the four reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded in the world’s worst civil nuclear catastrophe. It sent a cloud of radioactive dust over Europe. The cause was an experiment that went wrong, causing the fourth reactor to explode and melt down. Thirty-one people, mostly firemen, were killed immediately after the explosion, and several thousand more - those involved in the clean-up and children - have since died from radiation-related illnesses. Ukraine says the health of millions of its people have been affected by the disaster. The final shutdown of the undamaged last reactor on the site took place ceremoniously on 15 Dec 2000.
32 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, the deadliest tornado in world history struck Central Bangladesh, killing upwards of 1,300, injuring 12,000, and leaving as many as 80,000 homeless.
25 solar years ago, on this day in 1996 AD, the 16-day aggression of the Zionist entity on southern Lebanon, codenamed Grapes of Wrath, ended. During its savage attack from land, air, and sea, Israel destroyed most of the infrastructure of Lebanon as far as Beirut, martyring 180 men, women, and children, and wounding hundreds of others. The goal was to try to demoralize people and weaken the Islamic Resistance. Israel, however, failed miserably and was forced to withdraw on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 425. Four years later, the Zionists and their surrogate forces, the South Lebanese Army, were humiliated by the legendry anti-terrorist movement, Hezbollah, and forced to retreat from the Litani River and almost all of south Lebanon.