Today is Wednesday; 8th of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 15th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and April 28, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1799 solar years ago, on this day in 242 AD, Ardashir I (Artaxerxes), the Founder of the Sassanid Persian Empire, died after a reign of 18 years, and was succeeded by his son, Shapur I. Son of Babak (Papak) and maternal grandson of Sassan, he was the ruler of Estakhr since 206, Darabgerd, and subsequently Pars Province since 222, as a vassal of the Parthian Emperor. He began conquering other vassals of the Parthian Empire. This expansion came to the attention of Emperor Ardavan V (Artabanus), who ordered the ruler of Khuzestan to confront him. But Ardashir emerged victorious in battle, conquered Khuzestan, and soon had Kerman under his grasp. He then invaded the province of Maishan, killing its ruler. In 224, Emperor Ardavan personally marched to Fars to defeat the rebellious Ardashir, who won the first battle, but with heavy losses on both sides. In the second battle, the Parthians suffered a greater loss and Ardashir was again deemed the victor. Their armies clashed once again in a final battle at Hormizdeghan, near the modern city of Bandar Abbas. During the battle, the Parthian army was completely defeated, and Emperor Ardavan V killed, thus bringing down the curtain on the 471-year long rule of the Parthian Empire, and starting the rule of the Sassanid Empire that would last four more centuries before the Islamic conquest. Ardashir now subjugated the remaining provinces and in 226 entered the Parthian capital Ctesiphon (Mada’en near Baghdad in Iraq), where he officially crowned himself Shahanshah (king of kings). Over the next few years, he further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, forcing the ruler of Khorasan, to acknowledge his authority, and conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Margiana (modern Turkmenistan), Balkh, Chorasmia (Central Asia), Mosul, and the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain. Furthermore, the kings of Kushan, Turan, Makran, Hatra and Armenia, recognized Ardashir as their overlord. In the latter years of his reign, Ardashir I engaged in a series of armed conflicts with Iran’s principal rival to the west—the Roman Empire. He defeated the Romans in several battles in what is now Turkey and Syria, forcing Emperor Alexander Severus to withdraw to Europe after unsuccessful efforts to invade Mesopotamia.
1439 lunar years ago, on this day in 3 AH, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the eldest grandson and 2nd Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Medina. His name "Hasan”, which means the "Most Excellent” was chosen by the Prophet on the commandment of God and is the Arabic equivalent of "Shabar” the name in Hebrew of the first born son of Aaron, the brother and vicegerent of Prophet Moses (AS). Imam Hasan (AS), along with his younger brother, Imam Husain (AS), was hailed by the Prophet as Twin Leaders of the Youths of Paradise. The two brothers along with their parents, Imam Ali (AS) and Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), were covered by the Prophet under his cloak as the Ahl al-Bayt on revelation of the Verse of Purity (holy Qur’an 33:33), and this immaculate group also accompanied the Prophet to the decisive debate of Mubahela with the Christians of Najran on revelation of ayah 61 of Surah Nisa in order to prove the truth of Islam. Six months after succeeding to the caliphate, following his father’s martyrdom, Imam Hasan (AS), in view of the widespread sedition and hypocrisy in the society, agreed to relinquish political rule to the charlatan Mu’awiya ibn Abu Sufyan in order to unmask him in his true heathen colours. Thus, his prudence and foresight saved Islam from civil war, at a time when the Byzantine Empire was waiting for weakening of Muslims to attack and occupy Syria and Bayt al-Moqaddas.
1059 lunar years ago, on this day in 383 AH, the famous literary figure, Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Abbas Khwarezmi, passed away in the northeastern Iranian city of Naishapour. He had a strong memory and was highly talented in memorization of Arabic poems and history. He had inclinations towards the household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and has highlighted in his works the tyranny of the Omayyad and Abbasid caliphs. One of his famous works is "ar-Rasa’el”, which is a masterpiece of Arabic literature. He was the maternal nephew (sister’s son) of the famous Abu Ja’far Mohammad Ibn Rustom Tabari.
1057 lunar years ago, on this day in 385 AH, the famous scholar and Founder of the Islamic Seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq, Abu Ja’far Mohammad Ibn Hassan Tousi, popular as Shaikh at-Ta’efah, was born in Tous near holy Mashhad in Khorasan, northeastern Iran. On completing studies in his homeland, at the age of 23 he left for Baghdad for higher studies under the celebrated scholar Shaikh Mufid, who died five years later in 413 AH. Leadership of the Shi’ite Muslim scholars then fell to the renowned Sharif Murtaza, who remained in this position for 23 years until his death in 436 AH. During this period Shaikh Tousi was closely associated with Sharif Murtaza, and subsequently succeeded him as head of the community. So impressive was Shaikh Tousi’s knowledge that the Abbasid caliph, al-Qader, attended his lectures. Eleven years later in 447 AH, when the Iranian Buwayhid dynasty was in the state of decline, the house of Shaikh Tousi in the Karkh locality, along with his library that contained some 90,000 books, was burnt down in sectarian riots. Shaikh Tousi, seeing the danger of remaining in Baghdad, moved to holy Najaf where his arrival made it the leading centre of Islamic scholarship, a role which it has maintained down to the present day. Some 13 years later, he passed away and was succeeded by his son Shaikh Hassan Tousi, who as an outstanding scholar was known as Mufid-e Thani or Second Mufid. He was laid to rest in his home, near the shrine of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) – the vicegerent and 1st Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). His house containing his tomb was converted into a mosque and is known today as Jame’ at-Tousi. He authored over 50 books on various topics such as jurisprudence, exegesis of the holy Qur’an, hadith, theology, history and biography of narrators. Of the four authoritative resources of hadith of the School of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, two were compiled by Shaikh at-Taifah Tousi. These two basic reference books are: "Tahzeeb al-Ahkaam” and "al-Istibsaar”. His exegesis on the holy Qur’an is titled "at-Tibyaan”. On the Lord of the Age, Imam Mahdi (God hasten his reappearance) he wrote the book "al-Ghayba” (Occultation). His another work is "Mukhtasar Akhbar al-Mukhtar”, a concise history of the uprising of Mukhtar ibn Abu Obaydah Thaqafi to avenge the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS).
830 solar years ago, on this day in 1192 AD, Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), the self-styled king of the Latin Kingdom Jerusalem that had ceased to exist in 1187, was executed in Tyre, southern Lebanon, by the Ismaili Muslim Hashshashin (corrupted to Assassin in English), possibly on the orders of his bitter enemy King Richard of England. Born in the northern Italian town of Montferrat near Piedmont, he was one of the main participants of the Third Crusade launched by European Christians on Palestine and Syria in a vain bid to retake the recently liberated city of Bayt ol-Moqaddas. An opportunist without any principles, he made enemies both amongst his fellow Europeans and the Muslim defenders. He claimed title to the Kingdom of Jerusalem by marriage to Isabela. The Muslim historian Ibn al-Athir calls him "devil incarnate”, and on the news of his death wrote: "The ruler of Tyre, and the greatest devil of all the Franks, Conrad of Montferrat – God damn him – was killed.”
477 lunar years ago, on this day in 965 AH, the famous jurisprudent Shaikh Zayn od-Din al-Juba’i al-Ameli, known as "Shaheed Thani” (Second Martyr), was martyred at the age of 54. Born in Juba in the Jabal Amel region of what is now Lebanon, he is believed to have some connection with Tous in Khorasan, because he occasionally signed his surname as "at-Tousi ash-Shami” – the second part pertaining to Greater Syria since Lebanon like Palestine and Jordan is actually a part of Syria. After initial study under his father, he was groomed for some 8 years by the celebrated Shaikh Ali bin Hussain bin Abd al-Aali Muhaqqaq Karki, and by the age of 33 became a Mujtahed. He had also studied in Damascus under Sunni ulema, and became an authority on such texts as "Sahih Bukhari” and "Sahih Muslim”. He visited Egypt to study medicine, geometry, prosody and logic from different teachers. He performed the Hajj pilgrimage and visited Bayt al-Moqaddas, in addition to travelling to Iraq for the pilgrimage to the shrines of the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt. During a visit to Istanbul had a lively discussion with the Chief Qazi of the state, Mohammad bin Mohammad Qazizadah ar-Roumi, to whom he presented a treatise titled "Ten Knowledges” that greatly impressed the latter. He was permitted to teach at the Nooriyah Islamic School in Ba’lbek, where he taught the five schools of Islamic jurisprudence, that is, Ja’fari, Hanafi, Shafei, Maliki and Hanbali. Apart from proficiency in jurisprudence, he was well versed in theology, philosophy, Gnosis, medicine and astronomy. He was a man of piety, known for his austere way of life. His students have recorded in his biography that he maintained his family by selling wood that he cut during the nights, and then sat to teach during the day. Some pseudo ulema, adverse to Islamic unity, conspired against him, labeled false accusations, and complained to the Ottoman Sultan. He was taken to Istanbul, but on the way to see the Sultan, he was brutally beheaded and his body thrown into the sea. His assassin was killed on the Sultan’s orders. Later, a shrine was built by Turkmens at the site of his martyrdom when they realised his lofty stature. He authored several books, and his masterpiece is the commentary on the jurisprudential manual "Lum’at-ad-Dimashqiyya” (The Damascene Glitter) of the First Martyr, Mohammad Jamal od-Din al-Makki al-Ameli, titled "ar-Rawdhat-al-Bahiyah ft Sharh al-Lum’at-ad- Dimashqiyya” (The Beautiful Garden in Interpreting the Damascene Glitter).
285 solar years ago, on this day in 1726 AD, English merchant and politician, Thomas Pitt, died at the age of 73. In 1674, he went with the East India Company to India, where he soon began trading for himself as an ‘interloper’ and earned a fortune that later gained him a seat in the parliament and earldom for his descendants. In 1698, as governor of British Madras, he proved a skillful politician, and in view of his familiarity with Persian language, negotiated with Moghal Emperor Aurangzeb for ending hostilities. In 1701, he purchased a 410 carat (82 g) uncut diamond from an Indian merchant, who had bought it from an English sea captain, who had in fact stolen it from a servant of Abu’l-Hassan Qotb Shah, the last king of the Persianate Qotb-Shahi Dynasty of Golkandah-Haiderabad of Iranian origin, whom Aurangzeb had defeated and imprisoned in 1687. Pitt sent the diamond to London in 1702 and the jeweller Harris laboured to hew a 141 carat (28.2 g) cushion brilliant from the rough stone. Several secondary stones were produced from the cut that were sold for a handsome price to Peter the Great of Russia. In 1717, Pitt sold to the French regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, for a very large sum, the brilliant diamond that became a crown jewel of France. Today, "Le Regent”, as it is known, remains in the French Royal Treasury at the Louvre, where it has been on display since 1887. Thomas Pitt’s elder grandson William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, called "Pitt the Elder”, was twice Prime Minister of Britain, while the latter’s son, William "Pitt the Younger”, also went on to become Prime Minister twice.
101 solar years ago, on this day in 1920 AD, the Russian-occupied northern part of the Iranian land of Azerbaijan, including Arran, which had broken free of Moscow’s control on the collapse of Czarist rule in 1917, was seized by the communist army of the Soviet Union after heavy fighting and massacre of at least twenty thousand Azeri Muslims. Known today as the Republic of Azerbaijan, this region should have been returned to Iran, as per the terms of the Treaties of Golestan (in 1813) and Turkmanchai (in 1828). "Azar” is Old Persian for fire, while "Baijan” is the Arabic corruption of the Persian word "Payegaan” meaning guardian or land – since the letters "P” and "G” have no equivalent in Arabic they were replaced by "B” and "J”. Thus, Azerbaijan means "Land of Fire”, probably because of the oil wells around what is now Baku that at times spewed fire, as recorded by ancient texts, including the travels of Marco Polo. From pre-historic times this region has been the home of different Iranic tribes, such as the Scythians (Sakas). Azerbaijan has been an integral part of Iran before the emergence of the Median Empire followed by the Achaemenid, Parthians, and Sassanid Dynasties, after which it became part of the Islamic world. With the weakening of the Abbasid caliphate, the Arab governors of this region took the ancient title Shirvanshah, and became thoroughly Persianized in language and culture, promoting such poets, as the famous Nizami Ganjavi. Although nomadic Turkic tribes fleeing the Mongol invasion of Central Asia had settled in the pasturelands, it was only with the influx of large numbers of Turkic Shi’ite Muslims from Anatolia as supporters of the Safavid Dynasty that the Old Iranian Azari dialect of the region began to be replaced with what is now called Azeri Turkic. After the Safavids, the Afsharid, Zandi and the Qajarid dynasties of Iran held sway over this area until its seizure by the Russians in the first half of the 19th century. After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, northern Azerbaijan, together with Armenia and Georgia set up the short-lived Trans-Caucasian Democratic Federative Republic. When the republic dissolved in May 1918, northern Azerbaijan declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. It was obvious the Soviet Union would attack this land, since Vladimir Lenin said the invasion was justified as Moscow could not survive without Baku’s oil. While the Azeri army was engaged in putting down an Armenian revolt in Qarabagh, the Soviets invaded and occupied this land.
84 solar years ago, on this day in 1937 AD, Saddam, the future brutal dictator of the repressive Ba’th minority regime of Iraq, was born, of doubtful paternity, in the village of al-Owja near Tikrit. As a teenage thug he was involved in social crimes including murder. At the age of 29, he joined the Ba’th Party. After the coup staged by the Ba’thists in 1968 under command of General Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, he was instated as deputy president. In July 1979, a few months after the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the US and Britain replaced Bakr with Saddam, in order to use his savage nature to brutally suppress the Iraqi Muslim people from following the footsteps of Iran to determine the fate of their country. After massacring thousands of members of Iraq’s Shi’ite Arab majority, including the leading ulema such as Ayatollah Seyyed Baqer as-Sadr, and after expelling tens of thousands of Iraqis, Saddam, at the behest of his masters in the West, invaded the Islamic Republic of Iran to try to topple the government. He utterly failed and the war dragged on for eight years during which he was supplied with internationally banned chemical weapons by the West for use against both the Iranian and Iraqi peoples. Two years after the end of his 8-year war, Saddam occupied Kuwait, his own former benefactor. This led to an international coalition against him, and following the retreat of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, he was allowed by the US to again massacre Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims by hundreds of thousands, and to desecrate the holy shrines of the Imams of the Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) in Karbala and Najaf. Finally, in 2003 when his own godfathers, the Americans and the British, launched an attack to remove him, he fled and hid, until he was caught and jailed. The bloodthirsty Saddam was responsible for the death of several million people, including Iraqis and Iranians. He was executed by hanging at the age of 69 for his crimes against humanity.
77 solar years ago, on this day in 1944 AD, Mohammad Alem Khan, the last ruler of the Persianized Manghit dynasty of the Emirate of Bukhara in what is now Uzbekistan, died in exile in Afghanistan. He traced his descent to the savage Mongol conqueror, Chingiz Khan, and reigned from 1911 to 30 August 1920 over an area between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers. Its core territory was the land along the lower Zarafshan River, while its urban centres were the ancient Iranian cities of Samarqand and Bukhara. Formerly part of successive Iranian empires, following the death of Nader Shah Afshar of Iran in 1747, the Manghits rebelled and replaced the Iranian governors, and in 1785 officially established the Emirate of Bukhara. In 1868, the emirate lost a war against Russia, which annexed much of the territory, including the important city of Samarqand. In 1873 the remainder of the emirate became a Russian protectorate. In 1917, with the collapse of Czarist rule, Alem Khan asserted his independence. In March 1920, the Soviet Union attacked the emirate but its communist army was defeated. In late August the same year, a well-equipped army sent from Moscow defeated Alem Khan, who sought refuge in Afghanistan. Bukhara has a rich history of Persian art, architecture and literature.
76 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, Italy’s Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were executed by Italian partisans as they attempted to flee the country, following the surrender of his forces to the Allied armies. He had teamed up with Germany’s Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, and Imperialist Japan during World War 2 to form the Axis Powers for dominating Europe, Africa, and Asia.
56 solar years ago, on this day in 1965 AD, the US administration, under the pretext of supporting its nationals, attacked the Dominican Republic, actually to quell the uprising of the people that had succeeded in overthrowing the US-backed military dictatorship. The revolutionary people, however, stood steadfast against the 40,000-strong US occupation troops and forced them to withdraw. The Dominican Republic along with Haiti shares the large Hispaniola Island in the Caribbean Sea.
54 solar years ago, on this day in 1967 AD, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Muhammad Ali, was illegally stripped of his title under pressure from the US government for refusing to be inducted into the army during the unjust American war in Vietnam. He openly said the Vietnamese had done nothing against him or the other American people, and Islam forbids Muslims from getting involved in unnecessary wars and bloodshed. His actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon worldwide. Born into an Afro-American family and named Cassius Clay, he embraced the truth of Islam, and remains the only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978.
43 solar years ago, on this day in 1978 AD, President Mohammed Dawoud Khan of Afghanistan was found dead a day after the coup by General Abdul-Qader Dagarwal that overthrew him and installed communist leader, Noor Mohammad Taraki, as the new president. A member of the ruling family, Dawoud, who had served as Prime Minister from 1953 to 1963 to his cousin, Zaher Shah, had ousted the king in 1973 to seize power as president. The cycle of violence has since continued in Afghanistan, which is presently under US occupation, after passing through the 10-year Soviet occupation (1979-to-1989), and the barbaric rule of the Taliban terrorists (from 1996-to-2001).
40 solar years ago, on this day in 1981 AD, Iran’s courageous helicopter pilot, Captain Ali Akbar Shiroudi, attained martyrdom during an operation in western Iran against Saddam’s Ba’thist occupation forces. Earlier, he had played a key role by clearing the border areas from the foreign-backed mercenaries. In one of his famous operations with two other helicopters, his team blew at least 50 Iraqi tanks.
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1988 AD, the Wahhabi regime of Saudi Arabia, unilaterally severed diplomatic relations with Iran following the nose-diving of ties between the two counties in the aftermath of the July 31, 1987 massacre of over 400 mostly Iranian pilgrims in the holy city of Mecca during the annual Hajj, when even the killing of an insect is religiously forbidden. For three years Iran did not send any pilgrims to the House of God until the restoration of diplomatic ties in 1991.
32 solar years ago, on this day in 1989 AD, former Iranian Marxist leader and revert to Islam, Ehsan Tabari, died in Tehran at the age of 72. Born in Sari, Mazandaran, he was fluent in eight languages, and in addition to research in linguistics, wrote and translated poetry. As a prominent leader of the Tudeh party he fled to the Soviet Union to escape persecution by the Pahlavi regime. In 1979, following the overthrow of the British-installed and US-backed Shah, he returned to Iran. In 1983, along with other leaders of the Tudeh Party, he was arrested, and during imprisonment, having had the chance to read the works of Islamic thinkers, such as Martyr Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari, he realized his ideas were based on Freemasons, secularists, western liberals and Marxists linked to imperialism and Zionism. In May 1984 he confessed on television for spying for the USSR and other crimes, and recanted the Tudeh ideology, and proclaimed to viewers his reversion to Islam, saying he had come to realize his entire life’s work as defective, damaging, and totally spurious.
28 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, Afghan Muslim combatants, after 13 years of struggle against the Soviet army and later its client communist regime in Kabul, achieved victory by ousting General Mohammad Najibollah, who sought asylum in the UN mission on the fall of Kabul to the Mujahideen. Najib, an ethnic Pashtun, refused the offer of the Tajik-dominated government of President Burhan od-Din Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masoud to leave the country, on the assumption that his life would be spared by fellow Pashtuns, the Taleban, who, however, stormed the UN compound, and brutally tortured him and his brother to death.