Today is Monday; 13th of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 20th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and May 3, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
3396 solar years ago, on this day in 1375 BC, the oldest recorded eclipse occurred, according to one plausible interpretation of a date inscribed on a clay tablet retrieved from the ancient city of Ugarit, Syria.
1434 lunar years ago, on this day in 8 AH, Mecca, the then centre of paganism, peacefully surrendered to Muslims at the approach of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) without notice with some 10,000 believers, following the breach of the Treaty of Hodaibiyyah signed two years earlier by the Arabs. The Prophet declared general amnesty to his bitter foes and even did not retaliate against the killers of his dear uncle, Hamza, that is, the Abyssinian slave Wahshi and his masters who had ordered him to commit the savagery at Ohad five years earlier – Hind and her husband Abu Sufyan. He spared them by calling them "tulaqa” or freed slaves. This display of the clemency had a profound effect and multitudes of Qoreish started embracing the truth of Islam, as borne out by "Surah Nasr” revealed by God on this day. The Prophet ordered demolishment of temples and the holy Ka’ba was cleansed of the idols the polytheists had installed at Abraham’s edifice of monotheism. The chief idol atop the Ka’ba was pulled down by Imam Ali (AS), who, the Prophet lifted on his shoulders to end idolatry in Arabia.
900 lunar years ago, on this day in 542 AH, the Arabic literary figure, grammarian, and poet, Hibatollah Ibn Ali Ibn ash-Shajari, passed away. He was a descendant of Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the elder grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He spent almost seventy years lecturing on grammar and has left behind numerous works, including: "al-Amali”, and "al-Hamasah”. He has critically evaluated and beautifully explained the poetry of the famous poet, al-Mutanabbi who preceded him by two centuries.
816 lunar years ago, on this day in 626 AH, the Islamic geographer and biographer, Yaqout ibn Abdullah ar-Rumi al-Hamawi, passed away at the age of 51 in Aleppo, Syria. Renowned for his encyclopedic writings, the epithet "ar-Rumi” refers to his Roman or more properly Greek Byzantine origin, while "al-Hamawi” is taken from the family name of his master who was from Hama in Syria but settled in Baghdad, Iraq. "Ibn-Abdullah” means "son of the servant of God, since the name of his Greek father was rather difficult to pronounce in Arabic. His master taught him accounting, trading and other sciences before releasing him. Yaqout, in addition to his native Greek and Latin, mastered Arabic, Persian and Turkish, and dedicated himself to scholarly tasks. He was one of the last scholars who visited the famous Islamic libraries east of the Caspian Sea before the devastating Mongol invasion of Central Asia. He spent two years in the libraries of the Khorasani city of Merv which is currently in Turkmenistan. His two famous voluminous works are "Kitab Mu’jam al-Boldaan (Encyclopedia of Lands) and "Kitab Mu’jam al-Udaba” (Encyclopedia of Writers).
768 lunar years ago, on this day in 674 AH, the literary figure and historian, Taj od-Din Ali Ibn Anjab Ibn Abdullah as-Sa’i, passed away in Baghdad at the age of 81 years. He was the custodian of books at the al-Mustansiriyah School of Baghdad. After the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols of Hulagu Khan and the end of the Abbasid caliphate, he was made in charge of the surviving libraries of Baghdad by the renowned Iranian Islamic scientist, Khwjah Naseer od-Din Tusi. Among his works is "al-Jame’ al-Mukhtasar fi Onwan at-Tarikh wa Uyoun as-Siyar”. He also wrote the book "Nisa’ al-Khluafa” on the different types of women patronized by the Abbasid caliphs.
592 solar years ago, on this day in 1429 AD, French national heroine, Jeanne d’Arc, known to the English as Joan of Arc or Maid of Orleans, started her uprising for the liberation of parts of French territory from the occupation of England. She led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII. She was captured by the Burgundians, transferred to the English in exchange for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais for charges of insubordination and heterodoxy, and burned at the stake as a heretic in 1431 when she was only 19 years old.
552 solar years ago, on this day in 1469 AD, the Italian historian and philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, was born in Florence. Regarded as a founder of modern (unprincipled) political science, he was a diplomat, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic, serving as secretary to the Second Chancery from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici family were out of power. He wrote his political theory titled "The Prince” after the Medici had recovered power and he no longer held a position of responsibility. He believed that there is no harm in acquiring power and maintaining it through any means possible including deceit and oppression, without regard for ethical principles or moral and religious values. Machiavelli died in 1527.
540 solar years ago, on this day in 1481 AD, the largest of three earthquakes struck the small island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea (off the coast of Turkey) causing an estimated 30,000 casualties. It was then part of the Ottoman Empire.
540 solar years ago, on this day in 1481 AD, the 7th Ottoman Sultan, Mohammad II (known as al-Fateh or the Conqueror), died, after a reign of 32 years and was succeeded by his son, Bayezid II. He transformed the Ottoman state into an empire by conquering Constantinople and ending Byzantine or the Eastern Roman Empire. He set out to revitalize the city, renamed it Islambol (today’s Istanbul) and made it the capital of his empire. The first decree issued by him was security and freedom of the residents who were almost all Christians. Hours later, he rode to the Hagia Sofia to proclaim the Islamic creed, converting the grand cathedral into an imperial mosque. When he stepped into the ruins of the Boukoleon, the Palace of the Caesars, built over a thousand years before by Theodosius II, he recited the famous Persian couplet of the Iranian poet, Shaikh Sa’di:
"The spider weaves curtains in the palace of the Caesars. The owl calls watches in the towers of Afrasiyab.”
He built the Grand Bazaar and the Topkapı Palace, which served as the official residence of Ottoman sultans for the next four hundred years. The city, built by Rome’s first Christian Emperor, Constantine I, on the coastlines of the Bosporus Strait was thus transformed from a bastion of Christianity into a symbol of Islamic culture. Mohammad II extended Muslim rule as far as the borders of Italy and his death saved Rome from possible subjugation. He initiated administrative reforms and was fluent in several languages, including Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He invited famous scholars to his court, including the Iranian polymath, Ala od-Din Ali ibn Mohammad Qushji, who as a disciple of the famous astronomer-king Ulugh Beg, was an astronomer, mathematician and physicist from Samarqand.
506 solar years ago, on this day in 1515 AD, the Portuguese fleet occupied the Iranian Island of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. In the next few years they seized more Iranian islands including Bahrain in 1521. The brutality of the Portuguese occupation forces enraged the people of Iran. Finally, upon establishment of a strong Iranian navy by the Safavid Dynasty, Shah Abbas the Great liberated Bahrain in 1602 and Hormuz in 1622.
167 solar years ago, on this day in 1854 AD, Iranian poet, Mirza Habibollah Qa’ani Shirazi passed away at the age of 46 in Tehran and was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Hazrat Abdul-Azim al-Hassani. Known for his melodious verses, his famous elegy on the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS), is still popular in Iran and is inscribed on walls of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad. Considered last of the classical poets, Qa’ani, breaks with the tradition of explanatory poetry and pays tribute to the Prophet’s grandson in the form of question and answer or a dialogue. He was a master of both Arabic and Persian literature, in addition to being familiar with French and English languages. He was also knowledgeable in mathematics, rhetoric, logic and philosophy. He composed over twenty thousand verses, and wrote a book "Parishaan”, in the style of "Golestan” of the famous poet, Sheikh Sa’di of Shiraz.
156 lunar years ago, on this day in 1286 AH, the eminent scholar, Shaikh al-Iraqayn, Abdul-Husain Ibn Ali Tehrani, passed away in Karbala, and was laid to rest in the holy shrine of the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (AS). Iraq. An authority in theology, hadith, and exegesis of the Holy Qur’an, he groomed many students, including the famous Mirza Hussain Nouri, the teacher in turn of the celebrated Shaikh Abbas Qomi – the author of widely circulated prayer-supplication manual "Mafatih al-Jenaan”. He had a vast collection of books and before his death endowed his library for the use of scholars and researchers.
153 lunar years ago, on this day in 1289 AH, the eminent jurist, Seyyed Mohammed Taqi Ibn Seyyed Mohammed Reza Ibn Seyyed Mohammed Mahdi Bahr al-Uloum, passed away.
82 solar years ago, on this day in 1939 AD, the All India Forward Bloc was formed in Calcutta by Subhash Chandra Bose, who had resigned from the presidency of the Indian National Congress on April 29 after being outmaneuvered by Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi. The goal was to liberate India from British rule through armed struggle. In August the same year Bose began publishing a newspaper titled Forward Bloc. On July 2, 1940 he was arrested. In January 1941 he escaped from house arrest, and fled to Germany to meet Adolf Hitler and set up the Free India Centre in Berlin. In August 1942 the British banned the Forward Bloc.
53 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, the French student movement started in Paris. Soon French workers, dissatisfied with their negligible wages, joined the students. The uprising later became political and spread to several European countries. Protesters demanded social reforms in favor of low-income strata and end to US meddling in Europe. The movement fizzled out because of police brutality and deceit of politicians.
52 solar years ago, on this day in 1969 AD, President Zakir Hussain of India died in office at the age of 72. An ethnic Afridi-Pashtun born in Hyderabad Deccan, he was India’s first Muslim president. Earlier he was Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.
38 solar years ago, on this day in 1983 AD, Algerian foreign minister, Mohammed Seddiq bin Yahya, was killed at the age of 50 during a diplomatic mission to try to end the war imposed by the US on the Islamic Republic of Iran through Saddam, when his plane was shot down by the Ba’thist regime near the Turkey-Iran borders. A veteran of the Algerian independence struggle against France, he had a distinguished career, serving his country as Minister of Information (1967–1971), Minister of Higher Education (1971–1977), Minister of Finance (1977–1979), and Foreign Minister (1979-1982).
28 solar years ago, on this day in 1993 AD, the UN General Assembly declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day and urged governments to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression as mentioned in Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek – a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991. UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence or promotion of press freedom.
10 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, the so-called justice minister of Bahrain’s repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime, said 24 doctors and 23 paramedics, who treated injured protesters demanding their birthrights, have been charged with acts against the state and will be tried in a military court. Their prosecution began on June 6. Bahrain is in the grip of a popular uprising which has been brutally quelled by the regime with the help of the invading Saudi Arabian forces – destroying mosques and hussainiyahs, and desecrating copies of the holy Qur’an.