Today is Saturday; 18th of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 18th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and May 8, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
901 lunar years ago, on this day in 541 AH, the renowned Spanish Muslim hadith scholar and exegete of the Holy Qur’an, Abdul-Haqq Ibn Ghaleb Ibn Abdur-Rahman, popular as Ibn Atiyyah, passed away at the age of 60. His father was a well-known scholar of Fiqh and Hadith, who traveled to the eastern parts of the Muslim world to learn under scholars of repute, and on return was appointed judge in Granada. Ibn Atiyyah studied under his father and later under other scholars. He was a meticulous scholar, and did not confine himself to Islamic studies, but read in all fields, feeling that this would give him a better understanding of the holy Qur’an. He traveled to many centers and cities of Islamic Spain, meeting scholars and learning from them. He later became a judge in Muria. Since Muslims in Spain were under attack by Christians, he joined the army and fought in several battles, in addition to writing to rulers and reminding them of their duty to Islam. Ibn Atiyyah wrote several books, including "al-Ansaab”. A short work by him titled "al-Barnamaj” contains biographies of his teachers. He wrote poetry as well, but his main and voluminous work is a commentary on the holy Qur’an, entitled "al-Muharrar Al-Wajeez”, which reflects his knowledge in a variety of disciplines.
897 lunar years ago, on this day in 544 AH, the famous Iranian Sunni Muslim theologian, exegete and polymath, Mohammad ibn Omar ibn Hussain at-Taymi at-Tabaristani, popular as Fakhr od-Din Razi, was born in the city of Rayy – presently a southern suburb of modern Tehran. Descended from the first caliph, Abu Bakr through his son, Mohammad – a staunch devotee of Imam Ali (AS) and his God-given authority – he first studied with his father, and later under Majd al-Jili, who was a student of Ghazali. His commentary on the holy Qur’an titled "Tafsir al-Kabir” is the most varied and many-sided of all extant works of the kind. He has analyzed and admitted the merits of the Ahl al-Bayt or Blessed Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and has explicitly said, on the basis of authentic hadith concerning ayah 33 of Surah Ahzaab, that the Verse of Purity relates to Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), Imam Ali (AS) and their sons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS), and does not include the wives of the Prophet as some allege. He taught at Rayy, journeyed all over the eastern Islamic world, as far as Khwarezm and the court of Shams od-Din Aibak of northern India. He settled in Herat where he became head of an academy, and passed away in this same city. He wrote on medicine, physics, astrology, literature, history and law. Among his several compilations, mention can be made of the encyclopedic work "Jame’ al-Oloum”.
864 solar years ago, on this day in 1157 AD, Sultan Mo’iz od-Din Ahmad Sanjar, the last great ruler of the Iran-based Seljuq Empire that included Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and parts of Turkey and Central Asia, died in the Khorasani city of Marv which is presently in Turkmenistan and was buried there. Son of Malik Shah I, he was born in Sinjar on what is now the Syria-Iraq border, and ruled for 36 years, initially as sultan of Khorasan until he gained the rest of the territory upon the death of his brother Mohammad I. He is regarded as one of the good rulers. His capital was Naishapur, and in addition to internal revolts, he faced external invasions from beyond the River Jaxartes in Central Asia, especially from the Sultan of Kashghar in what is now China, and the Qara Khitai Turks against whom he suffered a devastating defeat near Samarqand and lost all territory east of the Jaxartes. Oghuz Turks from Khuttal and Tukharistan captured Sanjar and held him prisoner for three years. A year after his escape he died and with him the Seljuqid Empire in Central Asia, Iran, and Iraq, ended after 120 years of domination by this Turkic tribe. A branch of the Seljuqs, however, survived in Anatolia (modern Turkey), and northern parts of Syria for another 150 years. Persian poetry flourished under Sanjar, and his court included some of the greatest Persian poets, such as Mo’izzi, Nizami Aruzi, and Anvari.
757 lunar years ago, on this day in 685 AH, the Mongols were decisively defeated at the Battle of Ayn Jalout in Palestine by the Egyptian Mamluk Sultan Saif od-Din Qutuz and his able general, Zaheer od-Din Baibars (the next Sultan). This victory over Hulagu Khan’s famous Christian Turkic general, Kitbuqa Noyan, ended the threat to Egypt, a few years after the sack of Baghdad and subjugation of Syria.
747 lunar years ago, on this day in 695 AH, the scholar Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Khalil al-Khu’i ash-Shafe’i ad-Dameshqi, the author of "Sharh Fosoul Ibn Ma’at”, passed away.
305 lunar years ago, on this day in 1137 AH, the prominent Iranian Islamic scholar, Baha od-Din Mohammad ibn Taj od-din Hassan Isfahani, popular as Faazel-e Hindi, because he had accompanied his father to India, passed away in his hometown Isfahan. He was a child prodigy, and as a student of the famous Allamah Mohammad Baqer Majlisi, he reached the level of Ijtehad at a relatively young age. He was an authority on theology and philosophy, having summarized the celebrated Iranian-Islamic genius Ibn Sina’s famous philosophical work "ash-Shifa”. After the passing away of Allamah Majlisi and Aqa Jamal Khwansari, he was known as the "Mujtahed”. Faazel-e Hindi groomed a large number of scholars and wrote almost a hundred books and treatises on various topics, including an exegesis of the Holy Qur’an and the work titled "Kashf al-Latham”. His grave in the Takht-e Foulad Cemetery is beside the grave of Mullah Mohammad Fazl, known as Faazel-e Na’ini, and therefore their graves have been commonly called as "Faazelaan” among the people.
248 solar years ago, on this day in 1773 AD, Ali Bey al-Kabir, the Mamluk ruler who made Egypt independent of the Ottoman Empire for four years, was killed outside Cairo at the age of 45, a year after being removed from power. Born to a Christian priest in Abkhazia in what is now Georgia in the Caucasus, he was sold into slavery and as a 15-year old was brought to Cairo in 1743. Recruited as a Muslim into the Mamluk force, he gradually rose in ranks and influence, winning in 1760s the top office of "Shaykh al-Balad” (Chief of the Country). Attempting to gain complete control, in 1762 he sought to exile his rival Abdur-Rahman when the latter was conducting the Hajj caravan to Mecca, but was instead sentenced to exile at Gaza. Ali Bey started for that city, but on the third day made to the Hijaz where he was joined by a number of his followers, and from there travelled to Girga where he spent the next two years, until his supporters in Cairo effected his recall. In 1768, he deposed the Ottoman governor Rakım Mohammad Pasha and assumed the post of acting governor. He stopped the annual tribute to Istanbul and in an unprecedented usurpation of the Ottoman Sultan’s privileges had his own name struck on local coins in 1769 (alongside the sultan’s emblem), effectively declaring independence from Ottoman rule. In 1770 he gained control of the Hijaz and a year later temporarily occupied Syria, thereby reconstituting the Mamluk state that had been occupied in 1517 by the Ottomans. However, a few days after a major victory of his forces, in alliance with Dhaher al-Omar on 6 June 1771 against the Ottomans, Abu al-Dhahab, the commander of his troops in Syria, refused to continue the fight after an Ottoman agent stirred up mistrust between him and Ali Bey. As a result, Ali Bey lost power in 1772. During his time in power, he successfully expanded Egypt’s trade with Britain and France. He also hired European advisers for his military, and bought European weapons.
227 solar years ago, on this day in 1794 AD, French scientist and one of the founders of modern chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier, was executed at the age of 51, following the French Revolution. He was a member of the French Academy, and during his research, he discovered the constituting elements of air, thereby classifying oxygen and its importance in combustion. This discovery led to foundation of the science of Thermo Chemistry. Many of the new chemical combinations are the result of his researches.
204 solar years ago, on this day in 1817 AD, British physician and paleontologist, James Parkinson, published his "Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, and was the first to describe in detail in modern medical terms, the neuromuscular disease which is now known by his name as "Parkinson’s Disease”, although throughout history, physicians of different cultures and civilizations have written about this disease. Its symptoms are a generalized slowness of movement, a tremor or slight shaking on one side of the body when at rest, some stiffness of the limbs, and problems of gait or balance. Several early sources describe symptoms resembling "Parkinson’s Disease”. An Egyptian papyrus from the 12th century BC mentions a king drooling with age. An Ayurvedic medical treatise from India supposed to date back to the 10th century BC describes a disease that evolves with tremor, lack of movement, drooling and other symptoms. In the first Chinese medical text, written by Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen more than 2,500 years ago, the symptoms of this disease are mentioned. The famous Greek physician Galen also wrote about this disease. Among the Islamic physicians, Abu Ali Sina the Iranian multi-sided genius and Ibn Rushd the Spanish polymath have also described this disease.
148 solar years ago, on this day in 1873 AD, English philosopher and economist, John Stuart Mill, died at the age of 67. He learned logic and economics under his father and thereafter worked as a journalist and a writer. He was elected as representative to the House of Commons for a single term. Stuart Mill followed the views of the French philosopher Auguste Comte and believed in the originality of experience. In economics, he supported profiteering coupled with some vague concept of social justice. The books he wrote include "Principles of Political Economy”.
119 solar years ago, on this day in 1902 AD, due to eruption of Pelee Volcano in southern France, the city of Saint-Pierre, situated on the foothills, was buried. In this catastrophe which lasted only three minutes, almost 30,000 people lost their lives. This volcano was dormant for several years and its eruption took place suddenly. It has remained dormant as of the year 1902 eruption.
97 solar years ago, on this day in 1924 AD, Grand Ayatollah Abdul-Hussain Lari passed away at the age of 77 and was laid to rest in Jahrom. He completed his higher studies in holy Najaf, Iraq, where after attaining the status of Ijtehad, he was deputized to Iran’s Fars Province by Grand Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi – famous for his fatwa against tobacco to save Iranian economy from British exploitation. Ayatollah Lari led the people of Shiraz and Fars during the Constitutional Revolution, and firmly backed the people of Tangistan, near Bushehr, in the struggle against the British invasion of 1915. He groomed many students and wrote 40 books on jurisprudence, theology, Hadith, and social issues.
94 lunar years ago, on this day in 1348 AH, the prominent scholar Seyyed Mohammad Taqi Musavi Isfahani, popular as Faqih Ahmadabadi, passed away in his hometown Isfahan at the age of 47. A brilliant orator and poet, he studied under the leading ulema of his time, and in turn groomed many students. He had the honour of meeting the Lord of the Age, Imam Mahdi (AS), the Prophet of Islam’s 12th and Last Infallible Heir, who will reappear in the end times to establish the global government of peace, prosperity and justice. He wrote several books including the famous one titled "Mikyaal al-Makarem fi Fawa’ed ad-Du’a lil-Qa’em” which has been printed many times in Iran, and contains supplications from Imam Mahdi (AS)
76 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, World War II formally ended in Europe with German forces agreeing in Rheims, France, to an unconditional surrender and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. On 30 April Hitler had committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin, and so the surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, President of Germany Karl Dönitz. World War II, which is considered as the most destructive wars in history, claimed the life of 55 million people, and inflicted major losses.
76 solar years ago, on this day in 1945 AD, Algerian Muslims while celebrating in Setif, Algeria, news of victory of the Allied forces in Europe over the Germans, and at the same time demanding independence of their country, were attacked by French occupation forces, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The French also lost 103 soldiers. Five days later, the French military, including the notorious Foreign Legion, carried out summary executions of Algerians, while inaccessible Muslim villages were bombed by French aircraft, and the cruiser Duguay-Trouin standing off the coast in the Gulf of Bougie, shelled Kerrata. In jails, Algerian prisoners were lynched by French guards or randomly shot. As a result, over 12,000 Algerian men, women and children, were massacred. Some figures speak of as much as 45,000 deaths. This bloody incident intensified demands for Algerian independence and nine years later in 1954, the general uprising started against French colonial rule. Finally in 1962 after much bloodshed and the killing of at least one million Algerian Muslims, the French were forced to grant independence to Algeria.
70 solar years ago, on this day in 1951 AD, Iranian poet, researcher, and translator, Rashid Yasami, passed away. He founded the magazine "Daneshkadeh” with the cooperation of the celebrated Iranian poet, Malek osh-Sho’ara Mohammad Taqi Bahar. He published his writings in this magazine and other magazines as well. Yasami has left behind numerous compilations and translations, including "The History of Iranian Literature”, and "Iran in the Sassanid Era”.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, the town of Hoveizah in Khuzestan, southwestern Iran, was liberated from Ba’thist occupation by Iran’s Muslim combatants during the Bayt al-Moqaddas Operations, which would eventually lead to the liberation of the once-thriving port city of Khorramshahr. Among the heroes of Hoveizah was Hussain Alam-Hoda, who defended the town till the last drop of his blood.
15 solar years ago, on this 2006 AD, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to US President George Bush, proposing "new solutions” to differences between the two countries, in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to his US counterpart in 27 years. This bold move went unanswered because of the timidity of Bush and the lack of confidence in the powers that controlled him, especially the Israeli lobby that has continued to target Iran, through manufactured crises, since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.