Today is Tuesday; 21st of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 28th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan 1442 lunar hijri; and May 11, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1170 lunar years ago, on this day in 272 AH, the prominent Iranian-Islamic astronomer, philosopher and hadith scholar, Abu Mash’ar Ja’far ibn Mohammad al-Balkhi, passed away in Waset, Iraq, at the ripe old age of 102. Born in Khorasan in the city of Balkh, which is presently in Afghanistan, he flourished at the Abbasid court in Baghdad as the greatest astronomer of the era and the subsequent centuries. He wrote a number of practical manuals on astrology that profoundly influenced Muslim intellectual history, and through Latin translations of his works, left a profound impact on Western Europe and Byzantium. He was well versed in Persian, Arabic, Greek and Sanskrit languages, and according to the famous Persian poet of the subcontinent, Amir Khosro Dehlavi, he came to Benares in India to study astronomy. Abu Ma’shar, who was Latinized by medieval Europe as Albumasar, Albusar, or Albuxar, wrote several books including "Kitab al-Mudkhal al-Kabir ila Ilm Ahkaam an-Nujjum”, "Kitāb al‐Milal wa’l-Duwal” and "Kitāb Taḥawil Sini al‐Mawālīd” (Book of the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities). These and other works were translated into Latin and Greek and had profound effect on western philosophers and scientists such as Albert, Roger Bacon, Pierre d’Ailly, and Pico Della Mirandola.
1153 solar years ago, on this day in 868 AD, the Buddhist scripture "Diamond Sutra” was printed in China, making it the first known printed book. It was made as a 16-ft scroll with six sheets of text printed from wood blocks and one sheet with a woodcut showing the Buddha with disciples and a pair of cats. The sheets measured 12 inches by 30 inches and were pasted together. The date is known from a colophon at the end stating it was "printed on 11 May 868 by Wang Chieh, for free general distribution”. The scroll was one of about 1,130 bundles of manuscripts found a thousand years later, walled up in one of the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas in Turkestan. It is now in the British Library.
1109 solar years ago, on this day in 912 AD, Byzantine Emperor, Leo VI, died shortly after suffering a humiliating defeat by the Muslim army that avenged his aggression on Cyprus. Of doubtful paternity, since his mother was the mistress of Emperor Michael III and at the same time the wife of the future Emperor Basil the Macedonian, he succeeded to the throne on the latter’s death and ruled for 26 years till his own death in 912. His reign saw the loss of more territory to the Muslims in both Sicily and in Asia Minor, as well as islands in the Aegean Sea. The greatest setback for him was in 904, when the Greek Muslim admiral, Rashiq al-Wardami, sailing from Syria, took control of Thessalonica, the second largest city of the Byzantium Empire. After a week’s stay, during which he seized some 60 ships and forced the Christians to free over 4,000 Muslim prisoners, Rashiq sailed back to the Levant. Rashiq, who was born in a Christian family and named Leo by his parents, was an officer in the Byzantine navy before discovering the truth of Islam and joining the Muslims. Also known as Ghulam Zurafa, three years later in 907, he had sailed up the Dardanelles and besieged Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, much to the horror of Emperor Leo VI. In May 912, just before the humiliated Leo VI died, Rashiq al-Wardami and his fellow Greek Muslim admiral, Damian of Tarsus, known by his Muslim name, Ghulam Yazman, decisively defeated the Byzantine admiral, Himerios, off the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, in retaliation for an attack by Christians on the Muslims of Cyprus.
1007 solar years ago, on this day in 1014 AD, Anawrahta Minsaw, founder of the Pagan Empire of Burma was born. Considered father of the Burmese nation, he turned a small principality in the dry zone of Upper Burma into the first Burmese Empire that formed the basis of modern-day Burma (Myanmar). Historically verifiable Burmese history begins with his accession in 1044. Anawrahta unified the entire Irrawaddy valley for the first time in history, and placed neighbourng regions such as the Shan States and Arakan (Northern Rakhine) under Pagan suzerainty. He stopped advance of the Hindu Khmer Empire of Thailand into the Tenasserim coastline and into Upper Menam valley. A strict disciplinarian, Anawrahta implemented a series of key social, Buddhist religious and economic reforms that would have a lasting impact in Burmese history, developing into the modern-day Burmese culture. By building a series of weirs, he turned parched, arid regions into main rice granaries, giving Upper Burma an enduring economic base to dominate the Irrawaddy valley and its periphery in the following centuries.
717 solar years ago, on this day in 1304 AD, Mahmoud Ghazan, 7th ruler of the Mongol Empire’s Ilkhanate division that was based in modern-day Iran and included Iraq and parts of Central Asia and the Caucasus, died. Son of Arghun, grandson of Abaqa, and great-grandson of Hulagu who in turn was grandson of the fearsome Genghis Khan, he is considered the most prominent of the Ilkhans. He embraced the truth of Islam in 1295 on ascending the throne – though born to a Buddhist father and raised by his mother as a Christian. He became Muslim under influence of the Iranian official, Ibrahim ibn Mohammad ibn Hamawaiyh Khorasani al-Juwaini, and changed his name to Mahmoud. His principal wife was Kokechin, a Mongol princess sent to Iran by his distant cousin Kublai Khan the ruler of China, and escorted by the Italian traveler Marco Polo. Military conflicts during Ghazan’s reign included war with the Egyptian Mamluks for control of Syria, and battles with the Mongol Chaghatai Khanate of Central Asia. He had diplomatic contacts with Europe. His capital was Maragheh in today’s East Azarbaijan Province.
261 solar years ago, on this day in 1760 AD, King Alaungpaya, founder of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar), died at the age of 46 during his campaign in Siam. Originally, chief of a small village in Upper Burma, his rapid military rise, unified Burma and subdued Manipur. He conquered Lan Na and drove out the French and the British who had given help to the Hanthawaddy Kingdom. He also founded Yangon in 1755. He is considered one of the three greatest monarchs of Burma alongside Anawrahta and Bayinnaung for unifying Burma for the third time in Burmese history.
157 solar years ago, on this day in 1864 AD, Anglo-Irish novelist, Ethel Lilian Boole, was born. After marriage to anglicized Russian émigré, Wilfrid Michael, she adopted his surname "Voynich”. As a supporter of revolutionary causes, she was a significant figure, on the Victorian literary scene and in Russian émigré circles. She led a morally-loose life. Her best known novel "The Gadfly” became popular in her lifetime, especially in Russia.
117 solar years ago, on this day in 1904 AD, Spanish surrealist painter and founder of the Cubism Style, Salvador Dali, was born. His talent in painting became apparent in his youth and thereafter he catapulted to global fame. Dalí attributed his love of everything that is gilded and excessive, as well as oriental clothes to a self-styled "Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Muslim Moors. He died in 1989.
109 solar years ago, on this day in 1912 AD, the famous Urdu novelist, Saadat Hassan Manto was born in Ludhiana in what is now India’s Punjab state. He is best known for his short stories, such ‘Bu’ (Odour), "Khol Do” (Open It), "Thanda Gosht” (Cold Meat), and his magnum opus, "Toba Tek Singh”. For a while he lived in Bombay and wrote film scripts, before migration to Pakistan in 1948. He died in Lahore in 1955. In his short life, Manto published twenty-two collections of short stories, one novel, five collections of radio plays, three collections of essays, two personal sketches.
90 lunar years ago, on this day in 1352 AH, the scholar Seyyed Mohammad Sharif Taqavi Vanaki, passed away at the age of 82, and was laid to rest in the Chehl Akhtaran Cemetery of holy Qom in the mausoleum of Imamzadah Musa al-Mubaraqqa – son of Imam Mohammad at-Taqi al-Jawad (AS), the 9th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Born in Vanak near Tehran, he initially studied under his scholarly father, before leaving for Isfahan at the age of 12, to pursue higher religious studies at what was then Iran’s prominent seminary. At the age of 17, he went to holy Najaf in Iraq, where he stayed for twelve years mastering different branches of Islamic sciences under prominent ulema, such as Ayatollah Shaikh Zayn al-Abedin Mazandarani, Ayatollah Fazel-e Irvani, Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi (famous for his fatwa against tobacco to save Iranian economy from British manipulation). On his return to Iran as a fully qualified mujtahed, he settled in Shiraz to teach at the Fars Seminary. He was active in the Constitutional Movement for end of Qajarid despotism, but following its infiltration by British agents and the martyrdom of Ayatollah Fazlollah Noori, he boldly campaigned for the implementation of Islamic laws, and wrote the famous book "Kashf al-Maraam fi Qanoun al-Islam”. When pressure mounted, he moved to holy Najaf where he briefed the prominent ulema about the deviation of the Constitutional Movement. Because of failing health, he returned to Iran and stayed in Isfahan for ten years. In Tehran, while on his way to holy Mashhad for pilgrimage to the shrine of the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir, Imam Reza (AS), he breathed his last.
86 solar years ago, on this day in 1935 AD, the first TV transmitter was launched in Berlin, Germany. Due to the efforts of one of the main inventors of television, Powell Nipco, in transforming waves into picture, this transmitter was named after him.
51 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, as per UN Security Council Resolution 278, Bahrain was declared an independent state, following a so-called opinion poll conducted among tribal leaders and selective groups in the 33-island Persian Gulf archipelago by Vittorio Winspeare-Giucciardi, Manager of the United Nations office in Geneva, on Tehran’s demand for referendum to determine the Bahraini people’s views for return to Iran’s sovereignty. Throughout history, dating from pre-Islamic times, Bahrain has been an integral part of Iran. After the advent of Islam and weakening of the Abbasid caliphate, it was part of the Baghdad-based Iranian Buwaiyhid Empire, followed by the sovereignty over it of Seljuqid Iran, Ilkhanid Iran, Safavid Iran, Qajarid Iran, as well as the brief rules in between of Nader Shah Afshar and Karim Khan Zand. In the early 1800s, Bahrain was seized by pirates of the Aal-e Khalifa clan who were driven out from the Khor Abdullah waterway between Kuwait and Iraq by the Ottoman Turkish governor of Basra. The Aal-e Khalifa brutally subdued the Shi’a Muslim majority of Bahrain, both Arabs and Iranians, and sought British protection to prevent Iran from retaking it. Iran, however, continued to protest to Britain for its occupation of what Tehran considered a part of its soil. After World War 2 and in view of Britain’s plan to withdraw from its colonial possessions in the Persian Gulf, Iran pressed hard for a referendum that unnerved the Aal-e Khalifa minority regime and made it further repress the aspirations of the Bahraini people. The parliament in Tehran passed a bill in November 1957 declaring Bahrain to be Iran’s 14th province, with two empty seats reserved for its representatives. At this time, Britain set out to change the demographics of Bahrain through its policy of "de-Iranisation” which included importing a large number of Arabs and others from British colonies as labourers. Demonstrations in 1956 forced the Aal-e Khalifa rulers to leave Manama (the capital) for the village of Refae al-Gharbi where only the Sunni Arab minority resides. Mass demonstrations against the detested rule of the Aal-e Khalifa regime have continued periodically in Bahrain, despite its sellout by the British-installed and US-supported Pahlavi Shah following the so-called opinion poll of 1970 by the UN. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has followed a policy of peace and dialogue, but with firm insistence on the aspirations of the people of Bahrain, who like all other nations of the world want to determine their own destiny. Today Bahrain is again the scene of mass rallies for independence, while the ruling minority regime, along with mercenaries hired from abroad and with the help of the Saudi invasion troops, is shedding innocent blood and even desecrating mosques and burning copies of the holy Qur’an.
43 lunar years ago, on this day in 1399 AH, Qods International Day rallies were held for the first time throughout Iran on the Last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadhan, following the decision taken four days earlier by the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), for mobilizing world Muslims for liberation of Bayt al-Moqaddas and Palestine. Since then, every year, millions of people in Iran and world countries stage rallies calling for the end of the illegal Zionist entity.
36 solar years ago, on this day in 1985 AD, MKO terrorists, acting under orders of Global Arrogance, especially the US, martyred and injured scores of innocent men, women and children by detonating a bomb at the busy Nasser Khosrow Street in the centre of the Iranian capital. The explosion gutted a two-storied building and destroyed a garment factory, resulting in the martyrdom of 9 people and injury to 45 others. Three years earlier in 1982, the MKO terrorists, as part of their anti-people activities, had also detonated a massive bomb blast at Nasser Khosrow, destroying a 5-storied hotel and three passing buses, including a double-decker, resulting in the martyrdom of around a hundred people and injury to over 700 others. The blast, which left a crater 20 feet long, 13 feet wide and 6 feet deep, caused damage to seven other hotels in the busy area.
24 solar years ago, on this day in 1997 AD, a 7.3 degree earthquake struck Khorasan Province, northeastern Iran, killing 1,567 people, injuring over 2,300, leaving 50,000 homeless, and damaging or destroying over 15,000 homes.
23 solar years ago, on this day in1998 AD, India set off the first of three underground atomic blasts in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan near the Pakistan border – its first nuclear tests in 24 years. Abdul-Kalam, who later became the president of India, led the teams of scientists who developed missiles designed for India’s atomic warheads.
16 solar years ago, on this day in 2005 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran, as part of efforts to achieve defence self-sufficiency, launched production of its first locally built submarine, "Ghadeer”, a craft that can fire missiles and torpedoes at the same time.
9 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, prominent Iranian mathematician, Parvez Shahriyari, passed away at the age of 86. Born in Kerman in a Zoroastrian family, he wrote or translated some 200 books in the field of mathematics, and was an internationally acclaimed figure. He was editor of the journal "Riyazi wa Mardom” (Mathematics and the Masses), as well as the cultural magazine "Cheesta”. In 2002, the Islamic Republic of Iran awarded him with the title "Immortal Mathematician”.