Today is Thursday; 30th of the Iranian month of Ordibehesht 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 8th of the Islamic month of Shawwal 1442 lunar hijri; and May 20, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1495 solar years ago, on this day in 526 AD, some 300,000 people were killed when a devastating earthquake hit the sin-infested Byzantine city of Antioch in Syria (Antakya, presently in Turkey). Founded by Seleucus I Nicator, the Greek general of Alexander the Macedonian marauder, it was the capital of Syria from 300 to 64 BC. A centre of vices, it was the epicenter of frequent earthquakes during the Greek and Roman periods. In the Byzantine era, it was the centre of Hellenistic Jews and later of Christianity. Some years after this destructive earthquake when development was in progress, it was completely devastated by Iran’s Sassanid Emperor, Khosrow Anushirvan. In 1939 French colonialists detached Antioch, Iskenderun and adjoining regions from Syria and gave it to Turkey, a move the government of Syria has refused to recognize, and considers Hatay Province as Syrian territory, calling it Liwa al-Iskenderun (Iskendurun Province).
1070 lunar years ago, on this day in 372 AH, the greatest ruler of the Iranian Buwaiyhid dynasty of Iran-Iraq-Bahrain-Oman, Adhud od-Dowla Daylami, passed away in Baghdad and was laid to rest in holy Najaf in the mausoleum of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). Born in Shiraz and named Fana Khosrow, he was the son of Amir Rukn od-Dowla, and became ruler of Fars after the death of his childless uncle, Amir Emad od-Dowla. He was sent by his father to crush a rebellion by his cousin Ezz od-Dowla, on whose defeat he claimed the emirate of Iraq for himself. On his father’s death, as senior Amir of the Buwaiyhid family, Adhud od-Dowla chose as his capital, Baghdad, which was suffering from violence and instability due to sectarian sedition by the Hanbali sect. In order to bring peace and stability, he banned public demonstrations and polemics. He patronized a number of scholars such as the celebrated Shaikh Mufid, and renovated the holy shrines in Najaf and Karbala. He also undertook several scientific projects, such as the observatory in Isfahan, and the dam known till this day as “Band-e Amir” between Shiraz and Istakhr to irrigate some 300 villages. He also ordered digging of the Haffar Canal joining the Karun River to the Arvand Roud at the confluence of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates. He embellished Baghdad with several buildings including the famous public hospital known as “Bimaristan-e Adhudi”, where the great Iranian physician Zakariyya ar-Raazi used to practice.
643 solar years ago, on this day in 1378 AD, Dawoud Shah, who over a month earlier had usurped the throne of the Bahmani Dynasty of Iranian origin of the Deccan (Southern India) by treacherously assassinating his nephew Mujahid Shah, was killed on the orders of his niece Rooh-Parwar Agha (sister of the deceased Mujahid Shah) and replaced by her younger brother, Mohammad Shah II. The court language of the Bahmanis, who traced their origin to the pre-Islamic Iranian hero Bahman, was Persian, and they promoted Iranian culture, art and architecture.
600 solar years ago, on this day in 1421 AD, Khizr Khan, who governed Delhi, Punjab and parts of northern India, as viceroy of the Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, and after him of his son, Shahrukh, died in Delhi. He was succeeded by his son, Mubarak Shah, in whose reign the Persian history “Tarikh-e Mubarak Shahi” was written.
515 solar years ago, on this day in 1506 AD, Italian navigator, Christopher Columbus, died in Valladolid in Spain at the age of 55 in the state of poverty, still believing he had discovered the coast of Asia. Born near Genoa in Italy, he took up service with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, after years of unsuccessful lobbying with the Italian republics of Genoa and Venice and the kingdom of Portugal, for finding a western sea route to Asia through the Atlantic, since the growing power of Ottoman Turks in southwestern Europe had blocked the land route to India and China. In 1492, following the fall of Granada (Gharnata), the last Muslim kingdom in Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella provided him ships and personnel, including Muslim navigators familiar with the sea routes of the Atlantic for the voyage. Columbus was acquainted with “Tabula Rogeriana” the Latin translation of the Muslim geographer al-Idrisi’s “Nuzhat al-Mushtaaq fi-Ikhteraaq al-Afaaq” – a description of the world and the first world map ever drawn in Europe. He landed on the eastern coast of Cuba, and thought that he had reached an island off the coast of India; hence the use of such terms as “Indies” and “Indians” by him for the American natives. In all, he made four voyages to the New World, and mercilessly slaughtered the native people in his quest for gold and riches, which did not avail him in his last days. Columbus was initially interred in a monastery in Valladolid – corruption of the Arabic word “Balad al-Waleed” or City of Waleed, founded by Muslims. Three years later, his remains were moved to a monastery in La Cartuja near Seville. In 1537, Maria de Rojas y Toledo, widow of Columbus’ son Diego, sent the bones of her husband and his father to the cathedral in Santo Domingo on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola for burial. There they lay until 1795, when Spain ceded Hispaniola to France, and dug up from behind the main altar in the newly built cathedral, what it thought were Columbus’ remains and shipped them to a cathedral in Havana, Cuba, where they remained until the US-Spanish War in 1898. Spain then brought them back to Seville. In 1877 workers digging at the Santo Domingo cathedral unearthed a leaden box containing 13 large bone fragments and 28 small ones. It was inscribed “Illustrious and distinguished male, don Cristobal Colon.” The Dominicans said these were the real remains of Columbus and the Spaniards had taken the wrong ones in 1795.
501 solar years ago, on this day in 1520 AD, the Spanish conquerors of Mexico brutally massacred the Aztec people while celebrations were taking place at the Festival of Tocatl in the city of Tenochtitlan. The Europeans are notorious for their genocide of the native populations of the Americas and plundering of their resources.
399 solar years ago, on this day in 1622 AD, Osman II, the 16th Ottoman Sultan and the 8th self-styled Turkish caliph, was strangled to death by his vizier, Qara Davoud Pasha, at the age of 18, after a 4-year reign. He was replaced by his deposed uncle, Mustafa I, who a year later was again deposed in favour of his 11-year old nephew Murad IV. Osman II was son of Sultan Ahmad and his Greek wife Maria – renamed Mah-Firuzeh Khadija. He ascended the throne at the age of 14, as a result of a palace coup against his uncle Mustafa I. His killing was due to his plans to reorganize the army and the administrative system following the treaty imposed on humiliating terms in the Moldavian Wars when he personally led the Turkish forces into Poland, after securing the eastern borders with Safavid Iran by the Treaty of Serav with Shah Abbas I. He was fluent in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Latin and Italian.
390 solar years ago, on this day in 1631 AD, the city of Magdeburg in Germany was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty-Year-War. Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, who led the imperial forces, stormed the city and massacred about 20,000 inhabitants before burning down Magdeburg.
376 solar years ago, on this day in 1645 AD, in China the Manchurian Qing forces, led by Prince Dodo occupied the city of Yangzhou and for 10 days massacred almost the entire 800,000 population for supporting the Ming loyalist government.
219 solar years ago, on this day in 1802 AD, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstated slavery in the French colonies, revoking its abolition by the French Revolution, thus depriving a sizeable number of fellow humans of their rights of liberty and freedom.
215 solar years ago, on this day in 1806 AD, English philosopher and economist, John Stuart Mill, was born. He learned logic and economics from his father, and worked as a journalist and a writer. He was elected as the representative of the House of Commons for a single term. He 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”. He died in 1873.
119 solar years ago, on this day in 1902 AD, Cuba became independent on the withdrawal of US occupation forces, which had seized the country during the 4-year war against Spain, fought from 1898-to-1902. Before withdrawing, the US installed Tomas Estrada Palma as president, and imposed a constitution on Cuba that allowed Washington to interfere in its domestic affairs. This caused resentment among the people, and led to the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 under Fidel Castro.
118 lunar years ago, on this day in 1324 AH, the first issue of daily “Majlis” was published in Iran by Constitutional Movement activist Mirza Seyyed Mohammad Sadeq Tabatabai. Following announcement of the freedom of press, several papers were published in different Iranian cities, but “Majlis” was the first daily circulated after opening of Iran’s first parliament. It focused in detail on debates during parliamentary sessions.
111 solar years ago, on this day in 1910 AD, Japan announced annexation of the Korean Peninsula and renamed it Joseon, after having occupied three years earlier by defeating Russia and China. The Korean people revolted against Japan during World War II, but after Japan’s defeat, became target of the US which divided Korea ino North and South at the 38th Parallel. The US brutally bombarded North Korea in the 1950s, and still has thousands of occupation forces in South Korea, in violation of international laws. Washington periodically resorts to hooliganism, and is currently holding provocative military exercises to thwart any bid for unity of the two Koreas by keeping tensions high.
98 lunar years ago, on this day in 1344 AH, Wahhabi brigands from the desert region of Najd desecrated the sacred Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery of Medina, destroying the tombs of venerable Islamic figures including the majestic holy shrine that housed the tombs of four of the 12 Infallible Successors of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), that is, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS), and Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS). The Chief Wahhabi Judge, Sheikh Abdullah bin Balhid, issued the blasphemous decree for destruction of the sacred and historical shrines of Medina. The brigands wanted to destroy the Prophet’s shrine as well, but were prevented by the people. These seditious elements also destroyed in the same year the tomb of the Prophet’s uncle, Hazrat Hamza (AS) and the other martyrs of the Battle of Ohad, as well as the holy mausoleums in the sacred Jannat al-Mu’alla Cemetery of Mecca, where repose in eternal peace, the Prophet’s loyal wife, the First Lady of Islam, Omm al-Momineen or Mother of True Believers Hazrat Khadija (SA), the Prophet’s infant son, Hazrat Qassem, the Prophet’s uncle and guardian, Hazrat Abu Taleb, the Prophet’s grandfather, Hazrat Abdul-Mutalleb and other members of the monotheistic Bani Hashem clan (peace upon them).
95 lunar years ago, on this day in 1347 AH, the prominent jurisprudent, Ayatollah Mohammad Hussain Shabzindehdar, was born in Jahrom, Fars Province, southern Iran. After initial studies in his hometown, he moved to Shiraz where for three years he attended the classes of senior scholars. At the age of 18, on the suggestion of his teachers, he travelled to the holy city of Qom and enrolled at the famous seminary. Here his teachers included Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi and the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). After mastering various branches of Islamic sciences, he embarked on teaching at the Qom seminary and for the next 40 years groomed several scholars, including Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Taheri Khorramabadi, Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi (Head of the Supreme Administrative Court of the Islamic Republic), Ayatollah Seyyed Jamal od-Din Din-Parvar (Head of the Nahj al-Balagha Foundation), and his own son Ayatollah Mahdi Shabzindehdar, who besides being a prominent teacher of the Qom seminary is a member of the 12-Member Guardians Council of the Islamic Revolution. The Late Ayatollah Hussain Shabzindehdar, who passed away three years ago, was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Hazrat Ma’souma (peace upon her), wrote several books on different subjects, including Annotations on the exegeses of the holy Qur’an such as Allamah Tabarsi’s “Majma’ al-Bayan” and Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Tabataie’s “al-Mizan”.
94 solar years ago, on this day in 1927 AD, the British, as per the Treaty of Jeddah, handed over to the desert brigand Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud, the historical land of Hijaz and its religious and commercial centres, such as the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the seaport of Jeddah and the agriculture-rich resort of Ta’ef. A couple of years earlier, the Wahhabi heretics had occupied Hijaz by driving out the other British agent, Sharif Hussain, and slaughtering over a hundred thousand Muslims, in addition to desecrating the holy shrines of the sacred cemeteries of Jannat al-Baqie in Medina and Jannat al-Mu’alla in Mecca. Five years later in 1932, Hijaz was joined with Najd to create the spurious entity called Saudi Arabia, which annexed the oil-rich eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf against the wishes of the local people, and then seized from Yemen the provinces of Najran, Jizan, and Asir.
87 solar years ago, on this day in 1934 AD, the one-sided Treaty of Ta’ef was imposed on Imam Yahya of Yemen by Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud, ruler of British created Saudi Arabia, according to which the regions of Najran, Jeezan, and Asir were occupied for a period of 40 years. In 1974 and again on its unification in 1990, Yemen demanded return of these vast territories, but Riyadh, backed by the US, has refused to return them in violation of the Treaty of Ta’ef. Currently, Saudi Arabia has unleashed state terrorism on Yemen, and has been criminally bombarding it, killing so far 20,000 men, women and children.
61 solar years ago, on this day in 1960 AD, Cameroon became a republic following independence from joint British-French rule. Located in West Africa with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, it covers an area of 475,000 sq km and shares borders with Nigeria, Chad, Central Africa, Congo, Gabon, and Tropical Guinea. Muslims account for a fourth of the population, and are majority in the north and west.
39 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, on suggestion of the then Speaker of the Majlis (parliament), Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Islamic Azad University (IAU), was established in Tehran. With branches throughout Iran and also in some countries abroad, it is one of the largest comprehensive systems of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the world. Over the years, IAU has promoted “higher education for all” as its key objective. Currently it has an enrollment of 1.7 million students. It has university branches in UAE, Britain, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
19 solar years ago, on this day in 2002 AD, East Timor, with a population of about 800,000, celebrated independence from Indonesia, but a legal battle loomed with Australia over the Greater Sunrise natural gas field in the Timor Sea. The field lies 95 miles south of East Timor and 250 miles north of Australia.
14 solar years ago, on this day in 2007 AD, Nigeria’s largest state, Niger, sued US drug firm Pfizer for using 200 children as “guinea pigs” for a drug test in 1996 that led to deaths and deformities. In 2010 a WikiLeaks cable said Pfizer hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against Nigeria’s former Attorney-General Michael Aondoakaa to pressure him to drop legal action over its experimental antibiotic, Trovan.