Today is Wednesday; 12th of the Iranian month of Khordad 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 21st of the Islamic month of Shawwal 1442 lunar hijri; and June 2, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1566 solar years ago, on this day in 455 AD, the Vandals led by King Genseric entered Rome and for two weeks plundered the capital of the Western Roman Empire following the killing of Emperor Valentinian III and the forced marriage of his daughter Eudocia to Palladius, son of the new Emperor Petronius Maximus in violation of the treaty between the two sides. Eudocia was betrothed to Genseric’s son, Huneric, and thus her marriage was an affront to the ambitions of the Vandal king who set sail from North Africa to attack Italy. Despite the pleas of Pope Leo I to spare the city, Genseric looted great amounts of treasure, damaging objects of cultural significance such as the Temple of Jupiter Optimus by stripping away the gilt bronze roof tiles – hence the modern term vandalism. The usurper Petronius Maximus fled rather than face the Vandals, but was caught and killed by the Roman citizens along with his son Palladius. The Vandals departed with shiploads of captives from Rome and sold them into slavery in North Africa.
1350 lunar years ago, on this day in 92 AH, the Muslim forces, led by Tareq Ibn Ziyad won a decisive victory in the Battle of Guadalete by routing the Visigoth Christian army of King Roderick and rapidly conquering much of southern Spain. Soon all of Spain and Portugal were liberated by the Muslims, who subsequently crossed the Pyrenees Mountains into France. Tareq had earlier, after crossing the Mediterranean from the northwestern African coast, landed on the island known ever since as Gibraltar (corruption of the Arabic “Jabal at-Tareq” – Rock or Mount of Tareq). He was governor of Tangiers under Musa Ibn Nusayr, the conqueror and Emir of the Province of Ifriqiya (western Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco).Tareq was made governor of Spain by Musa, but was called to Damascus by the jealous Omayyad caliph, Walid I, who also relieved Musa of the overall charge of Ifriqiya, Spain and the islands off the coast of France. There are three different accounts of the origins of Tareq given by Arab historians – he was a Persian from Hamedan; he was an Arab of the Sadf tribe; he was a Berber from North Africa. Musa Ibn Nusayr is also said to be the son of an Iranian Christian, according to the historian Tabari; while others say he belonged to the Lakhmid Arab clan who were Sassanid clients.
1130 solar years ago, on this day in 891 AD, Talha ibn Ja’far Muwaffaq-Billah, the regent who in alliance with the powerful Turkic Guard was the virtual ruler of the usurper Abbasid Caliphate for most of the reign of his brother, Mu’tamid, the 15th self-styled caliph, died in Baghdad. In 861, he was present at the murder of his father, the tyrant Mutawakkil in Samarra by the Turkic guards. According to the historian Tabari he had been drinking with his father that night, and came upon the assassins while going to the toilet. It is not known whether he was an accomplice in his father’s murder with his elder brother, Muntasir, who immediately declared himself the caliph. At the time his cousin, Muhtadi, the 14th self-styled Abbasid caliph was killed by the Turks in June 870, he was in Mecca and immediately hastened to Samarra, where he and his Turkic associate Musa ibn Bugha effectively sidelined the new caliph, Mu’tamid to assume control of the government. Within a short time, he was conferred an extensive governorate covering most of the lands still under caliphal authority: western Arabia, southern Iraq with Baghdad, and Fars in central Iran. His successful defence of Iraq against the Saffarids of Iran and the suppression of the Zanj Rebellion of the black people made him more powerful. A year after Muwaffaq’s death Mu’tamid died, and the caliphate was seized by his son, Ahmad ibn Talha with the title Mu’tadid-Billah, by sidelining the dead caliph’s son and heir apparent, Mufawwad.
1088 lunar years ago, on this day in 354 AH, the Iranian Sunni Muslim compiler of hadith, Abu Hatem Mohammad ibn Hibban al-Basti, from Bast in Khorasan, passed away. He was a Shafe’i, and the actual name of his compilation is “at-Taqasim wa’l-Anwa”, which is commonly referred to as “Sahih ibn Hibban”. Many Sunni scholars regard it next only to the “Sahihs” of the two other prominent Iranian Sunni Muslim hadith compilers, Bukhari and Muslim, while the Egyptian scholar, Jalal od-Din Suyuti, places it fourth after Ibn Khuzayma Naishapuri’s “Sahih”, and above the hadith collection of the five other Iranian Sunni Muslim authorities – i.e. Ibn Maja Qazvini, Abu Dawoud Sijistani, Abu Isa Tirmizi, Ahmad ibn Shu’ayb Nasai, and Hakem Naishapuri. It is worth noting that despite mentioning some of the unsurpassed merits of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), all these Sunni Muslim hadith authorities, who were Iranians, failed to have any direct contact with the Infallible Imams or their disciples, because of the fears of the Abbasid regime.
1011 solar years ago, on this day in 1010 AD, the Battle of Aqbat al-Bakr took place around Espiel in Islamic Spain in the context of the “Fitna” (sedition), resulting in a defeat for the Caliphate of Cordoba by a joint army of Muslims and Christian mercenaries assembled from different parts of Spain. The forces of Cordoba were commanded by the newly installed self-styled Omayyad caliph, Sulayman ibn al-Hakam, and the Muslim rebel forces of the Andalusian-Castilian Alliance trying to overthrow him were under the command of Mohammad ibn Hisham, and Christian warlords including Ermengol I, Hugh I, and Ramon Borrell. Although the caliphate of Cordoba survived for another two decades before it disintegrated in 1031 into several Muslim Taifas (or principalities), the Christians became emboldened by their unholy alliance with Muslims that four centuries later would result in the end of Muslim rule in what is now Spain and Portugal.
923 solar years ago, on this day in 1098 AD, the 8-month siege of the Syrian Muslim city of Antioch (currently in Turkey) ended as the Crusaders from Europe occupied the city, but failed to take the citadel. The invading force was made up of Christian knights and experienced warriors under the joint command of Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemund of Taranto, and Raymond IV of Toulous. This military expedition led by Catholic Europe was organized by Pope Urban II with the goal of responding to an appeal from Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, who requested that west European Christians come to his aid to fight the Seljuq Sultanate of Asia Minor. The organized force caught the Muslims by surprise, because of over-confidence of the Turkish defenders, who viewed this batch of experienced warriors as another of the Peasants’ Army that they had defeated a year earlier. In brief, the Crusader invaders marched south along the coast, occupying several cities, and in 1099 seized the holy city of Bayt al-Moqaddas from the Ismaili Shi’a Muslim Fatemid Dynasty of Egypt-Syria-North Africa, massacring 70,000 Muslim men, women and children, besides local Christians and Jews.
258 solar years ago, on this day in 1763 AD, the uprising of the Amerindian natives against the British occupiers started in what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan. Known as Pontiac’s Rebellion, after the most prominent Amerindian Chief, who campaigned to drive out the Anglo-Saxon invaders from the Great Lake regions of what is now the US and Canada, it lasted for two years. The British resorted to brutal tactics, deception, massacres, and genocide, including spreading of epidemics, such as the smallpox virus, in order to decimate the native population. The 2-year war demonstrated the possibilities of pan-tribal cooperation in resisting European expansion despite the conspiracies of the colonialists to divide Amerindian tribes. It was the first war between Europeans and Native North Americans that did not end in complete defeat of the Amerindians.
228 solar years ago, on this day in 1793 AD, Maximillian Robespierre, a member of France’s Committee on Public Safety, initiated the “Reign of Terror”, a purge of those suspected of treason against the French Republic. Months of the Great Terror, followed the Revolution in France as thousands died beneath the guillotine.
181 solar years ago, on this day in 1840 AD, Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet, was born in Higher Bockhampton and almost given up for dead until an observant midwife noticed he was breathing. He was driven by a sense of somber doom by the failure of his readers to wake up to the dreary fraud of their beliefs, and he devoted the last half of his long life to writing poems that expressed his haunted vision. Hardy died in 1928, and was buried in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey in London. His work included “Tess of D’Ubervilles” and “Jude the Obscure”.
157 solar years ago, on this day in 1864 AD, the series of battles and wars in the northwestern Caucasus, starting with the Russian encroachment on the Persian Empire, and known as the Russian-Circassian War, ended after approximately 101 years with the signing of loyalty oaths to the rule of the Tsars by the subdued Circassian Muslim leaders. Started in 1763 with Catherine the Great’s attack on the Persian Empire, since the northwestern Caucasus was part of Greater Iran, the seesaw struggle saw Russia steadily advance into the Caucasus by setting up forts as springboards for further conquests, as Iran gradually retreated, leaving the area to the local Circassians to defend themselves from 1817 onwards. The long war claimed the life of over a million Muslims, while, of the 500,000 Circassians deported by Russia in the 1860s, a large fraction of them died in transit from disease. Some of the Circassians migrated to the interior of Iran as refugees. Following the end of the 101-year war, the Ottoman Empire offered to harbour the Circassians who did not wish to accept the rule of Russia, and many migrated to Anatolia, ending up in what are now Turkey, Kosovo, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Occupied Palestine.
139 solar years ago, on this day in 1882 AD, Italian adventurer, Giuseppe Garibaldi, who unified Italy as one single kingdom under King Emmanuel II of Sardinia, died at the age of 75. In 1860, he had set sail from Genoa to conquer the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples that had been set up in 1816. Earlier he was involved in military enterprises in Brazil, Uruguay and some parts of Europe, and had served as General of the Roman Republic in 1849. He is considered one of the three “Fathers of the Fatherland”, along with Count Camillo Cavour, King Victor Emmanuel II for unifying Italy.
97 solar years ago, on this day in 1924 AD, after centuries of oppression, displacement, torture and genocide by the white Anglo-Saxon occupiers from Europe, the original native people of what is called the United States of America were granted citizenship in their own occupied ancestral lands, with the signing of the so-called Indian Citizenship Act by President Calvin Coolidge. The Amerindians are still discriminated in the US and Canada.
79 solar years ago, on this day in 1942 AD, during World War II, the major counter attack of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, started in North Africa against the British forces, who had attacked and occupied Libya. Rommel’s counter-attack which continued for nearly a month saw his forces drive the British out of Libya and advance up to the vicinity of Alexandria in northern Egypt. The continued advancement of German forces threatened the fall of the strategic Suez Canal, but Rommel’s troops were decisively defeated by the British in November 1942.
75 solar years ago, on this day in 1946 AD, following a referendum, Italy became a republic – a day celebrated since as Republic Day in that country. This was also the first time that Italian women were entitled to vote.[ Victor Emmanuel III’s son, Umberto II, was forced to abdicate and exiled.
51 solar years ago, on this day in 1970 AD, Source of Emulation, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohsen al-Hakeem Tabatabaie passed away in the holy city of Najaf at the age of 84. Born in a religious family, he was a child prodigy, who after memorizing the holy Qur’an, strove to acquire higher degrees of knowledge and attained the status of Ijtehad. He taught jurisprudence and soon emerged as the leading scholar of the Najaf Seminary. In 1961, following the passing away of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi in Qom, Iran, he became the leading Marja or Supreme Religious Authority with worldwide following. The hawza of Najaf grew immensely under his leadership. His historic opinion branding communism as kufr or atheism proved the beginning of the end of communism in Iraq. When the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), was exiled from Iran by the Shah’s regime and took up residence in Iraq in 1964, he welcomed him in holy Najaf and provided support to him. Grand Ayatollah Hakeem’s suggestions and advices on political and social issues were valued by the Muslim Ummah. In 1967, following the defeat of Arab armies in the 6-day war and the Zionist occupation of large parts of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, he wrote to the heads of Muslim states to put aside their differences and unite against the illegal Zionist entity. During the last year of his life, following the coup that brought to power the tyrannical Ba’th minority regime in Baghdad, he was subjected to persecution. He groomed a large number of scholars and authored several books, including “Haqayeq al-Osoul”, “Nahj ul-Fuqaha” and a commentary on al-Shaykh al-Baha’i’s “Tashrih al-Aflaak” on astronomy. His sons and grandsons also emerged as leading scholars and were active on the political and social scenes. In 1983 AD, the repressive Ba’th minority regime of Saddam, detained 90 members of his family, and martyred six of them. Two years later, 10 other family members of Grand Ayatollah al-Hakeem were martyred. In 1987, his son Ayatollah Seyyed Mahdi al-Hakeem was martyred in Khartoum during an international conference in Sudan. Another of his sons, Ayatollah Seyyed Baqer al-Hakeem, the Leader of the Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SAIRI), was martyred in 2003 in a terrorist bomb blast after leading the Friday Prayer in the holy shrine of Imam Ali (AS) in Najaf. The leader of Iraq’s al-Hikma Party, Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ammar al-Hakeem, is the grandson of the Late Grand Ayatollah al-Hakeem.
25 solar years ago, on this day in 1996 AD, a list of countries that are considered the most corrupt by international business people had the following top ten: Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, China, Cameroon, Venezuela, Russia, India and Indonesia.
21 solar years ago, on this day in the year 2000 AD, the combatant scholar Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ali Akbar Abu Torabi Fard, lost his life in a car accident, along with his father Ayatollah Seyyed Abbas Abu Torabi, at the age of 61. Born in the holy city of Qom he studied under prominent ulema, including the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). Beginning from 1963 and the Khordad 15 Uprising, he was arrested and tortured by the Shah’s regime on several occasions. In September 1980, a year-and-a-half after victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the US imposed the 8-year war on Iran through its agent, Saddam, he rushed to the battlefronts, and towards the end of the year was taken captive by the Ba’thist troops, who tortured him for ten years in prison camps, but failed to break his steadfastness. In 1990, he was freed along with other Iranian captives and was appointed by the Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, as representative for POW affairs. Hojjat al-Islam Abu Torabi was elected as lawmaker twice.