Today is Thursday; 13th of the Iranian month of Khordad 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 22nd of the month of Shawwal 1442 lunar hijri; and June 3, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
1254 solar years ago, on this day in 767 AD, the Iranian Sunni Muslim Jurisprudent, Noman ibn Sabet ibn Zuta ibn Marzuban, known as Abu Hanifa, passed away in Baghdad at the age of 68 in the prison of the 2nd self-styled Abbasid caliph, Mansour Dawaniqi. Born in Kufa in a family of Zoroastrian origin from Kabul, he learned the holy Qur’an and hadith, and after only two years of incomplete study under Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he founded a jurisprudential school of his own, known as Hanafi. In contrary to the clear definition of Ijtihad, based on the holy Qur’an and the genuine hadith of the Prophet, Abu Hanifa resorted to “qiyas” (analogy or speculation) regarding legal issues, despite warnings from Imam Sadeq (AS) that the first one to indulge in “qiyas” was Iblis the Satan.
1101 lunar years ago, on this day in 341 AH, the Iranian poet, Abu Ishaq Kesa-i Marvazi, was born in the Khorasani city of Marv (seized by Russia in 1884 and currently in Turkmenistan). He lived in the waning years of the Iranian Samanid Dynasty of Bukhara and the rise of the Turkic Ghaznavid Dynasty of Ghazna. Hence he has written poems in praise of the rulers of these two dynasties, before embracing the truth of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt. Thereafter he devoted his life to writing poetry on the merits of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) as well as his First Infallible Heir, Imam Ali (AS).
519 solar years ago, on this day in 1502 AD, the Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, massacred people in the port of Calicut, southern India. Calicut, which is now called Kozhikode, was the first location occupied by Vasco da Gama in 1498, after he discovered the sea route to India via the southern coast of Africa, with the help of Muslim Arab navigators, whom this treacherous Portuguese killed. Vasco da Gama was a murderous person, and on one occasion, when 800 Arab merchants landed on the southern Indian coast for buying rice, he seized them; tortured them to death by cutting their hands, ears, and noses, and burned their ships.
364 solar years ago, on this day in 1657 AD, English physician, William Harvey, who by studying the translations of Islamic scientists, became the first European to discover the true nature of the circulation of the blood and of the function of the heart as a pump, died at the age of 79. Harvey’s methods were to set the pattern for research in biology and other sciences for succeeding generations.
354 solar years ago, on this day in 1667 AD, the first human blood transfusion in the history of medicine and surgery was performed by French physician, Jean-Baptiste-Denys. In his first experiment, he injected the blood of a lamb to a patient. Later on human blood was injected to patients.
330 lunar years ago, on this day in 1112 AH, the renowned scholar, Seyyed Ne’matollah Jazayeri passed away at the age of 61 in Pol-e Dokhtar in south-western Iran, where his mausoleum is a site of pilgrimage. He traced his lineage to Imam Musa Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Born in an island in the estuary of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers near Basra; hence his epithet ‘Jazayeri’; he and his brother Seyyed Najm od-Din had their education in Shiraz. He transcribed books, corrected the transcriptions and wrote glosses, simultaneous with his studies, under great scholars as Sheikh Ja’far Bahrani, the celebrated Mullah Sadra Shirazi, and Seyyed Hashem Ehsai. After marriage, for higher studies he shifted to the Safavid capital, Isfahan, where his teachers were Mirza Rafi Tabatabaei, Sheikh Emad Yazdi, Mohaqeq Sabzevari, Sheikh Horr Ameli, Mullah Mohsen Faiz Kashani, and the famous Allamah Baqer Majlisi. He soon became a great scholar and groomed several students, besides writing books on a wide variety of subjects. After 8 years in Isfahan, he left for Iraq but because of restrictions placed by the Ottoman occupiers he did not stay there for long. Invited by the governor of Khuzestan, he moved to southwestern Iran where he established many mosques and religious schools. He served as Sheikh ol-Islam in the Shustar region, and also preached in southern Iraq where he strove to abolish the enmity amongst Arab tribes. His books include an exegesis of the holy Qur’an titled “Oqoud al-Marjaan”, “Riyadh al-Abraar fi Ma’refat al-Aimmat al-Athaar” (on biographies of the Infallible Imams), “Qissas al-Anbiyya” (Accounts of the Prophets), “Madinat-al-Hadith”, “Hedayat al-Mo’menin” and “al-Anwar an-Nu’maniyya fi Ma’refat an-Nishaat al-Insaniyya”. He also wrote a commentary on “Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya”, the collection of supplications of the Prophet’s 4th Infallible Heir, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS). Among his descendants are prominent religious scholars, academicians, and statesmen, spread over Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and the Subcontinent, including his great grandson, Seyyed Abu’l-Qassim Jazayeri Shushtari, titled “Mir Alam”, the early 19th century prime minister of the state of Haiderabad-Deccan in southern India. In Lucknow in northern India, his descendants included the scholar Mufti Seyyed Mohammad Abbas Jazayeri Shustari (1809-1869) and his equally scholarly son, Mufti Seyyed Ahmad Ali.
210 lunar years ago, on this day in 1232 AH, the jurisprudent and theologian, Mullah Ali Akbar Eiji Isfahani, passed away. He groomed students and authored several books, including “Zubdat-al-Ma’aref”.
164 solar years ago, on this day in 1857 AD, French geologist, archeologist, and orientalist, Jean-Jacques de Morgan, who carried out extensive excavation works in Egypt, Iran and other lands, was born. On graduating in mineral engineering with interest in entomology and prehistory in 1882, he was appointed to head a survey expedition to Scandinavia and subsequently conducted surveys in Britain’s Stonehenge, Germany, Austria, Turkey, India, and as far away as the kingdom of Perak in what is now West Malaysia. He next went to the Caucasus, visiting Armenia and Georgia, and his interest in the eastern origins of civilization eventually led him to Iran, where he focused on the significance of Shush (ancient Susa), the capital of the Elamite Empire, to retrace the routes of the Assyrian campaigns. Entrusted by France with his first official mission to Iran, on his way he paused to explore the necropolis at Telovan near Tbilisi, then went on to Tehran, whence he paid visits to Mazandaran, Gilan, and Talesh, for study of dialects. He then traveled south across Kurdistan and Luristan, combining both geological and archeological investigations. He was the first to recognize at Qasr-e Shirin the presence of oil in the vast fold system of the Zagros mountain chain, but neither France nor Iran showed any interest in this important discovery. He published his “Mission Scientifique en Perse”, with four volumes of geological studies; two volumes of archaeological studies on tombs and other monuments; one volume dedicated to Kurdish dialects and the languages of northern Iran; one volume of Mandaean texts; and two volumes of geographical studies. From 1892 to 1897, he was assigned to Egypt, where he saved the temple of Kom Ombo from destruction; set up the museum of Greco-Roman antiquities at Alexandria; undertook publication of a general catalogue of the monuments and inscriptions of ancient Egypt; and laid the cornerstone for the Cairo Museum of Ancient Egyptian Antiquities. His exploration of the pyramids of Memphis and Dashur brought to light the royal treasures of the Middle Kingdom. He was back again in Shush in Iran and his important finds included the famous Stele of Naram-Sin, brought as war booty by the Elamite king Shutruk-Nahhunte, as well as masterpieces of Babylonian civilization, captured by the Elamites, intermingled with masterpieces of Elamite metalwork and sculpture. The discoveries were crowned by the appearance of the stele bearing the law code of Hammurabi. These were published, starting in 1900, in “Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse”. Unfortunately, in 1900, the inefficient Iranian king, Mozaffar od-Din Shah Qajar, signed a treaty granting to France all the antiquities discovered at Shush. In 1902 De Morgan declared: “In the Nile valley I developed the conviction that the first civilizations, from which the Egyptian empire arose, came from Chaldea (in Iraq) and that the Mesopotamian plains had therefore been the cradle of human progress.”
112 lunar years ago, on this day in 1330 AH, the Ottomans withdrew from Libya in conformity with the Treaty of Ouchy after losing the war with invading Italy.
98 solar years ago, on this day in 1883 AD, Franz Kafka, a prominent German-language writer of novels and short stories, died at the age of 40 in Klosterneuburg, Austria. Given that he had a tough childhood, Kafka, who was born in a Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, had a pessimistic view of life. He was a nihilist, which is evident in his books, which include, “The Trial”, “Contemplation”, and “A Country Doctor”. He was uneasy about his Jewish heritage and opposed Zionism.
58 solar years ago, on this day in 1963 AD, famous Turkish poet, Nazim Hikmet Ran, died at the age of 61. He started writing poems at the age of 12. Because of his leftist inclinations he went to Moscow for higher studies, and on returning to his homeland, wrote revolutionary and anti-capitalist poems, slamming the westernized and suppressive system imposed on Turkey by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. His poems were warmly welcomed by the people as well as the Turkish army, frightening the officials, and leading to his incarceration. After serving twelve years in jail, this famous Turkish poet was released, and because of danger to his life, went to the Soviet Union. On revocation of his nationality by the Turkish government, he remained in the Soviet Union until his death. Nazim Hikmet is the founder of a new style in Turkish contemporary poetry.
58 solar years ago, on this day in 1963 AD, the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA), while commemorating in holy Qom the anniversary of Ashura or 10th Moharram, marking the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, castigated the British-installed and US-backed Shah for his anti-Islamic policies. In his address to a large gathering of people, students and religious scholars, he exposed the treason of the Pahlavi regime and pointed out: “They are against the foundations of the divine religion of Islam and the ulema and aim to destroy Islam and the ulema. People; you should know that our Islam and country are threatened. We are deeply concerned about the situation of Iran and the state of the Shah’s despotic regime.”
37 solar years ago, on this day in 1984 AD, the Indian government launched the military offensive “Operation Blue Star” at famous Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs in Amritsar, to flush out militants of the Khalistan separatist movement of Indian Punjab. The operation continued until June 6, with casualties, most of them civilians, in excess of 5,000. Later, on October 31 the same year, two Sikh bodyguards of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated her in revenge for desecration of their sacred temple.
5 solar years ago, on this day in 2016 AD, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Muhammad Ali, died at the age of 74 in Scottsdale, Arizona and was buried at the Cave Hill Cemetery, in his hometown Louisville, Kentucky. Born into an Afro-American family and named Cassius Clay, he embraced the truth of Islam, and remains the only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. He was illegally stripped of his title under pressure from the US regime for refusing to be inducted into the army during the unjust American war in Vietnam. He openly said the Vietnamese had done nothing against him or the other American people, and Islam forbids Muslims from getting involved in unnecessary wars and bloodshed. His actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon worldwide. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century.