Today is Thursday; 3rd of the Iranian month of Tir 1400 solar hijri; corresponding to 13th of the Islamic month of Zil-Qa’dah 1442 lunar hijri; and June 24, 2021, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.
791 solar years ago, on this day in 1230 AD, the siege of the Muslim province of Jayyan in southern Spain was started by Christian mercenaries from various parts of Europe. Four months later the Spanish Muslim defenders forced the Christians to retreat. Earlier the traitor, Abdullah al-Bayasi had joined the Christian aggressors against fellow Muslims, but failed to break the resolve of the defenders.
707 solar years ago, on this day in 1314 AD, the Battle of Bannockburn during the First War of Scottish Independence against English hegemony, concluded with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce. In 1328, after 14 years of struggle, England forced to recognize Scottish independence by signing the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton.
666 lunar years ago, on this day in 776 AH, the eminent scholar, Abu Ja’far Mohammad ibn Mohammad Buwayhi, popularly known as Qotb od-Din Razi, passed away in Damascus, Syria. Born in Varamin near Rayy in Iran, he was a student of the famous Allamah Hilli, and in turn was among the teachers of Shaikh Jamal od-Din, the First Martyr (Shaheed Awwal). Among his works mention could be made of “al-Mohkamaat”, which is the author’s judgment on a comparative study of the philosophical views of the Iranian religious philosophers, Khwaja Naseer od-Din Tousi and Fakhr od-Din Razi. His other works include, A Commentary (Sharh) on the “Shamsiyya” of Kateb Qazwini, “Sharh Matale’ al-Anwaar”, and an Annotation (Hashiyya) on the “Qawa’ed Ala-al-Ahkaam” an explanation of the jurisprudential masterpiece of the famous Allamah Hilli.
623 solar years ago, on this day in 1398 AD, Founder of the Ming Dynasty of China, the Hongwu Emperor, died at the age of 70 after a reign of 30 years. Born in a peasant family and named Zhu Yuanzhang, he liberated China from the rule of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, and transformed it into a major power. Although born a Buddhist, he embraced the Confucian doctrine, and showed inclination towards Islam. He ordered the construction of several mosques in Nanjing, Yunnan, Guangdong, Xijing and Fujian, and had inscriptions praising Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) placed in them. He rebuilt the Jinjue Mosque in his capital Nanjing, and large numbers of the Muslim Hui people moved to the city during his rule. He had some ten Muslim generals in his military, including Chang Yuchun, Lan Yu, Ding Dexing, Mu Ying, Feng Sheng and Hu Dahai. He personally wrote a 100-word praise (baizizan) on Islam, Allah and the Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Around 1384, the Hongwu Emperor ordered the Chinese translation and compilation of Islamic astronomical tables, a task that was carried out by the scholars Mashayihei, a Muslim astronomer, and Wu Bozong, a Chinese scholar-official. These tables came to be known as the Huihui Lifa (Muslim System of Calendrical Astronomy), which was published in China a number of times until the early 18th century,
259 solar years ago, on this day in 1762 AD, the British deceitfully seized Patna in Bihar, but the next day Mir Qassim Ali Khan the Nawab-Nazem of Bengal defeated them to retake the city. The British soon conspired to replace Qassim Ali Khan with his father-in-law, Mir Ja’far Ali Khan, whom they had installed as Nawab-Nazem a few years earlier after he had betrayed Siraj od-Dowla, the last independent ruler of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, at the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
209 solar years ago, on this day in 1812 AD French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte with a huge 350,000 army crossed the Neman River to begin the invasion of Russia, in violation of the non-aggression pact signed by the two sides five years earlier. Napoleon advanced till Moscow, but the freezing cold of Russia, coupled with delay in the arrival of food and ammunitions for French soldiers grounded his army and finally forced him to retreat, during which Russian forces raided and killed many French soldiers. The defeat of Napoleon in Russia marked the beginning of the collapse of Napoleon’s empire.
209 solar years ago, on this day in 1812 AD, Caracas, which is now the capital of Venezuela, was taken by South American freedom-fighter Simon Bolivar after crushing the Spanish colonialists. Bolivar as president set up the Greater Columbia Federation, which included Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Bolivia and Ecuador. After him the federation collapsed.
183 solar years ago, on this day in 1838 AD, the indecisiveness of Mohammad Shah Qajar, coupled with treason among his ministers, who were bribed by the British, resulted in the failure of the Iranian army to liberate Herat, the capital of Khorasan, from Afghan occupation. The siege of the city began in November 1837 and Herat could well have been liberated in view of the superiority of the Iranian army, which became the victim of British-Russian intrigues as part of the Great Game of the two superpowers in Central Asia. While the British viewed a resurgent Iran as threat to their vested interests in the Subcontinent and banned the teaching of Persian language in India in late 1837, Yar Mohammad the Pashto chieftain in occupation of Herat, unleashed a reign of terror on the local population, ruthlessly confiscating supplies and money and brutally crushing even the slightest hint of a pro-Persian movement among the citizens. He savagely decapitated Iranian prisoners of wars and sympathizers and gruesomely displayed their heads on the ramparts. The Afghan occupiers were assisted by the prominent Anglo-Indian mercenary, Eldred Pottinger, whose military skills, coupled with British threats to attack Iran, thwarted Mohammad Shah’s attempts to enter Herat after the Iranian army had breached its walls. Iran made one last attempt to liberate Herat from Afghan occupation in 1856-57, but was again defeated because of British meddling.
162 solar years ago, on this day in 1859 AD, the Battle of Solferino broke out between Austria and the allied French and Sardinian armies, resulting in the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thereby setting the stage for unity of Italy, in the face of Austrian opposition.
138 lunar years ago, on this day in 1304 AH, Ayatollah Moḥammad Taqi Amoli was born in Tehran. After initial studies under his scholarly father, he went to holy Najaf in Iraq for higher religious studies. His teachers were such great scholars as Ayatollah Mirza Hussain Na’ini, Ayatollah Aqa Ziya od-Din Iraqi, and Ayatollah Seyyed Abu’l-Hassan Isfahani. He passed away in Tehran at the age of 85 and his body was taken to Mashhad for burial in the mausoleum of Imam Reza (AS).
113 solar years ago, on this day in 1908 AD, a day after the artillery shelling of the Majlis or Parliamentary building by Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar, martial law was declared in Tehran and two leading reformists were hanged, thereby ending the first phase of the Constitutional Movement after a two-year period of people’s success against despotism. The martyred figures were Mirza Jahangir Khan Shirazi – the editor of the newspaper Sour-e Israfeel – and the famous preacher and orator Mirza Nasrollah Malik al-Motakallemin. Despotism, however, did not last long, and inspired by the religious scholars the Iranian Muslim people rose against the regime and its British and Russian colonial masters, to force Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar to abdicate the throne and flee Iran.
98 lunar years ago, on this day in 1344 AH, the prominent Iranian poet, Abdul-Jawad Adib Naishapouri, passed away at the age of 63. He went blind in childhood due to smallpox, but continued to learn sciences enthusiastically and after honing his skills in Arabic literature and other sciences of his era, he started to lecture these subjects. Gradually, he turned into a skilled poet. Selection of appropriate terms and precise meanings are the strong points of his poetry. His Diwan of poems consists of beautiful verses in Persian and Arabic.
33 solar years ago, on this day in 1988 AD, Saddam of the repressive Ba’th minority regime of Iraq, with US support, ordered chemical bombardment of Iranian combatants stationed in Majnoun Islands during the 8-year imposed war. In these barbaric air raids, hundreds of Iranian combatants were martyred or wounded. The world turned a blind eye to the use of internationally banned chemical weapons against Iran by Saddam, who parallel with the victories of Iranian combatants intensified usage of chemical weapons. The Ba’thist army used chemical weapons against Iran at least on 200 different occasions during the 8-year war, wounding and martyring nearly 30,000 Iranian soldiers and civilians.
26 solar years ago, on this day in 1995 AD, Professor Seyyed Mosleh Mahdavi Isfahani, passed away at the age of 79 in his hometown Isfahan, after over half-a-century of research and publication of books, especially on biographies of leading scholars of the School of Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) Ahl al-Bayt. Born in a scholarly family, he studied both religious and modern sciences, and diligently researched hadith, having the privilege to obtain permission of narration from such prominent figures, as Ayatollah Aqa Bozorg-e Tehran, Ayatollah Seyyed Shahab od-Din Mar’ashi Najafi, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Araki, and Ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa Safai Khwansari. Among his works, mention could be made of the 2-volume book on the “Life of Allamah Majlisi”, “al-Mafakher” in two volumes, “Intellectuals of Isfahan”, and “Religious Teachings for High School Students” in 5 volumes.
17 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, Iranian master painter, Abbas Jalali Sowsanabadi, passed away at the age of 70. In his youth, he studied under the modern day master miniaturist, Hussain Behzad, and later under Abu Taleb Moqimi, and Altafi, before emerging as innovator of a unique style of painting himself. He believed that art and painting are not separate from poetry and literature.