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Saturday, 20 February 2016 08:36

This Day in History (01-12-1394)

This Day in History (01-12-1394)

Today is Saturday; 1st of the Iranian month of Esfand 1394 solar hijri; corresponding to 11th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1437 lunar hijri; and February 20, 2016, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.


1055 lunar years ago, on this day in 382 AH, the Mu’tazalite theologian, Ali ibn Eisa ar-Rummani, passed away. Among his most important works is the book: “E’jaz al-Qur’an” on the Living Miracle that the holy Qur’an is. Here it would not be out of context to mention his encounter with the famous Shi’a Muslim scholar, Shaikh Mohammad bin Nu’man and the reason he conferred upon him the title “Shaikh al-Mufid” (Most Beneficial Scholar). The Shaikh’s tutor sent him to attend the theology lessons of Rummani, along with a letter of introduction. The Shaikh says: I entered his class, and was impressed by the great number of students. I sat at the end of the crowd, managing to creep forward as some members of the assembly left. Then I saw a person enter, saying: "(O Master), there is someone at the door from Basra who insists on being admitted to your presence." On permission the man from Basra entered and after a long conversation, asked Rummani: "How do you view the event of “Ghadeer” (the day the Prophet, on God’s commandment, proclaimed Imam Ali [AS] as his vicegerent on 18th Zilhijja, 10 AH while returning from his Farewell Hajj pilgrimage) and the report of “Ghar” (incident of the cave in which Abu Bakr accompanied the Prophet on the night of Hijrah)?" Ar-Rummani replied that "the report of al-Ghar was a recognised event, while al-Ghadeer was just a narration; and a narration is not as mandatory as a recognised event." The man from Basra left without making any reply. The Shaikh says: Then I came forward and said: "I have a question." Ar-Rummani said: "Ask." I said: "What do you say about the one who fights a Just Imam?" He said: "Such a person would be an infidel." Then, after a pause, he rectified himself and said: "He would be a transgressor." I asked: "What do you say about the Commander of the Faithful, Ali bin Abi Taleb (AS)? He said: "I believe he was an Imam." So I asked: "Then what do you say about the Day of Jamal and Talha and Zubair?" Ar-Rummani retorted that both of them had repented. I said: "The Battle of Jamal is a recognised event, while their repentance is a mere narration." Upon this, he said: "Were you present when the man from Basra put his question?" I said "yes." Then he asked: "What is your name and who is your tutor?" I said: "I am known as Ibn al-Mu’allem, and my tutor is Abu-Abdallah al-Jual." He said: "Stay where you are." Then he entered his room and came out with a letter, instructing me to hand it over to my tutor. When I gave the letter to my tutor, he read it and laughed, saying: "What transpired between you in his class? He has asked me to confer upon you the title “al-Mufid”.

840 lunar years ago, on this day in 597 AH, the famous Iranian Islamic theologian and scientist, Mohammad ibn Hassan, known as Khwaja Naseer od-Din Tousi was born in the city of Tous, near the holy city of Mashhad in Khorasan. He was an outstanding philosopher, scientist, mathematician and astronomer who made valuable contributions to the development of science and civilization. Even the Mongol invaders acknowledged his genius and Hulagu Khan, appointed him as his scientific advisor. Naseer od-Din Tusi built the famous observatory at Maraghah in 1262. It had various instruments such as a 4-meter wall quadrant made from copper and an azimuth quadrant which was his unique invention. Using accurately plotted planetary movements, he modified Ptolemy's model of the planetary system based on mechanical principles. The observatory and its library became a centre for a wide range of work in science, mathematics and philosophy. About the real essence of the Milky Way, Ṭusi in his book on astronomy “at-Tadhkirah fi Ilm al-Hayyah”, wrote three centuries before Galileo: “The Milky Way, i.e. the galaxy, is made up of a very large number of small, tightly-clustered stars, which, on account of their concentration and smallness, seem to be cloudy patches. Because of this, it was likened to milk in colour.”

He wrote some 80 books in both Arabic and Persian on various subjects including “Tajrid al-Eʿteqad” on theology, “Akhlaq-e Naseri” on ethics, “Sharh al-Isharaat Ibn Sina” on philosophy, and “Kitab ash-Shakl al-Qatta” on mathematics, etc. It is to be noted that a 60-km diameter lunar crater located on the southern hemisphere of the moon is named after him as "Naseereddin". A minor planet discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1979 is named after him 10269 Tusi”. Naseer od-Din Tusi died in Iraq and was laid to rest in the holy mausoleum of Imam Musa al-Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

756 solar years ago, on this day in 1258 AD, Musta’sim-Billah, the 37th and last self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, was wrapped in a carpet and trampled to death under the feet of horses on the orders of the Mongol conqueror Hulagu Khan, ten days after the sack of Baghdad. The incompetent Musta’sim, whose 16-year rule was confined to Iraq and some eastern parts of Syria, had neither raised an army to defend Baghdad nor did he attempt to negotiate with Hulagu, to whom two years earlier he had supplied troops to conquer the Ismaili Nizari stronghold of Alamout (150 km west of modern Tehran). The contemporary Italian traveler, Marco Polo, reports in his “Travels” that upon finding the caliph's great stores of treasure which could have been spent for the defence of the realm, Hulagu locked him in his treasure room without food or water for a while, telling him: “Eat of your treasure as much as you want, since you are so fond of it.” The curtain thus came down on 508 solar years of the Abbasid caliphate founded by Abu’l-Abbas as-Saffah on defeating the Omayyads in 750 AD by hijacking the sentiments of the Arab and Iranian masses for the Ahl al-Bayt, thereby depriving once again the progeny of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) of their political right to rule the Islamic realm.

339 solar years ago, on this day in 1677 AD, France defeated the Spanish in the Caribbean Sea and took control of Haiti, which it ruled for 130 years. In 1804, a major uprising of the black people enslaved in the Americas by the Europeans, took place in Haiti, which emerged as the first independent country in Latin America.

150 solar years ago, on this day in 1866 AD, France defeated Mexican freedom fighters and crowned its Austrian client, Prince Maximilian, as king of Mexico. Five years later, the Mexicans rallied under former President, Benito Juarez, to reinstate him on ousting Maximilian.

88 solar years ago, on this day in 1928 AD, the British granted the status of 'protectorate' to Jordan – a state they had created in 1920 by the river of the same name, by dividing the historical land of Shaam” (Greater Syria) in collaboration with the French, after defeating the Ottoman Empire in World War 1. The British installed as king, Abdullah, the son of their agent, Sharif Hussain, the ruler of Hejaz, for his services to Britain during World War 1 against the Ottoman Turks. Faisal, another son of Sharif Hussain, was placed as king in Damascus from where he was driven out by the French four months later and then installed in Baghdad as king in 1921 against the wishes of the Iraqi people after the British crushed the popular uprising led by Ayatollah Mirza Taqi Shirazi and Ayatollah Kashef al-Gheta. In the late 1920s when Sharif Hussain lost Hejaz, including the religious cities of Mecca and Medina, and the commercial centres of Jeddah and Ta'ef, to another British agent, Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud and his Wahhabi brigands from Najd, Britain bestowed upon the new strongman in 1932 another artificial country called Saudi Arabia. As for Jordan, in 1946, a year after World War 2, the British granted it independence but continued to dictate orders before handing it over to the US which today exercises hegemony over this land. Jordan, like several other Arab states of West Asia, has no historical roots and almost 80 percent of its population is made up of Palestinians. It is part of the historical land of “Shaam” which was carved up by the British and the French into Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine – where later in 1948 the British planted Israel after illegally settling on this Muslim land, hundreds of thousands of European Jews. Currently, mass demonstrations are rocking the Jordanian capital, Amman, and other cities, calling for reforms and scrapping of the monarchy because of its subservience to the US and its treasonous ties with the illegal Zionist entity, Israel.

69 solar years ago, on this day in 1947 AD, the British finally agreed to grant independence to the Subcontinent later in the year in August, but after partitioning it into India, West Pakistan, and East Pakistan (which in 1971 became Bangladesh), while deliberately leaving Muslim-majority Kashmir as a bone of contention. The fate of Haiderabad-Deccan which was a Muslim kingdom and the largest of the subcontinent's semi-independent states (nearly the size of France) was left by the British in limbo despite the fact that its ruler, Nizam ul-Mulk Asef Jah VII, had generously helped Britain in both the World Wars with tens of millions of pounds-sterling in addition to troops. Landlocked Haiderabad-Deccan, which for a year functioned as an independent sovereign state with membership in the UN, was forced to surrender to India in September 1948 following a week-long war. It is worth noting that the British had entered Muslim-ruled India as traders in the 17th century, but with the weakening of the Mughal Empire, they treacherously seized in mid 18th century the large province of Bengal (today's Bangladesh and the Indian state of Bengal) from its Muslim rulers of Iranian origin – Siraj od-Dowla, Mir Ja'far, Mir Qassem – and thereupon gradually expanded their influence by taking control of all the Subcontinent through wars and imposed treaties. In 1856 they annexed the Shi’ite Muslim kingdom of Awadh and deposed Wajed Ali Shah to end the 134-year rule of the Naishapuri Dynasty of Iranian origin. In 1857, when both the Muslims and Hindus rose against British rule in northern India, they were crushed, Delhi was stormed, and the nominal Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was imprisoned and exiled to Burma. India was subsequently declared a part of the British Empire with Queen Victoria as Empress of India. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, because of the struggles of the Indian people against colonialism under the leadership of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Ali Brothers, Jawaharlal Nehru, etc, the British were forced to agree to independence. India despite being a non-Muslim country has the world's largest population of Muslims of around 250 million.

56 solar years ago, on this day in 1960 AD, Charles Leonard Woolley, the British archaeologist whose excavation of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur (in modern Iraq) greatly advanced knowledge of Mesopotamian civilization, died. His discovery enabled scholars to trace the history of the city from its final days during the 4th century BC back to its prehistoric beginnings (c. 4000 BC). His finds revealed much about everyday life, art, architecture, literature, religion, and administration in this "cradle of civilization." In royal tombs dating from about 2700 BC, he uncovered the practice of the sacrificial burial of a deceased king's personal retinue. He discovered tombs of great material wealth, gold and silver jewelry, large paintings of ancient Mesopotamian culture at its zenith, and other furnishings. The most extravagant tomb of Queen Pu-Abi was untouched by the hands of looters through the millennia, with many well-preserved items, including a cylindrical seal bearing her name in Sumerian. His widely read book “Ur of the Chaldees: A record of Seven Years of Excavation (1922-29)”, describes his findings in a manner both informative to specialists and laymen.

36 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, as per a decree of the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA) the Council of Guardians was formed to act as a supervisory body to oversee whether the laws passed by the parliament are in conformity with the Islamic shari'a and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This 12-member council is made up of six leading jurisprudents named by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and six judicial experts named by the Judiciary Chief. The members have to win the confidence of the parliament. The Council of Guardians plays a unique role in overseeing the presidential, parliamentary and other elections, and to determine whether or not the candidates have the required qualifications and eligibility. It is a superb example of popular religious rule in Iran in line with the aspirations of the people.

28 solar years ago, on this day in 1988 AD, the US supported Ba'th minority of Saddam shot down an Iranian passenger plane in southwestern Iran, in violation of all international rules, resulting in the martyrdom of Hojjat al-Islam Fazlollah Mahallati and 39 other passengers including parliamentary members. Mahallati was the representative of Imam Khomeini in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and had played a leading role both during the struggles against the Shah's despotic regime, and during the 8-year Iraqi imposed war.

25 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, Iranian researcher and writer, Hojjat al-Islam Mostafa Zamani died at the age of 58. He was imprisoned by the Shah's regime several times for his Islamic revolutionary activities, and after establishment of the Islamic Republic, in addition to teaching at academic centres, he wrote some 50 books in order to revive Islamic ideology amongst the young generation. His famous work is "Ibrahim Bot-Shikan ya Qahreman-e Towhid" (Abraham the Iconoclast or Champion of Monotheism).


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