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Sunday, 21 February 2016 06:40

This Day in History (02-12-1394)

This Day in History (02-12-1394)

Today is Sunday; 2nd of the Iranian month of Esfand 1394 solar hijri; corresponding to 12th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1437 lunar hijri; and February 21, 2016, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.

 

484 lunar years ago, on this day in 953 AH, the Syrian Islamic scholar, historian, and poet, Shams od-Din Ibn Toloun Dameshqi, passed away at the age of 73. Born in Damascus, he spent a lifetime studying, writing books, and teaching. An expert in hadith, he is one of the few Islamic figures to write an autobiography. His works cover exegesis of the Holy Qur’an, Qur’anic sciences, hadith, jurisprudence, grammar, medicine, and mysticism. In addition, he was also well-versed in history, geography, and literature, especially poetry. He is the author of “as-Safinat-at-Tolouniyah”. In his book “Shazaraat az-Zahabiyya” he has acknowledged the authenticity of the famous Hadith Thaqalayn in which Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has explicitly told Muslims:

"I am leaving behind amongst you two weighty things, the Book of God (that is the holy Qur'an) and my progeny the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray, for the two never separate with each other even when they return to me at the fountain (of Kowsar on Judgment Day)."

473 solar years ago, on this day in 1543 AD, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, attained martyrdom at the age of 36 in the Battle of Wayna Daga east of Lake Tana in Ethiopia, when treacherously shot by Portuguese mercenaries in the service of the Abyssinian ruler. Of Arab origin and known as "the Conqueror", he was Amir of the Sultanate of “Adl” (justice) and led Somali forces in the liberation of large parts of Ethiopia from 1529 to 1543. In 1531, he broke Emperor Lebna Dengel's ability to resist in the Battle of Amba. Ten years later in 1541, with the arrival of the Portuguese to assist Emperor Gelawdewos, he sought the aid of the Ottoman Turks and inflicted a resounding defeat on Cristovao da Gama and his 400 musketeers, capturing the Portuguese commander and executing him for refusal to give up animosity towards Islam. Ahmad al-Ghazi is remembered to this day in the Horn of Africa as a national hero, and his liberation is described in detail in the “Futuh al-Habasha” (The Conquest of Abyssinia), written in Arabic by Shehab od-Din ibn Abdul-Qader.  His nephew, Nour ibn Mujahid ibn Ali, known as “Saheb al-Fath ath-Thani”, avenged his death in 1559 by defeating and killing Emperor Gelawdawos in battle.

339 solar years ago, on this day in 1677 AD, the Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, died in Hague at the age of 45 of lung illness which was exacerbated by fine glass dust inhaled while grinding optical lenses. Born in a Portuguese Jewish family in Amsterdam, his inquisitive mind made him reject the Hebrew Bible which has been frequently tampered with by interpolators for more than two millenniums. As a result he was excommunicated and effectively excluded from Jewish society at age 23. His books were also later put on the Catholic Church's Index of Forbidden Books. By laying the groundwork for the 18th century enlightenment and biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy. His magnum opus, the posthumous “Ethics”, in which he opposed Descartes's mind-body dualism, has earned him recognition as one of Western philosophy's most important thinkers. Spinoza lived an outwardly simple life as a lens grinder, turning down rewards and honors throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions. The family inheritance he gave to his sister.

313 solar years ago, on this day in 1703 AD, the Islamic scholar and reformer of the Subcontinent, Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlawi, was born in Delhi during the last years of the 50-year reign of the 6th and last of the Great Moghul Emperors, Mohammad Aurangzeb, who took Muslim power to its height in South Asia, controlling all of today’s India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the eastern half of Afghanistan. After initial education in his hometown, he left for the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, where he stayed several years acquiring knowledge of various Islamic sciences, and on his return to India, strove for the revival of Islamic rule and intellectual learning. His activities were not confined to spiritual and intellectual spheres, since he lived in troubled times and saw a number of rulers ascending and falling from the throne of Delhi. He observed the deterioration of Muslim rule and wrote to several contemporary rulers, including Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan and Nizam Ali Khan Asef Jah II of Haiderabad-Deccan, to bolster the political life of Muslims. Shah Waliullah was a prolific writer in both Persian and Arabic. He wrote 51 books, of which 28 are in Arabic and twenty-three in Persian. He codified the vast store of Islamic sciences under separate heads. His works can be classified into six categories. The first deals with the holy Qur'an, including its translation into Persian for the first time in the Subcontinent. According to him, the object of studying the holy Qur'an is to reform human nature and correct wrong beliefs and injurious actions. The second category deals with hadith. The third deals with fiqh (jurisprudence). The fourth deals with mysticism. The fifth pertains to his works on Muslim philosophy and theology, including Ijtihad. The sixth category deals with problems between Shias and Sunnis. His theories pertaining to economics and socialism are of revolutionary nature.

226 lunar years ago, on this day in 1211 AH, the Iraqi Poet, Sheikh Kazem Tamimi al-Baghdadi al-Uzri, passed away at the age of 80 years. He has left behind a famous ode titled “al-Uzriyyah”, in honour of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and His Infallible Household in more than 500 couplets.

188 solar years ago, on this day in 1828 AD, Following Qajarid Iran's defeat in the two-year long 2nd Russo-Persian War in the Caucasus with expansionist Russia, the disgraceful Turkmenchai Treaty was imposed on Fath Ali Shah with the mediation of British colonial officials, on the threat that failure to accept will result in the march of Russian troops upon Tehran. As per this one-sided treaty, Iran handed over to Russia, the Erivan Khanate or most of present-day central Armenia, the Nakhchivan Khanate or the present-day Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, the Talysh Khanate, and the Ordubad and Mughan regions of what is now the Republic of Azerbaijan, in addition to all Iranian lands seized by Russia some fifteen years earlier, such as Georgia, Daghestan and other parts of the Caucasus. It is to be recalled that initially these battles, led by crown prince, Abbas Mirza, were in Iran's favour but lack of support from Tehran resulted in disastrous defeats. In the aftermath of the war and signing of the humiliating treaty, anti-Russian sentiments became rampant in Iran, and on February 11, 1829, angry people stormed the Russian embassy in Tehran and killed almost everyone inside including the newly appointed ambassador, Alexander Griboyedov, who was part of the team that drafted the Turkmenchai Treaty.

100 solar years ago, on this day in 1916 AD, the deadly Battle of Verdun broke out between Germany and France during World War I, and ended with the defeat of Germany. Almost one million Germans and French were killed in this battle for control of France.

96 solar years ago, on this day in 1921 AD, Britain carried out a coup in Iran against the weak Qajarid ruler, Ahmad Shah, to make an obscure and illiterate soldier named Reza Khan, the commander of the army. At the same time the other British agent, Seyyed Zia od-Din Tabatabaie was made Prime Minister. Ahmad Shah Qajar was forced to leave Iran for Europe. In 1925, with British support, Reza Khan forced the Majlis to abolish the Qajar dynasty and declared himself king, with the title of Reza Shah Pahlavi. He served British colonial interests by brutally crushing the freedom movements of the Iranian Muslim people. He forced the Iranian people to give up their traditional dress for European style of dressing, forced women to unveil, suppressed the ulema, and banned religious gatherings. With the outbreak of World War 2, he made the mistake of showing tendencies towards Germany, prompting Britain to replace him on the Peacock Throne with his son Mohammad Reza in 1941. Reza Khan was sent into exile to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean by the British and died there in 1944.

64 solar years ago, on this day in 1952 AD, the Bengali Language Movement protests occurred at the University of Dhaka in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and continued for three days, resulting in the killing of several students by the security forces. The protest was a reaction to the declaration of Urdu by the Pakistani government as the national language. It is to be noted that on the birth of Pakistan in 1947, Urdu, the lingua franca of the Subcontinent that was born out of Persian and Hindustani, was declared the official language in order to foster national unity, since the vernacular languages of the new Muslim country (Sindhi, Punjabi, Baluchi, Pashto, Kashmiri, Bengali, etc) were unintelligible for interaction amongst the various ethnicities. Instead of pursuing a policy of gradual assimilation, some officials, over-zealous of forging lingual unity overnight, tried to curb the use of the local languages. This was a mistake and the issue became political in East Pakistan, whose Bengali speaking population accounted for 54 percent of the total population of entire Pakistan. Ironically, it was a Bengali from East Pakistan – Khwaja Nazimuddin of Dhaka, the successor of the Father of the Nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah – who ignited the controversy by calling for "Urdu-only" policy in a speech on 27 January 1952. Following the wide scale protests, the various parties got together to diffuse the crisis and on 29 February 1956, article 214 of the constitution of Pakistan was re-phrased to "The state language of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bengali." In the 1960s, however, the high-handed policies of the military regimes of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan alienated the Bengalis, resulting in the break-up of Pakistan and emergence of its eastern wing as Bangladesh in 1971.

63 solar years ago, on this day in 1953 AD, Francis Crick and James Watson reached their conclusion about the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. They made their first announcement on February 28, and their paper titled, “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid”, was published in the 25 April 1953 issue of journal Nature.

51 solar years ago, on this day in 1965 AD, US Afro Muslim activist, Malcolm X was assassinated by white supremacist terrorists, believed to be hirelings of the government, which was afraid of the Islamic movement he had formed. He was 40 years of age when martyred, and had embraced the truth of Islam in his youth. He was active in the campaign for equal rights of the black people. He believed that racial discrimination and other injustices of the morally-bankrupt and decadent liberal democratic system of the West would only end if the dynamic laws of Islam, based on social justice and ethical virtues, are promoted.

43 solar years ago, on this day in 1973 AD, fighter planes of the illegal Zionist entity violated international air-traffic regulations by shooting down a Libyan passenger airliner, Flight 114, over the Sinai Desert, killing 108 men, women, and children. Israel is notorious for its acts of state terrorism.

25 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, Abdur-Rahman Sharafkandi, the Iranian Sunni Muslim Kurdish writer, poet, and Islamic scholar, passed away at the age of 69. Born near Mahabad in western Iran in a religious family, he was active against the despotic regime of the Shah and was jailed. Upon release from prison he left Iran and lived in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. He returned to Iran before the triumph of the Islamic Revolution. Among his works are the Kurdish translation of the holy Qur'an, the translation from Arabic into Kurdish of the famous Iranian Islamic genius Abu Ali Sina's medical manual, “al-Qanoun fi't-Tibb” (Cannons of Medicine), in seven volumes, a book on Iran-Egypt cultural ties, and a divan of his Kurdish poetry titled: “Barg-e Sabz” (Green Leaf).

5 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, Abdur-Redha Buhmaid of Bahrain attained martyrdom, three days after he was fatally shot at a peaceful gathering, by forces of the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime.

AS/ME

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