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Wednesday, 24 February 2016 07:15

This Day in History (05-12-1394)

This Day in History (05-12-1394)

Today is Wednesday; 5th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1394 solar hijri; corresponding to 15th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1437 lunar hijri; and February 24, 2016, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.


1399 lunar years ago, on this day in 38 AH, according to a narration, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Medina. His parents were the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS) and Princess Shahrbano of Iran. His birthday, according to reliable sources, actually took place on 5th Sha'ban. During his 34-year Imamate or divinely-decreed leadership, he built from shreds the tattered fabric of the Islamic society. He was martyred through poisoning at the age of 57 by the Omayyad caliph Waleed bin Abdul-Malik. Among the immortal legacy of the 4th Imam is the prayer manual “Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya” (known as Psalms of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt) and the “Risalat al-Hoqouq or the Treatise of Rights, which is more perfect than the UN Charter of Human Rights.

1399 lunar years ago, on this day in 38 AH, the governor of Egypt, Mohammad bin Abu Bakr, who was one of the loyal disciples of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), was martyred by the Godless Omayyad invader Amr bin Aas. His grave is in Cairo. The crafty Omayyad ruler, Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan also martyred through poisoning, the new governor of Egypt, the famous Malek Ashtar while he was on his way to take up his post. The epistle of Imam Ali (AS) to Malek Ashtar is regarded till this day as the finest treatise on social justice for the masses.

1341 lunar years ago, on this day in 96 AH, Walid ibn Abd al-Malik, the 6th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime, died in Damascus at the age of 47 after a 10-year reign, during which Arab armies conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the West and penetrated deeper into Central Asia and India, in addition to gaining territory against the Byzantines in Anatolia (modern day Turkey). He gave free rein to the tyrant Hajjaj Thaqafi, his governor of Iraq, to terrorize the people of Khorasan, Sindh and Transoxiana. Walid discouraged the conquered people to become Muslims since this would deprive him of collecting jizya and fill up his coffers. Fearful of the influence of Persian in the east and of the Coptic language in Egypt, he forbade the use of any other language except Arabic. In violation of the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an, he promoted obscene music, singing and dancing. Walid I has earned lasting notoriety for martyring through poison, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the great grandson and 4th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).

790 lunar years ago, on this day in 647 AH, the prominent scholar, Taqi od-Din Hassan ibn Ali ibn Daoud al-Hilli was born in Hillah in southern Iraq. A student of the famous Seyyed Jamal od-Din Ahmad Ibn Tawous, he was an authority on several branches of Islamic sciences. He lived a fruitful life of 93 years, grooming scholars and authoring books, the most famous of which is “ar-Rijaal” on the biographical evaluation of hadith narrators.

713 solar years ago, on this day in 1303 AD, the Battle of Roslin took place during the First War of Scottish Independence –  lasting from the invasion by England in 1296 until the de jure restoration of Scottish independence with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton in 1328 (de facto independence was established in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn). England under Edward I attempted to establish its authority over Scotland while the Scots fought to keep English rule and authority out of Scotland. The Second War of Scottish Independence was fought from 1332-to-1357 against English encroachment. In 1603, James VI of Scotland inherited the thrones of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland, and thus became King James I of what later came to be known as the United Kingdom. The Scots have always resented English domination of their homeland. The Scottish National Party, which supports Scottish independence, won an overall majority in the 2011 general election. An independence referendum was held on 18 September 2014, with independence-seekers polling 45% of the 85% voter turnout.

712 solar years ago, on this day in 1304 AD, the renowned Muslim worldwide traveler, Shams od-Din Mohammad bin Abdullah, known as Ibn Battuta, was born in the northwest African city of Tangiers – in today’s Morocco. As a young man he started his initial journey to perform the Hajj, but after the pilgrimage to Mecca, he kept on travelling, visiting over a period of thirty years, most of the Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands in the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. His journeys including trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, and to West Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, cover a total of 75,000 miles or 121,000 km, surpassing by threefold the travels of his near-contemporary Marco Polo of Venice. In Iraq, he visited the shrine in holy Najaf of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), and has related how people seek intercession with God through the First Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and are cured of their ailments. Ibn Battuta then travelled all over Iran, and after visiting the Byzantine Empire, Europe and Russia, he arrived in India, where he was appointed the Qazi of Delhi by Sultan Mohammad bin Tughlaq. On his return to his homeland Morocco, he also served as Qazi. He dictated to scribes the details of his travels in his book titled "ar-Rehla", and died at the age of 66.

491 solar years ago, on this day in 1525 AD, the Portuguese poet, Luis Vaz de Camoens, was born in Lisbon. His most important work is The Lusiads”, which some compare to the renowned Iranian Poet Ferdowsi’s masterpiece “Shahnamah”. He died in 1580.

277 solar years ago, on this day in 1739 AD, the historic Battle of Karnaal was fought near a village of the same name, some 110 km north of Delhi, between the Iranian army of Nader Shah Afshar and the army of the Indian Mughal ruler, Mohammad Shah, known as Rangeeleh” or colourful, because of his patronizing of singers and dancers, at the expense of negligence of state affairs. The Iranians won a decisive victory losing only 2500 soldiers, while the death toll of the Indian army was over 20,000. The cause of invasion was the failure and inability of Mohammad Shah to prevent the entry into Mughal-controlled Kabul and the eastern areas of Afghanistan and Punjab, of Hotaki and Ghilzai rebel leaders who were driven out from Iran by Nader Shah, following his ending of the Afghan occupation of the country. When a series of letters from Nader Shah did not entail any positive result or response from Mohammad Shah, the Iranian army began its invasion from Qandahar, and after taking Kabul and Peshawar, marched unopposed all the way till Karnaal, where the Indian army was defeated in little more than three hours. The battle began after one o'clock in the afternoon, with a discharge of arrows from both sides. The superior artillery power of the Persians that continued for two hours threw the Mughals and their war elephants into disarray. Mughal forces began to disintegrate and of their commanders, Khan-e Dowraan was killed, while Sa’adat Khan Burhan ol-Molk was taken prisoner. The Persian cavalry was swifter and out-maneuvered the Mughals. As the Indian morale plummeted, soldiers started to flee while Indian camp followers looted their own camps. Mohammad Shah was taken prisoner but was treated with respect by Nader Shah, who entered Delhi along with him and after a stay of some weeks, returned to Iran by restoring the Mughal ruler his rule, but taking with him the fabulous Koh-e Noor Diamond, the Darya-e Noor Diamond, the famous Peacock Throne, the Tent of Pearls and other jewels.

207 lunar years ago, on this day in 1230 AH, Grand Ayatollah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Shirazi, was born in Shiraz. Known as “Mirza-e Shirazi”, he studied at the seminary of holy Najaf in Iraq under the celebrated scholar, Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Morteza Ansari, and attained the status of Ijtehad. He had a strong memory and was an eloquent speaker. He also paid attention to political topics. For instance, his Fatwa on boycotting tobacco led to the failure of the British colonialists’ conspiracies against Iran.

185 solar years ago, on this day in 1831 AD, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, went into effect, as part of the US policy of ethnic cleansing of native Amerindians in Mississippi. It resulted in the seizure of 11 million acres of the lands of the Choctaw by White settlers of European origin. It was the first treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act passed by the Congress. The US is notorious for ethnic discrimination, genocide, wars and massacres.

168 solar years ago, on this day in the year 1848 AD, King Louis Philippe of France was forced to abdicate and go into exile, three days after start of the Second French Revolution that led to proclamation of the Second Republic of France. In French history this ruling system is referred to the rule of journalists, because eleven republican journalists, led by the French poet and author, Alphonse de Lamartine, were part of the administration. On December of the same year elections were held and Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected president. In 1852, he staged a coup against republicans; suppressed the opponents and declared himself emperor, thus ending the Second Republic.

160 solar years ago, on this day in 1856 AD, Russian mathematician, Nikolay Ivanovich Lobachevsky, died at the age of 64. He served as Chancellor of Kazan University in Tataristan. He gained fame due to his researches and innovations in geometry and for rejection of the 5th principle of Euclidean geometry. He conducted extensive research on the features of spherical surfaces and presented important theories.

136 lunar years ago, on this day in 1301 AH, the first edition of the newspaper, “al-Urwat al-Wusqa” was published in Paris, under management of Iran's pan-Islamic activist Seyyed Jamaleddin Asadabadi and Egypt's Shaikh Mohammad Abduh. In order to materialize the unity of the ummah, it was distributed in Europe, India, Egypt, Iran, and some other countries. It was banned under the political pressure of Britain and other colonial powers.

119 solar years ago, on this day in 1897 AD, Henri Frankfort, the Dutch-American archaeologist who established the relationship between Egypt and Mesopotamia, was born. He completed a documented reconstruction of ancient Mesopotamian culture and art. He directed excavations in Egypt (1922, 1925-29) and Iraq (1929-37) with exemplary scholarship.

99 solar years ago, on this day 1917 AD, during World War I, the US ambassador in London was given by British intelligence the decoded Zimmermann Telegram, in which Foreign Secretary of the German Empire, Arthur Zimmermann, had messaged to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt, to persuade the government of Mexico to ally itself with Germany in case the US entered the war on the side of Britain. Germany pledged to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, California and the entire southwest to Mexico that the US had seized in the 19th century. The message was intercepted by British intelligence, and its revelation made the US openly declare war on Germany in April that year. Mexican President Venustiano Carranza assigned a military commission to assess the feasibility of liberation of the said territories from US occupation. It was concluded that it would not be possible for Mexico, which was in the midst of a revolution and far weaker militarily, economically and politically, to defeat the US.

83 solar years ago, on this day in 1933 AD, East African academic and political scientist, Professor Ali Mazrui, was born in Mombasa, Kenya. On completing higher education in Britain, he taught at the University of Uganda in Kampala, and after expulsion by the dictator Idi Amin, he settled in the US, where he taught as professor in several universities. An expert writer on African and Islamic studies as well as North-South relations, he was critical of African socialism and all strains of Marxism. He argued that communism was a Western import just as unsuited for the African condition as the earlier colonial attempts to install European type governments. At the same time he was a prominent critic of the current world order. He believed the capitalist system was deeply exploitative of Africa, and that the West practiced global apartheid. He opposed the West’s interventions in the developing world, such as the US war on Iraq, and was against the policies of the Zionist entity – linking Israeli treatment of Palestinians with South Africa's apartheid. As a well known commentator on Islam and Islamism, he rejected violence and terrorism and praised the anti-imperialist sentiment that plays an important role in the modern world. He maintained that the dynamism of the sharia law is compatible with democracy. Mazrui wrote several books, including on his native Swahili language and culture. In October 2014, he died in New York, where he was Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University. As per his will, his body was taken to his native Mombasa and buried in his ancestral graveyard according to Islamic rites.

67 solar years ago, on this day in 1949 AD, a ceasefire came into effect between Egypt and the illegal Zionist entity following the signing of an agreement on Rhode Island. In May 1948, while withdrawing from Palestine, the British colonialists, who had illegally settled hundreds of thousands of European Jews in this Islamic land between the two world wars, created an artificial entity called Israel. The Zionists immediately lounged expansionism in different directions after expelling over 400,000 Palestinians. The Zionists attacked Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, occupying parts of the three countries. According to this treaty, Gaza was placed under Egyptian protection, but in later wars it was occupied by Israel.

67 solar years ago, on this day in 1949 AD, the first manmade rocket reached outer or extraterrestrial space. The two-stage rocket was launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, US. It was the first to carry telemetry transmitting technical information to ground stations, including high-altitude temperature measurements. It reached a speed of 5,150 mph and an altitude of 244 miles.

58 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, the discovery of a pulsar (a pulsating radio source) was announced. The first pulsar was discovered by a graduate student, Jocelyn Bell, on 28 Nov 1967. The star emitted radio pulses with clock-like precision. It was observed at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge University, England. A special radio telescope was used with 2,048 antennae arrayed across 4.4 acres. Pulsars prompted studies in quantum-degenerate fluids, relativistic gravity and interstellar magnetic fields.


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