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Wednesday, 02 March 2016 07:29

This Day in History (12-12-1394)

This Day in History (12-12-1394)

Today is Wednesday; 12th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1394 solar hijri; corresponding to 22nd of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1437 lunar hijri; and March 2, 2016, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.


963 solar years ago, on this day in 1053 AD, Farrokhzad Jamal od-Dowlah ascended the throne of Ghazni as the 9th sultan, having escaped the massacre of Ghaznavid princess by Toghrul the Usurper. Son of Mas’oud I and grandson of the famous Sultan Mahmoud, his 6-year reign was one of benevolence, prosperity and tranquility, free from the chaotic turbulence of palace slaves who had destabilized the rule of his predecessors. A devout Muslim, he used to fast during Rajab, Sha'ban and Ramadhan, and reinstated as vizier the able Iranian administrator, Abdur-Razzaq Maymandi, who had formerly served his brother Maudud and uncle Abd ur-Rashid. He also freed from imprisonment the celebrated Iranian scholar, Abu’l-Fazl Bayhaqi, who wrote his famous history in Persian (Tarikh-e Bayhaqi), which is one of the most credible sources about the Ghaznavid Empire. Chagri Beg Seljuq launched an invasion soon after Farrokhzad’s ascension, but was defeated. Around 1058, Farrokh invaded Tukharistan in hopes of removing the Seljuqs to whom his father Mas’oud had lost Khorasan and parts of Transoxiana in the Battle of Dandanaqan in 1040. His army was initially successful, capturing the Seljuq Atabeg Qutb ad-Din Kul-Sarigh. However, Alp Arslan counter-attacked and defeated the Ghaznavid army. A subsequent peace treaty, drawn up by Abu’l-Fazl Bayhaqi allowed for exchange of prisoners and a mutual non-aggression pact. Depressed and sickened after an attempt on his life by palace slaves, Farrokhzad withdrew from worldly affairs and died on 4 April 1059 at the age of thirty four.

491 solar years ago, on this day in 1525 AD, Budapest, the capital of Hungary was taken by the Ottoman Turkish army. The Turks had earlier defeated the Hungarian king in the Battle of Mohacs and in this manner the boundaries and borders of Ottoman Empire reached the Austrian Capital, Vienna.

329 solar years ago, on this day in 1687 AD, Prince Muhammad Mu'azzam was charged with treacherous conduct during the Mughal sieges of the Deccan sultanates of Iranian origin of Bijapur (1686) and Golkandah-Haiderabad, and imprisoned for seven years on the orders of his father, Emperor Aurangzeb. Earlier in the year he had defeated the Qutb-Shahi forces at Malkhed in what is now Karnataka State, but the Qutb-Shahis put up strong resistance from the impregnable Golkandah fortress till September of the same year, when through deceit and treachery the 170-year old dynasty founded by Sultan Quli, the Qara Qoyounlu adventurer from Hamedan in western Iran, collapsed. On Aurangzeb’s death, Mu’azzam rebelled against his brother Azam Shah (descended on his mother’s side from the Safavid emperors of Iran), who as the heir-apparent had crowned himself emperor, and after defeating and executing him, seized the throne with the titles of Shah Alam I and Bahadur Shah I. He died five years later.

226 lunar years ago, on this day in 1211 AH, the Iranian astronomer and mathematician, Mirza Hussein Doost Mohammad Isfahani, was born. He passed away at the age of 81 years and was laid to rest in the holy city of Najaf in Iraq.

219 solar years ago, on this day in 1797 AD, Horace Walpole, English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian and Whig politician, died at the age of 80. In 1754 AD, by playing with Persian words, he had coined the word “Serendipity” meaning a “fortuitous happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”. In a letter to a friend he explained an unexpected discovery he had made by reference to a Persian tale titled “The Three Princes of Serendip”, who were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.” “Serendip” was the ancient Iranian name for Sri Lanka. In its modern vernacular, “serendipity” is commonly associated with luck and accidental discovery. The notion of serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of scientific innovation such as Alexander Flemming's accidental discovery of Penicillin in 1928, and the invention of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer in 1945, to name but a few. In contrast, “Bahramdipity” is derived from the 15th Sassanid Emperor of ancient Iran, Bahram Gur, and means suppression of serendipitous discoveries or research results by powerful individuals.

180 solar years ago, on this day in 1936 AD, German orientalist and Islamic scholar, Theodor Noldeke, was born in Harburg. He studied in Göttingen, Vienna, Leiden and Berlin, mastering several languages including Arabic and Persian. In 1859 his history of the holy Qur'an won for him the prize of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and in the following year he rewrote it in German (Geschichte des Qorâns). In 1861 he began to lecture at the university, where three years later he was appointed extraordinary professor. In 1868 he became ordinary professor at Kiel, and in 1872 was appointed to the chair of Oriental Languages at Strassburg, which he resigned in 1906. His range of studies was wide and varied, but the main focus of his work has followed the two lines indicated by his prize essay, Semitic languages, and the history and civilization of Islam. While a great deal of his work (e.g. his translations from the Arabic of the history of Tabari, 1881–1882) is meant for specialists, many of his books are of interest to the general reader. Noldeke’s articles dealing with Iran were republished in a German volume, titled “Aufsätze zur Persischen Geschichte” in Leipzig in 1887. He died in 1930.

143 solar years ago, on this day in 1873 AD, George Smith, British Assyriologist, arrived at the ruins of Nineveh outside Mosul in Iraq. Over the next few weeks he found tablets referring to more pieces of the Gilgamesh story, a record of kings in the Babylonian dynasties, as well as lists of cuneiform symbols.

120 solar years ago, on this day in 1896 AD, French physicist, Henri Becquerel, discovered the radiation feature of radioactive material in uranium. The discovery won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in the year 1905; five years prior to his death.

93 solar years ago, on this day in 1923 AD, Iranian musician, Morteza Hannaneh, was born. For a while, he was conductor of Tehran’s Symphonic Orchestra, and then joined Iran Radio. An expert in classical Iranian music, he died at the age of 67 in 1990. He authored several books, including the translation and commentary of the book “Maqased al-Alhaan”.

60 solar years ago, on this day in 1956 AD, Morocco gained independence from French colonial rule. In 1912, after decades of meddling by European powers, France had declared this Muslim country as its protectorate. The same year the Moroccan people, under the leadership of Abdul-Karim Rifi, started the liberation struggle and managed to free the mountainous parts of the country, until they were defeated in 1926 by the French.

25 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, in the wake of the defeat of the Iraqi army in Kuwait by the US-led coalition, Iraqi people started their popular uprising against the repressive rule of Saddam’s Ba’th minority regime, as the long suppressed Shi’a Arab majority rose in the south, while the ethnic Kurd minority rose in the north. After initial gains, when the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala had been liberated and the noose was being tightened around Baghdad, the US allowed Saddam to use missiles and fixed-wing aircraft to brutally crush the popular uprising and to desecrate the holy shrines. The result was catastrophic. Saddam massacred at least seven hundred thousand Shi’a Arabs, and forced some two million Kurds to seek refuge across the borders in Iran and Turkey.

24 solar years ago, on this day in 1992 AD, the Iranian lady scholar of the holy Qur’an, Banu Kowkab Pour-Ranjbar, passed away at the age of 88. Born in Shiraz, at the age of 16 she completed her Islamic studies and started her career as a teacher that led to her collection of copies of the holy Qur’an and correction of several of its manuscripts prepared in the Subcontinent. At the age of 27 after becoming blind she miraculously regained her eyesight on seeing in her dream Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), the Immaculate Daughter of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and  his progeny). Thereafter she devoted her life to the teaching of the holy Qur’an. She revolutionized the teaching of the holy Qur’an for children by adopting simple methods to teach this heavenly scripture.

15 solar years ago, on this day in 2001 AD, in Afghanistan the Taliban terrorists began the destruction of the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan despite international protests. The pair of Buddha statues was not the object of worship to be destroyed. These were relics of the skill of craftsmen of the ancient past who had hewn mountains to carve them. The Taliban used dynamite, anti-tank missiles, and artillery fire to destroy the two statues.

12 solar years ago, on this day in 2004 AD, the holy cities of Karbala and Kazemain were rocked by several terrorist attacks, in which at least 170 people were martyred and 500 others injured. These attacks were carried out by the Takfiri terrorists on the Day of Ashura (10th of Moharram) – the martyrdom anniversary of the Prophet's grandson Imam Husain (AS) – when millions of devotees were attending mourning processions for the first time after the fall of Iraq's US-installed dictator, Saddam. The terrorists were never identified, but believed to be the agents of the US and Saudi Arabia.

7 lunar years ago, on this day in 1430 AH, the great Gnostic Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Mohammad Taqi Bahjat passed away in holy Qom at the age of 96 and was laid to rest in the mausoleum of Hazrat Fatema Ma’souma (peace upon her). Born in Foumen in Gilan Province, after preliminary studies in his hometown he left for the holy city of Karbala in Iraq at the age of 14 for higher studies. Four years later he moved to holy Najaf, where he attended the classes of a number of prominent ulema, including Ayatollah Murtaza Taleqani, Seyyed Abu’l-Hassan Isfahani, Mirza Mohammad Hussain Naeeni, and Seyyed Ali Qadhi Tabatabaei. Ayatollah Bahjat paid special attention to piety, self-cultivation and moral perfection. After 15 years of study in Iraq during which he mastered several branches of Islamic sciences including the philosophy of Abu Ali Ibn Sina, he returned to Iran and decided to stay in the holy city of Qom, where he reached the level of Ijtehad by attending the classes of Grand Ayatollah Hujjat Kuhkamrei and Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi. Thereafter, he started teaching theology and jurisprudence for almost 50 years at his house. He composed poems of praise and eulogy of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohamad (SAWA), especially the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS). He has left behind a large number of compilations, including: “Jama'e al-Masa’el”, and “Zakhirat-al-Ebaad”.


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