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Tuesday, 08 March 2016 07:32

This Day in History (18-12-1394)

This Day in History (18-12-1394)

Today is Tuesday; 18th of the Iranian month of Esfand 1394 solar hijri; corresponding to 28th of the Islamic month of Jamadi al-Awwal 1437 lunar hijri; and March 8, 2016, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.


1855 solar years ago, on this day in 161 AD, Marcus Aurelius was declared Roman Emperor and commenced his 19-year ruler that saw his generals emerge as victors of the 5-year long war (161-65) against the Parthian Empire of Iran in Armenia and Mesopotamia (Iraq), following initial Iranian victories in Syria and Anatolia (present day Turkey). The Roman success, however, was short-lived, and despite the sacking of the Iranian-controlled Greek city of Seleucia on the eastern banks of the Tigris and plunder of the Parthian capital, Ctesiphon, on the eastern banks of the same river, the Iranians soon remobilized and reclaimed lost ground, although Armenia was briefly lost. The Parthian Empire was at that time under the long 44-year rule of Balaash, known to the Romans as Vologases IV. Marcus Aurelius the last of the 5 good emperors in Roman history. 

1154 lunar years ago, on this day in 283 AH, the acclaimed Arabic poet, Ali ibn al-Abbas ibn Jurayj, known popularly as Ibn ar-Roumi, passed away at the age of 62. Born in Baghdad, he was the son of an Iranian mother and a half-Roman Muslim father, which explains his surname Ibn Roumi. By the age of twenty he earned a living through his poetry which would culminate in his masterpiece Diwan. His political patrons included the Taherid ruler of Khorasan, Obaydallah ibn Abdullah, the Abbasid Caliph's Persian minister, Ismail ibn Bulbul, and the politically influential Nestorian family of Banu Wahd. He was a Shi'ite Muslim. He died of illness, although some have suggested that poison may have been the cause.

1006 solar years ago, on this day in 1010 AD, Iranian poet, Abu’l-Qassem Mansour ibn Hassan, famous by his penname “Ferdowsi”, completed his masterpiece “Shahnameh” (Book of Kings) that records in verse, Iran’s history, and till this day is considered a world famous epic.

940 solar years ago, on this day in 1075 AD, the Iranian Sunni Muslim exegete of the holy Qur'an, narrator of hadith, and linguist, Abu'l-Qasim Mohammad Ibn Omar Zamakhshari, was born in Zamakhshar, in the historical Iranian land of Khwarezm – divided today between the Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. He studied in Samarqand and Bukhara, and later lived in Baghdad for some years. He followed the rationalistic Mu'tazali doctrine and was known as “Jarallah” (Neighbour of God), since he stayed for several years in the city of Mecca, spending his time at the holy Ka'ba, the symbolic House of God Almighty. In his works, he acknowledged the merits and peerless position of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt. He wrote both in Persian and Arabic, and is best known for “al-Kashshaaf”, a commentary on the holy Qur'an, which is famous for its deep linguistic analysis of the ayahs. Another of his famous books is “Rabi al-Abraar”, a voluminous reference work.

613 solar years ago, on this day in 1403 AD, the 4th Ottoman sultan, Bayezid I, died in captivity in Samarqand at the age of 43, some eight months after his defeat and capture in the Battle of Ankara by the Central Asian Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, after a reign of 14 years during which he conquered most of southwestern Europe – Greece including Thrace (except the Byzantine capital Constantinople), Macedonia, Bulgaria, and parts of Serbia. An impetuous warrior, who succeeded to the Ottoman Throne at the Battle of Kosovo in the Balkans in1389 on assassination of his victorious father, Murad I, by strangling to death his brother Yaqoub, he acquired the title “Yildrim” (lightning) during his campaign against fellow Turks and Muslims, the Karamanids, in the east. Bayezid’s forcible expansion into Muslim territories in Anatolia endangered Ottoman relationship with the ghazis, who were an important source of warriors for his dynasty on the European frontier, so he began the practice to secure fatwas (legal rulings) from court mullahs to justify wars against fellow Muslim states. At the same time, he laid siege to Constantinople in 1394, making the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus appeal for a crusade against Muslims by King Sigismund of Hungary (the future Holy Roman Emperor), whom he defeated in the Battle of Nicopolis. In 1402, Bayezid was forced to lift the siege of Constantinople, when Timur appeared in the east and succeeded in rousing the Anatolian Turkic principalities to join him against the Ottomans. The Battle of Ankara that followed – the only instance when an Ottoman sultan has been captured in person – was culmination of years of insulting letters exchanged between the two powerful rulers. Although the victorious Timur appointed his captive’s third son, Mohammad as sultan, civil war raged for eleven years among Bayezid’s five sons – Eisa, Suleyman, Mohammad, Musa and Mustafa, each claiming the throne for himself – until the Battle of Jamurlu on 5 July 1413, when Mohmmad emerged as victor and crowned himself sultan.

299 solar years ago, on this day in 1717 AD, Abraham Darby who played an important role in the Industrial Revolution, died in Britain. He developed a method of successfully smelting ore with coke in a blast furnace, instead of using charcoal. This was a major step forward in the production of iron as a raw material for the Industrial Revolution.

294 solar years, on this day in 1722 AD, after two centuries and two decades of glorious rule, which bestowed Iran national unity, religious identity, territorial integrity, and cultural affinity, the Safavid Empire was dealt a serious blow by Hotaki Ghilzai rebels from Qandahar, in what is now Afghanistan, in the Battle of Gulnabad that led to the capture of the imperial capital Isfahan. For seven years, the occupiers, (Mahmoud and after him his cousin, Ashraf), plunged the country into anarchy, cold-bloodedly murdered the last Safavid king, Shah Sultan Hussain, and terrorized the people, until they were driven out from Iran by the general Tahmasp Quli, who soundly defeated them in the Battle of Damghan in 1729 and later usurped the throne by taking the title of Nader Shah.

280 solar years ago, on this day in 1736 AD, the Safavid general, Tahmasp Quli, who rose to rescue Iran from the anarchy by driving out the Hotaki Ghilzai occupiers, crowned himself as Nader Shah – of the short-lived Afsharid dynasty. He conducted many successful campaigns, by reclaiming Iranian territories in the Caucasus, in Iraq, in Central Asia, on the southern Arab side of the Persian Gulf and in what is now Afghanistan. He also attacked the Mughal Empire of India, where the fleeing Ghilzai rebels had sought refuge, took Delhi, and returned to Iran with rich booty, including the famous Peacock Throne, the Koh-e Noor Diamond, and the Tent of Pearls.

234 solar years ago, on this day in 1782 AD, the Gnadenhütten massacre took place in the US, when ninety-six native Amerindians in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity were cold bloodedly killed by the American revolutionaries of Pennsylvania militiamen, on the pretext of retaliation for raids carried out by other Amerindians.

215 solar years ago, on this day in 1801 AD, during the War of the Second Coalition, at the Battle of Abuqir, near Alexandria, a British force under Ralph Abercromby landed in Egypt with the aim of driving out Napoleon Bonaparte’s 21,000 French forces from Egypt and Syria. General Friant and his 2000 French troops, placing themselves in high positions took a heavy toll of the disembarking British, who then rushed in great numbers from the beach to overwhelm the defenders with fixed bayonets and secured the position. The skirmish, which was a prelude to the Battle of Alexandria, resulted in British losses of 130 killed and 600 wounded or missing. The French withdrew losing at least 300 dead.

211 lunar years ago, on this day in 1226 AH, the prominent Iranian Islamic scholar, Mullah Ali Mirza Khalili, was born. He honed his skills in theology, jurisprudence, and mathematics, and spent his life on research, study, and writing of books. His works include “Khaza'in al-Ahkam”. He passed away in 1297 at the age of 71.

118 lunar years ago, on this day in 1319 AH, the great Islamic scholar, Allamah Mirza Mohammad Hassan Ashtiani Tehrani, passed away. He authored a number of books on various Islamic sciences, and published the lectures and thoughts of the celebrated scholar, Ayatollah Sheikh Morteza Ansari Dezfuli. He, along with other combatant and courageous ulema, opposed monopolization of tobacco trade, which was granted to a British company by the Qajarid King, Nasser od-Din Shah. Allamah Ashtiani was a firm believer that no falsehood can approach the holy Qur'an. He says in his book “Bahr al-Fawa'ed” that “all leading Mujtahideen and Usoolieen widely believe that the Holy Qur'an has not been distorted. In fact, many have even cited a consensus of opinion or ijma’ in this regard, and there is in particular a complete consensus of opinion that no additions have been made to the Qur'an. Thus, the narrations that point to deletions being made to the Qur'an contain weak chains.” He also wrote the valuable book “Mabahes al-Alfaaz”.

99 solar years ago, on this day in 1917 AD, Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Count von Zeppelin, the German inventor, engineer and manufacturer who was the aviation pioneer that built the first rigid dirigible airships, named Zeppelins, died at the age of 78. After retiring from a military career in 1890, he devoted ten years to the designing and building of his first successful light-than-aircraft, the LZ-1. He patented his idea on 31st August 1895 and formed a company to build airships in 1898. Many thought his invention incredible, and called him “Foolish Count.” His first airship took off on 2nd July 1900 at Lake Constance. Eventually, he produced more zeppelins, which were first flown commercially in 1910 by Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG (DELAG), the world's first airline in revenue service. During World War I, he produced more than 100 Zeppelins for military uses, including the bombing of Britain. After the war, he continued to improve the design and built a fleet of airships for commercial passenger service, which included transatlantic flights. Zeppelin use ended after the 6 May 1937 Hindenburg fire disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA.

48 solar years ago, on this day in 1968 AD, the Moro National Liberation Front started its armed struggles against the despotic regime of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines – a US stooge who killed thousands of Muslim Filipinos. After the dismissal of Marcos in 1986, and following negotiations with the government, a ceasefire was agreed and a peace treaty signed, but not fully implemented. Finally, in 1996, a new agreement was inked between Moro National Liberation Front and the government, according to which the Muslims in Mindanao region attained autonomy.

34 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, the prominent religious scholar, Ayatollah Rabbani Shirazi, passed away at the age of 54. Born in Shiraz, he actively participated in struggles against the despotic Pahlavi regime as of 1963 and was detained and banished to different regions on several occasions. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he was elected to the parliament, and spent his life serving Islam and Muslims.

31 solar years ago, on this day in 1985 AD, a failed assassination attempt in Beirut on Lebanon’s leading religious scholar, Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Fazlollah, killed at least 45 innocent people and injured 175 others. The US was behind this assassination attempt which was masterminded for the CIA by Robert Gates, who recently retired as US Defence Secretary.


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