This Day in History (24-04-1396)

Today is Saturday; 24th of the Iranian month of Tir 1396 solar hijri; corresponding to 20th of the Islamic month of Shawwal 1438 lunar hijri; and July 15, 2017, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.

1249 lunar years ago, on this day in 179 AH, Imam Musa Kazem (AS), the 7th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was imprisoned in Medina by Haroun Rashid, the self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, and sent to Basra in southern Iraq, from where after a couple of years he was shifted to Baghdad, and finally martyred through poisoning on 25 Rajab 183 AH at the age of 55. The 7th Imam suffered intermittent periods of imprisonment totaling some 14 years under several caliphs.

1019 solar years ago, on this day in 998 AD, the Islamic-Iranian mathematician and astronomer, Abu’l-Wafa Mohammad ibn Mohammad ibn Yahya al-Bouzjani, passed away in Baghdad at the age of 58. Born in the northeastern Iranian town of Bouzhgan (present day Torbat-e Jam) in Khorasan, at the age of 19 he moved to Baghdad and remained there for forty years. He made important innovations in spherical trigonometry, and his work on arithmetic for businessmen contains the first instance of using negative numbers in an Islamic text. He was the first to build a wall quadrant to observe the sky. Bouzjani participated in an experiment to determine the difference in local time between his location in Baghdad and that of his famous contemporary, Abu Rayhan al-Berouni in Kath, Khwarezm, which is now part of the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan. The result was very close to present-day calculations, showing a difference of approximately 1 hour between the two longitudes. The 3rd Lunar Inequality (the variation) was first discovered by Bouzjani, a fact admitted by European scientist, Tycho Brahe, who often quotes this Iranian Islamic scientist’s work. His “Kitab al-Majisti” (Almajest) covers numerous topics in the fields of plane and spherical trigonometry, planetary theory, and solutions to determine the direction of Qibla – the focal point of the daily ritual prayers for Muslims worldwide. The crater “Abu’l-Wafa” on the Moon is named after him. Bouzjani wrote several books that have not survived, including “Tarikh-e Ilm al-Hesab” (The History of Calculus).

918 solar years ago, on this day in 1099 AD, Christian Crusader hordes from Europe burst into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Bayt al-Moqaddas massacring men, women, and children, including Jews and local Christians that had taken refuge there. Many Muslims sought shelter in the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and what the Christians call the Temple Mount area. According to eyewitness accounts mentioned in the Gesta Francorum, speaking only of the Temple Mount area, “[our men] were killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles…”

According to Raymond of Aguilers, also writing solely of the Temple Mount massacre, “in the Temple and porch of Solomon men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.”

Fulcher of Chartres writes: “In this Temple 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet coloured to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared”.

The Crusaders then assaulted the synagogue and burnt it down along with hundreds of Jewish men, women, and children trapped inside. In all 70,000 people were slain by the European invaders including Arabs, Turks, Iranians, Kurds, and Berbers. Bayt al-Moqaddas and Palestine, which used to be part of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite Dynasty of Egypt-North Africa, had been retaken by the Fatemids from the Iran-based Seljuq Empire only a year before the Crusader invasion.

621 lunar years ago, on this day in 817 AH, the famous Iranian lexicographer of Arabic, Abu Taher Majd od-Din Mohammad ibn Yaqoub al-Firuzabadi, passed away at the age of 87 in Zabid, Yemen, where he was appointed the Chief Qazi and had married the daughter of the Sultan. Born in Kazeroun and educated in Shiraz, Waset, Baghdad and Damascus, he lived for ten years in Bayt al-Moqaddas, Palestine. He then travelled to Egypt, before settling in Mecca, where he lived for almost three decades, while spending some time in Delhi India. He returned to his native Shiraz via Baghdad, when he was around 60 years of age, and was warmly received by the Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur. He then left for Ta’izz in Yemen where he spent the last years of his life. He was a polymath in hadith, exegesis of Holy Qur’an, history, and Arabic grammar and literature. He wrote more than 40 books, the best known of which was his 60-volume dictionary, now believed to be lost. His most important surviving work, “al-Qamous al-Mohit” served as the basis of dictionaries by other Arabic lexicographers, and later for European dictionaries of Arabic. Among his other books, mention could be made of “Safar as-Sa’adah”, and “Tanwir al-Miqyas”.

535 solar years ago, on this day in 1482 AD, Mohammad XII was crowned the twenty-second and last Nasrid emir of Granada in Muslim Spain, which ten years later was occupied by Christian mercenaries, who perpetrated a great massacre of Muslims and expelled hundreds of thousands of them to North Africa, thus ending the over seven centuries of glorious Muslim rule.

411 solar years ago, on this day in 1606 AD, Dutch painter and etcher, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, was born. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important in Dutch history.

218 solar years ago, on this day in 1799 AD, the Rosetta Stone was unearthed at the Egyptian village of the same name, near the port city of Alexandria by Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign in Egypt. Inscribed in two languages and three scripts – Egyptian Hieroglyphic and Demotic, and ancient Greek – it is a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V following his coronation, establishing the divine cult of the new ruler. Owing to the damaged state of this large black granite stele (112.3 centimeters high, 75.7 cm wide, 28.4 cm thick, and weighing approximately 760 kilograms), none of the three texts is absolutely complete. After years of efforts by many scholars it was deciphered by French Orientalist, Jean-François Champollion in 1822, but it took longer still before scholars were able to read Ancient Egyptian inscriptions and literature confidently. Two other fragmentary copies of the same decree were discovered later, and several similar Egyptian bilingual or trilingual inscriptions are now known, including two slightly earlier Ptolemaic decrees (the Decree of Canopus in 238 BC, and the Memphis decree of Ptolemy IV, ca. 218 BC). The Rosetta Stone is therefore no longer unique, but it was the essential key to modern understanding of Ancient Egyptian literature and civilization. It came into British possession following the French defeat at Alexandria in 1802. Transported to London, it has been on public display at the British Museum ever since, despite the repeated requests of the Egyptian government to return to Egypt this national treasure.

183 solar years ago, on this day in 1834 AD, the Spanish Inquisition was officially abolished after 356 years of terror and torture. Decreed in 1478 by Ferdinand II of Aragon and his wife Isabella I of Castile, it brutally imposed the beliefs of the Catholic sect of Christianity on Protestants and especially on those forcibly converted from Judaism and Islam. This persecution was intensified by the decrees issued in 1492 at the fall of the last Spanish Muslim kingdom of Granada, and again in 1501, ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave. Spanish Muslims were increasingly subjugated by alienation and torture. The Jews, who had previously thrived under Muslim rule, now suffered similar maltreatment. The Moriscos, as the Christians called the Spanish Muslims, were mostly concentrated in the regions of Granada, Aragon, and Valencia. Officially, all Muslims in the kingdom of Castile had been forcibly converted to Christianity in 1502. Muslims in the kingdom of Aragon were forced to convert by Charles I’s decree of 1526, as most had been forcibly baptized during the Revolt of the Brotherhoods (1519–1523). Many Moriscos were suspected of practicing Islam in secret, and the jealousy with which they guarded the privacy of their domestic life prevented the verification of this suspicion. After the brutal suppression of the 1568-1570 Revolt in Granada of Spanish Muslims, the Inquisition was further intensified. In 1609 King Philip III, upon the advice of his financial adviser the Duke of Lerma and Archbishop of Valencia Juan de Ribera, decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos. Hundreds of thousands of Spanish Muslims were expelled, The edict obliged: “The Moriscos to depart, under the pain of death and confiscation, without trial or sentence… to take with them no money, bullion, jewels or bills of exchange…. just what they could carry.”

In the space of several months, Spain was emptied of its Muslim population from Aragon, Murcia, Catalonia, Castile, Mancha, Granada, and Extremadura.  It is said the Inquisition claimed the life of half-a-million Spanish Muslims. Still an indeterminate number of Spanish Muslims secretly remained in Spain, and during the 17th century the Inquisition pursued trials against them, especially between 1615 and 1700, by which all vestiges of the almost millennium long presence of Muslims in Spain were removed. The Inquisition – now mostly against the Protestants – was first abolished during the domination of France’s Napoleon Bonaparte and the reign of his brother Joseph Bonaparte (1808–1812) in Spain, but was reconstituted when Ferdinand VII recovered the Spanish throne on July 1, 1814. The Alhambra Decree that had expelled the Jews was formally rescinded on December 16, 1968, when Spain moved closer to the illegal Zionist entity.

179 solar years ago, on this day in 1838 AD, American author and thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, delivered the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, declaring Prophet Jesus (AS) a great man, but not God, as claimed by Christians. He studied Islam and was profoundly influenced by Imam Ali (AS), whose words of wisdom he has quoted in several of his books. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1803, on his visit to Europe, Emerson studied continental literature and published his first book: “Nature”. He is the first American author, who became familiar with the rich Iranian literature and managed to introduce to the Western world, Persian poetry and literary figures such as Hafez, Sa’di, Mowlavi, and Khayyam. He was particularly captivated by the beauty of the lyrics of Hafez. Comparing Hafiz with some leading Western poets, Emerson pointed out Hafez’s more mystical attitude towards nature, saying: “Hafez is the prince of Persian poets, and in his extraordinary gift adds to some of the attributes of Pindar, Ansacreon, Horace, and Burns the insight of a mystic, that sometimes affords a deeper glance at Nature than belongs to either of those bards. He accounts all topics with an easy audacity.” Emerson died in 1882.

113 solar years ago, on this day in 1904 AD, Russian playwright and author, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, died at the age of 44. He is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career and is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theater

107 solar years ago, on this day in 1910 AD, the prominent freedom fighter of the Constitutional era, Ayatollah Seyyed Abdullah Behbahani, was martyred by terrorists. Born in holy Najaf in Iraq, where after learning Islamic sciences under his virtuous father, Seyyed Ismail Mojtahed Behbahani, he became a student of Ayatollah Mirza Hassan Shirazi – famous for the fatwa against tobacco consumption that was benefitting the British. On coming to Iran, he became active in the Constitutional Movement in cooperation with Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Sadeq Tabatabai. He played a pivotal role in the victory of the Constitutional Revolution, making utmost efforts to this end, which led to his martyrdom.

78 solar years ago, on this day in 1939 AD, the Leader of Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Husseini Khamenei, was born in the holy city of Mashhad, in Khorasan in a religious family. He learned Islamic sciences under his scholarly virtuous father, Seyyed Jawad, and in 1958 left for the holy city of Qom where he stayed for seven years studying theology, jurisprudence and Islamic philosophy under prominent lecturers such as Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Hussain Boroujerdi, Allamah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Tabatabai, and the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). For a brief period he was in holy Najaf in Iraq, before returning to his hometown Mashhad, where he became a leading preacher, opposed to the oppressive Pahlavi regime. As a result he was detained and exiled on several occasions for exposing the corruption of the British-installed and US-backed regime. On the threshold of the victory of the Iranian people’s movement, he was instated by Imam Khomeini as a member of the Islamic Revolution Council. Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, he was assigned important posts such as the Imam’s representative at the High Defence Council. In 1981, he was elected as president of the Islamic Republic and four years later was re-elected for the second term. In 1981, while preaching in a mosque, he was the target of a terrorist bomb blast, and sustained serious injuries. In June 1989, after the passing away of Imam Khomeini, he was elected as the new Leader of the Islamic Revolution by the Assembly of Experts in view of his piety, prudence, popularity, political acumen, knowledge, managerial skills, and familiarity with current issues in Iran, the region, and the world. Over the past 28 years, Ayatollah Khamenei has ably discharged his duties to the benefit of Iran, and the Islamic world.

73 solar years ago, on this day in 1944 AD, during World War II, US B-29 bombers mercilessly pounded Japanese civilians, killing tens of thousands of men, women, and children, to try to force the surrender of the country. When the Japanese refused to yield to US crimes, Washington, in an unpardonable act of state terrorism, dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to kill hundreds of thousands of more innocent people.

17 solar years ago, on this day in 2000 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran test-fired an upgraded version of its 1,300 km range, Shahab-3 missile, as part of its efforts to reach self-sufficiency in the defence field.

11 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, prominent Persian archeologist, Iranologist and a world expert on Achaemenid archeology, Ali Reza Shapour Shahbazi, died at the age of 64 in Washington, and his body was transferred to his hometown Shiraz for burial in the gardens surrounding the tomb of the famous Persian poet, Khwaja Hafez Shirazi. After graduation from Iran, he got an MA degree in archeology from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and PhD in Achaemenid archeology from the University of London. On return to Iran, he served as professor of Archeology at Shiraz University and founded the Achaemenid Research Foundation in 1973. Later he settled in the US, and became a Full Professor of history in Eastern Oregon University. At the time of his death, he was a lecturer in Achaemenid archeology and Iranology at Harvard University, and the Columbia University. Shahbazi wrote numerous classic books and articles on archeology (Achaemenid, Sassanid and Islamic) in English, German, French, and Persian languages. He was contributor to the Encyclopedia Iranica.

8 solar years ago, on this day in 2009 AD, a Russian-made Caspian Airlines TU-154 jet plane carrying nearly 170 people crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. It was headed to the Armenian capital Yerevan. All on board were killed.

7 solar years ago, on this day in 2010 AD, two terrorist bomb blasts at the Jame’ Mosque in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan, left 27 people martyred and 169 others wounded, while ceremonies were underway in celebration of the birth anniversary of Imam Husain (AS), the younger grandson and 3rd Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The devilish outfit, which wrongly styles itself ‘Jundullah’ or soldiers of God, claimed responsibility for this cowardly act of terrorism. The Zahedan terrorist bomb blasts occurred a month after the execution of this satanic gang’s ringleader, Abdul-Malik Rigi, who admitted his links with the US in his confessions.

AS/ME

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