Tuesday, 31st March, 2015

31 March

1388 solar years ago, on this day in 627 AD, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and the fledgling Muslim community of Medina triumphed in the Battle of Trench (Khandaq) over a joint Arab-Israeli force of 10,000 after withstanding a 27-day siege led by the archenemy of Islam, Abu Sufyan. 

Also known as the Battle of Confederates (Ahzaab), the decisive victory, thanks to the valour of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), occurred on 17th of Shawwal, 5 AH, as per the Islamic lunar hijri calendar. To defend the city against the mighty horde, the Muslims dug a ditch around the sensitive parts of Medina on the suggestion of Salman Farsi, the Prophet’s Iranian companion. When the joint Arab-Israelite force arrived, it was surprised to see the ditch and decided to besiege the city in order to break the will of the Muslims. As days passed and no moral breakdown occurred in Medina, the fearsome Arab pagan warlord, Amr ibn Abduwad, along with some of his accomplices, leapt his horse across the ditch at its narrowest point and challenged the terrified Muslims to personal combat. Except for Imam Ali (AS), none of the companions of the Prophet dared to rise up against this veritable giant who had a nasty reputation of physical strength. A duel took place, and the Imam, despite receiving a wound on his forehead, knocked out Amr to the ground. At this moment, the fallen foe, turned out to be a coward, and spat at the Imam in a bid to avoid certain death. On this insult, Imam Ali (AS) gently withdrew to allow his emotions to cool down so that personal feelings do not mix up with pure and sincere jihad in the way of God. The Arab infidel rose to his feet and renewed the life-and-death struggle, but this time the flashing sword of Imam Ali (AS), the famous double-bladed Zul-Feqar, made short work of the opponent who fell down dead to the ground. The Imam then scattered the companions of Amr, and this valorous feat sent shivers down the spine of the Arab-Israelite hordes, making them break ranks and flee. The Prophet expressed the famous hadith this day, saying: “The Stroke of Ali on the Day of Khandaq is superior to the worship of the World and the Hereafter.”

878 lunar years ago, on this day in 558 AH, Abdul-Mo’men ibn Ali al-Koami, the founder of the Muwahhedeen (Almohad) State in Morocco and Andalusia, died. His capital was Marrakesh and he made relentless efforts to expand his territories in Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar, and in the east till the borders of Egypt.

818 lunar years ago, on this day in 618 AH, the acclaimed Persian poet and mystic, Farid od-Din Attar Naishapouri, was killed during the Mongol invasion of Khorasan at the age of 78. The son of a pharmacist, he followed his father’s profession and led a prosperous life before experiencing an inner revolution that made him turn to mysticism and frequent travels that took him to Iraq and Arabia including holy Mecca, as well as to the different cities of Iran and Transoxiana. One of his valuable prose works is “Tazkerat al-Awlia” on the status of mystics. His poetical masterpieces manifest the power of imagination as is evident by the versified book “Manteq ot-Tair” (Discourse of the Birds). Attar, who in some of his poems also pays tribute to the peerless personality of Imam Ali (AS), had a profound influence on the great Persian poet, Mowlana Jalal od-Din Balkhi Roumi.

796 lunar years ago, on this day in 640 AH, al-Mustansir-Billah, the 36th and penultimate self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid dynasty died in Baghdad after a reign of 16 years. His lasting contribution was the founding of the Mustansiriyya Madrasah on the banks of the Tigris. A monumental water-powered alarm clock that announced the appointed hours of prayer and the time both by day and by night was installed in its entrance hall. The original building which survived the Mongol invasion in 1258 AD that threw the Abbasid caliphate into the dustbin of history is now part of the modern al-Mustansiriyya University.

523 solar years ago, on this day in 1492 AD, Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon issued the Alhambra Decree, ordering 150,000 Spanish Jews to convert to Christianity within three months, or face expulsion. This happened less than three months after the occupation of the Muslim emirate of Granada and the famous al-Hamra (Red Palace) by the Christians, who were notorious for their anti-Semitism, which means persecution of both Arabs and Israelites. Jews had been living for several centuries under Muslim rule in Islamic Spain as “People of the Book”‘ and were given special status. Some of them had rose in the social hierarchy to become scholars and ministers. But with the gradual occupation of Islamic Spain by the Christian rulers, both Muslims and Jews found themselves persecuted and such measures were prevalent throughout Europe. The punishment for any Jew who did not convert or leave by the deadline was death. The punishment for a non-Jew who sheltered or hid Jews was the confiscation of all belongings and hereditary privileges. Other Spanish Jews (estimates range between 50,000 and 70,000) chose to avoid expulsion by conversion to Christianity. However, their conversion did not protect them from the Church’s hostility after the Spanish Inquisition came into full effect. Many of these “New Christians” were eventually forced to either leave the countries or intermarry with the local populace by the dual Inquisitions of Portugal and Spain. As a result many Jews migrated to the Muslim lands of North Africa. This edict against the Jews of Spain was in force till 16 December 1968, when the Second Vatican Council cancelled it. It is also worth noting that hundreds of thousands of Spanish Muslims were forcibly converted to Christianity in Spain, while hundreds of thousands of others were massacred, and many expelled.

419 solar years ago, on this day in 1596 AD, the French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist, Rene Descartes, was born. He considered mathematics a complete science and conducted extensive research on physics, elaborating the phenomenon of light’s refraction and the laws related to the angles of radiation and refraction. His books include “Principles of Philosophy” and “Meditations”. He died in 1650 at the age of 53. His work “La Geometrie” includes his application of algebra to geometry that led to emergence of Cartesian geometry. During 1620-28, he travelled through Europe, before settling in Holland. Soon after, he began work on his first major treatise on physics. This work was near completion when news reached him that the Italian scientist Galileo was condemned to house arrest by the Christian Church because of divulging scientific facts about the earth and the planets, based on the study of works of the early Islamic scholars. Descartes decided not to publish that work during his lifetime. Later, he turned to philosophy, and his most famous quote is “I think, therefore I am.”

330 solar years ago, on this day in 1685 AD, , German musician and composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, was born. Many of his songs are religious, and he also played a pivotal role in the progress and perfection of German music. Later in his life he went blind. He has composed numerous works, including a number of carols.

288 solar years agoon this day in 1727 AD, Isaac Newton, English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and alchemist died at the age of 84. He improved upon the works of Muslim scientists that had been translated into Latin from Arabic, and described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. Newton showed that the motions of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws.

206 solar years ago, on this day in 1809 AD, the Russian author, Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, was born in Ukraine. He wrote the novel “Taurus Bulba” in 1832 that was inspired by the struggles of the Cossacks in 17th century Poland.

160 solar years ago, on this day in 1855 AD, the famous English author, Charlotte Bronte, died at the age of 39. She wrote the moving novel titled “Jane Eyre” under the pen name Currer Bell.

126 solar years ago, on this day in 1889 AD, the Eiffel Tower was formally opened in Paris, the capital of France, as the world’s tallest tower. With a height of 300-meters (986-feet), it remained the world’s tallest structure until surpassed by the Empire State Building in New York, 40 years later. The designer was Gustave Eiffel. The immense iron latticework design was chosen from 700 proposals submitted in an international tender. Construction lasted for over two years from 26th January 1887 to 31st March 1889. It was erected for the 1889 Paris Exposition, which had 1,968,287 visitors. Elevators are powered by in the basements of the eastern and western pillars.

67 solar years ago, on this day in 1948 AD, with the intensification of terrorism by armed illegal Zionist migrants from Europe, a train bound from the Egyptian capital Cairo to the port city of Haifa in Palestine, was blew up, resulting in the death of 40 Palestinians and injury to 60 others. Carried out by the “Stern” Zionist terrorist outfit, it occurred four days after a similar passenger train blast by Zionist terrorists in British-occupied Palestine, resulting in the martyrdom of 24 persons and wounding of 61 others. The illegal Zionist migrants from Europe conducted a campaign of organized terrorism in public places, villages, buses, and trains in Palestine, as part of the plot for the illegitimate birth of Israel in May 1948, after forcibly evicting Palestinians from their homes and hearths.

36 solar years ago, on this day in 1979 AD, The Arab League suspended the membership of Egypt, while most Muslim countries severed ties with Cairo for signing of the treasonous Camp David Accord by Egyptian president, Anwar Sadaat with the illegal Zionist entity called Israel. However, due to US threats and pressures, coupled with the dubious policies of certain reactionary Arab regimes, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the stage was set for the return to Egypt to The Arab League in the late 1980s. Ironically, today the Arab League has put itself at the service of the US and Zionist entity by illegally expelling Syria for its steadfast opposition to Israeli and Takfiri terrorists, and has allowed Saudi Arabia and 7 other Arab regimes to militarily attack Yemen, in a bid to quell the popular revolution that overthrew the unrepresentative regime of Mansour Hadi.

5 solar years ago, on this day in 2010 AD, Syed Qasim Ali Shah Mahmood, the famous Urdu writer, novelist, researcher, translator, publisher and foremost compiler of encyclopedias, passed away in Lahore, Pakistan at the age of 82. Born in Kharkhoda, a town in district Sonipat of what is now Uttar Pradesh in India, he claimed descent from Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS) the elder grandson and 2nd Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He migrated to Pakistan on its birth, and strove to promote Urdu as the national language of the newly established country. He compiled fifteen encyclopedias, one dictionary and left seven encyclopedias incomplete, produced three collections of short stories, wrote five dramas for Radio Pakistan, wrote story of the film Baghi Sepahi (Rebellious Soldier), translated masterpieces of international fiction, science & technology, edited nine literary and social magazines and brought forth nine scientific and literary magazines. From his publishing companies, he published 211 scientific and literary books, wrote many articles on literature, science, politics and sociology in national newspapers and magazines. His encyclopedias include “Pakistanica”, “Encyclopedia of Muslim India”,“Encyclopedia of Holy Qur’an”, “Encyclopedia of the Prophet’s Sirah”, “Encyclopedia of Human History”,etc

3 solar years ago, on this day in 2012 AD, forces of the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime of Bahrain, brazenly killed 22-year old Bahraini Muslim citizen Ahmad Ismail, during a peaceful protest by freedom movement activist. Bahrain is in the grip of nationwide protests which the regime brutally suppresses through imprisonment, torture, and killing of citizens, with the help of the Saudi invasion forces and mercenaries from some Arab states and Pakistan.

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