Thursday, 2nd April, 2015

2nd April

​1273 solar years ago, on this day in 742 AD, the king of the Franks, Charlemagne, was born in either Aachen in modern-day Germany or Liege (Herstal) in present-day Belgium. 

He was the son of Pepin the Short and following the death of his father in 768, he was initially co-ruler with his brother Carloman I, whose sudden death in 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the undisputed ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. On his conquest of Italy and central Europe he was crowned the first Roman Emperor in Western Europe after three centuries by Pope Leo III. Throughout his long 45-year reign, he was brutal in his suppression of opposition to his rule, but his attempts to expand his dominion into Muslim Spain met with defeat and a historical retreat that resulted in the complete destruction of his rearguard by the Basques in the Pyrenees. When a clock was sent to him from Baghdad by the scientifically advanced Muslims, Charlemagne and the Europeans who were living in the dark ages were for long suspicious of the mechanical object and thought that a genie was inside it, showing the time of the day and the passing hours.

1143 solar years ago, on this day in 872 AD, the Abbasid Turkic general, Mufleih at-Turki, died a day after an arrow struck his temple during the battle with the Zanj near Basra. He was a close associate of the senior Turkic general, Musa ibn Bugha al-Kabir, served as his chief lieutenant, and was part of the army that besieged Baghdad during the civil war of 865–866. After the war, he followed Musa who was appointed governor of al-Jibal or the region of Iran extending from the Zagros to the Alborz Mountains, with Rayy (modern Tehran) as its capital. He led military expeditions against the local rulers of Hamedan and Karaj. In 868, he attacked Qom, and killed several of his inhabitants for not paying taxes. The next year he invaded Tabaristan (Mazandaran) and occupied Amol and Sari, before being recalled to Iraq. Despite Musleh’s atrocities, during his brief presence in Iran, some of the prominent followers of Imam Hasan Askari (AS) – the 11th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – moved to Qom, including the Imam’s representative, Ahmad bin Ishaq.

793 lunar years agoon this day in 643 AH, the lexicographer and exegete of Holy Qur’an, Abul-Hassan Ali ibn Abdus-Samad Shafei, passed away. He was born in Sakha in Egypt, and is popularly known as Sakhavi. He left for Shaam or Greater Syria for completion of his studies and took up residence in Damascus. He has left behind numerous books in the field of cantilation, religious principles, and hadith, including the books Jawaher”, and“Safar as-Sa’adah”.

733 solar years ago, on this day in 1282 AD, Abaqa Khan, the son and successor of Hulagu Khan, the founder of the Ilkhanid Dynasty of Iran-Iraq, died at Hamadan in a state of delirium tremens induced by a bout of heavy drinking, to which, like the majority of Mongol rulers, he was prone. The Iranian vizier, Shams od-Din Juwaini was accused of poisoning him. The historian Rasheed od-Din Fazlollah in his famous “Jawame’ at-Tarikh” says Abaqa had gone out to answer a call of nature and was disturbed by an apparition in the form of a large black bird. He called out to his attendants to shoot arrows at it, but they saw nothing, whereupon he suddenly collapsed and died. He was buried, like his father, on Shahi Island in Lake Oroumiyeh. Both his two sons, Arghun and Gaikhatu were later to ascend the throne in turn, but his immediate successor was his brother Tekuder, who had adopted Islam and assumed the name of Ahmad. Much of Abaqa’s 17-year reign was consumed with civil wars in the Mongol Empire, such as those between the Ilkhanate and the northern khanate of the Golden Horde. Abaqa also engaged in unsuccessful attempts at military invasion of Syria, including the Second Battle of Homs, where he was defeated by the Mamluks of Egypt.

503 lunar years ago, on this day in 933 AH, Zaheer ud-din Babar, who founded the famous Timurid Mughal Dynasty of the Subcontinent, defeated a huge Rajput army of 100,000 soldiers and one thousand well trained elephants, led by Rana Sanga, the Rajah of Mewar, who was assisted by the Khanzada Muslim Rajputs and the India-based Afghan warlords. This victory, a year after his historic win over Ibrahim Lodhi at Panipat, earned him the title Ghazi. To fulfill his vow before the decisive battle, Babar ordered his Iranian minister, Mir Abdul-Baqi, to build the famous Babari Mosque on a vacant piece of land in what is now Fayzabad. This historic mosque was destroyed in 1992 by vandals on the pretext that it was founded on the ruins of a temple, a claim which both historians and archeologists categorically reject.

401 solar years ago, on this day in 1614 AD, Jahan-Ara Begum, the highly influential daughter of Shah Jahan, the 5th Grand Mughal Emperor of most of the Subcontinent and eastern Afghanistan, was born. Her mother, Arjmand Ara Bano Mumtaz Mahal, was the beloved Iranian wife of her father, for whom he built the famous white marble mausoleum, the Taj Mahal, which is one of the wonders of the world. Jahan-Ara, besides being a powerful stateswoman who was often consulted by her father, was highly educated and well versed in Persian and Arabic. A poet of repute, she also wrote at least two highly acclaimed books in Persian prose, titled “Mo’nis al-Arwaḥ”, and“Risala-e Sahebiyah”. The first book is a biography of Khwaja Seyyed Moin od-Din Cheshti, the prominent Iranian Sufi and founder of the Cheshtiyah order of the Subcontinent, who wrote the Persian quatrain on the great sacrifice of the Martyr of Karbala, Imam Husain (AS). She was very kind and helped poor people, in addition to building mosques and gardens. She died on September 16, 1681 in the reign of her brother, Aurangzeb, whom she used to call the “White Serpent” for his dethroning of their father, Shah Jahan, and the killing of brothers in the war of succession.

260 solar years ago, on this day in 1755 AD, British Commodore William James captured the fortress of Suvarnadurg off the west coast of India which the Maratha pirates were using as a base to attack commercial shipping. The fortress was built on an island by the Adel-Shahi sultanate of Iranian origin, from whom the Marathas had seized.

210 solar years ago, on this day in 1805 AD, the Danish fairy tale author, and poet, who is noted for his children’s stories, Hans Christian Andersen, was born. Andersen is considered as one of the best authors of fairly tales in the world and he has penned famous stories such as “The Ugly Duckling”, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” and “The Red Shoes”. In all, he wrote 150 stories for children. The birthday of this Danish author is marked as the Global Day of Children’s Books. Andersen died in 1875.

98 solar years ago, on this day in 1917 AD, while three years had passed since the break out of World War I, the US entered the war in favor of France and Britain. The US pretext for entering the war was the alleged attack of German submarines on US commercial ships. The US entry in World War I played a major role in the victory of Allied forces.

97 solar years ago, on this day in 1918 AD, over 12,000 Azeri Muslims were massacred in Baku in four days of indiscriminate slaughter, beginning from March 30, by allied armed groups of Armenians and Russian Bolsheviks, following a failed bid to reassert independence in the aftermath of the communist seizure of power in Moscow in October 1917. Baku and what is now known today as the Republic of Azerbaijan, was, along with Armenia and the southern Caucasus, an integral part of Iran for over two millenniums, until occupied by the Russians in the 19thcentury.

33 solar years ago, on this day in 1982 AD, Argentina liberated the Malvinas off its southern coast from British occupation, but soon lost them when Britain launched a savage naval attack to reoccupy what it likes to call Falkland Islands, which it had seized in 1832. Argentina and its allies do not recognize British sovereignty over these islands.

24 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, mercenaries of Saddam’s Ba’th minority regime violated the sanctity of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, in a bid to crush the uprising of Iraq’s long-suppressed Shi’ite Muslim majority. The Ba’thists desecrated the shrine of the Prophet’s First Infallible Heir, Imam Ali in Najaf, and that of his two sons, Imam Husain and Hazrat Abbas (peace upon them) in Karbala. The holy shrines were riddled with machinegun fire and people mercilessly slaughtered inside their sacred precincts. The Iraqi people had risen for their rights while Saddam’s occupation forces were fleeing from Kuwait during the attack launched by the US and the coalition army it had assembled. But the US forces suddenly stopped their offensive and gave Saddam the green signal to brutally massacre hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims and to desecrate the holy shrines.

9 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, Iran announced its second major new missile test within days, saying it has successfully fired a high-speed torpedo called Hoot (or whale), capable of destroying huge warships and submarines.

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