Thursday, 9th April, 2015

9th April

​1825 solar years ago, on this day in 193 AD, Lucius Septimius Severus seized power of the Roman Empire on the death of Emperor Pertinax, after deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, during the “Year of the Five Emperors”. 

Of Syrian-Punic origin, he then fought his rival claimants, the generals, Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus, to consolidate his power. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia in what is now south-central Turkey. Later that year Severus waged a punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier by annexing the Kingdom of Osroene, which was under protection of the Parthian Empire, thereby starting a new phase of Roman-Iranian hostilities. The Battle of Lugdunum (modern Lyon in France) against Albinus was the bloodiest-ever battle between rival Roman armies that resulted in the death of over a 100,000 soldiers. A ruthless pagan, Septimius Severus persecuted monotheists, especially the followers of Prophet Jesus (AS), and waged war against Iran’s Parthian Empire in Iraq, sacking the capital Ctesiphon in 197. Like Trajan a century earlier, he was not much successful, as the Iranians regrouped and forced him to pull back. Although he briefly annexed the upper part of Mesopotamia in what are now northern Syria and southern Turkey, he failed to subdue the impregnable fortress of Hatra near Mosul in what was then the Iranian province of Khavaran, despite two lengthy sieges. After a reign of 18 blood-soaked years, he died in York in Britain and was succeeded by his equally bloodthirsty and treacherous son, Caracalla, who six years later in 217 was destined to meet a miserable death, following his deceitful slaughter of the unarmed wedding party of the Parthian Emperor’s daughter whom he had tricked into marriage.

774 solar years ago, on this day in 1241 AD, in the Battle of Liegnitz, Mongol forces defeated the Polish and German armies. The Mongols invaded Hungary, but the death of the Khaqaan (Great Khan), Ogedei, made them withdraw from Europe.

737 solar years ago, on this day in 1288 AD, Mongol invasions of Vietnam ended in a disastrous defeat for the invaders in the naval Battle of Bach Dang River in present-day northern Vietnam, resulting in the capture and execution of Mongol Muslim commander, Omar Khan. It was one of the greatest victories in Vietnamese military history.

679 solar years ago, on this day in 1336 AD, Amir Timur Gorkani, the fearsome Turko-Mongol conqueror, was born in the city of Kesh, now known as Shahr-e Sabz, 80 km south of the famous Iranian city of Samarqand, in what is now Uzbekistan. He started life as leader of a band of raiders, and during one such raid was shot by arrows that crippled his right leg for life; hence his epithet in Persian “Taimour-e Lang” (Timur the Lame), corrupted by Europeans to “Tamerlane”. He took over the Chaghatay Mongol Khanate of Central Asia and Khorasan, destroyed the Golden Horde of Eurasia, defeated the Mamluk Empire of Egypt-Syria, conquered the Sultanate of Delhi, and subjugated the emerging Ottoman Empire, whose sultan, Bayazid I, he captured in battle and took as prisoner to Samarqand. Timur died in 1405 at the age of 69, while intending an expedition against China, after conquering all the lands from the Mediterranean coast of Syria to the River Ganges in India, and from the Persian Gulf in the south to Moscow in the north. He was of ferocious nature and at times used to destroy entire cities and massacre whole populations. At the same time he patronized art, architecture and literature, especially the Persian language. He was buried in his capital Samarqand in a beautiful mausoleum called Gur-e Amir. His empire was inherited by his youngest son, Shahrukh, whose mother was an Iranian and who during his long and peaceful reign did not pursue any policy of expansionism. A century after Timur’s death, his empire was no more as all his descendants vanished from the political scene, except for a great-great grandson, Zaheer od-Din Mohammad Babar, who established the Mughal Empire of the Subcontinent that ended in 1857 with the fall of Delhi to the British and the exiling to Burma of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

389 solar years ago, on this day in 1626 AD, English philosopher and mathematician, Francis Bacon, died at the age of 65. He initially engaged in politics and was imprisoned on the charge of bribery. While serving his prison term, he took to writing and advocated revival of science and philosophy. He authored several books, including “New Atlantis”, which presents a utopian picture of life.

150 solar years ago, on this day in 1865 AD, the 4-year long US Civil War during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln effectively ended with the surrender of the Northern Virginia army of 26,765 troops led by Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, to Unionist general, Ulysses S. Grant, at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. The cause of the war was the refusal of the southern states to grant freedom to the black African people who were enslaved to work on plantations and in households, as cheap sources of labour. Within a week of General Lee’s surrender, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, who was in contact with the Confederate secret service.

76 lunar years ago, on this day in 1360 AH, the prominent Islamic scholar, Ayatollah Mirza Abu Abdullah Zanjani, passed away in his hometown Zanjan in northwestern Iran. He was also known as Shaikh ol-Islam Zanjani. He studied philosophy, theology and literature under Mirza Ibrahim Maleki Zanjani, before moving to Tehran to complete his education. In 1911, he went to holy Najaf in Iraq for higher religious studies. He also travelled to Palestine, Egypt and Syria and met the scholars of these countries. In Egypt the ulema of al-Azhar University appreciated his knowledge and efforts for Islamic unity. Ayatollah Abu Abdullah Zanjani is the first Iranian scholar who was chosen as a member of “Damascus Academy” and in the ceremony, he presented a treatise on the scientific personality of the great Iranian philosopher “Mullah Sadra Shirazi”. On his return to Iran, he taught philosophy and exegesis of the holy Qur’an mainly in his hometown, Zanjan. Among his books, mention can be made of “Tarikh al-Qur’an”and“The Life of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA)”.

67 solar years ago, on this day in 1948 AD, the Zionist terror group Irgun slaughtered residents of the Palestinian village of Dayr Yasin, west of Bayt al-Moqaddas. Some 270 men, women and children were massacred by these illegal migrants from Europe, as part of the plot to set up the illegal state of Israel.

35 solar years ago, on this day in 1980 AD, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Baqer as-Sadr, and his venerable sister, Amena Haidar, known popularly as Bint al-Hoda, after days of torture in prison were martyred by Saddam, the tyrannical ruler of the Ba’th minority regime of Baghdad. Ayatollah Sadr was a brilliant scholar and studied under such immortal ulema as Grand Ayatollah Mohsin al-Hakeem and Grand Ayatollah Abu’l-Qassem Khoie. At a young age had reached the status of Ijtehad – or independent reasoning based on Holy Qur’an and Prophet’s Hadith. His lectures at the Najaf Seminary, during which he used to critically evaluate the western and eastern materialistic schools of thought, were widely attended by youths and academicians. He wrote outstanding works on Islamic economic and philosophy titled “Iqtasadona” (Our Economics) and “Falsafatona” (Our Philosophy). The awareness which he instilled in the Iraqi people, especially political consciousness, greatly alarmed the oppressive Ba’thist regime, in view of his attachment to the Father of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini (RA). Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the jubilation of the Iraqi people for repeating this experience in Iraq, Ayatollah Sadr and his equally learned and socially active sister, were imprisoned, tortured and brutally martyred by Saddam. Grand Ayatollah Baqer as-Sadr authored many valuable books. His religious-political legacy is alive today, since many of the statesmen in the Iraqi administration are either his students or inspired by his thoughts.

24 solar years ago, on this day in 1991 AD, the Caucasus land of Georgia emerged as an independent republic. Georgia was long part of Iran both before and after the advent of Islam. After being a bone of contention between the Safawid and Ottoman Empires, it was occupied by Czarist Russia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today, Georgia, which has allowed the US to tighten its yoke upon it, is grappling with independence seeking moments in the Muslim populated region of Abkhazia on the Black Sea and South Ossetia in northwest. Georgia covers an area of almost 70,000 sq km. It has a long coastline on the Black Sea and shares borders with Russia, the Azerbaijan Republic, Armenia, and Turkey.

22 solar years ago, on this day in 1993 AD, the committed Iranian artist and author, Seyyed Morteza Aavini, attained martyrdom at the age of 47. He started his cultural activities at a young age and soon obtained MA in architecture from Tehran University. An ardent supporter of the Islamic Revolution, he volunteered for service at the warfronts during the 8-year war imposed by the US through Saddam. He played a pivotal role in shaping Iran’s revolutionary cinema, making more than 100 documentaries for IRIB. He was martyred due to a mine explosion, while making a documentary on the imposed war in a border area of southern Iran.

12 solar years ago, on this day in 2003 AD, with the advancement of the US army, Baghdad fell and Iraqis took to the streets to celebrate the end of the repressive Ba’th minority regime of Saddam. In the next 8 years, the US killed, either directly or indirectly, as many as 1.2 million Iraqi men, women, and children, before withdrawing in December 2011.

9 solar years ago, on this day in 2006 AD, the Islamic Republic of Iran gained access to uranium enrichment technology for peaceful use of nuclear energy. Iranian scientists, despite the restrictions imposed by the US and its European accomplices, completed the nuclear fuel production cycle by producing the needed uranium for atomic power stations. Iran thus joined the countries that have mastered nuclear technology. A year later on this date Iran formally started nuclear fuel production on the industrial level. Iran achieved these successes under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and within framework of rules of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

4 solar years ago, on this day in 2011 AD, Bahraini journalist, Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri, was tortured to death in prison by agents of the repressive Aal-e Khalifa minority regime, a week after his arrest. He was the first journalist in Bahrain to die in direct relation to his work since the Committee to Protect Journalists started keeping records in 1992. He regularly reported on human rights, business, culture, and politics. Photos later surfaced of al-Ashiri’s corpse, which displayed cuts and gashes, and added further evidence that he was beaten to death.

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