Friday, 3rd April, 2015


3rd April

​1367 lunar years ago, on this day in 69 AH, the pious lady, Hazrat Omm al-Baneen (SA), the mother of the valiant standard-bearer of Karbala, Hazrat Abbas (AS), passed away in Medina, and was laid to rest in the Baqie Cemetery, next to Safiyyah and Atikah, the paternal aunts of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). 

Her real name was Fatema, the daughter of Hazam of the al-Kilabiyya clan noted for its courage and loyalty. Imam Ali (AS) married her several years after the passing away of his beloved wife, the Prophet’s Immaculate daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA).The reason she is called Omm al-Baneen is because she bore several sons, four to be exact, and all of whom were martyred in Karbala. After the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, she accomplished her political and social mission by keeping alive the heroic epic of Ashura in the best way possible, including elegies that are considered masterpieces of Arabic literature.

1006 lunar years ago, on this day in 430 AH, the prominent Muslim scientist and polymath, Abu Ali Hassan Ibn al-Haytham, known to medieval Europe by his Latinized name of Alhazen, passed away in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, at the age of 76. Born in Basra in the Iraqi province of the Iranian Buwayhid (Daylamite) Empire, he made vital contributions to optics, medicine, physics, astronomy, mathematics, visual perception, ophthalmology, philosophy, and various other sciences, and is the inventor of the telescope and the magnifying glass. He conducted extensive research on light rays, determining the relationship between the angle of light radiation and the angle of its reflection. He wrote insightful commentaries on the works of the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists such as Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Euclid. Ibn al-Haytham was active in both Basra and Baghdad and after visiting Islamic Spain he settled in Egypt which was ruled by the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite Muslim dynasty. He was a follower of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt, and was associated with the renowned academy of al-Azhar, which derives its name from“az-Zahra” (the Radiant), the famous epithet of Hazrat Fatema (SA), the Immaculate Daughter of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). In Egypt he took up the project of controlling the floods of the Nile. He is said to have written over 200 books and treatises, the most famous of which is “Kitab al-Manazer” on Optics that was extensively used by later European scholars such as Roger Bacon, Johannes Keppler, and Galileo Galilei. Among his works, mention could be made of the “Configuration of the World”, “On the Formation of Eclipse”, “On the Milky Way”,“The Model of the Motions of Each of the Seven Planets”, and “Treatise on the Influence of Melodies on the Souls of Animals”. Among his prominent students were Sorkhab, an Iranian scientist from Semnan and Mubashir ibn Fatek, an Egyptian.

690 solar years ago, on this day in 1325 AD, the second most prominent mystic of India, Seyyed Nizam od-Din Awliya, passed away at the age of 87 in New Delhi, where his tomb is a site of pilgrimage. He traced his descent to Imam Ali an-Naqi al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and belonged to the Cheshti Sufi order founded in the Subcontinent by the Iranian saint of Ajmer, Seyyed Moin od-Din Cheshti, who is famous for his tribute in Persian poetry to the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Husain (AS). Nizam od-Din wrote several books including the spiritual treatise “Fawa’ed ol-Fu’aad” in Persian and trained many disciples such as the great Persian poet of the Subcontinent, Amir Khosrow Dehlavi. Nizam od-Din Awliya’s criticism of the eccentric policies of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq had enraged the king and made him issue threats of punishment after returning to Delhi, at which the mystic smiled and calmly said in Persian “Hanouz Dilli dour ast” (Delhi is still very far). The Sultan died on his way.

335 solar years ago, on this day in 1680 AD, Shivaji, the Maratha guerilla chieftain of the Bhosle clan who carved out a kingdom in western India, died at the age of 50. His father was Shahji, a general in the service of the Adel-Shahi and Nizam-Shahi Persianate dynasties of the Deccan, who was named “Shah” by his father Maloji in honour of the Muslim mystic “Shah Sharif” of Ahmadnagar, whose prayers had granted him two sons – the second was named Sharifji. Shivaji was not on good terms with his own father, and unlike him, rebelled against the Adel-Shahi sultanate of Bijapur, whose famous general of eastern Iranian origin, Afzal Khan, he deceitfully slew at Pratapgarh in 1659 during a supposedly unarmed meeting between the two sides for submission to the central authority and end of insurgency. An expert in guerilla warfare, Shivaji was invited to Agra by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and according to protocol, restrictions were placed on his movements from the mansion where he was lodged. On learning that Aurangzeb was planning to send him and his guerilla forces to the northwestern frontier for the campaign to retake Qandahar (in what is now Afghanistan) from the Safavid Empire of Iran, Shivaji became fearful and fled south without notice. Back in the Deccan, by 1674 he carved out an independent enclave from the declining sultanate of Bijapur and chose Raigarh as his capital, which was his base for raiding the territories of the Qutb-Shahis, the Adel-Shahis and the powerful Mughal Empire that brought retaliation from Aurangzeb. In the areas under his control, he replaced the Persian language with his mother-tongue Marathi for official use. In the next century, the Marathas expanded their power in the north as far as Delhi, Punjab and the borders of Kashmir, bringing them into direct confrontation with the Afghans. Their pillaging and looting had alienated the Sikhs, the Jats, and even fellow Hindu Rajputs, enabling Ahmad Shah Durrani to inflict a crushing defeat on them at the Battle of Panipat in 1761 from which the Marathas never recovered, and were gradually absorbed by the British.

125 solar years ago, on this day in the year 1890 AD, Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, was dismissed by the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, following disputes between the two, despite his efforts to unite Germany as a nation state in 1871. After his dismissal he started writing his political testament, in which he highly criticized the German emperor. Bismarck died in 1898.

86 solar years ago, on this day in 1929 AD, Renowned Muslim architect, Fazl ur-Rahman Khan, who initiated important structural systems for skyscrapers and is considered the “father of tubular designs for high-rises”, was born in Dhaka in what is now the capital of Bangladesh. Khan, who died in 1982 at the age of 53, was also a pioneer in computer-aided design (CAD). He designer the 108-storey Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower of Chicago), the second-tallest building in the United States (and tallest in the world for many years) and the 100-story John Hancock Center. He came to the US in the 1950s on scholarship from what was then the government of East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh) and became an American citizen in 1967. Khan helped usher in a renaissance in skyscraper construction during the second half of the 20th century. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat named their lifetime achievement medal after him. He was also responsible for designing notable buildings in Bangladesh, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

74 solar years ago, on this day in 1941 AD, during the struggles of the Iraqi people against the British regime and its puppet monarchy, Baghdad was taken over in a coup by two-times nationalist prime minister, Rashid Aali Gilani, who resented London’s plot to involve in the Second World War. The British forces brutally suppressed the uprising. Gilani, who came from a distinguished Sunni Muslim Iraqi family of Iranian origin, sought refuge in Iran. However, on 25 August 1941, the armed forces of Britain and the Soviet Union invaded Iran to remove Reza Khan Pahlavi from power and install on the Peacock Throne his 21-year old son, Mohammad Reza as the new puppet. Gilani, sensing danger, left for Berlin, where he was recognized as the leader of the Iraqi government in exile. Upon the defeat of Germany, he again fled and found refuge, this time in Saudi Arabia. Gilani only returned from exile after the revolution that overthrew the Iraqi monarchy in 1958. Once again he attempted to seize power, and plotted a revolt against Colonel Abdul Karim Qassem’s government. The revolt was foiled and he was sentenced to death. Later pardoned, he went into exile in Beirut, Lebanon, where he died in 1965.

49 solar years ago, on this day in 1966 AD, Luna 10, the first spacecraft to orbit the moon entered lunar orbit, and completed its first orbit 3 hours later. It was launched by the Soviet Union from an Earth orbiting platform on 31 March 1966. The scientific instruments on board included a gamma-ray spectrometer, triaxial magnetometer, and a meteorite detector. Other instruments investigated the solar-plasma, infrared emissions from the Moon, radiation conditions of the lunar environment and gravitational studies. It was battery powered, operated for 460 lunar orbits and made 219 active data radio transmissions before it discontinued on 30 May 1966.

15 solar years ago, on this day in 2000 AD, the prominent Iranian researcher and cartographer, Abbas Sehaab, passed away in Tehran at the age of 79. Born in Tafresh to the famous Professor Abu’l-Qasem Sehaab, who established the first- ever Geography and Cartography Institute of Iran, he specialized in geography and cartography, and as assistant to his father, travelled throughout Iran to prepare maps of towns and cities, while making trips abroad as well. He prepared the first- ever map of Tehran and was entrusted by his father with management of the Sehaab Institute of Geography and Cartography, whose library today contains over 16,000 books on geography and cartography; 18,000 geographical periodicals, and 20,000 maps. He authored the book“Art of Calligraphy from Earliest Times till Today”, as part of the UNESCO project for its Atlas of the History of Islamic Arts.

13 solar years ago, on this day in the year 2002, the Zionist army brutally attacked the city of Jenin as part of the campaign to terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank in a bid to end the Second Intefadha. Nearly 200 tanks, dozens of choppers, and 10,000 troops participated in the aggression, pounding Jenin continuously. Despite the power cut, severance of water supplies, and obstruction of relief aid, the Palestinian people and combatants resisted for nine days. Israel brutally suppressed and massacred hundreds of men, women and children; demolished their homes and hearths, hospitals, and the infrastructure; to the extent that 70% of the city was flattened and 5,000 Palestinians were made homeless.

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