Some of the Crucial Historical Events in the Muslim World
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 19th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 618AH, Egyptian forces entered Damietta city after the Crusader invaders retreated and their fifth Crusade on Egypt under the command ended in fiasco, especially after the decisive Battle of Mansura.
On 26th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 255AH, the 13th self-styled Abbasid caliph, Mu'taz was removed from power after a rule of 3 years and 6 months during which this tyrant martyred through poisoning, Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He was a pawn in the hands of the Turkish guard and an inefficient fratricidal thug who killed his own brothers. His excesses so enraged the Turkish officers that they finally decided to depose him. They first beat him with clubs and kicked him; then dragging him by his torn robes outside; they left him seated in the scorching heat of a midsummer sun of Samarra. He was then shut up in a room alone without food or water; and so after three days the wretched caliph died, at the early age of twenty-four.
On June 9, 721 AD, the Arab army suffered a setback at the Battle of Toulouse in southern France against Odo of Aquitaine. Faulty planning by the Omayyad governor of Islamic Spain, Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani, made the huge Muslim force almost immobile against the lightly armed Christians. This, however, did not end the Muslim march into the heart of Europe which continued as far as northwestern France for another decade until the decisive defeat at the Battle of Tours in 732.
On 29th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 606 AH, Atabek Arsalan Shah of Mosul, died. He had asserted his independence from the Iran-based Seljuq Empire, and is famous for building the Madrasa Shafe’iyyah in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
On 2nd of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 255 AH, Mu’taz, the 13th self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, died three days following his removal from power after a rule of 3 years and 6 months during which this tyrant martyred through poisoning, Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS), the 10th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He was a pawn in the hands of the Turkish guard and an inefficient fratricidal thug who killed his own brothers. His excesses so enraged the Turkish officers that they finally decided to depose him. They first beat him with clubs and kicked him; then dragging him by his torn robes outside they left him under the scorching heat of a midsummer sun of Samarra. He was then shut up in a room alone without food or water and eventually and died at the early age of twenty-four.
On 4th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 454 AH, Mo’iz ibn Badees, the 4th ruler of the Zirid dynasty of Morocco died after a reign of 46 years during which he turned against his own benefactors the Fatemid Ismaili Shi’ite dynasty. In the first year of his reign, during the regency of his aunt, as many 20,000 Shi'ite Muslims were massacred at the fall and destruction of Mansuriya, the former seat of government of the Fatemids near Kairouan, Tunisia. Ibn Badees earned notoriety for his persecution, suppression and killing of followers of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt.
On 4th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 694 AH, Ghazan Khan, the 7th ruler of the Iran-based Ilkhanid Dynasty that included Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and parts of Turkey, Syria and Georgia, embraced the truth of Islam along with over 100,000 Mongols. He changed his name to Mahmoud and ruled for nine years during which he demolished the temples built by the Buddhist occupiers of the Muslim lands. He was the son of Arghun. His principal wife was Kokechin, a Mongol princess sent by Kublai Khan, and escorted to Iran from China by Marco Polo. Military conflicts during Ghazan's reign included war with the Egyptian Mamluks for control of Syria, and battles with the Mongol Chaghatai Khanate for control of Central Asia. A man of high culture, Ghazan spoke several languages, and reformed many elements of the Ilkhanid realm, especially in the matter of standardizing currency and fiscal policy.
On 5th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 435 AH, Abu Taher Jalal od-Dowla, the Iranian Buwaihid ruler of Iraq, passed away at the age of 51 after a reign of 17 years. He was the son of Baha od-Dowla, and was appointed governor of Basra by his elder brother, Sultan od-Dowla, who was the senior Buwaihid ruler of both Iraq and Fars. Jalal od-Dowla retained governorship of Basra when his youngest brother, Musharraf od-Dowla, with the help of the Turkic guards seized power in Baghdad and declared himself king of Iraq and later Shahanshah. On Musharraf’s death a succession crisis occurred and it took the army more than two years to choose Jalal od-Dowla as successor. He subsequently became involved in a bitter fight with his nephew Abu Kalijar (son of the deceased Sultan od-Dowla), who controlled Fars and Kerman. The two were not always enemies; for example, Jalal od-Dowla provided support to Abu Kalijar when the Ghaznavids invaded Kerman in 1033. Jalal od-Dowla was however also forced to deal with problems in his own realm, which consisted of little more than Baghdad and Waset following Abu Kalijar's seizure of Basra. His army was continually hostile. A mutiny led by a Turk named Barstoghan occurred and provided Abu Kalijar an opportunity to invade Iraq. He failed to take Baghdad, but gained his uncle Jalal od-Dowla's allegiance. The latter, however, had the support of the Uqailid amir of Mosul and the Arab tribe of the Asadids, and he was soon restored to his full power as an independent ruler. Jalal od-Dowla continued his rule in Iraq until his death in 1044, following which Abu Kalijar managed to gain control of Iraq.
On 6th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 844 AH, the Emirate of Granada, the last Muslim state in Spain, sent a mission to the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt Sayf od-Din Jaqmaq seeking help and assistance against the onslaught of the Christian invaders. The request did not receive enough response from the Mamluk sultan, and within the next sixty years, Granada was occupied and Spanish Muslims were expelled, killed or forced to become Christians.
On June 16, 632 AD, marks the start of the religious calendar of the Zoroastrian community with the ascension to the throne in Ctesiphon (near Baghdad in modern Iraq) of the 8-year Yezdegird III, the 29th and last Emperor of the Sassanid Dynasty. He was the son of Shahryar and grandson Khosrow II (Pervez), and after a series of internal conflicts, was placed on the throne, but never truly exercised authority. The Muslim conquest of the Persian Empire began in the first year of his reign, and ended twelve years later with the Battle of Oxus River in Central Asia, the eastern limit of the Sassanid Empire in 644 AD. After fleeing to China via Turkestan, Yazdegird III returned to Iran but was killed by a local miller in Merv in 651 on the instructions of the governor of that city which is currently in Turkmenistan. His daughter, Princess Shahrbano married Imam Husain (AS), the younger grandson and 3rd Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and became mother of the Prophet’s 4th Infallible Heir, Imam Ali Zain al-Abedin (AS).
On 9th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 591 AH, the al-Muwahhedeen ruler, Yakqoub Ibn Tashfeen al-Mansour crossed from Morocco into Spain to defeat King Alfonso VIII of Castile in the Battle of Alarcos following raids by Christians on the territories of Spanish Muslims. Some two decades later, when Ibn Tashfeen was no more, the Pope in Rome called for a crusade against Muslims in Spain, and Alfonso VIII heading an alliance of Christian rulers defeated the al-Muwahhedeen ruler to occupy large parts of Andalusia.
On 9th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 1039 AH, a devastating flood hit the holy city of Mecca due to torrential rains that drowned over 4000 people and engulfed the holy Ka’ba for several days. Following the gradual receding of waters, the walls of the holy Ka’ba including the place of the Hajar al-Aswad (the sacred Black Stone) were reinforced by the custodian of the Grand Sacred Mosque, Iran's Seyyed Aqa Zain al-Abedin Kashi, who has recorded it in his book titled "Mafraha al-Anaam fi Tasis Bayt-Allah Haraam." Kashi who was a student of the Akhbari scholar Mullah Mohammad Amin al-Astarabadi, was martyred in Mecca by the enemies of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt.
On 10th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 12AH, the Arab Muslim army under the command of Qa'qa Ibn Amr at-Tamimi defeated a combined force of Persians and Christian Arabs led by the Sassanid general, Rouzbeh, in the Battle of al-Husaid in Iraq that resulted in many Arabs and Iranians of Iraq embracing the truth of Islam.
On 11th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 12 AH, the Battle of Khanafes (or Beatles) occurred between Arab Muslims and Arab Christians in al-Anbar in Iraq, resulting in the victory of Islam.
On June 20, 1005 AD, the 7th self-styled caliph of the Ismaili Shi’ite Fatemid Dynasty of Egypt-North Africa-Syria, Ali az-Zaher, was born in Cairo to the controversial al-Hakem be-Amrillah, at whose mysterious disappearance in 1021, he was proclaimed caliph at the age of 16 under the regency of his aunt Sitt al-Mulk – notorious for her extermination from Egypt of the Druze sect, who regarded Hakem as incarnation of God. He died at the age of 31 due to a plague after a 15-year reign. His weakness allowed the Turkic slave guards to vie for power, as a result of which the Empire slipped into decadence, although his able Iraqi vizier, Ali bin Ahmad Jarjarai, managed to restore order and stopped the bid of the Byzantine Christian Empire to encroach upon Syria and Aleppo.
On 13th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 467 AH, the 26th self-styled caliph of the usurper Abbasid dynasty, Abdullah Ibn Ahmed al-Qa'im bi-Amrollah, died in Baghdad after a nominal reign of 45 years. During the first half of his long reign, hardly a day passed in the capital without turmoil, because of the insubordination of the Turks against the last of the rulers of the Iranian Buwayhid dynasty. Meanwhile, a new wave of Turkic conquerors from Central Asia, under Toghrul Seljuqi, were casting eyes on Iraq, after sweeping across Iran and overrunning Armenia, Anatolia and Syria. Toghrul, on the pretext of travelling to Mecca for pilgrimage to the holy Ka'ba, entered Iraq with a heavy force, and was acknowledged as Sultan by the puppet caliph, who conspired to replace the Buwayhids, during whose rule, both Arabic and Persian, had flourished in Iraq.
On June 23, 1280 AD, the Spanish Muslim defenders of the Emirate of Granada decisively defeated an invasion by European Christian mercenaries at the Battle of Moclin. Amir Mohammad II personally led the attack on the Castilian and Leonese invaders around the city of Moclín, inflicting heavy casualties. In addition to the common foot soldiers, over 2,800 Castilian-Leonese knights, most of the knights in the service of the Order of Santiago, were defeated and killed by the Muslim forces.
On 15th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 329 AH, the 4th representative of Imam Mahdi (May God hasten his reappearance), Ali ibn Mohammad Samari, passed away. In his last meeting with Samari, the 12th Imam gave him a letter that no other representative would replace him and the faithful should thereafter refer to devout, sincere, pious, far-sighted, and courageous ulema for guidance, until God orders his reappearance.
On June 24, 1230 AD, the siege of the Muslim province of Jayyan in southern Spain was started by Christians along with mercenaries from Europe. Four months later the Muslims defenders forced the Christians to retreat. Earlier the traitor, Abdullah al-Bayasi had joined the Christian aggressors against fellow Muslims, but failed to break the resolve of the defenders.
On 17th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 817 AH, the Central Asian Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur died, while on an expedition against China, after conquering all the lands from the Mediterranean coast of Syria to 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 destroyed entire cities and massacred whole populations, but at the same time patronized arts and literature, including the Persian language. He is buried in his capital Samarqand in what is now the Republic of Uzbekistan in a beautiful mausoleum called Gur-e Amir.
On June 28, 928 AD, Louis the Blind died in Vienne in his kingdom of Provence in southern France, after a brief 4-year reign as the holy Roman Emperor. Louis who was blinded after a failed bid to invade Italy, inherited the kingdom of Provence in 887, and for almost 39 years, was engaged in war against the European Muslims, who had established a base at Fraxinet near what is now Saint-Tropez in southern France. The Muslims had arrived from Spain and were called “muwallad”, that is, converts to Islam from Christianity who spoke both Latin and Arabic. The region around Fraxinet was known in Arabic as Jabal al-Qilaal (or mountain of the many peaks), and included St-Tropez, its gulf and hinterland, as well as Ramatuelle and its peninsula. The famous geographer, Ibn Hawqal has recorded that the area was richly cultivated by its Muslim inhabitants, and they have been credited with a number of agricultural and fishing innovations for the region.
On July 1, 1097 AD, the Battle of Dorylaeum took place between the European crusader invaders and the Seljuqs, near the city of the same name in Anatolia in what is now Turkey. The Muslim army led by Khilij Arslan I and his allies, Hassan of Cappadocia, and Ghazi ibn Danishmend, was made up of Turks, Iranians, Kurds and Caucasians, who after a hard fought battle in which the crusaders were almost routed, withdrew from the battlefield. The crusader invaders were led by Bohemond of Taranto and supported by the Byzantine army.
On July 5, 1029 AD, Abu Tamim Ma'ad al-Mustansir-Billah, the 8th self-styled caliph of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite Dynasty of Egypt-North-Africa-Syria-Hijaz, was born in Cairo. As a 7-year old he succeeded his father, Abu'l-Hassan Ali az-Zaher, and ruled for 58 years until his death at the age of 65. During his early years, his mother administered state affairs. The Iranian philosopher-poet, Hibatullah ibn Musa Mu'ayyad fi'd-Din ash-Shirazi, served him as the "Da‘i" (chief missionary), eventually attaining the highest rank of "Bab al-Abwaab" (Gate of Gateways). Son of Musa Ibn Dawoud, the chief Ismaili missionary in the Fars region of Iran, he was the main ideologue and was also in charge of the "Dar al-Ilm" (House of Knowledge) in Cairo, where missionaries from both inside and outside the Fatemid Empire were trained. In the last twenty years of his reign, following the death of Mu'ayyad Shirazi in 1078, the caliph's Grand Vizier and head of the armed forces, the Armenian Muslim, Badr al-Jamali, became the supreme temporal authority in the realm, and succeeded in taming the turbulent Turkic Mamluks, who through constant infighting, had drained the treasury and destroyed the famous library of the Fatemids, scattering precious books and even using them to light fires. Many Iranians served in various capacities in the Fatemid court in Cairo, including the Arabic Grammarian Ibn Babshaad.