Some of the Important Events in the Islamic History
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 17th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 2AH, the pagan Arabs imposed the first ever armed encounter upon Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), near a well called Badr, some distance from Medina, but thanks to divine support, the poorly armed group of 313 Muslims emerged victorious over the fully equipped, almost 1000-strong armed-to-the teeth Arabs. For the first time, the Prophet's young cousin and defender, Imam Ali (AS), displayed his brilliant swordsmanship by disposing off several Arab champions.
On 10th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan three years before Hijra, the First Lady of Islam, Omm al-Momineen (Mother of all True Believers), Hazrat Khadija (SA), passed away in Mecca. She spent 25 years of marital bliss with Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and as long as she was alive, the Prophet never took another spouse. A staunch monotheist, following the creed of Prophet Abraham (AS), when 15 years after her marriage, God formally entrusted her husband with the universal message of Islam, she promptly believed in his mission.
As the richest lady of Arabia, she spent all her wealth for the promotion of Islam, and to feed, clothe and shelter the persecuted neo Muslim community, to the extent that when she breathed her last there was no monetary or property inheritance left for her orphaned daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA). Since within a year of the passing away of Hazrat Khadijah (SA), the Prophet lost to the cold hands of death his loving uncle and guardian, Hazrat Abu Taleb (AS), the year has become famous in Islamic history as "Aam al-Hozn" (Year of Grief).
On 15th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 3 AH, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the eldest grandson and 2nd Infallible Successor to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was born in Medina. His name "Hasan", which means the "Most Excellent" was chosen by the Prophet on the commandment of God and is the Arabic equivalent of "Shabar" the name in Hebrew of the first born son of Aaron, the brother and vicegerent of Prophet Moses (AS). Imam Hasan (AS), along with his younger brother, Imam Husain (AS), was hailed by the Prophet as Twin Leaders of the Youths of Paradise.
The two brothers along with their parents, Imam Ali (AS) and Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), were covered by the Prophet under his cloak as the Ahl al-Bayt on revelation of the Verse of Purity (holy Qur’an 33:33), and this immaculate group also accompanied the Prophet to the decisive debate of Mubahela with the Christians of Najran on revelation of ayah 61 of Surah Nisa in order to prove the truth of Islam. Six months after succeeding to the caliphate, following his father’s martyrdom, Imam Hasan (AS), in view of the widespread sedition and hypocrisy in the society, agreed to relinquish political rule to the charlatan Mu’awiya ibn Abu Sufyan in order to unmask him in his true heathen colours.
Thus, his prudence and foresight saved Islam from the disaster of civil war, at a time when the Byzantine Empire was waiting for weakening of Muslim ranks to attack and occupy Syria and Bayt al-Moqaddas.
On 10th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 60 AH, Imam Husain (AS), the younger grandson and 3rd Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), received the first batch of letters in Mecca from the notables of Kufa inviting him to Iraq for deliverance of the Islamic realm from the Godless rule of Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyya. In due course, the number of these letters reached 12,000, and the Imam sent his cousin, Muslim ibn Aqeel, to Iraq to probe the situation. When the tyrant Yazid sent assassins in the garb of pilgrims to assassinate him, the Imam, in order to safeguard the inviolable sanctity of the holy Ka’ba and its surroundings from any spilling of blood, left for Iraq, where those who had ardently invited him, not just turned their backs upon him, but ganged up with the brutal Omayyad hordes to cruelly martyr him, his family members, and his companions, on the plain of Karbala.
On 6th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 201 AH, a grand ceremony was held in the Khorasani city of Merv (currently in Turkmenistan) by the Abbasid caliph, Mamoun, to officially declare Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), as heir apparent. This was part of an intricate plot to tarnish the unsullied image of the Ahl al-Bayt. Courtiers and the masses, beginning with Mamoun's own son, Abbas, swore allegiance to Imam Reza (AS), in whose name coins were minted, while the official colour of the Abbasids was changed from the black to the green of the Prophet's Household.
The crafty Mamoun, alarmed at the popularity amongst the masses of the Prophet's progeny and concerned about the lack of legitimacy of the rule of the Abbasids, who had deceived the ummah some 70 years earlier to hijack the caliphate after obliterating the Omayyad usurpers, forced Imam Reza (AS) to leave Medina and come to his capital Merv in distant Khorasan. Here he offered to abdicate the caliphate in the Imam's favour, but was frustrated in his devilish design by the curt reply: "If the caliphate is really yours, you ought not give to others what God has given you as a trust; and if it does not belong to you, how can you give to others what is not yours."
After over two months of pressures coupled with threats of covert death, he forced the Imam to at least accept being his heir apparent, despite the glaring age gap of 22 years between the young 31 year old ruler and the 53-year old heir apparent, who might not be expected to outlive the person he was supposed to succeed. To the horror of Mamoun, his plot backfired as the popularity of Imam Reza (AS) further grew among the people. Two years later in 203 AH, he martyred the Imam through poisoning of food, and shifted the Abbasid capital back to Baghdad.
On 7th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in the second year prior to Hijra, Abu-Taleb, the father of Imam Ali (AS) and the uncle and protector of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), passed away in Mecca. On the death of his father Abdul-Muttaleb, he and his wife, Fatema bint Asad, had taken charge of the 8-year orphan of Abdullah, his deceased brother, and brought up the future Prophet as their own son.
Abu Taleb was a staunch monotheist following the creed of his ancestor, Prophet Abraham, and when God formally appointed his now 40-year old nephew as the Last and Greatest Messenger to mankind, he firmly believed in the message of Islam and protected the Prophet against the taunts and attacks of the pagan Arabs. When the Meccans imposed the social-economic boycott on the Prophet, he took his nephew and the whole neo Muslim community under his protection to the safety of the gorge outside Mecca which is still called “She'b Abi Taleb” in his honour.
His death saddened the Prophet and since earlier in the same year, the Prophet's loyal wife, the Mother of all True Believers (Omm al-Momineen) Hazrat Khadija also passed away, the year is known in Islamic history as "Aam al-Hozn” (Year of Grief).
On 7th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 622 AD, the Islamic lunar calendar began. It was fixed in 638 AD, 16 solar years after the passing away of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), when confusion arose regarding the dates and years to be followed. During his caliphate Omar ibn Khattab, who had banned the written compilation of the Prophet’s hadith and even rejected the collection of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an in book form as Mus’haf after having deprived the Prophet’s divinely-decreed successor, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) of the political rule of the Muslim state, received a letter from the governor of Basra that the absence of any years on the correspondence he receives from Medina, make it difficult for him to determine which instructions were most recent.
He was clearly perplexed, and as usual the magnanimous Imam Ali (AS) came to his rescue by advising that the Islamic calendar should be dated according to the Hijra or migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. Omar accepted the Imam’s advice, but as per the insinuation of Osman ibn Affan he fixed the date of the beginning of the Islamic year on the 1st of Moharram, in line with the pagan Arab custom of that time, even though the actual migration of the Prophet had taken place on the eve of Rabi al-Awwal.
On 5th of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 36 AH, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), started from his capital Kufa in Iraq towards Syria with a force of 90,000 to meet the threats of the rebellious governor, Mua'wiyyah ibn Abu Sufyan. The result was the protracted War of Siffeen in the place of the same name, in the vicinity of Aleppo near Riqqa that exposed the hypocrisy of the Omayyads and proved the righteousness of Imam Ali (AS), as the First Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
On 5th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 666 AH, Muslims led by Egypt's Mamluk Turkic Sultan, Rukn od-Din Baibars al-Bunduqdari, liberated the Syrian city of Antioch, which is currently in Turkey, from the Crusaders after 170 years of European occupation. Baibars, who earlier as general, had inflicted devastating defeats on both the Crusaders and Iran-based Ilkhanid Mongols, united Egypt and Syria into a powerful state, and liberated most of areas of Syria and Palestine occupied by the European Crusaders.
On August 1, 902 AD, Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold on the island of Sicily off the coast of Italy, surrendered to Muslims led by the Aghlabids, the Abbasid governors of the Province of Ifriqiyya, whose forces had already established themselves in Sicily since 827. The first Muslims to arrive in Sicily were Syrians, way back in 652. In 909 the Aghlabids, who discriminated between Arabs and Berber Muslims, were overthrown by the popular Ismaili Shi'ite revolution that established the Fatemid Dynasty in North Africa.
Sicily soon passed into Fatemid hands, and the city of Taormina was renamed "al-Mu'ezziya" in honour of the Fatemid caliph, al-Mu'ez le Dinillah, whose famous Greek Muslim general from Sicily, Jowhar as-Saqali, went on to take control of Egypt from the Ikhshidid Turkic governors of the Abbasid caliphate, and build the city of Cairo as the new capital of the Fatemids. Muslim rule in Sicily lasted until 1078, when the island fell to the Norman invader, Count Roger I, who, however, kept the Arab administration intact and had Muslims among his advisers and court scholars, including the famous geographer, Seyyed Mohammad al-Hassani al-Idrisi. Muslim influence and Arabic language continued in Sicily till the 1240s when the last of the Muslims were deported from the island and mosques turned into churches.
On July 15,1482 AD, Mohammad XII was crowned the twenty-second and last Nasrid king of Granada in Muslim Spain, which ten years later was occupied by Christian mercenaries, who perpetrated a great massacre of Muslims and expelled hundreds of thousands of them to North Africa, thus ending over seven centuries of glorious Muslim rule.
On 2nd of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 702 AH, the Battle of Marj as-Saffar took place in Syria between the Mamluks of Egypt led by the Qipchaq Turkic Bahri ruler, Sultan Nasser ad-Din Qalawun, and an army of Mongols and Armenians sent by the Iran-based Ilkhanid Emperor, Ghazaan Khan, whose general Qutlugh-Shah suffered a disastrous defeat near Kiswe, south of Damascus. The defeat ended Ghazaan Khan's invasions of Syria. It is interesting to note that Ghazaan Khan, the 7th ruler of the Ilkhanid Dynasty, although born a Buddhist, was baptized and raised as a Christian, and on ascending the throne, embraced the truth of Islam.
On July 11, 1405 AD, Admiral Zheng He of China's Ming Dynasty, who was a Muslim and whose actual name was Mahmoud Shamseddin, set sail to explore the world on the first of his seven voyages that took him to Southeast Asia, the Subcontinent, Arabia, Iran, and Africa. He was a great-great-great-grandson of Seyyed Ajal Shamseddin, the Iranian statesman who served in the administration of the Mongol Empire, and was appointed governor of Yunnan Province. He commanded a flotilla of several hundred galleys, including huge five-decked ships, on each of his voyages in the span of 28 years, and in addition to demonstrating the might of China through presents to the rulers of lands he visited, he brought back home exotic things and animals including zebras, giraffes and ostriches. He cleared the Malacca Straits of pirates and in places he visited he built mosques.
On 7th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 224 AH Ibrahim bin Mahdi, stepbrother of the Abbasid tyrant Haroun Rashid, died at the age of 62 in Baghdad. Born of an African concubine and known as Ibn Shakla because of his dark complexion, he was proclaimed as caliph in Baghdad in 201 AH by the Abbasids in protest to the seemingly pro-Hashemite policies of the reigning caliph, his nephew Mamoun, in declaring the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir, Imam Reza (AS) as Heir Apparent of the realm. Two years later in 203 AH, with the crafty Mamoun’s return to Baghdad after martyring Imam Reza through poisoning in Tous, he resigned and spent the rest of his life as a singer and a musician. Ibn Shakla reportedly had a phenomenal vocal range.
On 7th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 960 AH, Ottoman admiral Turgut Raees took control of the Mediterranean island of Corsica and the city of Catania in Malta, to free some seven thousand Muslim captives. He gave Corsica to the French, who soon lost it to the Spanish.
On 8th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 431 AH, Mohammad Ibn Mikaeel Ibn Seljuq, known as Toghril Beg, won the Battle of Dandanaqan, and seized Khorasan from the Ghaznavid Empire, thereby heralding the rise of the Seljuq Turks of Central Asia as a new power in Iran, and eventually Anatolia (Turkey), Syria, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Highly Persianized in culture and language, the Seljuqs who ruled for over a century-and-a-half, played an important role in the development of the Turko-Persian tradition, even exporting Persian culture to Anatolia.
On 8th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 455 AH, Toghril Beg died in Rayy, south of Tehran, where his grave in a conical mausoleum still stands.
On July 17,1203 AD, Byzantine emperor, Alexios III Angelos, fled into exile as his capital Constantinople was sacked by savage hordes from western Europe that had banded together to launch the 4th Crusade on Egypt and Palestine, but scared of the power of Muslims, turned upon fellow Christians to ravage and destroy centuries of civilization in a seditious move supported by Pope Innocent III, the head of the Catholic sect of Christianity in Rome, who despite the Greek Orthodox Church.
On July 17,1588 AD, Me'mar Sinaan, the chief Ottoman architect and civil engineer for the sultans Suleiman, Selim II, and Murad III, died at the age of 99. He was responsible for the construction of more than three hundred major structures and other projects, such as mosque, caravanserais, public baths, and libraries, in the Ottoman Empire, including the Selimiyeh Mosque in Edirne, the Suleymaniyeh Mosque Complex in Istanbul, the Rustom Pasha Mosque, and the Shahzadeh Mosque. He was a contemporary of Italian Renaissance architects and sculptors, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo.
On July 18,716 AD, Mohammad Ibn Qasim Thaqafi, the Arab governor of Iran on behalf of his tyrannical uncle and father-in-law, Hajjaj bin Yousuf Thaqafi, and conqueror of Sindh (in present day Pakistan), was killed at the age of 20, as a result of imprisonment and torture ordered by the new Omayyad caliph, Sulaiman Ibn Abdul-Malik, who was a bitter enemy of the bloodthirsty Hajjaj. Among the reasons for Mohammad Ibn Qasim's ruthless campaign to seize Sindh and try to push into India, was the refuge given by the local rulers to Iranians and Arab Muslims fleeing the reign of terror of Hajjaj, on whose death, 50,000 men and women – mostly followers of the Prophet's Household – were found in the prisons.
On July 18,1195 AD, the Battle of Alarcos in Spain resulted in a resounding victory for the al-Muwahiddin ruler, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur, over King Alfonso VIII of Castile. It resulted in the retreat of the Christian forces to Toledo while the Muslims liberated the occupied regions of Trujillo, Montanchez and Talavera. In 1189 Yaqub al-Mansur had returned from Marrakesh, in North Africa to fight the Portuguese who, as part of a Christian alliance, had occupied the region of Silves. He liberated the area and started consolidating Muslim rule in Spain. After the resounding victory in the Battle of Alarcos, he went back to North Africa, and as a result of ill-health lost interest in the affairs of the Iberian Peninsula. He died in February 1199, and his death encouraged the Christians to gather mercenaries from different parts of Europe to attack and harass the Spanish Muslims once again.
On July 18, 1290 AD, King Edward I of England issued the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from his dominions. The expulsion was culmination of over 200 years of conflict between Christians and Jews on the matter of usury, for which the Israelites are still notorious. Moreover, the Christians deeply resented the slandering of Jesus and his Virgin mother, Mary, by the Jews. The Edict of Expulsion lasted 350 years during which Jews were not allowed to set foot on the soil of England, until it was overturned by Oliver Cromwell, who made the fatal mistake of inviting Jews to England.
On July 18,1391 AD, Amir Timur defeated Tokhtamysh of the Golden Horde in present day southeast Russia in the Battle of Kondurcha River. The two Turkic warlords fought each other for over a decade in the Caucasus, Turkistan and Eastern Europe. Timur had earlier helped Tokhtamysh to assume supreme power in the White Horde against the latter's uncle Urus Khan. Tokhtamysh thus united the White and Blue Hordes to form the Golden Horde and launched a massive military campaign against the Russian principalities in 1381-82 to restore Turko-Tartar power as far as Lithuania which he defeated in 1383. He then cast covetous eyes on Caucasus, Iran and Central Asia, and turned against his old ally, Timur, who decisively routed him in the Battle of the Terek River in 1395.
On July 20, 1402 AD, Amir Timur inflicted a shattering defeat on the Ottomans in the Battle of Ankara, capturing Sultan Bayezid I – the only instance when an Ottoman Sultan has been captured in person. The battle was the culmination of years of insulting letters exchanged between Bayezid, whose armies were sweeping across Europe, and Timur, whose empire stretched over most of the Muslim east. The defeat and the subsequent death of Bayezid in captivity in Samarqand, led to a period of crisis for the Ottoman Empire. However the Timurid Empire went into terminal decline following Timur's death just three years after the battle, while the Ottoman Empire made a full recovery, and continued to increase in power for another two to three centuries.
On July 22,1456 AD, Ottoman Sultan, Mohammad II, suffered a defeat during his siege of Belgrade, three years after his capture of Constantinople that ended the Byzantine Empire. Hungarian warlord, John Hunyadi, led the counterattack on the Turks in which the Sultan was wounded and forced to retreat. This stopped the Muslim advance towards the heart of Christian Europe for 70 years until the fall of Belgrade to the Turks in 1521, although in the preceding years, the Ottomans continued to tighten their hold on the Balkans.
On July 24, 1148 AD, European Christian invaders started the siege of Damascus during the Second Crusade, but thanks to the stiff resistance of the Muslim defenders and the timely arrival of fresh forces led by the Turkic ruler, Noureddin Zangi, they were decisively defeated five days later, resulting in the disintegration of the crusade that was led by King Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany.
On July 25,1139 AD, the Battle of Ourique took place in Spain resulting in the defeat of the al-Murabetoun army of Spanish Muslims led by Ali ibn Yusuf, against a large mercenary force of Christians assembled from various parts of Europe led by Prince Afonso Henriques, who subsequently separated the region of Portugal and crowned himself as its first king, under the title Afonso I. It was disunity in the ranks of Spanish Muslims coupled with pride following their recent victory in the Battle of Valdevez over Alfonso VII of Leon that resulted in their defeat, and the emergence of Portugal as an independent country.
On July 25,1278 AD, Spanish Muslims led by the Emirate of Granada and the Maranid Dynasty won the naval Battle of Algeciras in the Strait of Gibraltar over the Kingdom of Castile. The Muslim navy was commanded by Abu Yaqub Yusuf an-Nasr, whose superior tactics led to the destruction of the entire Christian flee of over 100 ships.
On July 25, 920 AD, an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon was routed by Spanish Muslims at Pamplona in the Basque region. The Muslims, who had first arrived in this region over two centuries earlier in 716, continued to dominate Pamplona and its surroundings till 1083 when brutal Christian onslaughts forced them to lose territory.
On July 29, in 904 AD, Greek Muslim admiral, Raseq al-Wardami, sailing from Syria, took control of Thessalonica, the second largest city of the Byzantium Empire. After a week's stay, during which he seized some 60 ships and forced the Christians to free over 4,000 Muslim prisoners, he sailed back to the Levant. Born as a Christian, and named Leo by his parents, he was an officer in the Byzantine navy, before discovering the truth of Islam and joining the Muslims. Also known as Ghulam Zurafa, three years later in 907, he sailed up the Dardanelles and for a while besieged Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 912, he and his fellow Greek Muslim admiral, Damian of Tarsus, known by his Muslim name, Ghulam Yazman, decisively defeated the Byzantine admiral, Himerios, off the island of Chios, in retaliation for an attack by Christians on the Arabs of Cyprus.
On July 30, 1602 AD, the Dutch by setting up a trade post in Sumatra started their political influence in Indonesia, under the name of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). In 1800 VOC was formally dissolved because of bankruptcy and the government of the Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalized colony. For most of the colonial period, Dutch control over the archipelago was tenuous outside of coastal strongholds. Only in the early 20th century did Dutch dominance extend to what was to become Indonesia's current boundaries. The country, which is made up of over 17,500 islands and a predominantly Muslim population, was occupied by Japan during World War 2. In 1849, Indonesia declared its independence under the leadership of Ahmad Sukarno by thwarting Dutch efforts to re-establish colonial hegemony.
On July 31,1492 AD, Jews were expelled from Spain as per the Alhambra Edict issued jointly by Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, less than three months after the surrender of Granada, the last of the Muslim emirates in the Iberian Peninsula. Jews, who for centuries had peacefully flourished under Muslim rule in Spain as "People of the Book" and prospered as merchants and scholars, were harshly persecuted by the Christians at the end of the Islamic period. Many were forced to become Christians, and it is said over 130,000 Jews decided to leave for Muslim North Africa or parts of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, where they could live peacefully under Islamic rule. Many other Jews were massacred by Spanish Christians. The Alhambra Edict was formally revoked almost five centuries later on 16 December 1968, following the Second Vatican Council.
On 25th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 685 AH, the Mongols were decisively defeated at the Battle of Ayn Jalout in Palestine by the Egyptian Mamluk Sultan Saif od-Din Qutuz and his able general, Baibars (the next Sultan). This victory over Hulagu Khan's famous Christian Turkish general, Kitbuqa Noyan, ended the threat to Egypt and North Africa, a few years after the sack of Baghdad and subjugation of Syria.
On August 4, 1578 AD at the Battle of al-Qasr al-Kabir, the Moroccans, supported by the Ottomans, defeated the Portuguese invaders and saved the country from Christian occupation. King Sebastian of Portugal was killed in the battle, and 15,000 of his troops captured.
On 3rd of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 65 AH, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, the fourth caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime died in Damascus at the age of 64, after nine months in power, which was limited mostly to Syria. He was killed by his most recent wife, a widow of the tyrant Yazid ibn Mu'awiyyah, who put a pillow on his face and sat over it till his breath was snuffed out.
One of the most criminal characters in Islamic history, Marwan was the son of the hypocrite Hakam bin Aas, who was expelled from Medina by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) for ridiculing Islam. He was the first cousin of Osman bin Affan, who on becoming caliph recalled him to Medina in violation of the Prophet’s Sunnah, gave his daughter in marriage to him, and entrusted him all affairs of the state. The resulting mismanagement and plunder of the public treasury ended some twelve years later in the killing of Osman by Muslim revolutionaries from Egypt.
In the "Battle of Jamal" that the pledge-breakers led by Ayesha – a wife of the Prophet – imposed on the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), near Basra in Iraq, Marwan treacherously killed his own leader, Talhah Ibn Obaidollah, with an arrow shot at the unprotected thigh. When the Omayyads seized the caliphate he served as governor of Medina for intermittent periods, and stayed there after retirement until Abdullah ibn Zubayr rebelled against Yazid and made the mistake of allowing him and his son Abdul-Malik to leave for Damascus.
In Syria, following Yazid’s death and abdication by his son Muawiya II, in protest to his father’s crimes against Islam and humanity, including the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, Marwan found himself propelled to the caliphate. His ascension pointed to a shift in the lineage of the Omayyad dynasty from descendants of Abu Sufyan to those of Hakam, both of whom were grandsons of Omayya. Some 67 years later, the Marwanids were thrown into the dustbin of history with the rise of the new dynasty of usurper caliphs, the Abbasids.
On 4th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 53 AH, the bloodthirsty Omayyad governor of Iraq and Fars, Ziyad Ibn Abihi (son of his own [unknown] father)", died in Kufa at the age 53. Born in Ta’ef to a slave-girl, named Sumayya, used by her Arab master as a prostitute to augment his earnings, Ziyad known as a person of doubtful parentage, became a Muslim (in name only) with the spread of Islam.
His craftiness and brutal nature in handling the affairs of Fars (Iran), made Mu’awiyya, on usurping the caliphate, to procure as witness the former wine-seller of Ta’ef, Abu Maryam Sululi, and declare him as half-brother on the testimony that Ziyad was the result of the cohabitation of his father Abu Sufyan with the prostitute Sumayya while on a visit to Ta’ef. As an enemy of the Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) Household, Ziyad terrorized the followers of Imam Ali (AS) in Iraq, and martyred some prominent figures. On his death he was succeeded in his position as governor by his equally bloodthirsty son, Obaidullah (also born out of wedlock), who has earned lasting damnation by perpetrating the heartrending tragedy of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS).
On 7th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 361 AH, the grand al-Azhar Mosque and Madrasah was officially opened for prayer by Jowhar as-Saqali, the Sicilian general of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite dynasty who completed the grand project three years after conquering Egypt and establishing the city of Cairo, as the new capital of the Empire that now stretched from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean."al-Azhar" is a derivative of "az-Zahra" (the Radiant), the famous epithet of Hazrat Fatema (SA) the daughter of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) in whose honour the mosque and the religious school were built.
The Fatemids restored the full form of the Azaan or call for the daily prayers, from the minarets of al-Azhar and other mosques, by bearing testimony to the imamate of Imam Ali (AS) after the Prophethood of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The phrase "hayya ala khayr il-amal" (hasten to the best of deeds), which was dropped from the Azaan by the second caliph, was also revived. Exactly, a year later on this same date in 362 AH, the Fatemid caliph, al-Mu’iz le-Dinillah arrived in his new capital Cairo, from Mahdia in what is now Tunisia, the then capital of the Fatemid state.
On July 16, 1216 AD, Innocent III, the most powerfully politicized Pope of the Catholic sect of Christianity, and the most hostile towards Muslims and Jews, died suddenly while on a visit to Perugia, Central Italy, at the age of 56 after an 18-year reign, and appeared in a vision the same day to the nun, St. Lugarda in her monastery at Aywieres in faraway Belgium, engulfed in flames for three of the most cardinal sins he had committed in life, and for which he said (before disappearing in anguish) that he would languish for centuries in purgatory as divine punishment. Named Lotario dei Conti di Segni at birth in Italy to a Roman family that produced nine popes, he believed in the superiority of the Church over temporal rulers, and on being selected pope, strove to make the kings and emperors of Europe subordinate to his authority.
He also decreed that all Jews in Christendom should wear special identifying markings on their clothing. At the same time, he persecuted as heretics all those Christians that dissented with the Catholic Church. An instance in this regard was his ordering of wars that resulted in the massacre of 20,000 men, women and children of the Albigenses or Cathar sect of southwestern France, who viewed the Catholic Church as corrupt. An avowed enemy of Islam, Pope Innocent III, in total disregard to the Muslim-Christian peace accord in Palestine, mobilised the Fourth Crusade for invasion of Egypt, which, however, because of fears of facing the powerful Ayyubids, was diverted towards an easier target, that is, the fellow Christians of the Byzantine Empire, and led to the fall of Constantinople and its savage plunder – all of which were legitimized by the Pope, regardless of the permanent rift he was causing between the Greek and Latin Churches. Earlier he had ordered a crusade involving Christian mercenaries against the al-Muwahhadin Muslim rulers of Islamic Spain that resulted in the unmanly ambush of Las Navas de Tolosa (Battle of al-Uqab in Arabic), and huge massacre of civilians in 1212 – incidentally on July 16.
On July 19, 711 AD, Muslim forces, led by Tareq Ibn Ziyad won a decisive victory in the Battle of Guadalete by completely routing the Visigoth Christian army of King Roderick and thereby rapidly conquering much of southern Spain. Soon all of Spain and Portugal were liberated by the Muslims, who subsequently crossed the Pyrenees Mountains into France. Tareq had earlier crossed the Mediterranean from the northwestern African coast and landed on the island known ever since in his name as Gibraltar (corruption of the Arabic "Jabal at-Tareq" – Rock or Mount of Tareq).
He was governor of Tangiers under Musa Ibn Nusayr, the conqueror and Emir of the Province of Ifriqiya (western Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco).Tareq was made governor of Spain by Musa, but was called back to Damascus by the jealous Omayyad caliph, Walid I, who also relieved Musa of the overall charge of northwest Africa, Spain and the islands off the coast of France.
There are three different accounts of the origins of Tareq given by Arab historians – he was a Persian from Hamadan; he was an Arab of the Sadf tribe; he was a Berber from North Africa. Musa Ibn Nusayr is also said to be the son of an Iranian Christian, according to the historian Tabari; while others say he belonged to the Lakhmid Arab clan who were Sassanid clients.
On 13th of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 95 AH, the tyrannical governor-general of the Godless Omayyad regime, Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, died of pain in his stomach at the age of 54. His name at birth in the city of Ta’ef was Kulayb (whelp), and although he changed it to Hajjaj al-Thaqafi, his innate canine characteristics were evident throughout his bloodthirsty life. His mean mentality earned him the post of “Shurta” (police chief) in Damascus, and his subsequent cruelties against any form of dissent caught the attention of the Omayyad usurper, Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan, who appointed him governor-general of Iraq and Iran, to crush the followers of the blessed household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
It is said that as many 125,000 Muslims were killed on the orders of Hajjaj, in addition to those who died fighting against his tyrannical rule. Among the prominent and pious figures martyred by this tyrant was the Prophet’s venerable companion, Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari and two of the most loyal followers of Imam Ali (AS) – the devoted servant Qanbar and the faithful disciple, Kumayl bin Ziyad to whom the Imam had taught the famous supplication of the same name that is recited by believers on Friday eve. Among the other unpardonable sins of Hajjaj was his storming of the holy Ka'ba in Mecca in pursuit of Abdullah ibn Zubair, who was eventually killed along with 10,000 of his men. The holy Ka'ba also suffered extensive damage and desecration. On his death when prisons were opened, over 50,000 men and women were released, while thousands of corpses were discovered.
On July 23, 645 AD, Yazid, the accursed perpetrator of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, was born out of wedlock to an immoral Arab Bedouin Syrian woman, named Maysun bint Bajdal al-Kulaibi al-Nasrania (the Christian), who was ravished and abandoned by the then governor of Syria, Mu’awiyyah ibn Abu Sufyan. He was suckled by many other women of immoral character, and years later brought to Damascus by Mu’awiyya, who not having any other male issue, named him his successor to the caliphate against the terms of the Treaty by which he had usurped rule of the Islamic realm from Imam Hasan (AS), the elder grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). An infidel, who did not believe in any religion, although a crucifix given by his Christian mother used to dangle from his neck, Yazid was a drunkard and frequently asked his slaves to sodomize him. In the three years that he illegally ruled the Islamic realm, before his sudden death at the age of 36, he committed three unpardonable crimes against humanity.
The first was the cruel martyrdom of the Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS), and its equally cruel aftermath when the noble ladies and children of the Ahl al-Bayt were brought to his court in Damascus along with the heads of martyrs, at whose sight he exultantly declared that neither revelation had come from heaven nor there is any day of resurrection. His second cardinal sin was the incident of Harrah when his forces slaughtered hundreds of companions of the Prophet and then for three days butchered as many as 10,000 people of the holy city of Medina, where the Prophet's Mosque was desecrated and thousands of women raped. His third blasphemous crime was the storming of the holy Ka’ba in Mecca with fire and brimstone that ended with his sudden death in Damascus as a result of divine wrath while on a hunting trip. Only the charred leg of Yazid was found, and today there is no trace of his grave.
On July 27, 1302 AD, the Battle of Bapheus occurred, resulting in a decisive victory for the rising principality of the Ottoman Turks over the Byzantine Empire, and opening up of all of Asia Minor for the Muslim conquest. The Ottomans achieved characteristics and qualities of state after this battle near what is now Yalova in Turkey. Osman I, who served the Seljuq sultans of Roum or Anatolia, had succeeded in the leadership of his clan in 1282, and over the next two decades launched a series of ever-deeper raids into Byzantine territories.
By 1301, the Ottomans were besieging Nicaea, the former imperial capital. In the spring of 1302, Emperor Michael IX launched a campaign, but the Turks avoided open battle and carried on hit-and-run raids that weakened and isolated the Byzantine army, forcing the emperor to retreat by the sea, followed by waves of refugees. At this Michael's co-emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos sent another army across the Bosporus which was routed by the Turks at Bapheus – the first major victory for the nascent Ottoman emirate.
The Byzantine defeat sparked a massive exodus of the Christian Greek population from the area into the European parts of the Empire. In the next one-and-a-half centuries, the Ottomans were to complete the conquest of the Byzantine Empire by capturing its capital Constantinople in 1453 and renaming it Islambol (Istanbul).
On July 30, 762 AD, a gigantic urbanization project started at the village of Baghdad, which in Old Persian means “God-given”, following its selection as the capital of the Abbasid caliphate by the tyrant Mansur Dawaniqi, who named it “Madinat as-Salaam” (City of Peace). A bitter enemy of the Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), he chose the location, 30 km from Ctesiphon, the capital of the Persian Empire, and commissioned the Barmakid Iranian family of viziers to carry out the project, supervised by the astrologers Naubakht Ahvazi, a Zoroastrian, and Mashallah, a Jew, who believed work should start in July under the sign of Leo, which is associated with fire and symbolises productivity, pride, and expansion.
The city was designed as a circle about 2 km in diameter, and hence was called the "Round City". The circular design of the city was a direct reflection of the traditional Persian urban design, modeled on the Sassanid city of Gur in Fars, built 500 years earlier. Soon Baghdad became a centre of learning, as well as of vice and Arabian Nights debaucheries, until it was sacked in 1258 by the Mongol hordes of Hulagu Khan – a catastrophe from which it never fully recovered. Following the creation of Iraq as a country by the British last century, Baghdad became the capital of a modern state, and has gradually grown into a metropolis.
Today, it is the second largest city in the Arab World after Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and the second largest city in Western Asia after Tehran, the capital of Iran.
On 23rd of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 220 AH, the founder of the short-lived Tulunid Dynasty of Egypt and later Syria, Ahmad Ibn Tulun, was born in Baghdad. His father, Tulun, was a Turkic slave, sent as part of tribute from the governor of Bukhara to the Abbasid caliph, Ma'mun. The Abbasids used to recruit Turkic slaves to serve as military officers. Ahmad Ibn Tulun received his military training in Samarra, the new Abbasid capital, where he was appointed commander of the special forces of the tyrannical caliph, Mutawakkil.
After serving in military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire in Tarsus, he gained the favour of the caliph, Musta'in, and in the reign of the next caliph, Mu'taz, he was sent as governor to Egypt. Since, the existing capital of Egypt, al-Fustat, was too small to accommodate his armies, he founded a new city nearby called Madinat-al-Qatta'i (Quartered City), to serve as his capital.
It was laid out in the style of grand cities of Iran, including a large public square, a palace, and a large ceremonial mosque, which was named after Ibn Tulun. This city was razed in 905 AD on the fall of the Tulunid Dynasty, and only the mosque has survived. Ibn Tulun soon asserted his independence from the Baghdad caliphate by minting coins in his name and seizing control of large parts of Syria. He defeated an Abbasid army sent to Egypt against him. He died after 17 years in power, but two decades later, the inefficient rule of his son and grandsons brought about the collapse of the dynasty and re-imposition of Abbasid rule on Egypt.
On 1st of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 393 AH at-Ta'i-Lillah, the 24th caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, died twelve years after he was deposed and replaced by his cousin, al-Qader-Billah, by the Iranian Buwayhid ruler, Baha od-Dowlah Daylami. The Buwayhids had installed him as caliph on the death of his father, al-Muti-Lillah, who also owed his caliphate to this powerful dynasty ruling Iraq and Iran. During the caliphate of at-Ta’i, the Abbasid dominions further shrunk in size, with the Hijaz and over half of Syria falling to the Fatemid Shi’ite Ismaili Dynasty of Egypt, while the Turkic chieftains vied for power in the rest of Syria.
On 3rd of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 247 AH, the Godless tyrant Mutawakkil, who styled himself as the 10th caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, was murdered while drunk and asleep, by his own son, Muntasir, with the help of Turkic guards, at the age of 39 after a reign of 14 years. Named Ja’far on birth to Qaratis, a Greek concubine of Mu’tasim, he became caliph on the suspicious death of his brother Watheq – whose body lay in negligence with mice eating away his eyes, while Mutawakkil held festivities for several days. Immediately he unleashed a reign of terror, especially on the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He persecuted the Prophet’s progeny, instructed judges to always give the verdict against them, forbade them to ride horses in Egypt, forcibly brought the Prophet’s 10th Infallible Heir, Imam Ali an-Naqi (AS), to Samarra from Medina to be placed under house arrest, and blasphemously destroyed the holy shrine of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, several times. The reason for his murder was his usual habit of cursing the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (AS) that finally broke the patience of his elder son, Muntasir, who left the assembly of drunkards in rage under the taunts of his father and soon got rid of him. The Commander of the Faithful had prophesied him as "most infidel" of Abbasid rulers.
On August 11, 1473 AD, the decisive Battle of Otlukbeli took place in central Anatolia (modern Turkey) with the victory of the Ottomans over the Aq Qoyunlu (White Sheep) Dynasty – appointed as governors of Diyarbakr and what is now eastern Turkey by the fearsome Turkic conqueror, Amir Timur, following his victory over and capture of the Ottoman Sultan, Bayezid I in the Battle of Ankara in 1402. The Ottomans were led by Sultan Mohammad II (Conqueror of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire in 1453), while the Aq Qoyunlu were led by Uzun Hassan, who had recently expanded his dominions eastward by defeating the rival Qara Qoyunlu (Black Sheep) Dynasty to annex Iraq and western Iran in 1467 and then routed the army of his nominal overlord, Sultan Abu Sa’eed of the Samarqand-based Timurid Empire in 1469. The power of the Aq Qoyunlu (goaded by the Venetians to start hostilities with the Ottomans to divert the attention from Italy of Mohammad II), was not completely destroyed until the rise of Shah Ismail I of Iran in 1501 and his founding of the Safavid Empire.
On August 12, 875 AD, Louis II (the Younger), who was King of Italy and later Roman Emperor (from 855), died at the age of 50. He was notorious for his enmity towards Italian Muslims, whom he frequently massacred. In 871 he ended the Emirate of Bari in southern Italy, forcing Muslims into slavery, burning libraries, and turning mosques into churches.
On August 12, 1099 AD, the army of the Fatemid Ismaili Shi'ite rulers of Egypt and North Africa lost the Battle of Ascalon to the European Crusader invaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon. The Fatemid vizier, al-Afzal Shahanshah, who personally led a large force of Turks, Arabs, Persians, Armenians, Kurds, and Ethiopians, had earlier misunderstood the Crusaders as Byzantine mercenaries. This misperception and his slow march from Cairo brought about the fall of Bayt al-Moqaddas a month earlier to the Crusaders. At Ascalon (Asqalan in Arabic), this same lethargy led to the defeat of the Muslim forces, although the Fatemids continued to hold this city, which is near Gaza in Palestine, for another 54 years. The Crusaders mercilessly killed Muslims in the captured territories.
On August 12, 1164 AD, in the Battle of Harim, the Turkic ruler of Syria, Nur od-Din Zangi, defeated the Crusader occupiers of the Lebanese port city of Tripoli and of the Principality of Antioch, which historically has been a part of Syria, until the occupation by Turkey in 1937. He also went on to liberate Banias and other coastal areas from Crusader occupation.
On 6th of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 252 AH, the 12th caliph of the usurper Abbasid regime, al-Musta’in-Billah, was killed in the prison of Baghdad after being deposed and replaced by his cousin, Mu’taz Ibn Mutawakkel, by the Turkic guards. The executioner brought the severed head to the capital Samarra at a time when the new caliph was playing chess, and told him: “Behold your cousin's head!” The heartless Mu’taz –who two years later was to martyr through poisoning Imam Ali an-Naqi (AS), the 10th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) – replied: "Lay it aside, till I have finished the game." And then, having satisfied himself that it was really the head of al-Musta'in Ibn Mohammad, he ordered 500 gold pieces be given to the assassin as reward. Musta’in, a grandson of the infamous Mu’tasem-Billah, was propelled to power as caliph in 248 AH by the Turkic guards on the mysterious death of his cousin, Muntasir – a devotee of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt who had killed his father, the notorious Mutawakkel for showing hatred towards Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). He ruled for four years before falling out with his benefactors who chased him to Baghdad and after a skirmish, following exchange of harsh words, forced him to abdicate the caliphate, and eventually killed him in prison.
On August 14, 1415 AD, Henry the Navigator of Portugal, taking advantage of the weakening of Muslim rule in Spain and northwest Africa, launched a surprise attack on the Maranid Dynasty of Morocco and occupied the port city of Ceuta in the battle of the same name. He mercilessly slaughtered Muslim defenders in what is known as “baptism of blood”.
On August 10, 1920 AD, the Treaty of Sevres was forced upon the decaying Ottoman Empire by Britain and France, stripping it of 80% of its territory. The remaining European parts of the Empire were handed over to Greece and several islands to Italy, forcing hundreds of thousands of Muslims to leave their ancestral homes and cross into the Asian parts.
At the same time, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine were placed under British mandate, and Syria and Lebanon under French mandate, while Hijaz with its holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resort of Ta’ef and the Red Sea ports of Jeddah and Yanbu, declared an independent kingdom under the British agent, Sharif Hussain. Armenia also got a share of Turkish territory while a part of Asia Minor was further given to Greece as Ionia.
Istanbul and its surroundings were declared demilitarized, while the ancient Seljuq capital of Konya was placed under Italian zone of influence. The plan was to separate the Kurdish areas as well, but was deferred for the time being. This harsh and humiliating treatment led to the uprising of the Turkish people, and the Turkish army soon drove away the Greek occupiers from parts of Asia Minor and the surroundings of Istanbul on the European side.
This forced the western powers to draft a new treaty in 1923, which has fixed the present boundaries of modern Turkey, although in 1937, the French illegally handed over to Turkey the Syrian territories of Iskenderun and Antakya (Antioch), which Turkey calls Hatay Province, but whose sovereignty Damascus has never recognized, calling it part of Syria.
Meanwhile, in 1925, the Kingdom of Hijaz was occupied by Wahhabi brigands from the Nejd with the blessings of the British who in 1932 formally installed their agent, Abdul-Aziz Aal-Saud as king of the pseudo country called Saudi Arabia. Abdel-Aziz consequently seized parts of Yemen and occupied the Shi’ite Muslim sheikhdoms of the eastern parts of the Arabian Peninsula on the oil-rich Persian Gulf coast.