The Islamic Nation of Iraq
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On October 3,1932 AD, Iraq was granted independence by Britain, although London did keep close control of affairs of the country it had created after World War I, until the overthrow in 1958 of the monarchy it installed in Baghdad by importing Faisal I from the Hijaz – the son of its agent Sharif Hussein.
The land of Iraq is the cradle of human civilization, and it is here the Father of the human race, Adam, as well as Prophet Noah repose in eternal peace. Throughout history the Land of the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates (Bayn an-Nahrayn or Mesopotamia) saw the rise and fall of great civilizations that contributed to the scientific progress of mankind, such as the Sumerian, the Akkadian, the Assyrian, the Chaldean, and the Babylonian.
In 539 BC, the emerging Achaemenian Empire of Iran, under Cyrus the Great, took control of Iraq, which remained in Persian hands for two centuries until their defeat by Alexander the Macedon in 331 BC in the Battle of Gaugamela near Mosul. In 247 BC, the Parthians defeated the Seleucid successors of Alexander to revive Iranian independence and a century later drove the Greeks out of Iraq, where they built their new capital, Ctesiphon (near modern Baghdad).
The Parthians were replaced in 224 AD by the Sassanid Dynasty which also maintained its capital in Ctesiphon till its fall to the Muslim Arabs in 637 AD, which means that for almost 8 hundred years this city in Iraq, also known as Mada\'en was the capital of Iranian empires, until the advent of Islam.
The greatest glory for Iraq, however, was the shifting of the Islamic capital from Medina to Kufa in 36 AH (657 AD) by the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), whose martyrdom in this land after over four years of the only instance in history of the model government of social justice further increased its significance.
Iraq is also the place where Prophet Mohammad\'s (SAWA) grandson, Imam Husain (AS), attained immortal martyrdom in Karbala in 61 AH (680 AD) during history’s most heartrending tragedy. In 132 AH (749 AD), after the end of the 90-odd years of tyranny of the Damascus-based Omayyad dynasty, Iraq once again became the centre of the Islamic world, with the shifting of the capital to Hirah by the equally oppressive Abbasid caliphs, who built Baghdad in 145 AH (762 AD) on the Iranian model as the new capital.
With the weakening of Abbasid rule, Iraq became part of the empire of the Iranian Buwaihid dynasty in 945 AD, and 110 years later in 1055 AD it became part of the Iran-based Seljuqid Empire. In 1258 AD Baghdad was sacked by the Mongol hordes of Hulagu Khan and along with the rest of Iraq was part of the Iran-based Ilkhanid Empire for the next century.
Thereafter, it was contested by the Iran-based Turkic dynasties such as the Timurids, the Qara Qoyounlu, and the Aq Qoyounlu, until the emergence of the Safavids of Iran who made it part of the Persian Empire once again, before Shah Tahmasb lost it to the Ottoman Turks of Sultan Sulayman.
Shah Abbas I retook Iraq, while his successor lost it to the Turks. It was hotly contested by the Iranians and the Ottomans and the last Iranian king to hold Iraq was Nader Shah until his assassination in 1747. In 1917, with the defeat of the Ottomans during World War I it passed into British hands.
Today, after the end of the 35-year reign of terror of the tyrannical Ba\'th minority regime, Iraq is once again independent under an elected government, supported by the majority of people. Modern Iraq covers an area of more than 438,000 sq km. It shares borders with Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. It is worth noting that according to Islamic prophecies, in the end times, Kufa in Iraq, will be the seat of the global government of the Prophet’s 12th and Last Infallible Successor, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance).