Today in Islamic History (16th of Moharram)

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Today is Saturday; 16th of the Islamic month of Moharram 1434 lunar hijri; and December 1, 2012, of the Christian Gregorian Calendar.

174 lunar years ago, on this day in 1260 AH, Amir Abdul-Qader of Algeria was finally detained after fifteen years of struggle against the French occupiers. One of the reasons behind his failure, after initial success, was the treason of the pro-French rulers of Morocco who did not allow him to use the border areas for the independence struggle. Incarcerated in a French jail for nine years, he was later released on condition of not returning to Algeria. He died in 1883 in Damascus, Syria. His full name was Seyyed Abdul-Qader bin Mohieddin al-Hassani, al-Jaza'eri, and he was born in a family claiming descent from Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), the elder grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Abdul-Qader, who returned to Algeria, a few months before the Turks lost it to the French invaders in 1830 AD, had during his 5-year journey to Egypt, Arabia, and Syria, met with, and was highly impressed by Imam Shamil of Daghestan – the leader of the struggle against Russian expansion in the Caucasus which recently had been seized by the Czar from the Qajarid rulers of Iran.

91 solar years ago, on this day in 1921 AD, the famous freedom-fighter, Mirza Kouchak-Khan Jangali, attained martyrdom at the hands of agents of the British-installed Pahlavi potentate of Iran, Reza Khan, who acted in collaboration with the Russians and the British. He attended Islamic schools at a young age and later joined the freedom seekers. During World War I, he was witness to the chaotic state of Iran, which was occupied by foreign powers. He championed Islamic unity and decided to form a militia to fight against oppression and colonialism. In 1919, the British forced a treaty on the weak Qajarid monarchy that led to further infiltration of the British in Iran. This treaty set the stage for movements against foreign powers’ interference in Iran. Although Mirza Kouchak Khan Jangali gained significant victories at the start of his struggles in his clashes with the governmental forces, his troops were scattered in the wake of conspiracies hatched by Britain and the Soviet Union that had succeeded Czarist Russia. Meanwhile, Mirza Kouchak Khan Jangali, who had left his hometown to gather forces, fell ill due to snowstorms in the forests of northern Iran, where the agents of Reza Khan found and beheaded him.

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