Habib Khurasani

Habib Khurasani, Mirza Habib Allah (1849-1909), son of Hajj Mirza Muhammad Hashim ibn Sayyid Hidayat Allah. A jurisprudent, religious authority, mystic, and poet with the nom de plume Habib, well-known as Shahidi and Aqa. He was born in Mashhad to a family tracing back their line of descent to Shahid Thalith. Having received his formal education which included French, he departed for Iraq to further his studies. He studied with Mirza-yi Buzurg Shirazi, Hajj Mirza Habib Allah Rashti, and Fazil Darbandi. He was introduced by Mirza Mahdi Gilani, well-known as Khadiv, to the disciples of Ghulam’ali Khan Hindi and after the latter’s death, he became a disciple of Mirza Khadiv. Following his return to his hometown, he departed for Iraq, providing people with guidance and gained popularity. His students included Sayyid Hasan Mushkan Tabasi. His birth coincided with the conquest of Mashhad. He was raised and educated from his early years and obtained knowledge and virtues and thanks to his talents, he gained mastery of sciences. In his Matla’ al-Shams, I’timad al-Saltana says, ‘The Lord of Religious Authorities, al-Hajj Mirza Habib Allah is a distinguished scholar and jurisprudent. The holy city of Mashhad, even the land of Khurasan, may take pride in him. Scholarship which flourishes in the holy city of Mashhad is dependent upon the essence of this blessing emanating notable. He was the congregation prayer leader at the Gawharshad Agha Mosque.’ He strived towards virtue in his youth owing to assiduous studies and association with scholars and became well-versed in mysticism, leading him to live a pure life free from dissimulation. According to one of his students ‘Purity, sincerity, and virtues were reflected in his countenance. He was wonderfully magnanimous.’ Sayyid Hasan Mushkan Tabasi who had the opportunity to study with him, thus writes in the Dabistan journal: ‘He spoke eloquently without any regional accent. He recited the poetical compositions of distinguished poets such that the audience thought that the verses were parts of his own words. His sermons lasted more than two hours, though the audience imagined that half an hour had passed. He composed many poems, but due attention was not accorded to their compilation. His extant poetry reflects his exalted poetical vigor. His poetry was composed in different styles as the occasions arose. The majority of his compositions include points unattested in the works of many a master.’ Despite his affluence and high rank, he led the life of an ascetic and made efforts at times to attain to spiritual perfection by purification of the self, such that he lived among people, but his thoughts were attached to another world. People always found him in a state of seclusion. He often lived a secluded life at the foot of the Shandiz Mount, Abardih, and Zushk, contemplating on the dilemmas of life. He totally distanced himself from hypocrites and held that such people lead to decadence in society. His intellectual mind stood in sharp contrast to his milieu. Despite his numerous adversaries, he made his utmost endeavors to provide people with guidance and enlightenment. He deeply grieved over people’s ignorance and superstitions prevailing in his times. In spite of having amassed huge debts, he provided family men and gentlemen with financial support. Having studied theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, and principles of jurisprudence with Hajj Mirza Nasr Allah, Mirza-yi Rashti, Mirza-yi Shirazi, and Fazil Darbandi, he was considered a distinguished scholar. He also studied French in Mashhad after his return from Mecca with Hajj Sayyah Mahallati, when the latter stayed in the city for a while. The people of Khurasan rushed to listen to his wise councils and mystical sermons. He was unrivalled in popularity; consequently, the envious noticed that they may not prosper with his presence. His followers supported him and such rivalries led him to flee from the city late in his life and spent the nights in prayers in the country side. He died on 13 September 1909 and was buried at the Suffa-yi Shah Tahmasbi, at the Holy Shrine of Imam Riza. His works include Divan; Ganj-i Gawhar; and al-Ta’adul wa ‘l-Tarajih.


Asar-afarinan (2/ 248); Sharh-i Hal-i Rijal (14/ 363-364); Farhang-i Sukhanvaran-i Nami-yi Mu’asir (2/ 1074-1080).