by Iraj Afsharpublished in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Volume 3
New York: Columbia University, 1989
ĀYATĪ, ʿABD-AL-ḤOSAYN (b. 1288/1871; d. 1332 Š./1953), son of Mollā Moḥammad-Taqī Āḵūnd Taftī, Bahāʾi missionary, journalist, author, and teacher. After receiving traditional education in Yazd and in Iraq, he became the leader of the Friday prayer (emām-e Jomʿa) in Yazd until he converted to Bahaʾism. Then for eighteen years he acted as a missionary (moballeḡ) for his new faith in Turkestan, the Caucasus, the Ottoman Empire, and Egypt, during which time he met and associated with ʿAbd-al-Bahāʾ, and also wrote his al-Kawākeb al-dorrīya fī maʾāṯer al-bahāʾīya in two volumes (Cairo, 1914; Arabic tr. by Aḥmad Fāʾeq, Cairo, 1343/1924) on the history of Bahaʾism. This is still one of the major works on the subject. He received the title Raʾīs-al-moballeḡīn (chief of missionaries) but later turned against Bahaʾism, thereby being counted by the Bahaʾis among the nāqeżīn or apostates. (Ṣadr Hāšemī, Tārīḵ IV, pp. 310-11). He returned to Tehran in 1343/1924 and served as a teacher in secondary schools for the rest of his life. During this period he wrote Kašf al-ḥīal in three volumes (Tehran, 1307-10 Š./1928-31 with several reprints) in refutation of Bahaʾism. He also published the periodical Namakdān for six years and was a founding member of the Literary Society (Anjoman-e Adabī) of Yazd.
In his poetry he used the taḵalloṣes Āvāra, Żīāʾī, and Āyatī. In prose he tried to use only purely Persian words. He has seventeen book titles to his credit (see Mošār, Moʾallefīn III, cols. 718-20) of which a useful history of Yazd (Ātaškada-ye yazdān, Yazd, 1317 Š./1928) and Ketāb-e nabīy yā Qorʾān-e fārsī (3 vols., Yazd, 1324-26 Š./1945-47) may be noted here.
Bibliography : M. Rastgār, “Aḥwāl o āṯār-e ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Āyatī,” Waḥīd, 1353 Š./1974, no. 242, pp. 29-34; no. 243, pp. 52-55; no. 245, pp. 17-18, 65. M. Esḥāq, Soḵanvarān-e Īrān dar ʿaṣr-e ḥāżer, Delhi, 1352/1933. ʿE. Nāʾīnī, Madīnat al-adab, ms., Majles Library, Tehran. S. M.-B. Borqaʿī, Soḵanvarān-e nāmī-e moʿāṣer II, 1330 Š./1951. ʿA. Ḵalḵālī, Taḏkera-ye šoʿarā-ye moʿāṣer-e Īrān II, Tehran, 1337 Š./1958. A. Ḵāżeʿ, Taḏkera-ye soḵanvarān-e Yazd, Bombay, 1341. M. Hedāyat, Golzār-e jāvīdān I, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974. S. M. Ṣadr Hāšemī, Tārīḵ-ejarāyed o majallāt-e Īrān IV, Isfahan, 1332, pp. 309-11. A. Goḷčīn-e Maʿānī, Golzār-e maʿānī, 2nd ed., Tehran 1363 Š./1984, pp. 52-64 (specimens of Āyatī’s prose and poetry).