The Family of Vahid Darabi
A. The Ancestry:
In course of thirty-five generations, the lineage of Siyyid Yahya Vahid Darabi can be traced back to its progenitor, the seventh Shi`i Imam, Musa ibn Ja`far, and from there to Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Household. The most detailed genealogy of this family is provided by Siyyid Muhammad-`Ali Ruzati one of the ablest modern Shi`i scholars in the school of Isfahan:
Musa ibn Ja`far
Hakim `Arif Khazr
`Allamih `Ali Majnun
`Abdullah Muhaddith (Shaykh Husayn)
Siyyid Ja`far Kashfi Darabi
Siyyid Yahya Darabi
Vahids great grandfather, Shaykh Husayn, of the family of al-`Usfur, was among the last of the great theologians and scholars of the Akhbari faction of Twelver Shi`i school of jurisprudence. All of Shaykh Husayns ancestors had lived in the province of Fars and belonged to a long line of learned divines and theologians. His son and Vahids grandfather, Aqa Siyyid Ishaq-Ibrahim `Alavi Musavi, a renowned scholar in his own right, had moved from Darab to Istahbanat and settled his family in that vicinity. Istahbanat is located between Nayriz and Darab, some thirty-six kilometer due southwest of the former.
Siyyid Ja`far Kashfi:
It was in Istahbanat that Siyyid Ishaq-Ibrahims son, named Siyyid Ja`far, was born in the year 1189 A.H./1775. Siyyid Ja`far commenced his religious training at an early age and after completing the preliminaries, moved from Fars to Najaf where he emerged as one of the best‑known esoteric scholars of his time, mastering jurisprudence, theology, philosophy, interpretation, wisdom and mysticism. From various accounts it is evident that he did not favor the innovative doctrines of the Shaykhis and during the early part of his career followed Mulla Sadra Shirazi as a model for his intellectual proclivities, and was also strongly influenced by Ibn `Arabis mysticism. He devoted long hours to ascetic practices and meditation, and in the learned circles of `Atabat was famed as one of the greatest and most celebrated `ulama of his time. His high moral character, his righteous ways attracted to him widespread esteem among his peers and students. His peculiar interpretations earned him the title of Kashfi, that is, one who discovers and explains the divine secrets. This title was also because of the visions that he claimed to have of the holy figures who assisted him to discover the meaning of abstruse passages in the Quran and the Traditions.
Through his zeal and ardent imagination, Siyyid Ja`far was carried in the later years of his career out of the ways of the orthodox Shi`is. He interpreted the hadiths differently from his colleagues and grew more mystical and esoteric over time. However, the fame and prestige of Siyyid Ja`far grew principally due to him being one of the foremost political theorists of the Qajar era who provided legitimacy to the rule of sovereign who was not a descendant of Muhammad. In this regard, he, and prior to him, Mirza Abul-Qasim Qumi, became the two jurists who wrote extensively and creatively about the separation of role of the `ulama and temporal rule of the Qajar.
The fame and piety of Siyyid Ja`far was in such wise that the Bab referred to him in the twenty-seventh surih of Qayyumul‑Asma, His first, greatest and mightiest books, and exhorted him that should he embrace the new Message, he would attain great heights in this world and a splendid glory in the world to come. Further, He warned him that without the inspiration and the regenerative powers of the new Revelation, his efforts would come to nigh.
O Solace of Mine eyes! Say unto the renowned learned‑one, Ja`far `Alavi: If thou prostrate thyself before the Gate of God, thou will be reckoned among the bearer of truth as thou art among the favored and accepted ones in this Mother Book. I swear by thy Lord, thou canst not rend the earth asunder nor reach the mountains in high without the aid of the Remembrance, Who is sent by the Lord of Truth as the supreme Word unto the dwellers of the earth and heavens. And if thou wert to propagate His Cause, know assuredly that We shall exalt thee over all that is in both worlds and that verily, through Gods consent, in the world beyond and in most exalted paradise thou shalt dwell with Us. God knoweth all things. Know thou verily that out of His prescribed wisdom, God hath revealed this unto thee. Therefore, be expecting the Great Truth of Our Cause and aid Our Great Remembrance Who is this Arabian Youth. Time for Gods assistance and dissemination of His Verses, is verily nigh, as anticipated in the Mother Book.
In His other Writings, the Bab bestowed on Siyyid Ja`far various titles, including Siyyidul-Mu`asir (the Contemporary Siyyid) and `Azdul-Muhaqqiqin (the Arms of Researchers).
Siyyid Ja`far was well acquainted with the traditions anticipating the appearance of the Promised One in the year 1260 A.H./1844. Upon hearing the news of the Qaims manifestation in Shiraz, Siyyid Ja`far, even though at an advanced age, set out at once to investigate, but the Bab had already left for the pilgrimage journey to the Arabia. Therefore in His pursuit, Siyyid Ja`far followed Him there and finally met Him in Macca. For some unexplained reason though he failed to embrace the new religion preferring to continue with his own practices. In regard to Siyyid Ja`fars pilgrimage journey, Mirza Habibullah Afnan, relates the following in his narrative which he had heard from Haji Abul-Hasan who had traveled on the same steam-boat with the Bab:
In March 1845 the Bab returned from His pilgrimage journey and initially a number of His disciples visited Him, but soon their presence attracted excessive public attention, brining with it waves of pressure. Soon this news reached Tihran and Muhammad Shah ordered Vahid Darabi to proceed to Shiraz in order to interview the Bab and to report to him the result of his investigation. Vahid immediately left for Shiraz, where he met the Bab on a number of occasions and was quickly won over to the new Movement.
After a stay of some three months in Shiraz, which he mostly devoted to transcribing the Writings of the Bab, Vahid was subsequently commanded to journey to Burujird in the province of Luristan and there to acquaint his father, Siyyid Ja`far, with the new Message. The Bab urged him to exercise the utmost forbearance and consideration towards him. Though the reason for this mission is not know with precision, it can be conjectured that the Bab had hoped that the conversion of such an eminent figure as Siyyid Ja`far, who had been the main intellectual stay for the Qajar, would further entice Muhammad Shah to heed His Call and perhaps even to embrace the Movement.
Armed with the Babs command to travel the length and the breath of the realm and spread the divine fragrance, Vahid left Shiraz in the closing days of Rajab 1262 A.H. for Burujird to visit his father, Siyyid Ja`far. He arrived in that city on the opening days of Sha`ban (late July), and according to Haji Mu`inus-Saltanih Tabrizi, spoke thusly:
In the course of his career Siyyid Jafar lived for extensive periods of time in Yazd, Najaf, Isfahan, Tihran, and Istahbanat, and spent the last years of his life in Burujird. In each town he purchased a home and established a family, hence instituting a nucleus of a following. In total he acquired five wives who brought him fourteen children: two daughters and twelve sons. Identities of his wives are not known and all that is recorded is the city where each originated. His children from various wives were:
Among his sons, many emerged as great scholars in their own right, and more accomplished among them were: Yahya, Sina, `Isa, Ishaq, Yaqub, Rayhanullah and Sabghatullah.
Siyyid Ja`far was renowned throughout the Qajar realm and passed away a year after the martyrdom of his son, Vahid, in 1267 A.H./1851 in Burujird. The year of his passing is marked by the numerical value of: Ghab‑i Najmul‑`Ala (disappeared the exalted star). A shrine was erected over his resting place, adjacent to the Shrine of the two sisters of Imam Rida.
Writings of Siyyid Ja`far Kashfi:
A number of important works have remained from Siyyid Ja`far and because of their significance and continual influence on the Shi`i political and mystical thoughts will be briefly outlined below:
1. Al-Shariffiyh (Baladul-Amin): Composed after returning from pilgrimage in 1211 A.H./1796 and a mixture of both prose and verse, this highly abstract and theoretical treatise is divided into ten chapters on themes of Greek logic, rational reasoning and the foundations of the science of jurisprudence.
2. Nukhbatul-`uqul: Composed in 1212 A.H./1798 in Najaf, a brief exposition on the foundations of judicial reasoning, it is divided into five sections: forbidden and permitted matters; general verses specific rulings, and abrogation and their origin; traditions; reason; and rational deduction. The epilogue is devoted to ijtihad and emulation.
3. Barq va Sharq: An extant copy is available in the hand of the author, composed in 1224 A.H./1808 while in Najaf. This book is an exposition on several Islamic traditions which Siyyid Ja`far had styled Barq (lightening) and his own elucidation as Sharq (literary, east, represents the dawn of the sun of truth).
4. Raqqul-Manshur fil Ithbat-i Ma`rij-i Nabiyan Mansur: Composed in 1231 A.H./1815 while residing in Najaf, this treatise seeks to establish the authenticity of the night journey of Prophet Muhammad through rational and deductive reasoning. The only extant copy of this work in the hand of its author is preserved in the religious library of Qum.
5. Tuhfatul-Muluk (Gift of Kings): Written in Persian at the request of Muhammad-Taqi Mirza, the Hisamus-Saltanih, titled Shahan-shah, in the year 1233 A.H./1817, covers discussion of mental faculty under three sections: the reality of human intellectual faculty; the relationship of human intellect with lower kingdoms; and benefits and attributes of human intellect. This book has received considerable attention and has been reprinted at least three times, in addition to having in circulation many copies in the hand of various scribes. One of the poets, Haji Muhmud Burujirdi, has extensively versed in praise of this book and its author. As noted earlier, Mirza Abul-Hasan Qumi and Siyyid Ja`far developed a theory of the Qajar state as having two wings: the civil governance and the religious learning. The sovereign in his own sphere of civil rulership and military action, and the clergy in their sphere of interpreting and implementing the sacred law, each represented as aspect of authority that had once been conjoined in the Imam.
6. Mizanul-Muluk: The most influential treatise of Siyyid Ja`far, composed in Persian in 1246 A.H./1831 at the request of Muhammad-Taqi Mirza, the Hisamus-Saltanih, is devoted to various themes related to the statesmanship and leadership under ten chapters: justice; the succession (caliphate); sovereignty; treatment of citizens by monarchs; conducts of the ministers and the intellectuals; responsibilities of the wealthy, the nobles and the government; duties of the merchants and the businessmen; and the charitable obligations of the industrialists and the men of religion.
7. Shahab-i Qamus: Written during 1255-58 A.H./1842, the contents are not known to the present writer.
8. Kifayatul-Iytam: A three-volume exposition on deductive jurisprudence, written in Persian at the request of the Burujirds governor, the Hisamus-Saltanih, in the year 1259 A.H./1843. The introduction speaks to the spiritual orphanage (Iytam), meaning the separation of the body of Shi`i from the Household of the Prophet while the remainder of the volume one is on worship. Volume two is on things forbidden, business transactions, and duties of a believer. Volume three is devoted to matters of inheritance, personal laws, and politics.
9. Sina-Barq fi Sharhul-Baziq Minl Sharq: This book is composed in Arabic and is a detailed esoteric exposition on the inner meaning of the Rajabiyyih Prayer and in the course of so doing, speaks to the reality of the lives and deeds of the fourteen immaculate Figures of the Islamic Dispensation, namely, Muhammad, Fatimih, and the twelve Imams. This work is among the late compositions of Siyyid Ja`far and according to one account it was penned in Yazd in 1253 A.H./1837, while Aqa Buzurg maintains that it was completed in 1261 A.H./1845 while in Burujird. The actual date of its composition is of interest, as the Bab has referred to this book in at least two instances, the following being an extract from His Sahifih-i Sharh-i D`ua:
In another Tablet, the Bab has written the following about the same book, which indicates how pleased He was with its composition and content:
10. Ijabatul-Mudhtarrin: The present writer is unfamiliar with this text.
11. Al-jusvatul fil-Kalam: The present writer is unfamiliar with this text.
12. Al-Shumus va al-`Ukus: A treatise on the station of the Immaculate Fourteen and their sanctity above all earthly trappings.
13. Sidul-Bahr: A book on the structure of Shi`i jurisprudence and justification for derived judgments based on reasoning of jurists. This work emerged as one of the fundamental textbooks for the Usuli School of jurisprudence.
14. On the Science of Grammar: Arabic versified composition.
15. Jam`ul-Shattat al-Mutifariqih fil Jama`atul-Muhaqqih al-Mutihaqqih: The present writer is unfamiliar with this text.
16. Poem in response to Ibn Hajr: In refuting the existence of the Promised Qaim, Ibn Hajr `Asqillani (d. 582 A.H./1186), had composed a poem and in response, Siyyid Ja`far versed a most innovative poem establishing the truth of the Qaimiyyat.
17. Ratbul-Yabs fil Jama`ul-Mutikhalif al-Muti`akis: The present writer is unfamiliar with this text.
B. Progenies of Vahid Darabi:
Not very much is known of the fate of the two wives of Vahid, though it is known that the first marriage took place in Yazd, which resulted in a daughter and three sons, and the second marriage was in Nayriz and brought forth a son.
B.1. Tuba Khanum:
Vahids daughter, Tuba Khanum, was not with him during the Nayriz upheaval as she and her younger brother were left behind in Yazd with their mother. However, it is evident that Vahid was concerned about her future and shortly before his own martyrdom, arranged for her marriage to a nephew of the governor and the son of Muhammad-Baqir Khan, namely, Mirza Muhammad-Ja`far Khan (d. 1316 A.H./1898).
The marriage certificate for this event was prepared in Vahids own hand some ten days prior to his martyrdom, and years later recovered from Fath-`Ali Khan, the son of Haji Zaynul-`Abidin Khan, the governor of Nayriz. This certificate is of particular importance as it represents to our knowledge the only one prepared in accordance with the Bayanic instructions (such as fixing the dowry at one vahid of pure gold), indicating Vahids effort to institutionalize the laws and ordinances of the Bab. Subsequent to Vahids execution and the ensuing massacre of the believers, there was no time for Tuba to come to Nayriz and Muhammad-Ja`far Khan was forced to flee quickly and hence the marriage was never consummated.
Upon hearing the news of events in Nayriz, the fate of her father and his brutal slaying, Tuba Khanum was immersed in depth of depression and grief. She spent her days in Yazd looking after the needs of her mother where the family resided under the protective shadow of their uncle. However, after a while, due to sever pressures of their enemies, she left for Tihran, where she initially lived with her aunt. Eventually she married Mirza Nasrullah Khan Kashi, an administrator for Fath-`Ali Khan Shirazi, the Sahib-Divan. All through her life, she served the Faith in a most exemplary manner and was a worthy remnant of that illustrious father.
Marriage certificate of Vahids daughter:
According to Lama`atul-Anvar 1:100 Vahid penned this certificate a few days prior to his martyrdom.
On the upper right-hand corner the seal of two parties is fixed and evident: the first belonged to Vahid whose seal, Yahya Musavi, is seen under his name, Yayha. On the second line, under grooms name, Ja`far, the following is written:
Under this verse, the seal of the groom, `Abdahur-Raji Muhammad-Ja`far [the prayful servant, Muhammad-Ja`far] is seen. On the margin, two individuals have signed as witnesses. In the upper left corner, it is written:
The text of the certificate reads as follows:
It should be noted that since this document bears a date in the hand of Vahid, it is of enormous help in bracketing the date of the Babi uprising in Nayriz.
B.2. Siyyid Ahmad:
Vahids eldest son lived in Yazd and completed his religious studies in that city. Afterwards, he commenced his career in the legal office of Haji Mulla Baqir Ardikani as the custodian of documents and married his paternal cousin, a daughter of Siyyid Hasan. He was a consecrated believer who served the Cause diligently and faithfully and withstood much harassment through his devotion. His knowledge of the history of the Faith was particularly exceptional. Toward the latter days of his life, Aqa Siyyid Ahmad traveled to Isfahan to visit his two uncles, Siyyid `Isa and Siyyid Sina, where he passed away and is now buried. His only child, a daughter, passed away in Yazd at a relatively young age with no issue.
B.3. Siyyid Muhammad:
Vahids second son was Siyyid Muhammad, known as Iminut‑Tujjar (The trustee of the merchants). He and his older brother, Siyyid Ahmad, were still in pre-teen years when the event of Yazd took place and Vahid took the two lads with him to Nayriz. They stayed in that city with their father for a while, however there is disagreement between sources as to when they were sent away from that city. Some sources suggest that Vahid confidentially sent the two youngsters to his own father in Burujird where they stayed for a year with their grandfather, Siyyid Ja`far, until the latters passing. Other histories state that after the conclusion of the events, the two boys were sent to Shiraz and there, as a token of kindness by the authorities, sent to Burujird. Afterwards they returned to Yazd to their mother.
Siyyid Muhammad grew to become a firm believer with a vast knowledge of the history and the scripture of the Faith, and much like his father possessed an extraordinary bodily strength. As a young merchant he left Yazd for Kirman where he married and spent his days engaged in commerce in that citys Gulshan district. Bahaullah has revealed several stirring Tablets in Siyyid Muhammads honor. He passed away in Kirman and no progeny resulted from him.
B.4. Siyyid Muhsin:
The third son was Siyyid Muhsin who became a pillar of the faith for the Bahai community. He left Yazd and settled near his aunts family in Qazvin where in former days his father had spent much of his time. There he was engaged in commerce in the establishment of his cousin, Mirza Mahmud Amini. Eventually, he married and had several children, all of whom remained faithful and dedicated Bahais. Siyyid Muhsin was also instrumental in guiding several individuals, including his famed cousin, Mirza Yusuf Vahid Kashfi, a son of Haji Muhammad-Isma`il. Throughout his life, he was in close communication with his brothers and sister.
B.5. Siyyid Isma`il:
A few years prior to his conversion of the Babi Faith, Vahid had settled in Nayriz and there had married Sughra, a daughter of renowned scholar Haji Shaykh `Abdul‑`Ali Nayrizi. From this union a son was born by the name of Siyyid Isma`il in 1255 A.H./1829. During the stormy days of 1850, the mother and the son were with Vahid at the Fort Khajih and immediately after his martyrdom were rescued and sent by Haji Shaykh `Abdul-`Ali to Istahbanat in company of some other family members where they stayed with Vahids sister, Jahan Bagum. The other sister of Vahdi, Bibi Batul, who had married Aqa Mirza Murshid, also lived in that town, and for some while they all lived in fear of repercussions of the events of Nayriz.
After a few years, relative security was established and Sughra and her son enjoyed the comfort of that region and benefited from association with Vahids family. In fact, Jahan Bagum had a son of her own by the name of Mirza Abul-Hasan who was of the same age as Siyyid Isma`il and she treated them equal in all manners and surrounded them with great affection. She ensured that both boys completed their early education in Istahbanat and for more advanced training in the Islamic sciences were sent to Yazd to enroll in the Madrisih Khan where they stayed with relatives.
In that city Siyyid Isma`il emerged as a celebrated scholar in his own right known as Haji Muhaqqiqul-`ulama. He married a daughter of his paternal uncle, Siyyid `Ali, and returned to Istahbanat where he spent the rest of his days engaged in research and writing dissertations on various aspects of Islamic thoughts. He passed away at the age of 84 in Dhil-Hajjih 1338 A.H./1919.
After the death of his first wife, Siyyid Isma`il had married again and had sons who also became renowned divines in the Istahbanat region.
Siyyid Isma`ils writings are among the best known in the modern Shi`ism and the most important among them are: Hisnul-Hasin dar Sharh Baladul-Amin, a commentary on his grandfathers important work on statesmanship; Lama`atul-Nur, an exposition of the Light verse of the Quran; Sharh-i Du`ay-i Kumail, an explanation of the prayer attributed to Kumail; Salsabil, (Bombay, 1312 A.H./1894) on mysticism and spiritual ways; Matla`ul-Nur va Manbi`ul-Asrar, (Shiraz, 1317 A.H./1899), a treatise on the science of kalam (exposition).
C. Other Noted Family Members:
True to their heritage, great many in the family of Vahid went on to become well known divines, theologians and men of letters. However fearing the renewal of attacks and a fate similar to the one that befell Vahid, with the exception of Mirza Yusuf Kashfi, none among them pursued a serious investigation of the veracity of the Babi or Bahai Faiths.
C.1. Siyyid Sabghatullah Kashfi:
A brother of Vahid, he was born and raised in Najaf and completed his studies in that city first with the the author of Javhir and later with Shaykh Murtida Ansari. He emerged a renowned scholar and a confidant of Ansari. He penned several important treatises, the best known being a commentary on the Quran by the title, Basa`ir al-Ayman ya Darratul-Safa fi Tafsir Aimatl-Huda in two or three volumes. He passed away in 1270 A.H./1853 in Karbala.
C.2. Mirza Ahmad:
A son of Siyyid Isma`il, and generally known by the title of Shaykhul-Muhaqqiqin, was born in 1291 A.H./1874 and was educated under the tutelage of his own father and Siyyid `Ali Kaziruni. He excelled in occult sciences and much like his great grandfather, became an expert in jafr (numerology). A number of books have remained by him and he passed away in 1354 A.H./1935 and is buried in Ray. His son, Muhammad-Hadi, went on to become an important jurist and achieved the rank of Shaykhul-Islam. He too penned many books.
C.3. Mirza Abul-Hasan Istahbanati:
A nephew of Vahid through Jahan Bagum and a cousin and a close companion of the above-mentioned Siyyid Isma`il, Mirza Abul-Hasan studied Islamic jurisprudence and philosophy in Yazd, Mashhad and Isfahan, and then spent some years mastering mathematics and astronomy. Mirza Abul-Hasans biography is provided by Aqa Buzurg Tihrani where some of Siyyid Isma`ils writings are listed in error as his. Among his writings, one should note: Hashiyyih Tahrir-i Uqlidus, on Euclidean geometry; Risalih dar Hayat, a treatise on astronomy; Sharh-i Tashrihul-Aflak, (Tihran, 1284 A.H.), an exposition of Shaykh Bahais magnum opus on astronomy.
C.4. Mirza Siyyid Muhammad Haqayiq Kashfi:
He was a son of Siyyid Musafa, well-regarded as a celebrated poet and the founder of Haqayiq school in Isfahan and died in 1909.
C.5. Haji Siyyid Mihdi Kashfi:
Son of Siyyid Rayhanullah, one of the most influential clerics of Qum and Tihran, he was born in 1896 and died in 1947.
C.6. Siyyid Musa Muqtadi Kashfi:
Grandson of Siyyid Musafa, author of two important texts: Mahafil al-Shuhada, on martyrs of Karbala; and Bahr al-Ma`rif, on the science of Quranic analysis.
C.7. Mirza Siyyid Muhammad Istahbanati:
Grandson of Siyyid Musafa, he emerged as one of the best-known and best-published contemporary poets and literary figures.
C.8. Mirza Yusuf Vahid Kashfi:
A nephew of Vahid Darabi deserves special mention as standing among the most eminent Bahais of his age. Mirza Yusuf was born a decade and half after the martyrdom of his renowned uncle in the year 1281 A.H./1864 in Istahbanat as the youngest of the eight children (six boys and two girls) of Jahan Bagum and Haji Muhammad-Isma`il. Both his father and grandfather, Haji Muhammad-Taqi, originally of Lar, were merchants of note whose trading activities spread to the surrounding regions. Jahan Bagum was born and raised in Istahbanat and together with her husband had become a firm believer in course of Vahids first visit.
From early childhood signs of unusual intellect and remarkable faculty coupled with well-pleasing nature were evident in Mirza Yusuf and soon he excelled in all his early studies. Occasionally during this period he journeyed to Nayriz, visiting his sister and her family, and once traveled to Mashhad with his maternal uncle, Siyyid Mustafa.
At the age of sixteen he was sent to Shiraz to complete his education under the supervision of one of his fathers relations in Aqa Baba-Khan school and soon he mastered such branches of learning as Arabic grammar, logic, principles of speech, and wisdom. After a while he also enrolled in the Qavam School where he studied the basics of the philosophy of Mulla Sadra under the tutelage of Mirza Abbas Hakim, one of the foremost students of the celebrated Haji Mulla Hadi Sabzivari. It was there in 1298 A.H./1880 that he befriended the renowned Aqa Shaykh Ibrahim Burazjani, known as Fadil Shirazi, and was first introduced to the Faith and learned the details associated with his illustrious maternal uncle, though he continued to remain identified with the religion of his birth.
For his advance studies in the various branches of Islamic sciences he left Shiraz for Yazd where he remained for two years and enrolled in the Khan school. This stay afforded him the opportunity to deepen his knowledge of the Cause through associations with his cousin, Siyyid Ahmad (a son of Vahid) and a resident of the same town. Frequently he also visited Haji Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, the Vakilud-Dawlih, from whom he learned many details about the religion of the Bab.
Subsequently, he traveled to Isfahan, visiting his two maternal uncles, Siyyid Sina and Siyyid `Isa, and from there to Burujird where another maternal uncle, Siyyid Rayhanullah, the youngest brother of Vahid Darabi, had succeeded his father and had acquired the rank of the Hujjatul-Islam. He stayed in that town for some six months and benefited from the classes of his uncle at whose encouragement, he traveled to Karbala and for the next two years undertook tuition under such renowned scholars as Aqa Shaykh Zaynul-`Abidin Mazandarani, Haji Mirza Habibullah Rashti and Haji Siyyid Husayn Turk. A portion of this time he was enrolled in the classes of various divines in Najaf, such as, Haji Shaykh Muhammad, Fadil Irvani and Shaykh Hadi Najm-Abadi.
Upon completion of his studies, he returned to the native town of the family in Darab, but finding its intellectual environment too stifling, he left after a week for Kirman and Yazd. In was in the former city where he met his cousin, Siyyid Muhammad, who had accompanied Vahid on the historic journey to Nayriz, and from this cousin learned much more about the Faith. Though in the course of his conversations he was unable to attain certitude, as a result of further exposure to the sacred Writings he was deeply moved.
In 1302 A.H./1884 from Yazd he proceeded to Mashhad where he stayed for about a year and a half. In order to satisfy his internal agitation, he decided after performance of each mornings obligatory prayer to recite a special prayer known as Du`a Davazdah Imam. On the fortieth morning, his biographers note, upon reciting the phrase ...the divinely hidden Personage... all veils of earthly knowledge were lifted and immediately he stood to recite a special Tablet of Visitation revealed by Bahaullah in honor of his uncle, Vahid. Thereupon spiritual certitude was his.
In 1305 A.H./1887 he proceeded to Tihran and arrived at the home of his cousin, Tuba Khanum, and through her and her brother, Siyyid Muhsin, was able to deepen his knowledge in the Faith of Bahaullah and began his life-long path of service. It was during this time that he became closely connected with a number of government officials and solidified his reputation as a wise and learned counsel.
Two years later, Jalalud-Dawlih, a son of Zilluls-Sultan, was appointed governor of the province of Yazd and decided to take Mirza Yusuf Kashfi with him. On learning that Mirza Yusuf had refused this offer, Jalalid-Dawlih informed him that, if necessary, he would be taken to Yazd in chains. In an effort to distance himself from the crazed Prince, he immediately accepted a position in the newly established American College in Tihran, teaching Arabic and Persian courses. Ceasing the opportunity, he also began to study English language and the history of Church and was able to acquire certificate of completion some nine months later. By now he had attracted the attention of the College administers and was appointed the supervisor of the schools expansion program, including its construction activities. On a number of occasions, including the time when the monarch, Nasirid-Din Shah, visited the College, Mirza Yusuf was asked to represent the school to the government officials or to intercede on behalf of the Mission.
In 1308 A.H./1890, Mirza Yusuf married a daughter of Tuba Khanum, the daughter of Vahid Darabi. It was soon thereafter that the American Mission launched efforts to establish a school in Ridaiyyih and for this purpose Miss Green arrived from the United States and another missionary worker, Dr. Cochron, was recalled from Ridayyih to report on the progress towards establishing this enterprise. On meeting Mirza Yusuf, both were greatly impressed with his abilities and asked him to assist with the Ridaiyyih facility. He readily accepted and with his family proceeded there, but his stay was short-lived and he returned to Tihran. It was then that his wife passed away and was buried in Imam-zadih Yahya, next to her mother.
In the early months of 1892, he decided to attain the presence of Bahaullah and proceeded towards `Akka. However upon reaching Tabriz, he learned of His Ascension and deeply grieved, decided against completion of the journey and remained in Ridaiyyih for a year, and from there he returned to Tihran.
In 1311 A.H./1894, once again the American Protestant Missionary in Tihran appointed him the principle of their College in Ridaiyyih. In was there that he married again, formed a family, and through hard work, expanded his estate.
Much like his uncle, Mirza Yusuf possessed an uncanny ability for cultivating relations with the ruling class and since Tabriz traditionally served as the seat for the heir to the Qajar throne, he established important contacts in that town. The most beneficial of his relations, as it turned out, was with the governor of Tabriz, Prince Imam-Quli Mirza, who introduced him to Prince Muzaffarud-Din Mirza. On meeting Mirza Yusuf and hearing him make a representation on behalf of Imam-Quli Mirza, the royal prince was enchanted with his personality and knowledge, thereby honored him with the title Lisan-i Huzur (the sanctified tongue).
In 1313 A.H./1895, he traveled to the Ottoman region and remained for some six months as a tutor of Siyyid Tah, a son of Shaykh Sadiq, the religious leader of Naqshbandi tribe. Years later, around 1919-20, both this student together with another Naqshbandi leader, Shaykh `Abdullah, visited Mirza Yusuf in Ridaiyyih and both accepted the Message of Bahaullah.
In the same year, subsequent to the assassination of Nasirid-Din Shah, Prince Muzaffarud-Din Mirza came to the throne and his son Muhammad-Ali Mirza was named his heir and established himself in Tabriz. A few years later, in 1319 A.H./1901, the young Prince paid an official visit to Ridaiyyih in course of which he came to the American Protestant Mission and through the Nazimul-Kukama was introduced to Mirza Yusuf. Some days later, Mirza Yusuf was called to Tabriz and after detailed discussions with the Prince about the Faith, in the presence of many high-ranking officials, the title of Lisan-i Huzur was reconfirmed and he was granted the honorary rank of Army Colonel.
In 1902, he met Siyyid Assadullah Qumi who wrote of him to `Abdul-Baha in response to which Mirza Yusuf received a moving Tablet which starts with the words O seeker of the Beloved of the worlds. In the course of this Tablet, the Master noted, The field of service is wide open. As such, he decided to resign his post, sell his belongings and undertake a number of teaching journeys. On hearing his plans for visiting `Abdul-Baha in the Holy Land and the subsequent travels to Europe and the North America, Prince Muhammad-Ali Mirza issued three royal commands to the Iranian embassies in Istanbul, London and Washington, to ensure his comfort and needs. However, Mirza Yusuf never approached the Iranian officials with any request.
After receiving permission from `Abdul-Baha to make such a journey, he hastened to `Akka to attain his hearts desire. During the nineteen days that he remained there he drank his fill from the life-giving draught of the presence of the Master and on daily basis paid homage to the Sacred Shrine of Bahaullah. Because of his fluency in English, `Abdul-Baha instructed him to visit the United States, which he accomplished via Port Said, Cairo, Alexandria, Italy, Paris, London, Liverpool, and eventually arrived at Quebec and then proceed to Boston. From there, he went to New York and met with Mirza Abul-Fadl and Ali-Kuli Khan. After consultation with local Bahais, he traveled extensively for a period of over a year in the eastern States, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, and some of the mid-western regions such as the State of Missouri everywhere assisting with deepening and consolidation efforts. During these days, from very early in the morning until several hours into the night, he would exert himself and do all he could in promotion of the Faith. At the conclusion of his journey, he traveled to Maine and stayed at the Green Acres for a while. During this period, he regularly gave lectures on the teachings of the Cause, its history and the station of `Abdul-Baha that resulted many to enroll under the banner of the Faith. In so doing, in effect, he was preparing the community for the arrival of the Master in a few years time. After a stay of two years in the States, due to adverse weather and the deterioration of his health, and following consultation with Mirza Abul-Fadl and upon `Abdul-Bahas approval, he returned to Ridaiyyih and resumed his earlier career.
Though initially he was disappointed for not being able to stay longer in the North America, soon he received a Tablet from the Master urging him to serve in his native country and to readily accept what God had ordained. From pursuing this Tablet, Mirza Yusuf set aside all caution and openly taught the Faith to everyone he encountered, including his own classes in the Missionary College. Soon several of his students embraced the Faith, which caused great uproar among the school administers who decided upon termination of his appointment. They also complained to the authorities, who because of Mirza Yusufs standing in the community, ignored their plea. The school officials however combined their forces with certain fanatical elements and one day rushed and plundered his home. Since `Abdul-Baha had instructed him to be resigned to the will of God, Mirza Yusuf did not approach the officials to redress his case.
Upon hearing the details, `Abdul-Baha urged him to travel teach in Adharbayjan. As such, he spent a period of time promoting the Cause until he eventually settled in the village of Shishvan, on the outskirts of Ridaiyyih Lake. For the next seven months he served as a tutor for the four sons of the Prince Imam-Quli Mirza and was granted an annual stipend of one hundred tumans and a ton of wheat. During this time, he continued with his intense teaching work that resulted in several individuals, including his four students, recognizing the Faith.
In 1923 he left that region for Tihran where he accepted a position at the Tarbiyat Bahai School in addition to his post of the English-Persian translator for the Commerce Ministry. Three years later he left for Qazvin and served for a year and a half as the principle of Hamdullah Mustawfi School, after which for the next five years he administered Tavvakul Bahai school of the same town.
In 1929, when Martha Roth was visiting Iran, he accompanied her to Adharbayijan and served as her translator. After which he returned to Qazvin and resumed his teaching work and service to the Cause. Again some four years later when the American travel teacher, Miss Ramson Kehler, visited Iran he served as her translator during her two-year journeys to Gilan, Khurasan and Mazandaran. It was after her untimely passing in Isfahan that he decided to complete her tour by himself and for the next four years traveled extensively in various regions of the country, assisting the community with learning the basics of administration and Bahai organizational structure. When in 1938 Millard Mutahidih visited Iran, bearing messages from Shoghi Effendi, Mirza Yusuf assisted her as a translator in her tour of the eastern provinces.
In total Mirza Yusuf married four times. He had divorced his first wife prior to his conversion to the Bahai Faith and had married again, this time his spouse had died prematurely. His third union resulted in a son, `Ataullah, who became an agricultural engineer and served the Faith with great distinction. On passing of this wife, Mirza Yusuf married again which resulted in daughter named Khujastih.
Much like his celebrated uncle, Vahid Darabi, he possessed an unusual command of Islamic sciences and traditions and in course of his teaching activities was able to draw upon this fount of knowledge with great facility. In addition to his deep Bahai knowledge, his command of several languages, such as, English, Arabic, French, and Turkish enabled him to promote the Faith in many regions beyond his immediate environ. He was recipient of numerous Tablets from the Center of the Covenant, which eloquently testify to his life-long services, particularly in the region of Adharbayijan where he lived for well over three decades. In one of the many Tablets that he received from `Abdul-Baha, he was titled Vahid as a remembrance of his illustrious uncle, Vahid Darabi. The Master in this Tablet enjoined upon him service to the Cause with the same degree of sacrifice and self-renunciation manifested a generation earlier by his uncle.
During the ministry of the Guardian, he continued to be a source of encouragement and a pillar of the faith to the community and was frequently blessed by receiving letters from Shoghi Effendi. In his latter days, he devoted much time to organizing deepening activities for the younger generation.
He passed away on 3 October 1959, at the age of 94, and was buried at Tihran Bahai cemetery and indeed the community of Iran was robbed one of its ablest promoters. The Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land instructed the Iranian Bahai community to commemorate his passing by holding meetings in his honor throughout the country, and their cable to the community reads:
Deeply saddened news passing distinguished servant Cause God renowned scholar Vahid. Assure his family fervent prayers sacred threshold progress his noble soul. Organize befitting memorial gatherings. Hands Cause.
 This article was originally written to serve as Appendix 1 of the present writers unpublished detailed study on the life and writings of Vahid Darabi and the Babis of Nayriz, titled, Epics of the Brave: the History and Documents of the Babis of Nayriz. [This content is now at Witnesses to Babi and Bahá'í History. -J.W., 2012]
 Yahya and Vahid have the same numerical value, namely, 28.
 There are contradictory information regarding Vahids birthplace: Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:473 and Lama`atul-Anvar 1:41 maintain that he was born in Yazd, while Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab 233 and Revelation of Bahaullah 1:326 n.1 suggest Darab near Shiraz.
 Kashful-Ghata 78, Hadrat Bab 258, Tarikh Burujird 2:314, and Kavakibud-Durrih 1:53 state that he was the eldest son, while Muhadirat 761 state he was the seventh son.
 Siyyid Muhammad-`Ali Ruzati, Jami`ul Nisab 1:24. This genealogy is also quoted in the Tarikh Burujird 2:272.
 A descendent of this family was Shaykh Abu-Turab, a son of Shaykh Mufid, who was a great admirer of the Bab and served as the Imam Jum`ih of Shiraz. When in 1845 the `ulama of Shiraz prepared a fatwa ordering the death of the Bab, Shaykh Abu-Turab intervened and thawed their plans; see (forthcoming) The Bab in Shiraz, Ahang Rabbani, Bahai Studies Review, 2004.
 The reason that Vahid is known as Darabi is not because he lived there for any extended period of time, but rather due to his ancestors, particularly his grandfathers, association with this town.
 There is little agreement among various sources about the year of his birth: Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:461 indicates that he was born in the early years of 1180s; Lama`atul-Anvar 1:40 gives the birth year as 1180 A.H.; Yusuf-i Baha dar Qayyumul-Asma 30 suggests he was born in 1189 A.H./1775, a fact repeated by the same author in Hadrat Bab 258; Sharh-i Hal Shaykh Murtida Ansari, [A biography of Shaykh Murtida Ansari] 272 gives the birth and death as 1189 A.H./1775 and 1267 A.H./1851, respectively. The last source, being the earliest and perhaps the most reliable, is employed for most of the biographical information in this study.
 For a detailed discussion of the life and writings of Mulla Sadra, see: Gobineau, Religions et Philosophies dans l Asie Centrale, pp 81-91; and A Travelers Narrative 268-271.
 See Nasikhut-Tavarikhs description as translated in (forthcoming) Epics of the Brave, chapter 8.
 Under Shi`i religion, the sovereign ruled on behalf of the Imam, Who was the ultimate temporal and religious authority. As such, he had to be a direct descent of the Imam. However, the Qajar, being Turk, could claim no such descent.
 Said Amir Arjomand, The Shadow of God and the Hidden Imam, chapter 10.
 In the same chapter, the Bab pays tribute to Shaykh Hasan of the family of al-`Usfur, a bother of Siyyid Jafars grandfather. According to a cousin of the Bab, the renowned Vakilud-Dawlih, while en route to pilgrimage journey, in Bushihr, the Bab had tried to convert this Shaykh Hasan, who had remained neutral; Khanidan Afnan 115.
 A reference to the `ulama.
 A reference to the Bab.
 Qayyumul-Asma, 27:46-47, in 1261 A.H. transcribed copy. Quoted in Muhadirat 759-60 and Lama`atul-Anvar 1:3--. Two sentences of this passage are quoted in Yusif-i Baha Dar Qayyumul-Asma 30.
 Yusif-i Baha Dar Qayyumul-Asma 31.
 According to the Abjad system, ghars has a numerical value of (1000+200+60=)1260, hence signifying the year of the appearance of the Báb.
 Mirza Habibullah Afnan, Tarikh Amry Fars va Shiraz 72-76; translation in The Bab in Shiraz, Ahang Rabbani, Bahai Studies Review, 2004. With slight modification, most of the same is quoted in Hadrat Nuqtih Ula 141-2.
 25 June 24 July 1846.
 Lama`atul-Anvar 1:45-6 notes that Siyyid Ja`far wrote of these observations to Haji Mu`inus-Saltinih. However, the two did not overlap in time and is not clear how Mu`inus-Saltinih came to such information. Further a close study of this extract reveals that a segment contains many similarities with a treatise of Vahid; see (forthcoming) Epics of the Brave, Appendix 2.
 A requirement of fine penmanship in Persian and Arabic is to write slowly, and yet the Central Figures of the Faith have repeatedly demonstrated their abilities to write with extreme speed of rare quality of hand and unmatched eloquence of composition.
 Up to this point appears in Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:465-6 and Lama`atu-Anvar 1:44-5. `Ali and Zaynul-`Abidin were the first and the fourth Shi`i Imams, respectively.
 Tarikh Haji Mu`inus-Saltanih 88-91.
 Kavakibud-Durriyih 1:57 states that after Vahids conversion, in a gathering of the divines, one of them said to Siyyid Ja`far, It is reported that your son, Siyyid Yahya, has lost his faculties. Yes, he has gone mad, Kashfi responded in his sons defense, however, this madness is not of the loss of rational faculty but an inheritance from his illustrious ancestor, the Prophet.
 Tarikh Burujird 2:296 and Muhadirat 761 report that he had 11 sons and 4 daughters.
 An extensive eulogy appears on his gravestone; for the text see Muhadirat 761.
 The date of its composition is given by the numerical value of the either of the two phrases Tuhfatul-Mulk Mulukul-Kalam, or, Tuhfatul-Muluk Qaidil-Ummam, which correspond to 1233.
 Tarikh Burujird 2:289-291.
 See extracts of Tuhfatul-Muluk translated in Said Amir Arjomand, Shadow of God 225-7.
 Several of Siyyid Ja`fars students, such as, Mulla `Abdullah Burujirdi, Haji Mirza Salih Luristani, Shaykh `Abdul-Husayn and Urang-Zayb Mirza, went on to become great clerics in the field of politico-theology and have significantly expanded this field of discourse.
 A Shii prayer prescribed for recitation during the month of Rajab (hence its name), it begins by the verse, O my Lord, I beseech Thee through the inner meaning of all that hath dawned from Thee.
 Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:479.
 Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:479 and Lama`atul-Anvar 1:346.
 Muhammad-Ja`far Khan was a noted poet and a collection by the title of Khusraw va Shirin is published by him.
 The Persian Bayan, 6:7; Selections from the Writings of E.G. Browne 378.
 The Babi theology recognized the worlds of haqq (divinity), amr (command or cause), and khalq (creation). The same notion is upheld by Bahaullah; see, for instance, the opening verse of the Kitab-i Aqdas.
 12 June - 10 July 1850
 Lama`atul-Anvar 1:113 suggests Siyyid Ahmad was the eldest of Vahids children.
 Ardikani, though a firm believer in Bahaullah, served as the foremost mujtahid of Yazd; see (forthcoming) Epics of the Brave, Chapter 2, for further details.
 Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 2:406 gives his name as Siyyid `Ali-Muhammad.
 Farsnamih Nasiri 305 and Lama`atul-Anvar 1:114.
 Nasikhut-Tavarrikh and Rawdatus-Safa.
 Lama`atul-Anvar 1:114.
 Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:477 suggests Siyyid Ahmad and Siyyid Muhammad, though not a believer, were admirers of the Cause.
 As discussed previously, following Nabils error, Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 2:406 gives his name as Siyyid Mihdi.
 Shaykh Muhammad-Hasan (d. 1850) wrote the most comprehensive work on Shi`i jurisprudence, Javahirul-Asrar fil Fihql-Islam, in 24 volumes. He is mentioned in the Kitab-i Aqdas, paragraph 166.
 For a list of publications consult Tarikh Burujird 2:302.
 For a list consult Tarikh Burujird 2:303.
 Nuqabul-Bashar 1:35.
 For biography see, Aqa Buzurg, al-Dariyyih 9:259, and Siyyid Muhammad-`Ali Ruzati, Jami`ul-Nisab 118.
 For biography see, Muhammad Razi, Atharul-Hajjih 1:227.
 For biography see, Muhammad-Husayn Adamiyat, Danishmandan va Sukhan-Sarayan-i Fars 4:338. For example of poetry see, Tarikh Burujird 2:298-300.
 For a detail biography see Masbih Hidayat 7:5-36; Ahang Badi`, year 1332 Sh, no. 10-12; and Lama`atul-Anvar, vol 1.
 Ishraq-Khavari Encyclopedia (unpublished), p. 2596, gives this date as 1280 A.H.
 There is a considerable confusion between various accounts on his travels during the early years. The present writer has deemed the information in Masabih Hidayat to be more reliable.
 The renowned sage of Sabzivar is mentioned by Bahaullah in the Tablet of Wisdom and was a teacher of the famous Bahai scholar, Hand of the Cause Nabil Qaini. For details see Sharh Hal Rijal-i Iran.
 Fadil Shirazi was among the most eminent believers of Abdul-Bahas ministry whose fascinating biography is provided in Masabih Hidayat [the stars of guidance], vol 7.
 He was a son of the eldest maternal uncle of the Bab and the architect of the first Bahai house of worship in Ishqabad. `Abdul-Baha has considered him to be together with the Bab and the eighteen Letters of the Living among the 24 elders mentioned in the Book of the Revelation. For more detailed biographical information consult, Khanidan Afnan; Eminent Bahais during the time of Bahaullah; and (forthcoming) In the Land of Refuge, Appendices 1 and 4.
 His name is given as Abdullah in Lama`atul-Anvar 1:111.
 A prayer in honor of the Twelve Imams, written by Khajih Nasirud-Din Tusi, to be recited during forty consecutive mornings.
 For a provisional translation of this Tablet of Visitation see http://bahai-library.com/bahaullah_ziyarat_vahid_darabi.
 In his unpublished Encyclopedia of the Faith, p. 2596, A.H. Ishraq-Khavari gives this date as 1304 A.H.
 This governor of Yazd was responsible for much of the persecution of the Bahais of this period and wherever he went, much like his father, left behind a bloody trail. He is particularly responsible for the unprecedented pogrom of 1903 in Yazd where some 86 Bahais were slain. For a detail discussion of this episode consult the eyewitness account of Abul-Qasim Bayda, in manuscript form, or the published account of Haji Mulla Muhammad Tahir Malamiri, Tarikh Shuhaday-i Yazd. Another eyewitness account of this episode is translated in English, The Martyrs of Manshad, Ahang Rabbani and Naghmeh Astani, the World Order magazine, Fall 1996.
 Various sources, such as Tarikh Zuhurul-Haqq 3:477 and Lama`atul-Anvar vol 1, suggest that Tuba had no child. However, Masabih Hidayat 7:12 informs otherwise. The fact that Vahid Kashfi married this grand-daughter of Vahid Darabi is confirmed by the present writers father, Dr. Iraj Rabbani, who in his youth was a student of Vahid Kashfi and closely informed of the details associated with his noble life.
 Lama`atul-Anvar vol 1 is silent on this trip to Tihran and indicates that while in Tabriz, he was approached by the American Mission to head the school in Ridaiyyih.
 He is a brother of Malik (Prince) Qasim-Mirza, who is mentioned in A Travelers Narrative.
 Masabih Hidayat 7:15 states that partly responsible for this introduction to the Prince was the effort of Haji Muins-Saltanih, the famous Bahai historian of later years, who was a chamberlain of the Prince Muzaffarud-Din Mirza and enjoyed the title of the Hishmatul-Vuzara.
 Some three years later, Siyyid Tah, visited Tihran and through Vahid Kashfi met a number of prominent Bahais, including Haji Abul-Hasan Amin, and attended many functions at the Bahai Center.
 Father of Hand of the Cause General Shu`allah `Alai
 The Royal decree, signed by the Shuja`us-Saltanih, is dated Sha`ban 1319 A.H. [November-December 1901]; see Masabih Hidayat 7:21-2, for the text of this decree.
 Tablet begins with Ay mushtaq dilbar afaq and is available in Lama`atul-Anvar vol 1.
 The text of the royal decrees, dated Dhil-Qa`dah 1319H [February 1902], addressed to the Iranian Ambassador in the United States, the Mafkhamud-Dawlih, is provided in Masabih Hidayat 7:23, a translation of it is as follows:
As Mirza Yusuf Khan, the Lisan-i Huzur, has decided to visit America to complete his studies, this letter of recommendation is written on his behalf. Kindly ensure that in the course of his stay in that region all aid and assistance is rendered him. Further, kindly assure his comfort so that his studies may proceed satisfactorily and that no delay or hindrance is caused.
Dhil-Qa`dah 1319 A.H., [signed] The Heir to the Throne.
 Lama`atul-Anvar 1:-- indicates that this stipend was granted by Muzaffarad-Din Shah. However, the text of the letter authorizing this provision is printed in Masabih Hidayat 7:15-6, and clearly shows the author being Imam-Quli Mirza.
 From that time, Mirza Yusuf ceased to use Lisan-i Huzur and would instead employee the title Vahid Kashfi.
 Masabih Hidayat 7:36 and Akhbar Amry, yr. 116 BE, no. 91, 1338 Sh.