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Vahíd (Sayyed Yahyá Dárábí)

by Moojan Momen

published in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Volume 7
New York: Columbia University, 1996
DĀRĀBĪ, SAYYED YAḤYĀ (b. Yazd, ca. 1226/1811, d. Neyrīz, 1266/1850), Babi leader usually known as Waḥīd (unique), a title given him by the Bāb. The eldest son of Sayyed Jaʿfar Kašfī Eṣṭah-bānātī, he received a Muslim religious education and, like his father, was associated with the Qajar court (see DĀRĀBĪ, JAʿFAR; Sepehr, p. 121; Eʿteżād-al-Salṭana, p. 74).

In 1261/1846 Waḥīd was asked by Moḥammad Shah (1250-64/1834-48) and Ḥājī Mīrzā Āqāsī to investigate the claims being put forth by the Bāb (Nicolas, p. 233; Nabīl, pp. 171-72). He arrived in Shiraz in May, and, after three interviews, during the last of which the Bāb wrote his commentary on the koranic sura 108 (al-Kawṯar), he became a follower (Māzandarānī, pp. 465, 471-72; MacEoin, p. 71; Nabīl, pp. 174-76; Browne, pp. 111-13, 209). Two short essays in which Waḥīd described this encounter have been published (Māzandarānī, pp. 471-77; MacEoin, p. 117). Subsequently Waḥīd traveled extensively to preach Babism, visiting Borūjerd to tell his father of the new faith; Isfahan; Ardestān; Tehran, where he stayed with Mīrzā Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Bahāʾ-Allāh; Khorasan; Qazvīn, where he remained some months with his sister; Shiraz; and Yazd (Māzandarānī, pp. 465-70). In the winter of 1264/1847-48 he again visited the Bāb, who had been moved to Mākū (Māzandarānī, p. 468).

In 1265/1849, when news of the fighting between followers of the Bāb and government troops at the shrine of Shaikh Ṭabarsī in Māzandarān (see BABISM) reached him in Tehran, Waḥīd was determined to go there, but he learned from Bahāʾ-Allāh that the road was blocked by government troops. Instead he set off to the south, visiting Qom, Kāšān, Isfahan, and Yazd. There is contradictory evidence in the sources about the dates of his final stay in Yazd (Momen, pp. 108-09 and n.), where he succeeded in converting a number of important ʿolamāʾ and notables in the town and surrounding area. His activities were opposed, however, by some ʿolamāʾ, as well as by the acting governor, Āqā Khan Īravānī (Nabīl, pp. 466-75).

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