ĀŠTĪĀNĪ, ḤĀJJ MĪRZĀ MAHDĪ, known as Mīrzā Kūček (1306-1372/1888-89 to 1952-53), a scholar who excelled in both the traditional (manqūl) and rational (maʿqūl) sciences. His father, Mīrzā Jaʿfar, was both a nephew and a son-in-law of the great moǰtahed Mīrzā Moḥammad Ḥasan Āštīānī, Ḥāǰǰ Mīrzā Mahdī first studied with his father, a religious authority in his own right, and then under Mīrzā Masīḥ Ṭālaqānī, Āḵūnd Mollā ʿAbd-al-Rasūl, Āqā Sayyed ʿAbd-al-Karīm, Mīr Naǰm-al-dawla, Mīrzā Jahānbaḵš, and Āqā Shaikh Moḥammad Ḥosayn. At the early age of fifteen, he gained certificates of competence in various subjects from these masters, and proceeded to study with the greatest master of ḥekmat of the day, Mīrzā Abu’l-Ḥasan Jelwa. After the death of Jelwa in 1314/1897, he continued studying ḥekmat until, in 1327/1909, he went to Naǰaf to perfect his knowledge of feqh. There he joined the circle of Āḵūnd Mollā Moḥammad-Kāẓem Ḵorāsānī, but bad health soon forced him to return to Iran. Two years later, he returned to Naǰaf, this time to study with Āḵūnd Mollā Moḥammad Kāẓem Yazdī, who granted him a certificate of eǰtehād. Later he studied with other jurisprudents such as Āyatallāh Żīāʾ-al-dīn ʿErāqī, Āyatallāh Abu’l-Ḥasan Eṣfahānī, and Mīrzā Ḥosayn Nāʾīnī, all of whom granted him further certificates of eǰtehād, and he began teaching both feqh and ḥekmat. It was, however, in Tehran, that he finally settled and spent his learned career, interrupted by trips to Bukhara (where he is said to have taught briefly), Egypt, and Europe. He also spent a year in Qom, teaching ḥekmat to a large number of students that included Mīrza Moḥammad ʿAlī Šāhābādī, who was later to be one of the instructors of Āyatallāh Ḵomeynī in the same discipline. His literary legacy consists chiefly of commentaries on works of ḥekmat (Šarḥ-e manẓūma of Mollā Hādī Sabzavārī, al-Asfār al-arbaʿa of Mollā Ṣadrā, and al-Šefāʾ of Ebn Sīnā) and feqh (Kefāyat al-oṣūl of Āḵūnd Mollā Moḥammad Kāẓem Ḵorāsānī and al-Matāǰer of Shaikh Mortażā Anṣārī). He also wrote an original work, a treatise on waḥdat al-woǰūd. He died of chronic jaundice in Tehran in 1372/1952-53, and his body was taken for burial to Qom.
M. Ḥerz-al-dīn, Maʿāref al-reǰāl, Naǰaf, 1384/1964, III, p. 271.
M. Šarīf Rāzī, Āṯār al-ḥoǰǰa, Qom, 1332 Š./1952, I, pp. 230-32.
Idem, Ganǰīna-ye dānešmandān, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973, IV, pp. 368-69.
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 17, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 8, pp. 850-851