ḤABIB-ALLĀH ḴORĀSĀNI, Hājj Mirzā, an enlightened religious scholar of Mašhad and a poet (b. Mašhad, 1266/1850; d. Mašhad, 27 Šaʿbān 1327/12 September 1909). After studying preliminary religious sciences in his birthplace he traveled to Iraq to pursue his studies. He learned French there and in Baghdad met a number of scholars and Sufis. After his return to Mašhad he became the target of some criticism on account of his association with Mirzā Mahdi Gilāni, known as Ḵadiv, a dervish-like individual whose unconventional behavior did not sit well with Mašhad’s clerics. Therefore, he left Mašhad and went to Sāmarrā and joined the circle of the students of Mirzā Ḥasan Širāzi. Then he returned to Maš-had, but left again for Iraq, made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and stayed in Iraq until 1298/1881 or a year later, when he returned to Mašhad and became the leader of prayers in the Gowharšād Mosque (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, II, p. 400). He was an unassuming, liberal, and respected reli-gious leader. He was against popular celebration of the murder of the second caliph, ʿOmar, and prohibited the production of passion plays (taʿzia, or šabih-sāzi) in Mašhad, considering them unbecoming to the Imams’ dignity so that the leaders of Mašhad districts who were intent on producing them were obliged to do so outside of Mašhad in the village of Šāhāndež, some 30 km from the city.
He retired from his duties as a mojtahed (doctor of law, see EJTEHĀD) in 1316/1898-99. He did not actively support the Constitutional movement, but offered the reception quarter of his house (biruni,q.v.) for the meetings of the Constitutionalist Provincial Council (anjoman-e ayā-lati) of Khorasan. He is buried in the shrine of Imam ʿAli al-Reżā in Mašhad.
His Divān consists of panegyrics (qaṣidas), mostly in praise of the Prophet and the first Shiʿite Imam, as well as odes (ḡazals) and some stanzaic poems and quatrains. In his poems he exhibits profound devotion to ʿAli b. Abi Ṭāleb (q.v.), the first Imam, whom he elevates almost to divine status. His poems, which show mystical tendencies, read well. In many of them he satirizes, after Hafeẓ’s fashion, the clerical figures of formal religion, at the same time praising the wine, the tavern, the rends (debauchees), and other symbols of antinomian attitude. Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Eʿtemād al-Saltana also attributes to him some Arabic poems.
Hājj Mirzā Ḥabib Ḵorāsāni, Divān, ed., ʿAli Ḥabib with an Introduction, 1336 Š./1957, 3rd printing, 1353 Š./1974.
Moḥammad-Ḥasan Khan Eʿte-mād-al-Salṭana, Maṭlaʿ al-šams, 3 vols., Tehran, 1301-3/1884-86; repr. in one vol., Tehran, 2535 (1353) Š./1974.
Sayyed Ḥasan Moškān Ṭabasi, in Dabestān, no. 3, Mašhad, 1342 Š./1963, apud ʿAli Ḥabib’s Intro. to the Divān.
Moḥammad-Bāqer Rażawi Modarres, Intro. to the 1957 ed. of the Divān, cited in the 1974 printing.
Badāyeʿnegār, in al-Kamāl, no. 4, Mašhad, 1340 Š./1961, apud ʿAli Ḥabib’s Intro. to the Divān.
Originally Published: December 15, 2002
Last Updated: February 24, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 4, pp. 428-429
Jalal Matini, “ḤABIB-ALLĀH ḴORĀSĀNI,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, XI/4, pp. 428-429, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/habib-allah-korasani (accessed on 30 December 2012).