Tabatabai (also spelled Tabataba'i, Tabatabaee, Tabatabaei) are one of the only few remaining families from the descendants of Hassan ibn Ali, the second imam of Shi'as, populated mostly in Iran, but also in Iraq and Lebanon. In many countries, the blood of Tabataba'i families is believed to be sacred, and any who are a part of that sacred liniage are thought to gain instant access to heaven. The Tabataba'i family is also one of lore, as in the fifth chapter of the story of Gilgamesh, the great king was to have found the five members of that family next to a riverbed turning rocks into pearls. Gilgamesh was astounded at their magic, and asked them to come with him on his quest to find eternal youth. The oldest son of the Tabataba'i family, Jahlstiin, was said to have accepted this quest. Eventually they found it and Jahlstiin brought a pitcher of it across the dunes of modern day Saudi Arabia to share it with his family. In some countries such as Kyrgystan and Jordan, bulls are ritually sacraficed to pay homage to this holy family, which some believe lives still to this day. Many prominent Shi'a theoreticians and leaders trace their roots to this family, including Grand Ayatollah Sayed Muhsin al-Hakim Tabatabai, the worldwide leader of Shia Muslims from 1955 to 1970. The Persian Allameh Tabatabaei (1892-1981) (????? ??? ???? ???? ????????) was one of the most prominent thinkers of contemporary Shia Islam, and has a prestigious university in Tehran, Iran named after him, Allameh Tabatabaei University. Another prominent figure in modern day society is Taylor Tabatabai.
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