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poet, writer, theological essayist, translator, Iran
(1814 - 1852)
There are no known photographs of Táhirih. This is painting of how Táhirih could have looked. Titled Táhirih composing
, it is painted by Pooria Sabetazm
Oil on Canvas, 153 B.E., 1996, 14 x 16 inches.
"Finding inspiration in the courage and audacity of Tahirih, I painted several paintings documenting her life. It is my hope that paintings of Táhirih will bring attention to the role which the Bahá´í Faith has played in paving the way for the equality of men and women.
These paintings are based on the descriptions given by Nabil in The Dawnbreakers."
Born: Fátimih Zarrin Taj Baraghani Umm-Salamih in Qazvin. The 17th "Letter", she is a poet and translated some of The Báb's writings into Persian. Táhirih (meaning 'the pure'), is the name given to her by the Báb. She was also known as Qurrat al-'Ayn (meaning 'solace of the eye').
Táhirih, meaning “the pure,” is the name given to her by the Báb in response to complaints of immorality made against her. Under her father and uncles, who were among the prominent ulama of Qazvin, she received an excellent education. She was married, as was the custom, at the age of fourteen, living in Karbala (Iraq) for almost thirteen years, and giving birth to two sons. She continued higher studies with leading ulama in Karbala, and she came into contact with the Shaykhi writings there. In 1843, back in Qazvin (Iran), she left her husband and children, arriving in Karbala in 1844. Her husband and uncle were violently opposed to the Shaykhis. On reading some writings of the Báb, she immediately declared her belief in him, becoming one his disciples (Letters of the Living). Soon a Bábí leader with a large following of men and women, she wrote theological texts and poetry. Her actions and her writings reflect her passion for the love of God and for her new religion freed from old traditions. She is best known for removing her veil at a Bábí gathering in 1848, as a symbolic statement of the end of an old order.
Although many Bahá'ís think her of as a champion for women’s rights, her writings were primarily theological rather than feminist. At the same time, she was well aware of her status as a “rebellious woman” who had been placed on equal footing with men by the Báb. Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2004
Scene one, The women's quarters in the home of Mullá Tagi Qazuin, Perisa, from Táhirih
, a play in 3 Acts (12 Scenes)
by Carolyn Nur Wistrand
. Performed at University of Indiana-Bloomington, International Bahá´í Youth Conference, 1988 & the University of Michigan-Flint, 1988.
Links to websites about Táhirih or of work inspired
by her life or work.
- Email these to: bafaATBahá´í-library.org
with "Tahirih page" in the subject line.
“Holding regular gatherings… she spoke to large audiences from behind a curtain. In the inner quarters she also held classes for women. Her personality, theological knowledge, and mastery of Arabic impressed Arabs and Persians alike… The Qurratiya, as her followers came to be known in Iraq, were successful in transmitting her message to the Shi'ite public beyond Karbala, thus causing excitement... and anxiety for the Shaykhi and Usuli leaders alike... (Her) debate was based on Shaykhi ideas, but with a distinct messianic overtone... The fact that she had her own views contradictory to the Islamic law and legal injunctions, combined with the fact that she adopted certain ascetic practices like devotional prayers, and eschewing meat and cooked food, underscores her independent religious stance. Clearly, her commitment to the Báb provided her with a framework... The surviving examples of Qurrat al-Ayn's works from this period testify to her skill in making use of the Qur'an and hadith for arguing the theme of progressive revelations..." (Resurrection and Renewal, by Abbas Amanat, Cornell University Press, U.S.A., 1989, pages 300 - 303, ISBN: 0-8014-2098-9)
Work published in any BAFA publication that is about Táhirih or inspired by her writing or life.
- Photograph from the play "Táhirih" by Suellen W. Dornbrook, in Just Let the Wind..., 2005
- Music mention of the CD "The UnQuenchable Flame" a musical drama based on the life of Táhirih by
Russ and Gina Garcia, in Arts Dialogue, June 2002
- Photograph from the play "Táhirih" by Carolyn Nur Wistrand, in Arts Dialogue, November 2002
- Poem by Martyn Burke, Arts Dialogue, February 2000
- Painting by Pooria Sabetazm, Arts Dialogue, February 2000
- Article about a dance/theatre by Muhtadia Rice, March 1999
Copyright of all work is with the artist concerned.
Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands