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Tahirih, Seattle, WA | by Robby Virus
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Tahirih, Seattle, WA

Stencil art seen on a wall in Seattle, Washington. The quote "You can kill me as soon as you like but you will not stop the emancipation of women" is by Tahirih. Táhirih (Persian: طاهره‎ Tahere "The Pure One" - Táhirih is the Bahá'í preferred translation), also called Qurratu l-`Ayn (Arabic: قرة العين‎ "Solace/Consolation of the Eyes") are both titles of Fatimah Baraghani (1814 or 1817 – August 16–27, 1852), an influential poet and theologian of the Bábí Faith in Iran. Her life, influence and execution made her a key figure of the religion. The daughter of Mulla Muhammad Salih Baraghani, she was born into one of the most prominent families of her time. Táhirih, led a radical interpretation, that though it split the Babi community, wedded Messianism with Bábism.

 

As a young girl she was educated privately by her father and showed herself a proficient writer. Whilst in her teens she married the son of her uncle, with whom she had a difficult marriage. In the early 1840s she became familiar with the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad and began a secret correspondence with his successor Sayyid Kazim Rashti. Táhirih travelled to the Shi'i holy city of Karbala to meet Kazim Rashti, but he died a number of days before her arrival. In 1844 aged about 27, she became acquainted with the teachings of the Báb and accepted his religious claims. She soon won renown and infamy for her zealous teachings of his faith and "fearless devotion". Subsequently exiled back to Iran, Táhirih taught her faith at almost every opportunity. The Persian clergy grew resentful of her and endeavoured to have her imprisoned and stopped. She battled with her family throughout her life who wanted her to return to the traditional beliefs of her family.

 

Táhirih was probably best remembered for unveiling herself in an assemblage of men during the Conference of Badasht. The unveiling caused a great deal of controversy and the Báb named her "the Pure One" to show his support for her. She was soon arrested and placed under house arrest in Tehran. A few years later in mid-1852 she was executed in secret on account of her Bábí faith. Since her death Bábí and Bahá’í literature venerated her to the level of martyr, being described as "the first woman suffrage martyr". As a prominent Bábí (she was the seventeenth disciple or "Letter of the Living" of the Báb) she is highly regarded by Bahá'ís and Azalis and often mentioned in Bahá'í literature as an example of courage in the struggle for women's rights. Her date of birth is uncertain as birth records were destroyed at her execution.

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Taken on April 20, 2013