May 10, 2017

The story of Tahirih’s house arrest and bold prediction of her upcoming release

Upon their return from Karbila, [circa 1848] Tahirih and her few companions were falsely accused of having been involved in the murder of her husband, Mullá Taqí, who was a fiercest opponent of the Báb’s teachings that she was promoting.

Nabil records: “The circumstances of the murder fanned to fury the wrath of the lawful heirs of Mullá Taqí, who now determined to wreak their vengeance upon Táhirih. They succeeded in having her placed in the strictest confinement in the house of her father, and charged those women whom they had selected to watch over her, not to allow their captive to leave her room except for the purpose of performing her daily ablutions. They accused her of really being the instigator of the crime. ‘No one else but you,” they asserted, ‘is guilty of the murder of our father. You issued the order for his assassination.’”

Following devious schemes and false promises the kinsmen of murdered Mullá Taqí managed to murder those few remarkable companions of Tahirih, among them were “Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí, one of the Letters of the Living and her brother-in-law, and Siyyid ‘Abdu’l-Hádí, who had been betrothed to her daughter, travelled with her all the way from Karbilá to Qazvín.” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

While “still in confinement, Táhirih, as soon as she was informed of the designs of her enemies, addressed the following message to Mullá Muhammad… the Imám-Jum’ih of Qazvín”: (ibid)

“‘Fain would they put out God’s light with their mouths: but God only desireth to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it.’ [Qur’an 9:33]  If my Cause be the Cause of Truth, if the Lord whom I worship be none other than the one true God, He will, ere nine days have elapsed, deliver me from the yoke of your tyranny. Should He fail to achieve my deliverance, you are free to act as you desire. You will have irrevocably established the falsity of my belief.” [The Imám-Jum’ih]… recognising his inability to accept so bold a challenge, chose to ignore entirely her message, and sought by every cunning device to accomplish his purpose.” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

Nabil further explains:

In those days, ere the hour which Táhirih had fixed for her deliverance had struck, Bahá’u’lláh signified His wish that she should be delivered from her captivity and brought to Ṭihrán. He determined to establish, in the eyes of the adversary, the truth of her words, and to frustrate the schemes which her enemies had conceived for her death. Muhammad-Hádíy-i-Farhádí was accordingly summoned by Him and was entrusted with the task of effecting her immediate transference to His own home in Ṭihrán. Muhammad-Hádí was charged to deliver a sealed letter to his wife, Khátún-Ján, and instruct her to proceed, in the guise of a beggar, to the house where Táhirih was confined; to deliver the letter into her hands; to wait awhile at the entrance of her house, until she should join her, and then to hasten with her and commit her to his care.

“As soon as Táhirih has joined you,” Bahá’u’lláh urged the emissary, “start immediately for Tihrán. This very night, I shall despatch to the neighbourhood of the gate of Qazvín an attendant, with three horses, that you will take with you and station at a place that you will appoint outside the walls of Qazvín. You will conduct Táhirih to that spot, will mount the horses, and will, by an unfrequented route, endeavour to reach at daybreak the outskirts of the capital. As soon as the gates are opened, you must enter the city and proceed immediately to My house. You should exercise the utmost caution lest her identity be disclosed. The Almighty will assuredly guide your steps and will surround you with His unfailing protection.”

Fortified by the assurance of Bahá’u’lláh, Muhammad-Hádí set out immediately to carry out the instructions he had received. Unhampered by any obstacle, he, ably and faithfully, acquitted himself of his task, and was able to conduct Táhirih safely, at the appointed hour, to the home of his Master.

Her sudden and mysterious removal from Qazvín filled her friends and foes alike with consternation. The whole night, they searched the houses and were baffled in their efforts to find her. The fulfilment of the prediction she had uttered astounded even the most sceptical among her opponents. A few were made to realise the supernatural character of the Faith she had espoused, and submitted willingly to its claims. Mírzá ‘Abdu’l-Vahháb, her own brother, acknowledged, that very day, the truth of the Revelation, but failed to demonstrate subsequently by his acts the sincerity of his belief. 

The hour which Táhirih had fixed for her deliverance found her already securely established under the sheltering shadow of Bahá’u’lláh. She knew full well into whose presence she had been admitted; she was profoundly aware of the sacredness of the hospitality she had been so graciously accorded. As it was with her acceptance of the Faith proclaimed by the Báb when she, unwarned and unsummoned, had hailed His Message and recognised its truth, so did she perceive through her own intuitive knowledge the future glory of Bahá’u’lláh. (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
(Adapted from ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)