Táhirih Announces a New Age
Updated: Feb 12
Part 3 of a 4 part summary
Among the Báb’s most faithful followers was a brilliant, courageous and gifted young poet known as Táhirih (the Pure One). She was born in 1817 in Qazvín and was highly educated in a land where women were treated as inferior, denied an education and freedom, and were forced to hide their faces behind a black veil. After recognizing the Báb (the Gate) Who declared Himself the Prophet of a new Revelation of God in 1844, she defied Islamic law by boldly traveling from village to village spreading His teachings, and promoting the emancipation of women. As the result, she won many new followers of the Báb, as well as attracting enemies. The Muslim clergy accused her of “heresy” and demanded her capture. In 1848, the Governor of the city of Kárbilá arrested her and detained her for three months. It was believed that her life was in grave danger, however her concerns were never for herself, but for the people who supported her. She sent a message to the Governor, which said, “I am at your disposal. Do not harm any other.”
Bahá’u’lláh (the Glory of God), Who was also a follower of the Báb, intervened and arranged Táhirih’s escape. He had her brought back to His family mansion in Tihrán, where she stayed in an upper apartment for some months. When it became known that she was in Tihrán, her supporters flocked to Bahá’u’lláh’s home to visit her. Despite her fame as a scholar, she observed the custom for females to sit behind a curtain from where she would speak to the male visitors. One day, after listening to one visitor talk at length about his excellent learning and piety, she said to him from behind the curtain:
“Let deeds, not words, testify to thy faith, if thou art a man of true learning. Cease idly repeating the traditions of the past, for the day of service, of steadfast action, is come. Now is the time to show forth the true signs of God, to rend asunder the veils of idle fancy, to promote the Word of God, and to sacrifice ourselves in His path. Let deeds, not words be our adorning.”
In the summer of 1848, the Báb, Who had been arrested and confined in prison, called a gathering of 81 of His followers to be held in the village of Badasht. Bahá’u’lláh accompanied Tahirih to that historic gathering, which became known as the Conference of Badasht. Bahá’u’lláh served as the conference’s host, as well as Tahirih’s chief supporter. Many of the Báb’s followers, still attached to Islamic law forbidding a woman to appear in public without her face covered by a chador (black veil), were outraged that Tahirih was so bold in her speech and presence at the gathering.
But what most shocked them was when Táhirih stood before the entire assembly with her beautiful face unveiled, and shouted aloud: “The Trumpet is sounding! The Great Trump is blown! The universal Advent is now proclaimed!” Some men were horrified and ran away in fear, but most were eventually calmed by Bahá’u’lláh. The followers left the Conference united and joyous. The Bábi Faith was established as a new religion, and the trumpeter of a new Age was female.