CHAPTER XV

TÁHIRIH'S JOURNEY FROM KARBILÁ TO KHURÁSÁN

 
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AS THE appointed hour approached when, according to the dispensations of Providence, the veil which still concealed the fundamental verities of the Faith was to be rent asunder, there blazed forth in the heart of Khurásán a flame of such consuming intensity that the most formidable obstacles standing in the way of the ultimate recognition of the Cause melted away and vanished. 1 That fire caused such a conflagration in the hearts of men that the effects of its quickening power were felt in the most outlying provinces of Persia. It obliterated every trace of the misgivings and doubts which had still lingered in the hearts of the believers, and had hitherto hindered them from apprehending the full measure of its glory. The decree of the enemy had condemned to perpetual isolation Him who was the embodiment of the beauty of God, and sought thereby to quench for all time the flame of His love. The hand of Omnipotence, however, was busily engaged, at a time when the host of evil-doers were darkly plotting against Him, in confounding their schemes and in nullifying their efforts. In the easternmost province of Persia, the Almighty had, through the hand of Quddús, lit a fire that glowed with the hottest flame in the breasts of the people of Khurásán. And in Karbilá, beyond the western confines of that land, He had kindled the light of Táhirih, a light that was destined to shed its radiance upon the whole of Persia. From the east and from the west of that country, the voice of the Unseen summoned those twin great lights to hasten to the land of Tá, 2 the day-spring of glory, the home of Bahá'u'lláh. He bade them each seek the presence, and revolve round the person of that Day-Star of Truth, to seek His advice, to reinforce His efforts, and to prepare the way for His coming Revelation.
1. "It will surprise no one to learn," writes Clement Huart, "that the new sect spread more rapidly in Khurásán than it had anywhere else. Khurásán has been singularly fortunate in that she has always offered to new ideas the most propitious field. It is out of this province that came many evolutions which caused fundamental changes in the Muhammadan Orient. It is enough to recall that in Khurásán the idea of the Persian renovation originated after the Arabian conquest. It was there likewise that the army was organized which, under the orders of Abú-Muslim placed the Abbassides upon the throne of the Khalífs by overthrowing the aristocracy of Mecca which had occupied it since the accession of the Umayyads." ("La Religion de Báb," pp. 18–19.)

2. Tihrán.

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In pursuance of the Divine decree, in the days when Quddús was still residing in Mashhad, there was revealed from the pen of the Báb a Tablet addressed to all the believers of Persia, in which every loyal adherent of the Faith was enjoined to "hasten to the Land of Khá," the province of Khurásán. 3 The news of this high injunction spread with marvellous rapidity and aroused universal enthusiasm. It reached the ears of Táhirih, who, at that time, was residing in Karbilá and was bending every effort to extend the scope of the Faith she had espoused. 4 She had left her native town of Qazvín and had arrived, after the death of Siyyid Kázim, at that holy city, in eager expectation of witnessing the signs which the departed siyyid had foretold. In the foregoing pages we have seen how instinctively she had been led to discover the Revelation of the Báb and how spontaneously she had acknowledged its truth. Unwarned and uninvited, she perceived the dawning light of the promised Revelation breaking upon the city of Shíráz, and was prompted to pen her message and plead her fidelity to Him who was the Revealer of that light.
3. "It is believed," writes Lieut.-Col. P. M. Sykes, "that the twelfth Imám never died, but in A.H. 260 (873) disappeared into miraculous concealment, from which he will reappear on the Day of Judgment in the mosque of Gawhar-Shád at Mashhad, to be hailed as the Mihdí or 'Guide' and to fill the earth with justice." ("A History of Persia," vol. 2, p. 45.)

4. According to Muhammad Mustafá (p. 108), Táhirih arrived in Karbilá in the year 1263 A.H. She visited Kúfih and the surrounding district, and was engaged in spreading the teachings of the Báb. She shared with the people whom she met the writings of her Master, among which was His commentary on the Súrih of Kawthar.

 
The Báb's immediate response to her declaration of faith which, without attaining His presence, she was moved to make, animated her zeal and vastly increased her courage. She arose to spread abroad His teachings, vehemently denounced the corruption and perversity of her generation, and fearlessly advocated a fundamental revolution in the habits and manners of her people. 5 Her indomitable spirit was quickened by the fire of her love for the Báb, and the glory of her vision was further enhanced by the discovery of the inestimable blessings latent in His Revelation. The innate fearlessness and the strength of her character were reinforced a hundredfold by her immovable conviction of the ultimate victory of the Cause she had embraced; and her boundless energy was revitalised by her recognition of the abiding value of the Mission she had risen to champion. All who met her in Karbilá were ensnared by her bewitching eloquence and felt the fascination of her words. None could resist her charm; few could escape the contagion of her belief. All testified to the extraordinary traits of her character, marvelled at her amazing personality, and were convinced of the sincerity of her convictions.
5. "It was in her own family that she heard, for the first time, of the preaching of the Báb at Shíráz and learned the meaning of his doctrines. This knowledge, even incomplete and imperfect as it was, pleased her extremely; she began to correspond with the Báb and soon espoused all his ideas. She did not content herself with a passive sympathy but confessed openly the faith of her Master. She denounced not only polygamy but the use of the veil and showed her face uncovered in public to the great amazement and scandal of her family and of all the sincere Mussulmans but to the applause of many other fellow citizens who shared her enthusiasm and whose numbers grew as a result of her preaching. Her uncle the doctor, her father the jurist, and her husband tried in every way to bring her back at least to a conduct more calm and more reserved. She rebuffed them with arguments inspired by a faith incapable of placid resignation." (Comte de Gobineau's "Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale," pp. 137–8.)
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She was able to win to the Cause the revered widow of Siyyid Kázim, who was born in Shíráz, and was the first among the women of Karbilá to recognise its truth. I have heard Shaykh Sultán describe her extreme devotion to Táhirih, whom she revered as her spiritual guide and esteemed as her affectionate companion. He was also a fervent admirer of the character of the widow of the Siyyid, to whose gentleness of manner he often paid a glowing tribute. "Such was her attachment to Táhirih," Shaykh Sultán was often heard to remark, "that she was extremely reluctant to allow that heroine who was a guest in her house to absent herself, though it were for an hour, from her presence. So great an attachment on her part did not fail to excite the curiosity and quicken the faith of her women friends, both Persian and Arab, who were constant visitors in her home. In the first year of her acceptance of the Message, she suddenly fell ill, and after the lapse of three days, as had been the case with Siyyid Kázim, she departed this life."  
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Among the men who in Karbilá eagerly embraced, through the efforts of Táhirih, the Cause of the Báb, was a certain Shaykh Sálih, an Arab resident of that city who was the first to shed his blood in the path of the Faith, in Tihrán. She was so profuse in her praise of Shaykh Sálih that a few suspected him of being equal in rank to Quddús. Shaykh Sultán was also among those who fell under the spell of Táhirih. On his return from Shíráz, he identified himself with the Faith, boldly and assiduously promoted its interests, and did his utmost to execute her instructions and wishes. Another admirer was Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl, the father of Muhammad-Mustafá, an Arab native of Baghdád who ranked high among the 'ulamás of that city. By the aid of this chosen band of staunch and able supporters, Táhirih was able to fire the imagination and to enlist the allegiance of a considerable number of the Persian and Arab inhabitants of 'Iráq, most of whom were led by her to join forces with those of their brethren in Persia who were soon to be called upon to shape by their deeds the destiny, and to seal with their life-blood the triumph, of the Cause of God.    
The Báb's appeal, which was originally addressed to His followers in Persia, was soon transmitted to the adherents of His Faith in 'Iráq. Táhirih gloriously responded. Her example was followed immediately by a large number of her faithful admirers, all of whom expressed their readiness to journey forthwith to Khurásán. The 'ulamás of Karbilá sought to dissuade her from undertaking that journey. Perceiving immediately the motive which prompted them to tender her such advice, and aware of their malignant design, she addressed to each of these sophists a lengthy epistle in which she set forth her motives and exposed their dissimulation. 6
6. According to Samandar (manuscript, p. 9), the main reason for the agitation of the people of Karbilá which induced them to accuse Táhirih before the governor of Baghdád was her bold action in disregarding the anniversary of the martyrdom of Husayn which was being commemorated in the early days of the month of Muharram in the house of the late Siyyid Kázim in Karbilá, and in celebrating instead the anniversary of the birthday of the Báb, which fell on the first day of that month. She is reported to have asked her sister and relatives to discard their mourning garb and wear instead gay attire, in open defiance of the customs and traditions of the people on that occasion.
 
From Karbilá she proceeded to Baghdád. 7 A representative delegation, consisting of the ablest leaders among the shí'ah, the sunní, the Christian and Jewish communities of that city, sought her presence and endeavoured to convince her of the folly of her actions. She was able, however, to silence their protestations, and astounded them with the force of her argument. Disillusioned and confused, they retired, deeply conscious of their own impotence. 8
7. According to Muhammad Mustafá (pp. 108–9), the following disciples and companions were with Táhirih when she arrived in Baghdád: Mullá Ibráhím-i-Mahallátí, Shaykh Sálih-i-Karímí, Siyyid Ahmad-i-Yazdí (father of Siyyid Husayn, the amanuensis of the Báb) SiyyidHusayn and her daughter, the wife of Mírzá Hádíy-i-Nahrí and his mother. According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghitá" (p. 94), the mother and sister of Mullá Husayn were among the ladies and disciples who accompanied Táhirih on her journey from Karbilá to Baghdád. On their arrival they took up their quarters in the house of Shaykh Muhammad-ibn-i-Shiblu'l-'Aráqí, after which they were transferred, by order of the governor of Baghdád to the house of the Muftí Siyyid Mahmúd-i-Álúrí, the well known author of the celebrated commentary entitled "Ruhu'-Má'ání," pending the receipt of fresh instructions from the Sultán in Constantinople. The "Kashfu'l-Ghitá" further adds (p. 96) that in the "Ruhu'l-Má'ání" references are reported to have been found to the conversations which the Muftí had had with Táhirih, to whom, it is reported, he addressed these words: "O Qurratu'l-'Ayn! I swear by God that I share in thy belief. I am apprehensive, however, of the swords of the family of Uthmán." "She proceeded directly to the house of the chief Muftí, before whom she defended her creed and her conduct with great ability. The question whether she should be allowed to continue her teaching was submitted first to the Páshá of Baghdád and then to the central government, the result being that she was ordered to leave Turkish territory." ("A Traveller's Narrative," Note Q. p. 310.)

8. According to Muhammad Mustafá (p. 111), the following accompanied Táhirih from Khániqín (on the Persian frontier) to Kirmansháh: Shaykh Sálih-i-Karímí, Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl, Shaykh Sultán-i-Karbilá'í, Siyyid Ahmad-i-Yazdí, Siyyid Muhammad-i-Bayigání, Siyyid Muhsin-i-Kázimí, Mullá Ibráhím-i-Mahallátí, and about thirty Arab believers. They tarried three days in the village of Karand, where Táhirih fearlessly proclaimed the teachings of the Báb and was highly successful in awakening the interest of all classes of people in the new Revelation. Twelve hundred persons are reported to have volunteered to follow her and do her bidding.

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The 'ulamás of Kirmansháh respectfully received her and presented her with various tokens of their esteem and admiration. 9 In Hamadán, 10 however, the ecclesiastical leaders of the city were divided in their attitude towards her. A few sought privily to provoke the people and undermine her prestige; others were moved to extol openly her virtues and applaud her courage. "It behoves us," these friends declared from their pulpits, "to follow her noble example and reverently to ask her to unravel for us the mysteries of the Qur'án and to resolve the intricacies of the holy Book. For our highest attainments are but a drop compared to the immensity of her knowledge." While in Hamadán, Táhirih was met by those whom her father, Hájí Mullá Sálih, had sent from Qazvín to welcome and urge her, on his behalf, to visit her native town and prolong her stay in their midst. 11 She reluctantly consented. Ere she departed, she bade those who had accompanied her from 'Iráq to proceed to their native land. Among them were Shaykh Sultán, Shaykh Muhammad-i-Shibl and his youthful son, Muhammad-Mustafá, Abid and his son Násir, who subsequently was given the name of Hájí Abbás. Those of her companions who had been living in Persia, such as Siyyid Muhammad-i-Gulpaygání, whose pen-name was Ta'ir, and whom Táhirih had styled Fata'l-Malih, and others were also bidden to return to their homes. Only two of her companions remained with her—Shaykh Sálih and Mullá Ibráhím-i-Gulpaygání, both of whom quaffed the cup of martyrdom, the first in Tihrán and the other in Qazvín. Of her own kinsmen, 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.
9. According to Muhammad Mustafá (p. 112), an enthusiastic reception was accorded her on her arrival in Kirmansháh. Princes, 'ulamás, and government officials hastened to visit her, and were greatly impressed by her eloquence, her fearlessness, her extensive knowledge, and the force of her character. The commentary on the Súrih of Kawthar, revealed by the Báb, was publicly read and translated. The wife of the Amír, the governor of Kirmansháh, was among the ladies who met Táhirih and heard her expound the sacred teachings. The Amír himself, together with his family, acknowledged the truth of the Cause and testified to their admiration and love for Táhirih. According to Muhammad Mustafá (p. 116), Táhirih tarried two days in the village of Sahnih on her way to Hamadán, where she was accorded a reception no less enthusiastic than the one which had greeted her in the village of Karand. The inhabitants of the village begged to be allowed to gather together the members of their community and to join hands with the body of her followers for the spread and promotion of the Cause. She advised them, however, to remain, extolled and blessed their efforts, and proceeded to Hamadán.

10. According to the "Memorials of the Faithful" (p. 275), Táhirih tarried two months in Hamadán.

11. According to Muhammad Mustafá (p. 117), among those who had been sent from Qazvín were the brothers of Táhirih.

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On her arrival at the house of her father, her cousin, the haughty and false-hearted Mullá Muhammad, son of Mullá Taqí, who esteemed himself, next to his father and his uncle, the most accomplished of all the mujtahids of Persia, sent certain ladies of his own household to persuade Táhirih to transfer her residence from her father's house to his own. "Say to my presumptuous and arrogant kinsman," was her bold reply to the messengers: "'If your desire had really been to be a faithful mate and companion to me, you would have hastened to meet me in Karbilá and would on foot have guided my howdah 12 all the way to Qazvín.

HOUSES IN WHICH TÁHIRIH LIVED IN QAZVÍN


TÁHIRIH'S LIBRARY IN HER FATHER'S HOUSE IN QAZVÍN, SHOWING ONE OF HER RELATIVES

I would, while journeying with you, have aroused you from your sleep of heedlessness and would have shown you the way of truth. But this was not to be. Three years have elapsed since our separation. Neither in this world nor in the next can I ever be associated with you. I have cast you out of my life for ever.'"

12. A litter carried by a camel, mule, horse, or elephant for travelling purposes.
["Say to my presumptuous..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 173
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So stern and unyielding a reply roused both Mullá Muhammad and his father to a burst of fury. They immediately pronounced her a heretic, and strove day and night to undermine her position and to sully her fame. Táhirih vehemently defended herself and persisted in exposing the depravity of their character. 13 Her father, a peace-loving and fair-minded man, deplored this acrimonious dispute and endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation and harmony between them, but failed in his efforts.
13. "How could it be that a woman, in Persia where woman is considered so weak a creature, and above all in a city like Qazvín, where the clergy possessed so great an influence, where the 'Ulamás, by their number and importance attracted the attention of the government and of the people,—how could it be that there, precisely under such untoward circumstances, a woman could have organized so strong a group of heretics? There lies a question which puzzles even the Persian historian, Sipihr, for such an occurrence was without precedent!" (Journal Asiatique, 1866, tome 7, p. 474.)
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This state of tension continued until the time when a certain Mullá 'Abdu'lláh, a native of Shíráz and fervent admirer of both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kázim, arrived in Qazvín at the beginning of the month of Ramadán, in the year 1263 A.H. 14 Subsequently, in the course of his trial in Tihrán, in the presence of the Sáhib-Diván, this same Mullá 'Abdu'lláh recounted the following: "I have never been a convinced Bábí. When I arrived at Qazvín, I was on my way to Máh-Kú, intending to visit the Báb and investigate the nature of His Cause. On the day of my arrival at Qazvín, I became aware that the town was in a great state of turmoil. As I was passing through the market-place, I saw a crowd of ruffians who had stripped a man of his head-dress and shoes, had wound his turban around his neck, and by it were dragging him through the streets. An angry multitude was tormenting him with their threats, their blows and curses. 'His unpardonable guilt,' I was told in answer to my enquiry, 'is that he has dared to extol in public the virtues of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kázim. Accordingly, Hájí Mullá Taqí, the Hujjatu'l-Islám, has pronounced him a heretic and decreed his expulsion from the town.'" 14. August 13-September 12, 1847 A.D.  
"I was amazed at the explanation given me. How could a shaykhí, I thought to myself, be regarded as a heretic and be deemed worthy of such cruel treatment? Desirous of ascertaining from Mullá Taqí himself the truth of this report, I betook myself to his school and asked whether he had actually pronounced such a condemnation against him. 'Yes,' he bluntly replied, 'the god whom the late Shaykh Ahmad-i-Bahrayní worshipped is a god in whom I can never believe. Him as well as his followers I regard as the very embodiments of error.' I was moved that very moment to smite his face in the presence of his assembled disciples. I restrained myself, however, and vowed that, God willing, I would pierce his lips with my spear so that he would never be again able to utter such blasphemy.    
"I straightway left his presence and directed my steps towards the market, where I bought a dagger and a spear-head of the sharpest and finest steel. I concealed them in my bosom, ready to gratify the passion that burned within me. I was waiting for my opportunity when, one night, I entered the masjid in which he was wont to lead the congregation in prayer. I waited until the hour of dawn, at which time I saw an old woman enter the masjid, carrying with her a rug, which she spread over the floor of the mihrab. 15 Soon after, I saw Mullá Taqí enter alone, walk to the mihrab, and offer his prayer. Cautiously and quietly, I followed him and stood behind him. He was prostrating himself on the floor, when I rushed upon him, drew out my spear-head, and plunged it into the back of his neck. He uttered a loud cry. I threw him on his back and, unsheathing my dagger, drove it hilt-deep into his mouth. With the same dagger, I struck him at several places in his breast and side, and left him bleeding in the mihrab. 15. The principal place in a mosque, where the imám prays with his face turned towards Mecca.
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"I ascended immediately the roof of the masjid and watched the frenzy and agitation of the multitude. A crowd rushed in and, placing him upon a litter, transported him to his house. Unable to identify the murderer, the people seized the occasion to gratify their basest instincts. They rushed at one another's throats, violently attacked and mutually accused one another in the presence of the governor. Finding out that a large number of innocent people had been gravely molested and thrown into prison, I was impelled by the voice of my conscience to confess my act. I accordingly besought the presence of the governor and said to him: 'If I deliver into your hands the author of this murder, will you promise me to set free all the innocent people who are suffering his place?' No sooner had I obtained from him the necessary assurance than I confessed to him that I had committed the deed. He was not disposed at first to believe me. At my request, he summoned the old woman who had spread the rug in the mihrab, but refused to be convinced by the evidence which she gave. I was finally conducted to the bedside of Mullá Taqí, who was on the point of death. As soon as he saw me, he recognised my features. In his agitation, he pointed with his finger to me, indicating that I had attacked him. He signified his desire that I be taken away from his presence. Shortly after, he expired. I was immediately arrested, was convicted of murder, and thrown into prison. The governor, however, failed to keep his promise and refused to release the prisoners."  
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The candour and sincerity of Mullá 'Abdu'lláh greatly pleased the Sáhib-Diván. He gave secret orders to his attendants to enable him to escape from prison. At the hour of midnight, the prisoner took refuge in the home of Ridá Khán-i-Sardár, who had recently been married to the sister of the Sipah-Salar, and remained concealed in that house until the great struggle or Shaykh Tabarsí, when he determined to throw in his lot with the heroic defenders of the fort. He, as well as Ridá Khán, who followed him to Mázindarán, quaffed eventually the cup of martyrdom.    
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." Those whom they had arrested and confined were conducted by them to Tihrán and were incarcerated in the home of one of the kad-khudás 16 of the capital. The friends and heirs of Mullá Taqí scattered themselves in all directions, denouncing their captives as the repudiators of the law of Islám and demanding that they be immediately put to death. 16. Chief of a ward or parish in a town; headman of a village.  
Bahá'u'lláh who was at that time residing in Tihrán, was informed of the plight of these prisoners who had been the companions and supporters of Táhirih. As He was already acquainted with the kad-khudá in whose home they were incarcerated, He decided to visit them and intervene in their behalf. That avaricious and deceitful official, who was fully aware of the extreme generosity of Bahá'u'lláh, greatly exaggerated in the hope of deriving a substantial pecuniary advantage for himself, the misfortune that had befallen the unhappy captives. "They are destitute of the barest necessities of life," urged the kad-khudá. "They hunger for food, and their clothing is wretchedly scanty." Bahá'u'lláh extended immediate financial assistance for their relief, and urged the kad-khudá to relax the severity of the rule under which they were confined. The latter consented to relieve a few who were unable to support the oppressive weight of their chains, and for the rest did whatever he could to alleviate the rigour of their confinement. Prompted by greed, he informed his superiors of the situation, and emphasised the fact that both food and money were being regularly supplied by Bahá'u'lláh for those who were imprisoned in his house.
["In the course of these..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 4 p. 148
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These officials were in their turn tempted to derive every possible advantage from the liberality of Bahá'u'lláh. They summoned Him to their presence, protested against His action, and accused Him of complicity in the act for which the captives had been condemned. "The kad-khudá," replied Bahá'u'lláh, "pleaded their cause before Me and enlarged upon their sufferings and needs. He himself bore witness to their innocence and appealed to Me for help. In return for the aid which, in response to his invitation, I was impelled to extend, you now charge Me with a crime of which I am innocent." Hoping to intimidate Bahá'u'lláh by threatening immediate punishment, they refused to allow Him to return to His home. The confinement to which He was subjected was the first affliction that befell Bahá'u'lláh in the path of the Cause of God; the first imprisonment He suffered for the sake of His loved ones. He remained in captivity for a few days, until Ja'far-Qulí Khán, the brother of Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí, who at a later time was appointed Grand Vazír of the Sháh, and a number of other friends intervened in His behalf and, threatening the kad-khudá in severe a language, were able to effect His release. Those who had been responsible for His confinement had confidently hoped to receive, in return for His deliverance, the sum of one thousand túmáns, 17 but they soon found out that they were forced to comply with the wishes of Ja'far-Qulí Khán without the hope of receiving, either from him or from Bahá'u'lláh, the slightest reward. With profuse apologies and with the utmost regret, they surrendered their Captive into his hands. 17. A sum of money equivalent to a dollar.
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The heirs of Mullá Taqí were in the meantime bending every effort to avenge the blood of their distinguished kinsman. Unsatisfied with what they had already accomplished, they directed their appeal to Muhammad Sháh himself, and endeavoured to win his sympathy to their cause. The Sháh is reported to have returned this answer: "Your father, Mullá Taqí, surely could not have claimed to be superior to the Imám 'Alí, the Commander of the Faithful. Did not the latter instruct his disciples that, should he fall a victim to the sword of Ibn-i-Muljam, the murderer alone should, by his death, be made to atone for his act, that no one else but he should be put to death? Why should not the murder of your father be similarly avenged? Declare to me his murderer, and I will issue my orders that he be delivered into your hands in order that you may inflict upon him the punishment which he deserves."    
The uncompromising attitude of the Sháh induced them to abandon the hopes which they had cherished. They declared Shaykh Sálih to be the murderer of their father, obtained his arrest, and ignominiously put him to death. He was the first to shed his blood on Persian soil in the path of the Cause of God; the first of that glorious company destined to seal with their life-blood the triumph of God's holy Faith. As he was being conducted to the scene of his martyrdom, his face glowed with zeal and joy. He hastened to the foot of the gallows and met his executioner as if he were welcoming a dear and lifelong friend. Words of triumph and hope fell unceasingly from his lips. "I discarded," he cried, with exultation, as his end approached, "the hopes and the beliefs of men from the moment I recognised Thee, Thou who art my Hope and my Belief!" His remains were interred in the courtyard of the shrine of the Imám-Zádih Zayd in Tihrán.    
The unsatiable hatred that animated those who had been responsible for the martyrdom of Shaykh Sálih impelled them to seek additional instruments for the furtherance of their designs. Hájí Mírzá Aqásí, whom the Sáhib-Diván had succeeded in convincing of the treacherous conduct of the heirs of Mullá Taqí, refused to entertain their appeal. Undeterred by his refusal, they submitted their case to the Sadr-i-Ardibílí, a man notoriously presumptuous and one of the most arrogant among the ecclesiastical leaders of Persia. "Behold," they pleaded, "the indignity that has been inflicted upon those whose supreme function it is to keep guard over the integrity of the Law. How can you, who are its chief and illustrious exponent, allow so grave an affront to its dignity to remain unpunished? Are you really incapable of avenging the blood of that slaughtered minister of the Prophet of God? Do you not realise that to tolerate such a heinous crime would in itself unloose a flood of calumny against those who are the chief repositories of the teachings and principles of our Faith? Will not your silence embolden the enemies of Islám to shatter the structure which your own hands have reared? As a result, will not your own life be endangered?"  
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The Sadr-i-Ardibílí was sore afraid, and in his impotence sought to beguile his sovereign. He addressed the following request to Muhammad Sháh: "I would humbly implore your Majesty to allow the captives to accompany the heirs of that martyred leader on their return to Qazvín, that these may, of their own accord, forgive them publicly their action, and enable them to recover their freedom. Such a gesture on their part will considerably enhance their position and will win them the esteem of their countrymen." The Sháh, wholly unaware of the mischievous designs of that crafty plotter, immediately granted his request, on the express condition that a written statement be sent to him from Qazvín assuring him that the condition of the prisoners after their freedom was entirely satisfactory, and that no harm was likely to befall them in the future.    
No sooner were the captives delivered into the hands of the mischief-makers than they set about gratifying their feelings of implacable hatred towards them. On the first night after they had been handed over to their enemies, Hájí Asadu'lláh, the brother of Hájí Alláh-Vardí and paternal uncle of Muhammad-Hádí and Muhammad-Javád-i-Farhádí, a noted merchant of Qazvín who had acquired a reputation for piety and uprightness which stood as high as that of his illustrious brother, was mercilessly put to death. Knowing full well that in his own native town they would be unable to inflict upon him the punishment they desired, they determined to take his life whilst in Tihrán in a manner that would protect them from the suspicion of murder. At the hour of midnight, they perpetrated the shameful act, and, the next morning, announced that illness had been the cause of his death. His friends and acquaintances, mostly natives of Qazvín, none of whom had been able to detect the crime that had extinguished such a noble life, accorded him a burial that befitted his station.
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 172

["One of the Tablets..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 171

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The rest of his companions, among whom were Mullá Táhir-i-Shírází and Mullá Ibráhím-i-Mahallátí, both of whom were greatly esteemed for their learning and character, were savagely put to death immediately after their arrival at Qazvín. The entire population, which had been sedulously instigated beforehand, clamoured for their immediate execution. A band of shameless scoundrels, armed with knives, swords, spears, and axes, fell upon them and tore them to pieces. They mutilated their bodies with such wanton barbarity that no fragment of their scattered members could be found for burial.    
Gracious God! Acts of such incredible savagery have been perpetrated in a town like Qazvín, which prides itself on the fact that no less than a hundred of the highest ecclesiastical leaders of Islám dwell within its gates, and yet none could be found among all its inhabitants to raise his voice in protest against such revolting murders! No one seemed to question their right to perpetrate such iniquitous and shameless deeds. No one seemed to be aware of the utter incompatibility between such ferocious deeds committed by those who claimed to be the sole repositories of the mysteries of Islám, and the exemplary conduct of those who first manifested its light to the world. No one was moved to exclaim indignantly: "O evil and perverse generation! To what depths of infamy and shame you have sunk! Have not the abominations which you have wrought surpassed in their ruthlessness the acts of the basest of men? Will you not recognise that neither the beasts of the field nor any moving thing on earth has ever equalled the ferociousness of your acts? How long is your heedlessness to last? Is it not your belief that the efficacy of every congregational prayer is dependent upon the integrity of him who leads that prayer? Have you not again and again declared that no such prayer is acceptable in the sight of God until and unless the imám who leads the congregation has purged his heart from every trace of malice? And yet you deem those who instigate and share in the performance of such atrocities to be the true leaders of your Faith, the very embodiments of fairness and justice. Have you not committed to their hands the reins of your Cause and regarded them as the masters of your destinies?"  
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The news of this outrage reached Tihrán and spread with bewildering rapidity throughout the city. Hájí Mírzá Aqásí vehemently protested. "In what passage of the Qur'án," he is reported to have exclaimed, "in which tradition of Muhammad, has the massacre of a number of people been justified in order to avenge the murder of a single person?" Muhammad Sháh also expressed his strong disapproval of the treacherous conduct of the Sadr-i-Ardibílí and his confederates. He denounced his cowardice, banished him from the capital, and condemned him to a life of obscurity in Qum. His degradation from office pleased immensely the Grand Vazír, who had hitherto laboured in vain to bring about his downfall, and whom his sudden removal from Tihrán relieved of the apprehensions which the extension of his authority had inspired. His own denunciation of the massacre of Qazvín was prompted, not so much by his sympathy with the Cause of the defenceless victims, as by his hope of involving the Sadr-i-Ardibílí in such embarrassments as would inevitably disgrace him in the eyes of his sovereign.    
The failure of the Sháh and of his government to inflict immediate punishment upon the malefactors encouraged them to seek further means for the gratification of their relentless hatred towards their opponents. They now directed their attention to Táhirih herself, and resolved that she should suffer at their hands the same fate that had befallen her companions. While still in confinement, Táhirih, as soon as she was informed of the designs of her enemies, addressed the following message to Mullá Muhammad, who had succeeded to the position of his father and was now recognised as the Imám-Jum'ih of Qazvín: "'Fain would they put out God's light with their mouths: but God only desireth to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it.' 18 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." Mullá Muhammad, 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. 18. Qur'án, 9:33.
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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 Tihrán. 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 Tihrán. 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."
["Muhammad-Hádí was charged..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 174
 
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. 19
19. According to the "Kashfu'l-Ghitá" (p. 110), Mullá Husayn is reported by Mullá Ja'far-i-Va'iz-i-Qazvíní to have met Táhirih in Qazvín at the home of Áqá Hádí, who is probably none other than Muhammad Hádíy-i-Farhádí, who was commissioned by Bahá'u'lláh to conduct Táhirih to Tihrán. The meeting is stated to have taken place prior to the murder of Mullá Taqí.
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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. 20 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. It was in the year '60, while in Karbilá, that she alluded in her odes to her recognition of the Truth He was to reveal. I have myself been shown in Tihrán, in the home of Siyyid Muhammad, whom Táhirih had styled Fata'l-Malih, the verses which she, in her own handwriting, had penned, every letter of which bore eloquent testimony to her faith in the exalted Missions of both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. In that ode the following verse occurs: "The effulgence of the Abhá Beauty hath pierced the veil of night; behold the souls of His lovers dancing, moth-like, in the light that has flashed from His face!" It was her steadfast conviction in the unconquerable power of Bahá'u'lláh that prompted her to utter her prediction with such confidence, and to fling her challenge so boldly in the face of her enemies. Nothing short of an immovable faith in the unfailing efficacy of that power could have induced her, in the darkest hours of her captivity, to assert with such courage and assurance the approach of her victory.
20. 'Abdu'l-Bahá relates, in the "Memorials of the Faithful" (p. 306), the circumstances of a visit paid by Vahíd to Táhirih, while the latter was staying in the home of Bahá'u'lláh in Tihrán. "Táhirih," He writes, "was listening from behind the veil to the utterances of Vahíd, who was discoursing with fervour and eloquence on the signs and verses that bore witness to the advent of the new Manifestation. I was then a child and was sitting on her lap, as she followed the recital of the remarkable testimonies which flowed ceaselessly from the lips of that learned man. I well remember interrupted him, and, raising her voice, vehemently declared: 'O Yahyá! 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.'"
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A few days after Táhirih's arrival at Tihrán, Bahá'u'lláh decided to send her to Khurásán in the company of the believers who were preparing to depart for that province. He too had determined to leave the capital and take the same direction a few days later. He accordingly summoned Áqáy-i-Kalím and instructed him to take immediately the necessary measures to ensure the removal of Táhirih, together with her woman attendant, Qanitih, to a place outside the gate of the capital, from whence they were, later on, to proceed to Khurásán. He cautioned him to exercise the utmost care and vigilance lest the guards who were stationed at the entrance of the city, and who had been ordered to refuse the passage of women through the gates without a permit, should discover her identity and prevent her departure.    
I have heard Áqáy-i-Kalím recount the following: "Putting our trust in God, we rode out, Táhirih, her attendant, and I, to a place in the vicinity of the capital. None of the guards who were stationed at the gate of Shimírán raised the slightest objection, nor did they enquire regarding our destination. At a distance of two farsangs 21 from the capital, we alighted in the midst of an orchard abundantly watered and situated at the foot of a mountain, in the centre of which was a house that seemed completely deserted. As I went about in search of the proprietor, I chanced to meet an old man who was watering his plants. In answer to my enquiry, he explained that a dispute had arisen between the owner and his tenants, as a result of which those who occupied the place had deserted it. 'I have been asked by the owner,' he added, 'to keep guard over this property until the settlement of the dispute.' I was greatly delighted with the information he gave me, and asked him to share with us our luncheon. When, later in the day, I decided to depart for Tihrán, I found him willing to watch over and guard Táhirih and her attendant. As I committed them to his care, I assured him that I would either myself return that evening or send a trusted attendant whom I would follow the next morning with all the necessary requirements for the journey to Khurásán. 21. Unit of measurement. Its length differs in different parts of the country according to the nature of the ground, the local interpretation of the term being the distance which a laden mule will walk in the hour, which varies from three to four miles. Arabicised from the old Persian 'parsang,' and supposed to be derived from pieces of stone (sang) placed on the roadside.
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"Upon my arrival at Tihrán, I despatched Mullá Báqir, one of the Letters of the Living, together with an attendant, to join Táhirih. I informed Bahá'u'lláh of her safe departure from the capital. He was greatly pleased at the information I gave Him, and named that orchard 'Bagh-i-Jannat.' 22 'That house,' He remarked, 'has been providentially prepared for your reception, that you may entertain in it the loved ones of God.' 22. "Garden of Paradise."  
"Táhirih tarried seven days in that spot, after which she set out, accompanied by Muhammad-Hasan-i-Qazvíní, surnamed Fata, and a few others, in the direction of Khurásán. I was commanded by Bahá'u'lláh to arrange for her departure and to provide whatever might be required for her journey."