Tahirih was married to her cousin when she was a teenager which was the socially expected course for a young woman. Marriages were typically arranged by the parents and a bride price paid to the bride though, in practice, it was often taken by her family. The new couple would have spent little time together prior to the nuptials. In many cases the groom only saw his wife’s face at the ceremony. There was no such as modern Western notions of dating as men and women were separate in the public sphere. This was less true of women who lived in nomadic tribes that lived in rural areas where men and women were much more interdependent.
The marriage ceremony itself involved a complex exchange of gifts based on social status and wealth. Men and women separated in separate areas after which the young couple spent their first nights together and produced evidence of the bride’s virginity.
The new wife became subsumed into her husband’s family and took her place in the hierarchy of ladies. The purpose of the union was to join the families socially and economically and produce sons. The wife was expected to conform entirely to her husband’s ideas and not take a public role.
Tahirih would do just the opposite.
View photos of the lives of women in Qajar period HERE.
Video montage of photos of 19th c. Iran by Russian photographer Antoin Sevrugin by clicking HERE.