A Brilliant Sun

Tahirih was captured and brought back from Northern Iran to house arrest in Tihran where the aristocratic women in the royal circles of the capital soon met her for the first time and learned of the exciting claims of the Bab and the new day.

Shams-i-Jahan, grand-daughter of a former king and a prominent poet, was among those who sought her out. She arrived one morning at the home of the Mayor where Tahirih was being kept in a second-floor room. As she got close, she said a prayer beseeching God that if Tahirih’s teachings were true, she would be allowed to see her. A window on the second floor opened in which Tahirih appeared “like a brilliant sun.” and called down to her.

The princess asked her about her imprisonment, and Tahirih answered that it was because she proclaimed the truth. The ‘truth’ spoken of had to do with the teachings of the young Siyyid from Shiraz as the princess learned. Their exchange was cut off by the men guarding Tahirih, and the princess went home longing to resume their conversation on these spiritual questions.  

At a wedding feast held at the Mayor’s house, aristocratic women dressed in all their finery sent a message to the mayor asking that he allow Tahirih to come and speak to them. Shams-i-Jahan remembered Tahirih spoke with such power that the women forgot the wedding. She moved them to tears with expressions of her trials and tribulations and then comforted them with humorous stories. She finished by walking among them chanting her poems. After this night, even the maids and helpers in the home became deeply attached to Tahirih.

Click below for an article on the women’s movement in Iran which begins with a summary of Tahirih’s life from a secular point of view and then a short video overview of the Persian literary tradition: