Táhirih (1814 or 1817 – August 16–27, 1852), a famous Baha’i poet, was probably best remembered for unveiling herself in an assemblage of men during the Conference of Badasht. The unveiling caused a great deal of controversy and the Báb named her Táhirih (meaning “the Pure One”) to show his support for her. She was soon arrested and placed under house arrest in Tehran. A few years later in mid-1852 she was executed in secret on account of her Bábí Faith. As a prominent Bábí (she was the seventeenth disciple or “Letter of the Living” of the Báb) she is highly regarded by Baha’is, and often mentioned in Baha’i literatureas an example of courage in the struggle for women’s rights. Her date of birth is uncertain, as birth records were destroyed at her execution.
If ever confronting face to face my glance should alight on you
I will describe to you my sorrow for you in minutest detail.
That I may behold your cheek, like the zephyr I have visited
house by house, door by door, lane by lane, street by street.
Through separation from you my heart’s blood is flowing from my eyes
river by river, sea by sea, fountain by fountain, stream by stream.
My sorrowful heart wove your love into the fabric of my soul
thread by thread, thrum by thrum, warp by warp, woof by woof
Tahira repaired to her own heart, and saw none but you
page by page, fold by fold, veil by veil, curtain by curtain.
2. Translated by: Masudu’l Hasan
O Beloved, if I am admitted to your presence
I will tell Thee in detail of the grief that I suffer because of Thy separation,
In order to get a glimpse of your face, I am moving like zephyr
From door to door, and street to street
Because of Thy separation the blood of my heart flows as tears
From my eyes, like fountains, streams and rivers
Your love is woven into the fabric of my soul;
Thread by thread, warp by warp, and woof by woof,
In the book of my heart, there is nought but you
In every word, every sentence, and every page.
3. Translated by Farzaneh Milani:
I would explain all my grief
Dot by dot, point by point
If heart to heart we talk
And face to face we meet.
To catch a glimpse of thee
I am wandering like a breeze
From house to house, door to door
Place to place, street to street.
In separation from thee
The blood of my heart gushes out of my eyes
In torrent after torrent, river after river
Wave after wave, stream after stream.
This afflicted heart of mine
Has woven your love
To the stuff of life
Strand by strand, thread to thread.
4. Translated by Mohammad Ishaque:
If I happen to see thee before me face to face, I shall tell you of my pangs in minute details;
To see thy face, like unto Zephyr I passed from house to house, door to door, street to street, lane to lane;
The circuit of thy tiny mouth and thy cheeks with down of ambergris (are luxuriant) with buds, roses, tulips and fragrance,
On account of thy separation, my heart’s blood flows forth from my eyes (like) many a Tigris, many a sea, many a brooklet, many a stream,
The dejected heart hath knit thy love on the web of life thread by thread, fibre by fibre, warp by warp, woof by woof;
Tahirah entered her heart and found nothing save thee (searching) page by page, fold by fold, screen by screen, layer by layer.
The effulgence of thy face flashed forth and the rays of thy visage arose on high;
All the gates of my heart there tramp the feet and camp the hosts of calamity.
When he heard my death-dirge drear, for me he prepared, and arranged my gear for me;
He advanced to mourn at my bier for me, and o’er me wept right bitterly.
What harm if thou wilt the fire of amaze should’st set my Sinai-heart ablaze,
Which thou first mad’st fast in a hundred ways but to shake and shatter so ruthlessly?
To convene the guests to his feast of love all night from the angel host above
Peals forth this summons ineffable, “Hail, sorrow-stricken fraternity!”
Can a scale of the fish of amaze like thee aspire to enquire of Beings Sea?
6. The Morn of Guidance — Translated by Susan Stiles Maneck and Farzad Nakhai
Truly the morn of Guidance commands the breeze to begin
All the world has been illuminated; every horizon; every people ,
No more sits the Shaykh in the seat of hypocrisy
No more becomes the mosque a shop dispensing holiness
The tie of the turban will be cut at its source
No Shaykh will remain, neither glitter nor secrecy
The world will be free from superstition and vain imaginings
The people free from deception and temptation
Tyranny is destined for the arm of justice
Ignorance will be defeated by perception
The carpet of justice will be outspread to everywhere
And the seeds of friendship and unity will be spread throughout
The false commands eradicated from the earth
The principle of opposition changed to that of unity.
7. Awaiting Your Blessing — Translated by Susan Stiles Maneck and Farzad Nakhai:
In the path of your love, 0 Idol, I am enamored with torment
How long will you ignore me, I am grief-stricken
My face veiled, my hair torn out
I have separated myself from all creation
You are the light, you are the veil, you are the moon, you are the horizon . . .
8. Translated by Farzaneh Milani:
In pursuit of your love, 0 darling,
Enamored of afflictions, I am
Why do you shun me so?
Weary of your separation, I am.
You’ve veiled your face
You’ve disheveled your hair
You’ve abandoned people
Just as secluded, I am.
You’re the milk and you’re the honey
You’re the tree and you’re the fruit
You are the sun and you are the moon
A speck, an iota, I am.
You’re the palm and you’re the date
You are the nectar-lipped beloved
A distinguished master, you, dear love,
An insolent slave, I am.
You are the Mecca and you are the One
You’re the temple and you’re the shrine
You’re the beloved, the honored one
The miserable lover, I am.
“Come to me!”
Love said alluringly
“Free of pride and pretense,
Manifestation of the One, I am.”
Tahereh is but floating dust at your feet
Drunk by the wine of your face.
Awaiting your blessing
A confessing sinner, I am.
9. In the Land of Your Love — Translated by Susan Stiles Maneck and Farzad Nakhai:
In the land of your love I remain, finding no favor from anyone
See what a stranger I am, Thou who art King of the land?
Is it a sin, 0 Idol, that my every breath breathes the mystery of your love?
Separate me, kill me, take me unjustly
The time of patience has ended, how long should I stand separation?
When every piece of my being, like a hollow reed, tells a sad tale
Reason cannot apprehend you, souls die of your thought
All the door of existence are nothing, you are ultimate
When the zephyr passes by bringing news of their destruction
Making pale the faces and the eyes weep, what would be your loss?
You step to my bed in the morning out of compassion, I fly with both wings and hands
When you rescue one from this place, you will take her to the placeless place
Then I will let go of the soul of the world, for you are the creator of all souls.
The thralls of yearning love constrain the bonds of pain and calamity.
Though with sword in hand my Darling stand with intent to slay though I sinless be,
If it pleases him, this tyrant’s whim, I am well content with his tyranny.
As in sleep I lay at the break of day that cruel charmer came to me,
And in the grace of his form and face the dawn of the morn I seem to see.
The musk of Cathay might perfume gain from the scent of those fragrant tresses rain.
What can I do, for our Faith divine you hold as a thing of infamy?
The tangled curls of thy darling’s hair, and thy saddle and steed are thy only care;
In thy heart the Absolute hath no share, nor thought of the poor man’s poverty.
That, if it please thee, I resign, while this, though bad, is enough for me
Pass from the station of “I” and “We” and choose for thy home nonentity,
For when thou has done the like of this, thou shall reach the supreme Felicity.
11. Translated by Farzaneh Milani:
Kingdom, wealth, and power for thee
Beggary, exile, and loss for me
If the former be good, it’s thine
If the latter is hard, it’s mine.
12. Translated by Masudu’l Hasan:
You are fond of power and empire;
I am fond of faith and poverty;
If power and empire are to be preferred
Be blessed with them.
And if the way of the Dervish is to be deprecated
I don’t mind the punishment.
13. A Beauty Mark … Translated by Susan Stiles Maneck and Farzad Nakhai:
At the corner of the lip, a single beauty mark and two black tresses,
Alas, for the bird of the heart, a single grain and two snares
A constable, a shaykh and I; the talk is of love.
How can I reply to them; one boiled and two raw?
From the face and the locks of the Idol my days are as nights.
Alas, for my days; day is one, night two …
14. Should I Unveil? — Translated by Farzaneh Milani:
Should I unveil my scented hair
I’ll captivate every gazelle
Should I line my narcissus eyes
I’ll destroy the whole world with desire
To see my face, every dawn
Heaven lifts its golden mirror
Should I chance to pass the church one day
I’ll convert all Christian girls
15. Arise — Translated by Farzaneh Milani:
O slumbering one, the beloved has arrived, arise!
Brush off the dust of sleep and self, arise!
Behold the good will has arrived,
Come not before him with tears, arise!
The mender of concerns has come to you,
O heavy-hearted one, arise!
O one afflicted by separation,
Behold the good tidings of the beloved’s union, arise!
O you withered by autumn,
Now spring has come, arise!
Behold the New Year brings a fresh life,
O withered corps of yesteryear, up from your tomb, arise!
If anyone walks in my path I will cry to him that he may be warned
That whoever becomes my lover shall not escape from sorrow and affliction
I am Eternal from the Everlasting World; I am the One from the Realms of the Limitless;