Tahirih
The Pure One
Companion Site to
The Calling: Tahirih of Persia and Her American Contemporaries
A New Book by
Hussein Ahdieh & Hillary Chapman



Bahá'í Bookstore

Journeys of Faith (Blog)

In the 19th century, countless individuals believed a new Revelation was imminent.  In Persia, the Báb fulfilled the prediction by several clerics of the appearance of the Promised Qa’im.

Tahirih of Qazvin, a gifted teacher, was at the vanguard of spreading the Báb’s teachings. She unceasingly proclaimed the Bábí Faith and brought a deeper understanding of its teachings to the rapidly growing numbers of its converts. Her vibrant poetry gave voice to her spiritual longing and passion, and its freshness reflected the vitality of the new spiritual teachings. She emerged as the most outspoken of the Bábí leaders. The authorities responded by having her murdered in the dead of night. The memory of her life survives in her poems.

At the same time, many Americans believed the Second Coming of Christ was imminent.  Several churches and movements emerged, some founded by women.  Among them were Ellen G. White, a theological thinker who shaped the beliefs of the Adventist movement, Sojourner Truth, who came up from slavery to electrify audiences with her salvation preaching, and Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christian Science; these women leaders were prefigured in the 18th century by ‘Mother’ Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, and the long forgotten female ‘exhorters’.

In the hearts of Persian and American women, God’s Hand was at play, orchestrating a realization of the spiritual basis of life and the need to move towards oneness.

The Calling by Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman describes Tahirih in a fresh, new manner, juxtaposing and interweaving her life and work with that of her American contemporaries—women whose existence she was probably not aware of, but who shared with her a spiritual bond and vision of progress and justice.

Tahirih Story: Hussein Ahdieh Interviewed by Roya Shanks
Tahirih Proclaiming the Liberation of Women
Painted by Ivan Lloyd

About the Authors

Hussein Ahdieh moved to the USA as a teenager to pursue a Master's Degree in European Intellectual History and a Doctorate in Education. He helped to establish the world-renowned Harlem Preparatory School in New York City and was the Director of Higher Educational Programs at Fordham University.

Hillary Chapman earned a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Master's Degree in Education. He taught at the highly ranked Chapin School in New York City. He has had many songs and poems published.

Dr. Ahdieh and Mr. Chapman are co-authors of Awakening: A History of the Bahá’í and Bábí Faiths in Nayriz and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in New York. They are currently researching a new book, Harlem Prep: Forerunner of Charter Schools.


Hussein Ahdieh presenting The Calling at Bahá'í Grand Canyon Conference, December 2014