RSS Feed for Courage & SacrificeCourage & Sacrifice

Truth stands out clear from error


Zarrin Muqimi-Abyanih, one of 10 Bahá’í women executed in Shiraz on 18 June 1983. The primary charge against her: teaching Bahá’í children’s classes. Reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community at .

Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons are the Evil Ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (for ever).

The Qur’an (2: 256 & 257)


Zarrin Muqimi-Abyanih was one of ten Bahá’í women hung on June 18, 1983 in Shiraz by the current regime of religious leaders ruling Iran. Their principle crime was teaching children’s classes. Here is a loving tribute in her memory. 

Courtesy of Bahá’í Reaching and Teaching at

No unbiased mind can fail to see who represents truth and who is in error and has grasped evil. Any fair-minded person can see who has walked into the light and who is a patron of the Evil Ones and is walking into the depths of darkness. God hears and knows all things.

Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.

The Qur’an (16: 90)

Courage and shame in Iran


Muna Mahmudnizhad, 17, was one of 10 Bahá’í women executed in Shiraz on 18 June 1983. The primary charge against her: teaching Bahá’í children’s classes. Reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community  at


“Let there be no compulsion in religion.”   Qur’án (2:256)


I beseech Thee, O my God, by the light of Thy countenance which impelled them who are nigh unto Thee to meet the darts of Thy decree, and such as are devoted to Thee to face the swords of Thine enemies in Thy path, to write down for me with Thy most exalted Pen what Thou hast written down for Thy trusted ones and Thy chosen ones. Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.



June 18th may one day be a national holiday in Iran to honor religious freedom, courage, and devotion to God. Today, though, this is Iran’s national week of shame, the anniversary week of that date in 1983 when ten steadfast and courageous Bahá’í women were hung in Shiraz by the current regime for teaching children’s classes. It was but one episode of a waive of bloodletting against the Bahá’ís carried out by a fanatical clergy that had finally accomplished its long-cherished goal of establishing itself as the secular power in that country.  A clearer proof that those today in power in Iran have strayed very far from the Qur’an and the true purpose of religion can scarcely be imagined.

The Bahá’í youth of Shiraz have beautifully performed one of Bahá’u’lláh’s prayers, which can be viewed through the link below. This powerful prayer is chanted in the original Arabic with musical accompaniment, and with English translation shown in front of changing images.   It’s melodious and rhythmic pattern, together with its length (20 minutes) allows the viewer to relax and meditate and infuse one’s soul with the Lord’s matchless utterance. It is a fasting prayer, but its words and message, so beautifully rendered, are for any time of year. The passage quoted above is from that prayer.


Adorning the cause of womanhood

   Tahirih Siyavushi   Mahshid Nirumand   Akhtar Thabit   Zarrin Muqimi-Abyánih   Nusrat Yalda'i   Simin Sabiri   Shahin Dalvand   Ruya Ishraqi   Izzat Ishraqi   Mona Mahmudnizhad

Photos and article reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community.

“Let there be no compulsion in religion.”   Qur’án (2:256)


Confirmations from the kingdom of God will assuredly be received, enabling some radiant leaves to appear resplendent in the assemblage of this world with clear proofs and convincing reasons, which will adorn the cause of womanhood. They will prove that in this cycle women are equal to men, nay, in certain respects they will excel.


In this wondrous Dispensation the favours of the Glorious Lord are vouchsafed unto the handmaidens of the Merciful. Therefore, they should, like unto men, seize the prize and excel in the field, so that it will be proven and made manifest that the penetrative influence of the Word of God in this new Dispensation hath caused women to be equal with men, and that in the arena of tests they will outdo others.



This Friday, June 18th, marks the anniversary of a tragic episode that starkly reveals the true character of the fundamentalist regime that rules Iran. Ten faithful, courageous, and undaunted women, ranging in age from 17 to 57 years (Mona was the youngest) were executed by hanging in Shiraz, Iran on 18 June 1983.  The primary charge against them was teaching Bahá’i children’s classes.  Here is the article from the Bahá’í International Community. Those responsible for their deaths are still running the country today and have not changed their goal: the eradication of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran.

“Ranging in age from 17 to 57, the ten Bahá’í women were led to the gallows in succession. Authorities apparently hoped that as each saw the others slowly strangle to death, they would renounce their own faith.

But according to eyewitness reports, the women went to their fate singing and chanting, as though they were enjoying a pleasant outing.

One of the men attending the gallows confided to a Bahá’í: “We tried saving their lives up to the last moment, but one by one, first the older ladies, then the young girls, were hanged while the others were forced to watch, it being hoped that this might induce them to recant their belief. We even urged them to say they were not Bahá’ís, but not one of them agreed; they preferred the execution.”

All of the women had been interrogated and tortured in the months leading up to their execution. Indeed, some had wounds still visible on their bodies as they lay in the morgue after their execution.

The youngest of these martyrs was Muna Mahmudnizhad, a 17-year-old schoolgirl who because of her youth and conspicuous innocence became, in a sense, a symbol of the group. In prison, she was lashed on the soles of her feet with a cable and forced to walk on bleeding feet.

Yet she never waivered in her faith, even to the point of kissing the hands of her executioner, and then the rope, before putting it around her own throat.

Another young woman, Zarrin Muqimi-Abyanih, 28, told the interrogators whose chief goal was to have her disavow her faith: “Whether you accept it or not, I am a Bahá’í. You cannot take it away from me. I am a Bahá’í with my whole being and my whole heart.”

During the trial of another of the women, Ruya Ishraqi, a 23-year-old veterinary student, the judge said: “You put yourselves through this agony only for one word: just say you are not a Bahá’í and I’ll see that…you are released…” Ms. Ishraqi responded: “I will not exchange my faith for the whole world.”

The names of the other women hanged on 18 June 1983 were: Shahin Dalvand, 25, a sociologist; Izzat Janami Ishraqi, 57, a homemaker; Mahshid Nirumand, 28, who had qualified for a degree in physics but had it denied her because she was a Bahá’í; Simin Sabiri, 25; Tahirih Arjumandi Siyavushi, 30, a nurse; Akhtar Thabit, 25, also a nurse; Nusrat Ghufrani Yalda’i, 47, a mother and member of the local Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly.

All had seen it as their duty to teach Bahá’í religious classes — especially since the government had barred Bahá’í children from attending even regular school.”

In Honor of Those who Serve and Protect

 Tina Griswold                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Bahá’ís of Pierce County share their shock and grief at the senseless murder of four police officers from the City of Lakewood, in Pierce County, who were shot to death this morning at a café at they were preparing for their work day. We offer our prayers both for the souls of these officers who were serving to protect and defend our community, and to their families.

  Ronald Owens

Mark RenningerLet us remember their names as we pray for them and their families:

  Greg RichardsTina Griswold              Ronald Owens         

  Mark Renninger          Greg Richards


  A Prayer for the Departed

Glory be to Thee, O Lord my God! Abase not him whom Thou hast exalted through the power of Thine everlasting sovereignty, and remove not far from Thee him whom Thou hast caused to enter the tabernacle of Thine eternity. Wilt Thou cast away, O my  God, him whom Thou hast overshadowed with Thy Lordship, and wilt Thou turn away from Thee, O my Desire, him to whom Thou hast been a refuge? Canst Thou degrade him whom Thou hast uplifted, or forget him whom Thou didst enable to remember Thee?

Glorified, immensely glorified art Thou! Thou art He Who from everlasting hath been the King of the entire creation and its Prime Mover, and Thou wilt to everlasting remain the Lord of all created things and their Ordainer. Glorified art Thou, O my God! If Thou ceasest to be merciful unto Thy servants, who, then, will show mercy unto them; and if Thou refusest to succor Thy loved ones, who is there that can succor them?

Glorified, immeasurably glorified art Thou! Thou art adored in Thy truth, and Thee do we all, verily, worship; and Thou art manifest in Thy justice, and to Thee do we all, verily, bear witness. Thou art, in truth, beloved in Thy grace. No God is there but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.                   Baha’u’llah





Prayers of Consolation

Lauded and glorified art thou, O my God! I entreat Thee by the sighing of Thy lovers and by the tears shed by them that long to behold Thee, not to withhold from me Thy tender mercies in Thy Day, nor to deprive me of the melodies of the Dove that extolleth Thy oneness before the light that shineth from thy face. I am the one who is in misery, O God! Behold me cleaving fast to Thy Name, the All-Possessing. I am the one who is sure to perish; behold me clinging  to Thy Name, the Imperishable. I implore Thee, therefore, by Thy Self, the Exalted, the Most High, not to abandon me unto mine own self and unto the desires of a corrupt inclination. Hold Thou my hand with the hand of Thy power, and deliver me from the depths of my fancies and idle imaginings, and cleanse me of all that is abhorrent unto Thee.

Cause me, then, to turn wholly unto Thee, to put my whole trust in Thee, to seek Thee as my Refuge, and to flee unto Thy face. Thou art, verily, He Who, through the power of His might, doeth whatsoever He desireth, and commandeth, through the potency of His will, whatsoever He chooseth. None can withstand the operation of Thy decree; none can divert the course of Thine appointment. Thou art, in truth, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the Most Bountiful.




O Lord, my God and my Haven in my distress! My Shield and my Shelter in my woes! My Asylum and Refuge in time of need and in my loneliness my Companion! In my anguish my Solace, and in my solitude a loving Friend! The Remover of the pangs of my sorrows and the Pardoner of my sins!

Wholly unto Thee do I turn, fervently imploring Thee with all my heart, my mind and my tongue, to shield me from all that runs counter to Thy will in this, the cycle of Thy divine unity, and to cleanse me of all defilement that will hinder me from seeking, stainless and unsullied, the shade of the tree of Thy grace.

Have mercy, O Lord, on the feeble, make whole the sick, and quench the burning thirst.

Gladden the bosom wherein the fire of Thy love doth smolder, and set it aglow with the flame of Thy celestial love and spirit.

Robe the tabernacles of divine unity with the vesture of holiness, and set upon my head the crown of Thy favor.

Illumine my face with the radiance of the orb of Thy bounty, and graciously aid me in ministering at Thy holy threshold.   

Make my heart overflow with love for Thy creatures and grant that I may become the sign of Thy mercy, the token of Thy grace, the promoter of concord amongst Thy loved ones, devoted unto Thee, uttering Thy commemoration and forgetful of self but ever mindful of what is Thine.

O God, my God! Stay not from me the gentle gales of Thy pardon and grace, and deprive me not of the wellsprings of Thine aid and favor.

‘Neath the shade of Thy protecting wings let me nestle, and cast upon me the glance of Thine all-protecting eye.

Loose my tongue to laud Thy name amidst Thy people, that my voice may be raised in great assemblies and from my lips may stream the flood of Thy praise.

Thou art, in all truth, the Gracious, the Glorified, the Mighty, the Omnipotent.




He is the Compassionate, the All-Bountiful! O God, my God! Thou seest me, Thou knowest me; Thou art my Haven and my Refuge.  None have I sought nor any will I seek save Thee; no path have I trodden nor any will I tread but the path of Thy love. In the darksome night of despair, my eye turneth expectant and full of hope to the morn of Thy boundless favor and at the hour of dawn my drooping soul is refreshed and strengthened in remembrance of Thy beauty and perfection. He whom the grace of Thy mercy aideth, though he be but a drop, shall become the boundless ocean, and the merest atom which the outpouring of Thy loving-kindness assisteth, shall shine even as the radiant star.

Shelter under Thy protection, O Thou Spirit of purity, Thou Whom art the All-Bountiful Provider, this enthralled, enkindled servant of Thine. Aid him in this world of being to remain steadfast and firm in Thy love and grant that this broken-winged bird attain a refuge and shelter in Thy divine nest that abideth upon the celestial tree.



Photos courtesy of Pierce County at


Courage & Sacrifice: Rúhu’lláh, son of Varqá

Rúhu’lláh and his father, Varqá, in prison in Tehran shortly before their martyrdoms in 1896. Photo courtesy of  Médiathèque Baha’ie Francophone

Mírzá ‘Alí-Muhammad Varqá and his son, Rúhu’lláh, were two of the outstanding servants of Bahá’u’lláh. A brief account of their remarkable and devoted lives can be found in The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, Vol. 4, by Adib Taherzadeh.  Here is an excerpt from that book about Rúhu’lláh and his complete devotion to the service of God.


Truly, Rúhu’lláh was no ordinary child. He was an inspired being and acted as a spiritual giant. At a young age he wrote beautiful poetry which clearly demonstrates how deep was his love for Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, how vast his knowledge of the Faith and how profound his understanding of the real purpose of life. He used to speak about the Faith in gatherings of divines and men of learning with such eloquence and knowledge, and produce such irrefutable proofs of the truth of the Faith that many were confounded after hearing him. His answers were profound yet simple and very compelling.

There are some delightful stories related to this indefatigable child-teacher of the Cause of God. To cite an example: Although only twelve years of age, Rúhu’lláh attended with his father several meetings in Zanján at which the divines of the city were present. The Governor of Zanján, ‘Alá’u’d-Dawlih, had especially arranged these meetings in order that Varqá might confront the divines in defence of his Faith. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-‘Alí has written about this in his celebrated book of reminiscences, the Bihjatu’s-Sudúr:

Varqá . . . was prepared to prove, by the power of divine
assistance, the authenticity of this most great Revelation   
which is promised in all the heavenly Books, and to establish the
validity of the basic principles, laws both spiritual and physical,
and even secondary matters in the Faith using the Qur’án as the basis
of his argument . . .

This prompted ‘Alá’u’d-Dawlih, the Governor of Zanján, to convene
several meetings. He ordered the divines of Zanján to attend, and
arranged for Bahá’í books and Tablets to be taken to these meetings.
After reading some of these, the objections of the divines were
adequately answered sometimes by Varqá and sometimes by Rúhu’lláh. The
answers, which were all supported by the verses of the Qur’án, were
convincing and irrefutable.

Since the defeat of the divines in their argument became evident to
the Governor, who was a powerful and courageous personality, the
divines did not dare to label Varqá as an infidel and issue his death
warrant. In these meetings ‘Alá’u’d-Dawlih often permitted the twelve-
year-old Rúhu’lláh to speak with the divines. He used to prove the
subject with amazing courage, eloquence and profundity. His talks were
so sweet that the Governor admitted that the proofs which that child
had adduced were a great miracle in his sight . . .

Another story goes like this: Once Rúhu’lláh and his older brother were walking in town. A Muslim clergyman tiding on his donkey spotted the two boys and from their appearance he knew they were strangers in Zanján. So he went to them and said, ‘Who are you?’

Rúhu’lláh answered, ‘We are sons of Varqá, a native of Yazd.’ ‘What is your name?’ the clergyman demanded. ‘My name is Rúhu’lláh,’ came the answer. ‘That is a great name,’ said the clergyman. ‘Christ was Rúhu’lláh and He used to raise the dead and give them life.’ [‘Rúhu’lláh’ literally means the ‘Spirit of God’, a title of Christ mentioned in the Qur’án.]

‘Sir, if you slow down the pace of your donkey,’ Rúhu’lláh declared with great enthusiasm, ‘I too shall raise you from the dead and give you a new life!’  

The clergyman hurriedly left saying, ‘You two must be Bábí children!’ [For many years in Persia Bahá’ís were known as ‘Bábís’.]

The full story of the circumstances which led to the martyrdom of Varqá and his twelve-year-old son Rúhu’lláh is beyond the scope of this book. Both of them were engulfed in a series of arrests and imprisonments. They were transferred from prison to prison weighed down with chains, their feet placed in stocks. As a result they suffered much hardship and torture until at the end Varqá was martyred when in a rage Hájibu’d-Dawlih, the chief steward in charge of the Prison of Tihrán, pierced his stomach with a dagger. Rúhu’lláh saw his father fall to the ground, and then his body was cut into pieces. A short while later, refusing to recant his faith and earnestly wishing to join his father, that noble and heroic child was strangled to death. This was in May 1896.


Want to buy this book? Go to or

Courage & Sacrifice: Martyrs of Hamadan June 14, 1981


The Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh at Bahjí, north of Akká in Israel



“Let there be no compulsion in religion.”   Qur’án (2:256/257)



We have made abasement the garment of glory, and affliction the adornment of Thy temple, O Pride of the worlds.


Thou seest the hearts are filled with hate, and to overlook is Thine, O Thou Concealer of the sins of the worlds.


When the swords flash, go forward! When the shafts fly, press onward! O Thou Sacrifice of the worlds.



From the Lawh-i-Qad Ihtaraqa’l-Mukhlisún (The Fire Tablet)



A video tribute:

Husayn Motlaq Aráni    Muhammad Baqer Habibi    Dr. Násir Vafá’í

Husayn Khándil    Sohráb Habíbí    Tarázu’lláh Khuzayn    Hossein Mutlaq

This is a tribute to the seven Bahá’í martyrs of Hamadan, Iran who suffered imprisonment and endured cruel torture before finally sacrificing their lives for their religious beliefs on June 14, 1981.

The excerpts from letters written in their final moments of life provide us with only a glimpse of the deep love for the families they left behind and the profound courage and nobility arising out of the depth of their love of God and their faith in His Messenger for this age, Bahá’u’lláh.

The hauntingly beautiful music was composed in their honor by Farzad Khozein, a nephew of one of the martyrs. To simply be a Bahá’í in Iran is an act of courage in and of itself. We who are fortunate enough to live in relative freedom continue to send them our love and our prayers.

Video and comments received courtesy of Edward Widmer


 Here is a more graphic account of their martyrdoms.

On June 14, 1981, seven members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Hamadan were executed by a firing squad. Their bodies were released to the Bahá’í community for appropriate burial. Examination of the corpses while the bodies were being prepared for the funeral revealed that six of these men had been physically tortured before their deaths. The body of the seventh was “riddled with bullets.”


Reuters published a detailed account of the men’s injuries:

The body of Husayn Motlaq Aráni showed no signs of torture but he had been shot nine times. Muhammad Baqer Habibi had a broken shoulder; Dr. Násir Vafá’í had had his thighs cut open as far as the waist and had been shot seven times; Husayn Khándil had had the fingers of one hand pressed and his back had been burned; Sohráb Habíbí had had his back burned and had been shot five times and Tarázu’lláh Khuzayn suffered a smashed chest and left hand and had been shot seven times.


Similar reports reached the Bahá’í International Community:

The ribs of Tarázu’lláh Khuzayn were crushed, and his hands were slashed. His legs and thighs had been pierced with a bayonet, and the injuries had turned his skin black and the tissues were swollen. [He was sixty-four when he died.] Suhráb Habíbí’s back had been branded with a hot ring – his own – and he had severe burns. The fingers of Husayn Khándil were slashed and his abdomen had been cut open. Dr. Na’ímí’s back had been broken and Dr. Vafá’í’s thighs had been cut open; Suhayl Habíbí’s shoulders had been broken and smashed. Hossein Mutlaq had not been tortured but his body showed the greatest number of bullet wounds.


Courtesy Iran Human Rights Documentation Center