Tahereh Qurratu’l-’Ayn: For the Emancipation of Women!

The first woman to question the basic tenets of absolutist monarchy and orthodox religion in Iran is Tahereh Qurratu’l-’Ayn. She is known as Tahereh – the Pure.

Tahereh is born into a prominent religious family in Ghazvin in 1814 and becomes a poet. Married at 14, she leaves her husband and children to follow the Babi movement, the precursor of the Baha’i religion.

She becomes one of its most outspoken leaders, demanding radical change. In 1848 Tahereh appears unveiled, announcing the advent of a new religion. Many flee in horror and one man slashes his throat at such an act of sacrilege.

Tahereh is put under house arrest and strangled in 1852. Her body is thrown down a well to prevent it becoming a shrine.

As they came to kill her, she says: “You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.”

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