The Birth and Tribulations of a Bahá'í Community in Iran

By Hussein Ahdieh

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #111
Centre for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
June 30 – July 3, 2012
(see list of papers from #111)

    In 1850, Nayriz was a sleepy farm town in the Fars province of Iran. Most people tended their farms by day and mingled with family and friends at night under the dim light of kerosene lamps. Life for the inhabitants of Nayriz was peaceful—but it was a stifling peace without any hope, where the future was merely a continuation of the past.

    On May 27, 1850, Vahíd, a scholarly representative of the Báb, proclaimed the new Prophet's stirring message from the pulpit of a mosque. And Nayriz would never be the same. The sleepy town had been jolted into the painful throes of awakening.

    The presentation covers the tumultuous birth of the Bábí movement in Nayriz and its later evolution into that city's Bahá'í community. In details it will recount the heroic struggles of the Bábís in 1850 and 1853 against the overwhelming forces of Iran's despotic monarchy and the horrific treatment of the survivors, including elderly, women and children. We will cover in depth the story of Vahíd as a spiritual as well as practical leader and as the harbinger of a new way of life to the people of Nayriz. I will also provide a detailed account of the less-known but dramatic upheaval of 1909.

    Aside from the skirmishes, battles, and executions, the book Awakening brings to light the daily trials and occasional triumphs of the Nayriz Bahá'ís as they endured the hostility of their Muslim neighbors. It is a story of ordinary people transforming themselves into heroes and heroines through the empowering Message brought by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.

    The presentation is in the audio-visual form which includes numerous tablets, historical pictures, maps etc. to enhance the appreciation of the history of the town.

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