While Bahai history is peppered with incidents of violence, perhaps one of the most shameful events is the murder of Mulla Muhammed Taqi Bargaani. Haji Mulla Taqi was a leading cleric in Iran who denounced the Bab and his doctrine. Having no response to his arguments, the Babis, led by Qurratul Ayn plotted and executed the plan to murder him.

Tahera, Qurratul Ayn, was the daughter of Mulla Muhammad Saleh, the brother of Mulla Muhammad Taqi - a Babi from its Shaykhiyya days. Mirza Saleh was more enamoured with Tahera than the others. Fazil Manzandarani in his book ‘Zuhurul Haqq’ on page 316 elaborates that Mirza Saleh was called ‘Qurtiyya’ (from Qurratul Ayn) because of this reason.

Tahera Qazvini - Femme Fatale of Babism | The Violent Ways of The Bab and The Babis

The author of Taarikhe Qadeem, more famous as ‘Nuktatul Kaaf’ writes in his book (page 141-142), ‘Mirza Saleh used to confess to Tahera - O daughter (while she was married with 3 children) whenever you claim to be the Bab I will approve of it and will submit to it. I wish that you were a son (i.e. male) so that I could take pride in your feats over the other scholars. It is unfortunate, with these accomplishments you are a mere follower of this youth - Mirza Ali Muhammed Shirazi.’

Qurratul Ayn was married to Mulla Muhammed (her cousin) who was the son of her uncle - Muhammed Taqi. She had 3 children from this marriage. But a woman of her reputation and captivating beauty found it difficult to sustain the marriage and her marriage fell apart. She was not open to reconciliation and she chose to abandon her husband. She was living alone at the time of the political uprising of the Babis.

Abbas Afandi narrates that ‘Qurratul Ayn was in the forefront of the Babi movement with her revolutionary ideas and was always engaged in replying to arguments (against Babism).’
(Ref: Nuktatul Kaaf, page 142)

However, the grounds that Qurratul Ayn was preparing for the Babi movement ran into one of its biggest hurdles that threatened the very existence of the movement.

Read More about Tahera Qazvini

This major hurdle was in the shape of Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani, her own uncle, one of the most illustrious Shia scholars of his time. He used to relentlessly speak against the deviations and innovations of the Babis from the pulpit of the mosque. He gave fitting replies to their objections and left nothing unanswered. He was the foremost critic of the Babis with whose existence, the Babi faith’s very survival came into question.

In his book Nuktatul Kaaf, the author makes two telling observations about this precarious situation that the Babis founds themselves in and Mirza Salih’s role in this regard:

Mirza Salih was among the respected companions of Mirza Ali Muhammed Shirazi used to regularly curse and abuse Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani.
(Ref: Nuktatul Kaaf, page 142)

When Mirza Ali Muhammed Shirazi wrote a letter to Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani - ‘I am oppressed. Moreover, I am from the progeny of the Prophet (i.e. Sayyid), please help me’, Mirza Salih tore the letter to shreds and abused Mirza Muhammed Taqi Bargaani.
(Ref: Maqaale Shakhsi Siyaah, page 142)

Soon thereafter, Qurratul Ayn drew an elaborate plan to assassinate Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani through Mirza Salih. Before executing the assassination plot she instructed her close band of cronies to vacate Qazvin. One of her more perceptive supporters asked her - Where are Mirza Salih and Mulla Ibrahim? She replied - They are out to perform an important task. It is expected that soon there will be riots in Qazvin because of that and I don’t want anyone of you to be around at that time.
(Ref: Fitna-e-Baab, page 174, Kashful Ghitaa page 106, Zuhoorul Haqq, page 324, Kawkabud Durree vol. 1, page 120)

About two weeks after Qurratul Ayn’s supporters had vacated Qazvin, Mirza Salih with his cronies got into action to eliminate Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani. According to the book Talkhise Nabeel Zarandi, on the crack of dawn on one of the mornings in the year 1264 (Iranian calendar), they attacked Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani while he was engaged in worship in the prayer niche of the mosque. They struck the aged worshipper most mercilessly while he was supplicating to his Lord.

Muhammed Ali Mudarris writes - As was customary, Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani retired to the mosque for his night prayers. In the state of prostration he recited the fifteen whispered prayers from the Psalms of Sajjadiyya. At that moment, some of the vicious followers of the Babi sect surrounded him in the mosque and struck him fatally on the neck with a spear and split it open. Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani dragged himself towards the mosque’s entrance and fell unconscious soon after that. His family members arrived at the spot and carried him over to his house. Two days after being struck cruelly, he departed for his heavenly abode in the neighbourhood of the Prophet’s grandson - Hussain.
(Ref: Rayhaanul Adab vol. 1, page 267)

Mirza Muhammed Taqi ‘Lisaanul Mulk’ says - Muhammed Taqi Bargaani was a pious and abstemious man. One group of Muslims identifies him as the Third Martyr (Shahid Saalis).
(Ref: Naasikhul Tawaarikh - Qaajiriyyah vol. 3, page 219)

Qurratul Ayn’s role in the cold blooded murder of her uncle (Muhammed Taqi Bargaani) and her instigation of Mirza Salih in this regard is well-documented among the historians. Indeed a woman of her fame and beauty could not escape this ignominy. Moreover, her strained relations with her husband and her leadership position amongst the Babis of Qazvin pitched her in the limelight in the aftermath of Muhammed Taqi Bargaani’s murder. Reza Qulli Khan mentions this as the reason for Qurratul Ayn being the centre of attention after the unfolding of the plot to assassinate Muhammed Taqi Bargaani.
(Ref: Rauzatus Safa vol. 1, page 46)

The authors of Rayhaanatul Adab, Naasikhut Tawaarikh and Fatwaae hold Qurratul Ayn as the main conspirator and driving force behind the murder of Muhammed Taqi Bargaani. Mirza Muhammed Taqi ‘Lisaanul Mulk’ writes in the third volume, page 219 of his book ‘Naasikhut Tawaarikh - Qaajiriyyah’ - Shaikh Muhammed Taqi was the uncle of Qurratul Ayn who was aware of her loose character and elastic morals. The twisted beliefs of the Babis were apparent to all and many scholars had condemned them. Shaikh Muhammed Taqi had passed a ruling to boycott Qurratul Ayn for her beliefs. Since this impacted the Babi movement adversely, Qurratul Ayn hatched the plot to get rid of - Muhammed Taqi, her own uncle and father-in-law.

'This (public denunciation of the Bab) cost him his life, for at length certain Babis, stung by his words into uncontrollable anger fell upon him early one morning as he was praying in the mosque and with knives and daggers inflicted upon him eight wounds from the effects of which he expired two days later.'
(Ref: Traveller's Narrative, page 198)

Traveller's Narrative - A Critical Analysis

The murder of a prominent personality like Muhammed Taqi Bargaani left an indelible mark on the Qazvini society. Clearly Qurratul Ayn miscalculated the impact that the assassination would have on the Muslims. There were rallies all around attended by Muslims in large numbers baying for the blood of the Babis. There was widespread hatred for the Babis for murdering in cold blood a god-fearing and highly regarded man like Muhammed Taqi Bargaani. Although, true to his character Muhammed Taqi Bargaani pardoned his murders before embracing death, the loathing for the Babis for depriving the community of a divine sign did not abate at all.

Zaaeemud Dawla writes in this regard, ‘The people (of Qazvin) flooded the city. They were on the streets in waves. It was as if the Day of Judgement had been declared when all the people are gathered. The people were all out for striking back at the Babis. There were cries of ‘Retaliate, retaliate’ all around.’
(Ref: Miftahul Abwaab page 133)

Even the author Taarikhul Qadeem (Nuktatul Qaaf) writes, ‘After the murder of Muhammed Taqi Bargaani (by Qurratul Ayn’s cronies), there was widespread disturbance all over...’ (page 142).


  • It is clear from Qurratul Ayn’s nefarious plot to assassinate a respected and venerated figure like Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani that the aura of peace and harmony that the Bahai Faith presents to the world is only a façade.

  • The foundation of the Bahai Faith was built on violence and intolerance, traits that the Bahai Faith are loathe to admit today. According to the Bahais, violence and intolerance are features of Islam and the Bahai Faith with its peace and harmony is an answer to it. Clearly, the peace and harmony projected by the Bahais is delusional.

  • Qurratul Ayn was not a small time sycophant of Bab, she was a respected figure among the Babis with a standing and reputation of her own. Her role in the cold blooded murder of Shaikh Muhammed Taqi Bargaani is clearer than the midday sun. When a respected figure of the Babis anointed as the 'Huruful Hayy' (living alphabets) by none other than Bab himself, indulges in murder and sedition, apart from the pornographic shenanigans of Badasht, it is alarming to imagine how her followers would have been.

  • The path of dialogue that is projected by the Bahai Faith as a solution to all problems seems to have been invented as an afterthought only to distinguish itself from other religions. Else dialogue should have been the natural course of action in dealing with an essentially peaceful, pious and god-fearing personality like Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Bargaani. It is probable that a dialogue would have been attempted but the Babis were unsuccessful, leaving elimination of Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Bargaani as the only ‘option’.

  • Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Bargaani was not just a respected figure among the Iranians of that time, he was also the uncle and father-in-law of Qurratul Ayn. He enjoyed a status, based on his kinship with Qurratul Ayn, that should have been observed by the latter. On the contrary, his lot was being murdered by Qurratul Ayn’s cronies in the niche of the mosque while in a state of worship and supplications. Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Bargaani’s murder was not unlike the assassination of Ali b. Abi Talib who was also killed at the behest of a beautiful and ruthless woman - Qutam, while he was in a state of prayers in the niche of the Mosque at Kufa, Iraq.

  • If the Bahai Faith’s senior figures have a grouse of being targeted by authorities especially in Iran, they should understand that the first step in this battle was taken by the Bahais/Babis themselves by murdering a respected Shia personality - Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Bargaani, venerated in Iran as the Third Martyr. When one party starts a conflict, it assumes the burden of ending the conflict. The onus is on the Bahais to end the conflict and they must do this by issuing an unconditional apology to the Muslims for their role in the murder of Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Bargaani. This will surely test the message of peace and harmony that the Bahais have for the world.

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