In 1902, a Baha’i came to Lahore to spread the Baha’i teachings and met one of the most influential Indians of the early 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal. He was a much admired poet who wrote in both Urdu and Persian and a philosopher-activist who would become one of the founders of Pakistan.
In 1930, Iqbal met Martha Root who presented him with a collection of Tahirih’s poems in Urdu. He later spoke with reverence of Tahirih and that he was including her in his long poem about the spiritual journey.
In this poem Iqbal journeys through the skies where he meets three important holy figures, one of whom is Tahirih. In the first section of the “Song of Tahira,” their spiritual ardor appeals to his own inner longings:
“If ever confronting face to face my glance should alight on you
I will describe to you my sorrow for you in the minutest detail
That I may behold your cheek, like the zephyr I have visited
house by house, door by door, lane by lane, street by street.
Through separation from you my heart’s blood is flowing
From my eyes
river by river, sea by sea, fountain by fountain, stream by stream,
My sorrowful heart wove your love into the fabric of my soul
thread by thread, thrum by thrum, warp by warp, woof by woof.
Tahira repaired to her own heart, and saw none but you
page by page, fold by fold, veil by veil, curtain by curtain.”
To learn more about Tahirih, read The Calling, available at this web site.