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All ten of the women who felt the hangman’s noose that fateful June day in 1983 had successfully learned from the master of love.

… learn from the Master of Love in the schoolhouse of oneness, and return unto God, and forsake the inner land of unreality for thy true station, and dwell within the shadow of the tree of knowledge. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 28.

A graduate of the University of Shiraz, 28 year-old Mashid Nirumand was ridiculed by her interrogator. He taunted her with the fact that here was he, who lacked even a high school education, interrogating her despite her university education. “What an education! A graduate in physics!” he laughed, as if to say, “And what good has it done you?”

Although Mashid did graduate with the requisite grades and credits necessary for a degree in physics, the school denied her the actual diploma since she was a Baha’i.

Due to the ignorance of which he seemed proud, the interrogator was woefully unaware that:

… allegiance to the essential foundation of the divine religions is ever the cause of development and progress, whereas the abandonment and beclouding of that essential reality through blind imitations and adherence to dogmatic beliefs is the cause of … debasement and degradation. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 364.

Prior to her imprisonment, Mashid had been a youth advisor and a member of several Baha’i service committees. She remained very strong throughout her stay in prison, encouraged everyone to remain steadfast in their faith. She had a calming influence on others. Food in prison was not plentiful, yet Mashid often shared hers with other prisoners.

She fulfilled her part of this core Baha’i teaching:

It is Our wish and desire that every one of you may become a source of all goodness unto men, and an example of uprightness to mankind. Beware lest ye prefer yourselves above your neighbors. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 315.

Mashid Nirumand

Mashid Nirumand

Not one for “small talk,” when she did speak, Mashid’s profound understanding of the Baha’i teachings was evident. To one of her interrogators Mashid asserted, “I have found the path to Divine Reality and I am not prepared to abandon it. Therefore, I am willing to abide by the court’s verdict.”

In describing the bodies of the ten women after their executions, it was reported that Mashid seemed to be in a deep, peaceful sleep while Mona, the youngest, laid alongside, her head resting on Mashid’s shoulder—so apt for one who became such a source of strength for her imprisoned friends.

Mashid obviously learned more than the physics of the universe during her short life on Earth—she also learned, deeply and profoundly, the physics of the spiritual reality by attending the university of God:

I will pray, and you must pray, likewise, that such heavenly bounty may be realized; that strife and enmity may be banished, warfare and bloodshed taken away; that hearts may attain ideal communication and that all people may drink from the same fountain. May they receive their knowledge from the same divine source. May all hearts become illumined with the rays of the Sun of Reality; may all of them enter the university of God, acquire spiritual virtues and seek for themselves heavenly bounties. Then this material, phenomenal world will become the mirror of the world of God, and within this pure mirror the divine virtues of the realm of might will be reflected. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 305.


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  • Jun 09, 2017
    Thank you for the blessing of being able to learn about this sweet angel, Mashid, dear Jaine! The image of beautiful young Mona resting on her shoulder is bittersweet and most precious. I will carry it my heart always.
  • Sukumaran Sankaran Nair
    Jun 09, 2017
    Tears blinding our eyes,Jaine, enlightening and inspiring !
  • Melanie Black
    Jun 08, 2017
    Thank you so much, Jaine, for all these wonderful articles. I have been profoundly inspired by their stories.
  • Jun 08, 2017
    I a, so grateful to you Jane for giving us all an opportunity to know these courageous women.
  • Jun 08, 2017
    Thank you so much for this Jaine! As one who seems to be the very first female Baha'i martyr who was a physicist I have been interested in learning more about her life for a while..but it was hard to find information about her life. I recently acknowledged her inspiration in a recent journal article I wrote.