M Stories

Muhammad Mansouri and Riaz Mansouri

I never paid any attention to dreams before all this happened, but just one month before my father’s arrest during the month of the Fast in March 1982 I had a dream that my father was arrested and was being tortured, I was with him in prison and was very upset to see him suffer and told him...

Muhammad MansouriMuhammad Mansouri
Born: 1927
Death: July 9, 1982
Place of Birth: Asalem, Iran (close to Tabriz)
Location of Death: Qazvin, Iran
Burial Location: Bahá’í cemetery in the village of Kakin, Iran (near Qazvin)
Riaz MansouriRiaz Mansouri
March 17, 1977
Death: September 25, 1986
Place of Birth: Qazvin, Iran
Location of Death: Qazvin, Iran
Burial Location: Bahá’í cemetery in the village of Kakin, Iran (near Qazvin)

My beloved father, Mr. Muhammad Mansouri joined his Beloved The Bab on the eve of July 9, 1982. On this day, I lost my precious and much-loved father and became an orphan and will forever mourn his loss; but his courage and heroism made me more proud than ever to be his daughter.

My beloved father Muhammad was the eldest child and was born into a Muslim family. His birth was the cause of much delight to his family, as none of the children born to his parents previously had survived. To thank the Almighty God for the Blessing of his birth his parents named him after the Prophet Muhammad.

Many years later when my father brought up the reason why he was given his name, he said “my parents did not have the slightest idea their son would become an ‘infidel’, otherwise they would not have given me this name”! He said this because in Iran, non-Muslims were and still are described as ‘infidels’.

When he became a Bahá’í his parents had already died. He was only 9 when his father died, and at age 16 he lost his precious mother as well; and left him with the heavy responsibility of looking after his younger brother and sister. He worked during the day at the age of 9 and studied at night. It was a difficult existence with considerable deprivation but he was quite happy to be able to look after his only brother and sister.

He heard about the Bahá’í Faith for the first time ever from a friend living in Tabriz, Mr Mishinchi; he decided to go and inform the Mulla that he had met a Bahá’í. This angered the Mulla and he advised my loving dad to not ever go back to see the Bahá’ís and talked against the Faith; this chastisement by the Mulla made my precious dad even more eager than ever to return to see the Bahá’í friend and questioned him to the extent he could. He informed the Mulla that “the Bahá’í man was kind and quite learned.” The Mulla did not like hearing this at all and said to my father, “I will give you some questions, take them to your Bahá’í friend and see if he has the answers”. The answers given by the Bahá’í completely satisfied my beloved father. His friend told my dad “now I shall give you some questions for your Mulla and see if he has the answers.” When the Mulla couldn’t give the answers he became upset with my precious dad and told him, “I told you, don’t ever go and meet those Bahá’ís again, they are wicked.”

The reaction of the Mulla was enough to make my very-intelligent and sweet dad even more interested in the Bahá’í Faith and many years later he told his children, “When I was going to Bahá’í Firesides, I realized not only that I did not know anything about the Bahá’í Faith; but I also didn’t know much about Islam which was the religion I was born into. I recognized that the Bahá’ís I came into contact with knew much more than I knew about Islam.”

He became a Bahá’í in his early 20’s, taught the Faith to his brother and sister and the whole family, his brother and sister became Bahá’ís, but only his sister remained in the Faith.

My beloved father married my beautiful mother Tahirih Zarifnia a Bahá’í of “Ishqabad” in Turkmanestan of the former Soviet Union and after the birth of their first child their twin; he entered the Military Academy in Tehran and graduated as an Army Officer.

From the beginning of his Bahá’í life until his martyrdom in 1982 he was a pioneer. His position in the Army allowed him to ask for transfer in order to pioneer to small country towns. The last location he transferred to was in 1973 to Qazvin, the city of Tahirih where he later retired in 1975.

Although entitled to promotions over the years, he never received them because he was a Bahá’í. Wherever he went he was elected to serve on the Local Spiritual Assembly, and he actively served as a member of various Committees that were formed by the Local Spiritual Assembly.

When the Revolution happened in 1979, and most of the Bahá’ís left the country, I was a college student in India and I sent him a letter and told him, “Dad please you leave too,” as I knew his life as an active Bahá’í was in great danger. He wrote back to me and said, “this is the time that Baha’u’llah needs me to be home, how can I ever leave the frontier”?

What more could I say after reading this. There was no doubt in my heart and mind that soon he would be arrested too. In the last six months of his life on this earth he was on fire, the letters he wrote to me were full of love and admiration for the steadfastness of dear souls in prison and the families of the martyrs. The letters were full of Quotations from the Sacred Writings and in one of his last letters he wrote, “when I read about the life of Baha’u’llah and His sufferings, the whole world and whatever is in it, becomes as insignificant as nothing in my sight”.

Mr Manuchehr Farzaneh Mr Muhammad Mansouri Mr Jadidullah Ashraf July 7 1982
Pictured from Left to Right: Mr. Manouchehr Farzaneh, Mr. Muhammad Mansuri and Mr. Jadidullah Ashraf

It was not long after this letter that he was arrested on April 8th 1982 and was shot to death on July 9th after being tortured in prison for 3 months.

Before writing his Will he wrote one of the Tablets of Baha’u’llah which is known as the Tablet of `Shekkar Shekan’ it starts with a poem by Hafiz that says:

`Suger-shattering(verse of Hafiz devouring), have become all the parrots(Poets)of Hindustan, On account of this Farsi candy (sweet Persian ode) that to Bengal goeth.’

Then he set out the Tablet by Baha’u’llah which can be found on page 11 of “The Bahá’í World”, vol. XVIII, then he wrote out two lines of a Persian poem:

One of my eyes wept sore because of separation; the other eye was envious, and did not weep. When the day of union came I closed that eye: I said, Thou wept not, thou must not look.’ And finally, he wrote his Will.

My dear father was deeply touched and moved by the way our Beloved Bab was Martyred. He was impressed by the youth and innocence of the Bab. I can never forget the tears he shed like a small child each time they read the story of 9th July from “Nabil’s Narrative” Seeing my loving father crying like that would make me extremely sad, never realizing that in the future he would offer up his life on the Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the One who was the Herald of the Saviour of Mankind.

In June 1994 I met my youngest sister after 15 years who had witnessed the whole event in Iran, she told me a few things which I thought to share from 1982:

“The night dad was arrested he had gone to visit his brother who lived only 5-10 minutes away from us in Qazvin, then he returned home much before time, Sheyda told us that mother, her and our 5 year old brother Riaz were supposed to get ready and join dad in his brother’s house, when he returned they asked him what happened why did you return”,

and he said:

“It was getting dark and I got a bit worried that it wouldn’t be safe to go home in the dark (he meant there was a possibility of him being arrested on the way home) then he told them okay, now get ready we will leave together”.

It was then they heard the doorbell and dad opened the door to the Revolutionary Guards who had gone there to arrest him, Sheyda said they came into the house, took away some Bahá’í books, photos of Abdu’l-Baha and the Holy Places, letters that my brother Shahram and I had sent him from India before they took him away. Mother cried and said what do you want from him and please don’t take him away, they said not to worry at all, he will be back soon.

My siblings visited my father only once a week in prison and Riaz would go into the cell to be with him, sister and mom cried the whole time from behind the bars; dad would console them and ask them not to, telling them I am fine and all is well, I will be free soon.

The only man who was freed told the family later Mr Mansouri only cried for Riaz each time he saw his little boy after the visit, and once had told the other Bahá’ís in prison that I pray to God that Riaz will not be a test to me, being the youngest child I well know how much dad loved him.

On July 9, 1982 after being in prison for 3 months; my precious; loving and compassionate father with 3 other Bahá’ís of Qazvin were taken out of town; tied to a tree and shot to death for their LOVE OF THE BLESSED BEAUTY BAHA’U’LLAH.

My beloved brother Riaz

After my father was taken: Riaz would come home and not utter a word for days, he would not eat nor sleep, and would collect his pocket money to buy dad fruit and bread when visiting him next. My father was martyred after being in prison for 3 months and 4 years later Riaz died of leukemia; he could not bear the pain of being separated from his much-loved father and willed himself to death; that is exactly what happened; my sweet baby brother died of a broken heart.

I’d like to conclude by sharing a few related dreams I had about my beloved father and brother.

I never paid any attention to dreams before all this happened, but just one month before my father’s arrest during the month of the Fast in March 1982 I had a dream that my father was arrested and was being tortured, I was with him in prison and was very upset to see him suffer and told him, “Dad I am going to kill the people who have done this to you”, he was very calm and peaceful, nodded his head and said, “Never! You should never do this”, while crying I woke up and it was after Naw-Ruz that I got the news of his arrest.

I was not home when the arrest occurred as I was away in India attending college. Therefore it was very hard for me to accept the fact, that I will never see my father again. After I lost my father to whom I was very close, I said, “Alright, I hope you will visit me in my dreams as many times as possible, and I don’t think anybody can deny me of this”.

It was not long after his martyrdom that one night in my dream he called me on the phone from the next world and I could hear a heavenly piece of classical music, I asked, “my God… what are you doing up there dad, are you happy”? he said, “yes we are all very happy”, I asked him “what do you mean by “we”, he said “I and the rest of the Bahá’ís who have given their lives for Baha’u’llah”, Ya Baha’u’l-Abha, it was incredible, then he said “I know how bad the situation of the Bahá’ís are at home” and then asked me of the well being of my brothers. I was a lot happier after this dream.

He never came again in my dreams and I was always wondering why; I thought to myself, maybe he is not happy with me, then after 6 years in December 1988, just a few days before my flight to the Bahá’í World Center, to go and work there in his memory, one night he was there, the first question I asked him was, ” Dad, where have you been all these years “? He said “I am in Haifa, come and meet me there”. Ya Baha’u’-l-Abha!.

He was happy, and I was speechless, it was a beautiful dream.

I have dedicated all my teaching efforts to the memory of my loving parents and baby brother Riaz. I have also lost my beautiful mother Tahirih before I the age of 3, to a drunk driver while my loving parents were home-front pioneers in a village outside of Tehran called Araj.

Prayer for my loving parents from the Bahá’í Writings:

“I beg Thy forgiveness, O my God, and implore pardon after the manner Thou wishest Thy servants to direct themselves to Thee. I beg of Thee to wash away our sins as befitteth Thy Lordship, and to forgive me, my parents, and those who in Thy estimation have entered the abode of Thy love in a manner which is worthy of Thy transcendent sovereignty and well beseemeth the glory of Thy celestial power. O my God! Thou hast inspired my soul to offer its supplication to Thee, and but for Thee, I would not call upon Thee. Lauded and glorified art Thou; I yield Thee praise inasmuch as Thou didst reveal Thyself unto me, and I beg Thee to forgive me, since I have fallen short in my duty to know Thee and have failed to walk in the path of Thy love.” – The Báb

Editor’s Note

The photo pictured of the three martyrs of Qazvin was provided by Mrs. Shohreh Moldenhauer. There were actually four martyrs but we are unsure as to why the fourth gentleman, Mr. Muhammad Abbassi was not in the picture. The photo was taken on July 7, 1982, two days before they were all shot to death in Qazvin (July 9, 1982).

Courtesy of Shohreh Moldenhauer

About the author

Shohreh Moldenhauer

Married to Robert Moldenhauer born and raised in Tehran Iran; left at 19
to pioneer in Sri Lanka, India. After her dad was martyred she moved to Australia when her brother died of sorrow she moved to Haifa to volunteer in memory of her parents and baby brother. She lived in the U.S. for 19 years and now resides in Sydney, Australia with her husband and son Robert Omid.

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