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Shahrbānū (or Shehr Bano) (Persian: شهربانو‎) (Meaning: "Lady of the Land"), is a personage described to have been one of the daughters of Yazdegerd III,[1] the last Emperor of the Sassanid dynasty of Persia/Iran. She was said to be the mother of Imam Zayn al-ʿĀbedin and the daughter of the last Sasanian king.[2] Other names by which she has been referred to include: Shaharbānawayh,[3] Shahzanān,[4] Salāma,[5] Salāfa,[6] Ghazāla,[7] Salama,[8] and Sādira.[9]

Shahrbānū was one of the wives of Husayn ibn Ali, (grandson of Muhammad and third Twelver Shī`a Imām) and the mother of Ali ibn Husayn (the fourth Twelver Shī`a Imām).[10][11][12]


  • Western views 1
  • Shī`a views 2
    • Ancestry 2.1
    • History 2.2
  • Death 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • Further references 6

Western views

Western academic historians have cast doubt on the legend. A thorough treatment of the matter can be found in the Encyclopædia Iranica:

"Neither do any of the scholars of ancient history that have chronicled, at times with great attention to detail, the invasion of Persia by Muslim troops and the fate of the last Sasanian sovereign and her family, establish any relationship between the wife of Imam Husayn and one of the daughters of Yazdgerd III.[13]

Earlier sources such as Ibn Sad and Ebn Qotayba describe Husayn's wife as a slave, originally from Sindh, and make no reference to her being a princess. The first scholar to explicitly describe her as being of the Persian royal family was the 9th Century Arab philologist Mobarrad.

The account was subsequently greatly elaborated.

Shī`a views


The vast majority of Shī`a' scholars claim that Shahrbānū was in fact Persian based on statements and poetic verses attributed to `Ali ibn Husayn[14] and Abu al-Aswad al-Du'ali,[15] an Arab companion of `Ali who was still alive during the time of `Ali ibn Husayn respectively.[16]


Differing reports in history state that Shahrbānū was brought to Madinah as a slave either during the caliphate of `Umar,[17] `Uthmān,[18] or `Ali.[19] Based on comparisons and the study of hadith, Shī`a's believe that it was during the caliphate of `Ali, with the appointment of Hurayth ibn Jābir to govern the eastern provinces, that the daughters of Yazdigird III were sent to Madinah.[20]

Having been brought to Madinah, Ali allowed the ladies freedom in choosing whomever they wanted to marry from the Muslims, to which Shahrbānū was famously reported to have replied, "I want a head over whom there is no head".[21][22]

Shrine of Shahrbānū (A.S.) in Tehran, Iran

Shahrbānū chose the hand of Husayn ibn `Ali in marriage and one of her sisters chose Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr.[23] Shia scholars claim that Ali foretold the birth of the next Shī`a Imām as he said to Husayn: "Treat this lady kindly, for she will bear you the best of the people of the Earth after you. She is the mother of the trustees (of authority), the pure progeny".[24][25]

According to Shī`a belief, Shahrbānū died shortly after giving birth[26][27] to her son Ali ibn Husayn, and was thus not present at Karbalā. The eighth Twelver Shī`a Imām, Ali ar-Ridha has also been quoted as saying, "(Shahrbānū) died during her confinement, and one of (Husayn's) slave-wives looked after him (Ali ibn Husayn). The people claimed that (the slave-wife) was his mother, while she was his retainer".[28]

Even amongst the Iranian scholars there has been some dispute as to the existence of a Persian princess by the title of Shahrbānū. The scholars Ali Shariati and Ayatullah Mutahhari are amongst those who have declared that any narrations pertaining to Shahrbānū are weak and false. Whereas Al-Mubarrad, al-Dinawari, Allameh Tabatabaei[29] and many others[30] disagree, and contend that Shahrbānū was the mother of Ali ibn Husayn, the fourth Twelver Shī`a Imām.[31][32][33] Narrations of Shahrbānū have also been reported in Sunni sources including, "Bab 27" of Qabusnama, where Salmān the Persian is recounted to have been involved in the selection of Husayn by Shahrbānū.

There is a shrine named after Shahrbānū in ancient Rayy, in the southern suburbs of Tehran, Iran. But the truth is that She died in Madina and was buried in the graveyard of "Jannat ul Baqi" alongside other members of Prophet's family.


She, after the battle of Karbala, along with her son Ali Zainul Abedeen, went to Persia to meet her mother. On arriving to the Persian town she could not bear to enter the town boundaries and sent a letter to her mother, who was the wife of the Persian Ruler, to come out of the township and meet her.

On arrival of her mother, she narrated the happenings of the battle of Karbala and the pain that they went through and how she lost her entire family. During this mournful narration and emotional moment, is when she passed out and died. That is where she is buried right now.


  1. ^ Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi. The life of Imam Zayn al-`Abidin a.s. p3.
  2. ^ Yaʿqubi II, pp. 246-47 and 303; Nowbaḵti, p. 53; Ašʿari, p. 70.
  3. ^ Roudat al-Wa'zin, vol. 1, p. 237. 'Uyyun al-Mu'jizat, p. 31. Ghayat al-Ikhtisar, p. 155.
  4. ^ Al-Shiblanji, Nur al-Abbsar, p. 126.
  5. ^ 'Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 466. Siyar 'Alam al-Nubala', vil, 14, p. 237, Kalifa Khayyat, al-Tabaqat, p. 238. Al-Nisaburi, al-Asami wa al-Kuna.
  6. ^ Al-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-Islam, vol. 2, p. 46. Al-Imama fi al-Islam, p. 116. Ansab al-Ashraf, p. 102. AlBustani, Da'irat al-Ma'arif, vol. 9, p. 355. Nur al-Abbsar, p. 136. Al-Kamil, vol. 2, p. 464.
  7. ^ Safwat al-Safwa, vol. 2, p. 25. Shadharat al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 104. Sir al-Si;sila al-'Alawiya, p. 31. Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21 p. 324. Kulasat al-Dhahab al-Masbuk, p. 8.
  8. ^ Al-'A'imma al-Ithna 'Ashar, p. 75.
  9. ^ Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 49.
  10. ^ Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 467. Dala'il al-Imama, p. 370.
  11. ^ 'Uyyun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 143. Roudat al-Wa'izin, vol. 1, p. 137.
  12. ^ Al-Mubarrad, al-Kamil, vol. 1, p. 222. Ibn Khullakan, Wafayat al-A'yan, vol. 2, p. 429.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Ibn Khullaka Wafayat al-A'yan, vol. 2, p. 429. Ibn Tolon, Al-A'mmia al-Ithna 'Ashar, p. 175.
  15. ^ Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 166.
  16. ^ Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi. The life of Imam Zayn al-`Abidin a.s. p5.
  17. ^ 1. Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, p. 467. Dala'il al-Imama, p. 370. ; 2. Ibn Khullkan, Wafayat al-A'yan, vol. 2, p. 429.
  18. ^ 1. 'Uyyun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 143. Roudat al-Wa'izin, vol. 1, p. 137. ; 2. Tuhaf al-Raghib, p. 13. A'lam al-Wara, p. 151. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad.
  19. ^ Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal.
  20. ^ Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi. The life of Imam Zayn al-`Abidin a.s. p3-4.
  21. ^ Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi. The life of Imam Zayn al-`Abidin a.s. p4.
  22. ^ Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal
  23. ^ Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi. The life of Imam Zayn al-`Abidin a.s. p3.
  24. ^ 1. 'Uyyun al-Mu'jizat. Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p. 14.
  25. ^ 2. Basa'ir al-Darajat, p. 96. Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p. 214. Nasikh al-Tawarikh, vol. 1, p. 13.
  26. ^ 3. Al-Mas'udi, Ithabat al-Wasiya, p. 143. Imam Zayn 'al-Abidin, p. 18.
  27. ^ Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi. The life of Imam Zayn al-`Abidin a.s. p20-21.
  28. ^ 'Uyyun Akhbar al-Rida, p. 270.
  29. ^ Shi'ite Islam, State University of New York Press. 1979. p.201.
  30. ^ The following sources support that Shahrbānū is the mother of Imam Sajjad: محمد بن يعقوب كلينى, اصول كافى, تصحيح و تعليق : على اكبر الغفارى, تهران, مكتبة الصدوق, 1381هـ.ق, ج 1 ص 467ـ شيخ مفيد, الارشاد, قم, مكتبة بصيرتى ـ ص 253ـ فضل بن حسن طبرسى, اعلام الورى با علام الهدى, الطبعة الثالثة, تهران, دار الكتب الاسلامية, ص 256ـ حسن بن محمد بن حسن قمى, تاريخ قم, ترجمهء حسن بن على بن ];ّّ حسين قمى, تصحيح : سيد جلال الدين تهرانى, تهران, انتشارات توس, 1361هـ.ش, ص 196ـ على بن عيسى اربلى, كشف الغمة فى معرفة الاءئمة, تبريز, مكتبة بنى هاشمى, 1381هـ.ق, ج 2ص 286
  31. ^ Seminary of Qom website supporting the claim:
  32. ^ Ibid:
  33. ^ پيامبر و اهل بيت(ع)> امام حسين(ع)
  • "Aldarajat ol Rafi'" (الدرجات الرفیع) p215.
  • "Mu'jem ol Baladan" (معجم البلدان) Vol 2 p196.
  • "Nahj al Balagha" letter 45.
  • "Nahj al Balagha" Sobhi Saleh sermon 209 (خطبه صبح صالح).
  • "Nafs al-Rahman" (نفس الرحمان) p139.
  • "Managhib ebne shahr ashub" (مناقب ابن شهر اشوب) Vol 4, p48.
  • "Iranian dar Qoran va revayat." Seyed Noureddin Abtahi (ايرانيان در قرآن و روايات / نور الدين ابطحى). Chapter 3. ISBN 964-6760-40-6. LCCN 2005-305310

External links

Further references

  1. S.H. Nasr and Tabatabaei. Shi'a Islam. 1979. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-87395-390-8
  2. Safavī, Rahīmzādah. Dāstān-i Shahrbānū. 1948. LCCN 76-244526
  3. Sayyid Āghā Mahdī Lakhnavī, Savānih Hayāt-i Hazrat Shahr Bāno. LCCN 81-930254. Reprint 1981.
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