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Forum LockedShahrbanu, who was she?!

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Cyrus Shahmiri View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01-May-2007 at 13:21

Shahrbanu (or Shahr Banu), is a personage described in weak historic sources[citation needed] to have been the eldest daughter of Yazdegerd III, the last Emperor of the Sassanid dynasty of Persia/Iran.

Allegedly, she was captured by the Muslims after the fall of Persia during the reign of Caliph Umar ibn Khattab. The story goes that she was brought to Medina and was about to be sold into slavery. Ali ibn Abi-Talib--the future first Shi'a Imam freed her.

Some Shi'a sources say that she was the wife of the third Shia Imam (Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib), and that she gave birth to Ali Zayn al Abidin (the fourth Shia Imam) in 658 CE. One legend has it that she died shortly after giving birth.

Today, there is a shrine to Shahrbanu at Rayy (ancient Rhages), in the southern suburbs of Tehran, Iran. The nearby mountain, that supposedly swallowed her and her steed alive, is also named after her.

Shahrbanu's name means "The Lady of the Land."

In history, twelver Shi'a Muslims, the great number of whom are Iranians, take great pride in their belief that the majority of the Shia Imams, from the fourth to twelfth and final, are thus descended from the pre-Islamic royal family of Persia. Today this view has changed drastically, after some scholars such as Ali Shariati and Ayatollah Mutahhari declared these narrations weak and false and even doubt the existence of a Persian princess by the title of Shahr Banu.

Other sources however such as the philologist Al-Mubarrad, al-Dinawari, Allameh Tabatabaei[1] and others[2] disagree, and contend that Shahrbanu was the mother of the 4th Shia Imam.[3][4][5] The legend has also been reported by Sunni sources. Among them, one can mention "Bab 27" of Qabusnama, where Salman the Persian is recounted to have been involved in the selection of Hosein by Shahrbanu.

Modern western view

Western academic historians have cast doubt on the legend. A thorough treatment of the matter can be found in the Encyclopedia 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 Háosayn and one of the daughters of Yazdgerd III.[1]

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. The growth of this story in popularity and importance, whatever its historical authenticity, seems clealy related to the Persians' accepting Islam but rejecting Arabisation and forcfully reasserting their specific languge, culture and history.

[edit] Shi'a view of Shahrbanu

According to a commonly-told story, the spirit of Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Muhammad, mother of Husayn, appeared to Shahrbanu before the Islamic conquest of Persia and told her to be of good heart, because she was destined for a truly glorious marriage. Shahrbanu was shown an image of Husayn, her future husband.

After the defeat of her father Yazdigerd III, Shahrbanu and other members of the Persian royal house were taken captive by the victorious Arab armies in al-Mada'in, and sent to Medina. People flocked to see the captured daughter of the fallen King of Persia.

The caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, demanded that the daughter of the King of Persia to be shown to him. The soldiers brought her to Umar, who reached out to lift her veil. The princess pulled away and cried out in Persian, "The face of Hormoz darkens from indignity!" ("Vay! Rooye Hormoz siyaah shod!")

Umar believed that he had been insulted, and ordered that the princess be killed. Ali ibn Abu Talib, the father of Husayn, protested. "You do not know her language. She called on her ancestor, and did not insult you."

Umar then announced his intention of auctioning her as a slave; the bidding would surely be spirited and much money would be raised. Ali again protested. Ali then asked the princess, "Do you wish me to find you a husband?" The princess did not reply. Trying to prevent the auction from taking place, Ali said, "Her silence is a sign of approval." Facing Umar, Ali continued, "Why don't we let her choose a person from amongst this crowd as a husband, and we will pay for her dowry from the public treasury?" Grudgingly, Umar agreed.

The beleaguered princess desperately scanned the crowd for a kind face. She saw Husayn, Ali's son, and was amazed. "I have seen this man in a dream!" she said. The crowd turned to gaze at Husayn; Ali went up to his son and said, "Husayn! From this girl, the most noble of humans shall be born."

When Ali asked the princess her name, she replied, "The daughter of Jahan Shah (the King of the World)". Ali said, "So you shall be called Shahr Banoy, (the Lady of the Land)."

Consequently, Shahrbanu was married to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, and the third Shia Imam. Her sister was married to Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr.

Shahrbanu died shortly after giving birth to her son Ali ibn Hussayn, the fourth Shia Imam.

Shrine of Bibi Sharbanu in the south of Tehran
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anahita : It is "very probable"[16] that the shrine of Bibi Shahrbanu at royal Ray (Rhagae, central Medea) was once dedicated to Anahita
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Zagros View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Mar-2008 at 17:49
Is this site visited in earnest by pilgrims?
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Suren View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Mar-2008 at 19:05
I doubt the story being true and If it is true then it is a shame to take people from homeland and sell them as slave.Thumbs%20Down

Edited by Suren - 27-Mar-2008 at 22:37
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