Shahr Banu

From Academic Kids

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Bibishahrbanu.jpg
The shrine of "Bibi Shahrbanu", Rey, Iran.
Shahr banu (or Shahr banoo), was the eldest daughter of Yazdegerd III, the last Emperor of Sassanid Persia.

After the defeat of her father Yazdegerd III, she was taken captive by the invading Arab armies and sent to Medina where she was married to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, and Shia's third saint. She would give birth to one son with Husayn, Ali Zayn al Abidin, and would die shortly after his birth.

The following is a recount of how this happened. However it must be emphasized that the tone and language is from a Shia perspective:

When returning to Madinah from their decisive victorious battle against Persia, Omar's army brought with them many prisoners. Many of them were women. Among the prisoners captured at Mada'en were members of the Persian royal family, including the princess. People flocked in masses to see the captured daughter of the fallen mythical King of Persia.
Omar the caliph soon arrived and demanded the daughter of the King of Persia to be shown to him. The soldiers brought her to Omar. Omar then approached her and reached out to lift her veil to see the woman. The princess pulled herself back and cried out in Persian : "The face of Hormoz darkens from indignity!" ("Vay! Rooye Hormoz siyaah shod!")
Omar, thinking that the princess had offended him, angrily shouted: "This woman insults me!" and decided to kill her. Ali suddenly interrupted him and said: "You do not know her language. She called on her ancestor, and did not insult you."
Omar then announced that he who paid the most will have her as a slave. But Ali again interrupted and said: "You do not have that right!" The crowd fell silent under Ali's aura. 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 Omar, 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?" Omar agreed.
Scanning through the crowd around her, the princess suddenly stopped and froze as her eyes fell on a man amongst the crowd. "I have seen this man in a dream before" she said. Tracing her look, the entire crowd turned around and looked at Husayn, son of Ali. Ali went up to Husayn and said: "Hosayn! From this girl, the most noble of humans shall be born."
Ali, then came up to the princess and asked: "What is your name?" The princess replied: "The daughter of Jahan-shah". Ali said: "and so Shahr-banuyeh you will be called" ("the bride of the land").

The sources used for writing the passage are:

  • "Aldarajat ol Rafi'" p215.
  • "Mo'jem ol Baladan" Vol 2 p196.
  • "Nahj ol Balagheh" letter 45.
  • "Nahj ol Balagheh" Sobhi Saleh sermon 209.
  • "Nafs Al-Rahman" p139.
  • "Managhib ebne shahr ashub" Vol 4, p48.
  • "Iranian dar Qoran va revayat." Seyed Noureddin Abtahi. Chapter 3.

From this marriage, Ali Zayn al Abidin, Shia's fourth Imam was born in 658. She died shortly after, and has a shrine in Rey, south of Tehran, Iran.

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