Female Islamic Saints


The maqâm of Shahrbanu in Tehran, Iran.

Shahrbanu (7th century) the “lady of the land” was a possibly mythical Persian princess venerated in Shi’ah tradition. She was the eldest daughter of the final Sassanian king Yazdegerd III, who was married to Muhammad’s grandson and the second Shi'ah Imam, Husayn ibn Ali, and gave birth to the fourth, Ali ibn Husayn, also known as Zayn al-Abidin. It’s commonly reported that she died giving birth to Zayn al-Abidin near Ray, while some sources report that she lived past the events of Karbala. Different sources have variously named her Salama, Salafa, and Ghazala, among other names, and she’s been called by the titles Shah-i-Zanân, “King of Women,” Jahân-Shah, “King of the World,” and Jahân-Bânû, “Lady of the World.” There is a maqâm dedicated to her in Tehran, Iran. The oldest extant parts of it date to the 10th century, being expanded upon during the Safavid and Qajar dynasties. Archeology and shared myths and folklore suggest the site of her maqâm was once a Zoroastrian holy place in pre-Islamic times. Her status and identity, circumstance of marriage, circumstance of death, and historicity have also been greatly debated between Shi’is.

West AsiaImami Shi‘iImam’s Consort.