Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Sakinah Khanum Banu-yi Ashraf

b. 1890 or 1891 Tehran
d. 1971 or 1972 Tehran

Sakinah Ashrafi, daughter of Zibandah Khanum (daughter of Ibrahim Mirza Muʻizzi) and Ghulam Husayn Khan Ashrafi, was born in 1891 in Tehran. She married her cousin, Musa Ashrafi (Ashraf al-Mulk), son of ʻAbbas Quli Khan Mir Panj, in 1905 when she was 14 years old. She joined her husband in Ashraf (now Bihshahr) in Mazandaran and from then on she was known as Banu-yi Ashraf. They had four children: Muhammad Ashrafi (1912-2009), Ahmad Ashrafi (1913-1988), Maryam Ashrafi (1914-1978), and Musa Ashrafi (1918-2012). She died in her house in Tehran on July 12, 1971 and was buried in Bihisht-i Zahra cemetery.

Sakinah Ashrafi was born in 1891 in Tehran. Her mother was Zubaydah Khanum (Shazdah Banu), daughter of Ibrahim Mirza Muʻizzi, and her father was Ghulam Husayn Khan Ashrafi, who was in Nasir al-Din Shah's court. Her brother was ʻAbd Allah Ashrafi. Banu-yi Ashraf married her cousin, Musa Ashrafi (Ashraf al-Mulk), son of ʻAbbas Quli Khan Mir Panj, in 1905 when she was 14 years old. She joined her husband in Ashraf (now Bihshahr) in Mazandaran and from then on she became known as Banu-yi Ashraf. She had four children: Muhammad Ashrafi (1912-2009), Ahmad Ashrafi (1913-1988), Maryam Ashrafi (1914-1978), and Musa Ashrafi (1918-2012). Ashraf al-Mulk (Banu-yi Ashraf's husband) was the governor of Ashraf and a landlord. During the famine of 1917, rice that was supposed to be transported to Russia by ship was disembarked and distributed among people by his order. This led to some animosity and he was ultimately murdered by a mob while visiting his rice fields. He was 28, and at the time, Banu-yi Ashraf was 25 years old and pregnant with their last child, Musa. A single parent after the death of her husband, she managed the family's properties, resisted feuds related to legal issues and the challenges of farming, and provided an education for her children. Banu-yi Ashraf's services for people of Bihshahr include: building a center for water sanitation, building schools, donating land, and other philanthropic activities. Banu-yi Ashraf used to play chess and backgammon, enjoyed reading historical books, took part in social discussions, and listened to music; she was also a religious woman. She died of an illness on July 12, 1971 at her home in Tehran and was buried in Bihisht-i Zahra cemetery. Close

This biography is partly based on the information provided by Afsanah and Rukhsarah Ashrafi and also: کتاب خاطرات ممتحن الدوله . تهران ، فردوسی و نشرفرهنگ ، ۱۳۶۲. Close

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