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Qatam bt. Shajna
Full Name Qaṭām bt. Shajna b. 'Adī
Religious Affiliation Khawarij
Place of Residence Kufa
Known for Motivating Ibn Muljam to martyr Imam 'Ali (a)

Qaṭām bt. Shajna b. 'Adī (Arabic: قطام بنت شجنة بن عدی) was a woman from Kufa who played a role in motivating Ibn Muljam to martyr Imam 'Ali (a). Since her brother and father were killed in the Battle of Nahrawan, she conditioned her marriage with Ibn Muljam upon the murder of 'Ali (a). Qatam was famously very beautiful, and her condition for marriage motivated Ibn Muljam to murder Imam 'Ali (a). Some contemporary scholars take this story to be fictional.



Qatam bt. Shajna b. 'Adi b. 'Amir b. 'Awf b. Tha'laba b. Sa'd b. Dhuhl b. Taym al-Rubab was a woman from Kufa. There is a disagreement about the name of her father. Al-Baladhuri referred to her father as 'Alqama in one case, and as Shajna in another. Other sources have referred to her father as Akhdar. Thus, Shajna was Qatam's grandfather, and not her father.


Qatam was famously a very beautiful woman such that when Ibn Muljam saw her, he forgot the reason why he had gone to Kufa. According to al-Bal'ami, she was the most beautiful woman in Kufa at the time. Al-Mas'udi and Abu l-Faraj al-Isfahani have referred to her as the most beautiful woman of her time. According to some sources, Ibn Muljam was head over heels when he saw her.

Hostility to Imam 'Ali (a)

Qatam's hostility to Imam 'Ali (a) was because she was one of Khawarij who held that Imam 'Ali (a) was an unbeliever. Moreover, her father, Shajna b. 'Adi and her brother, Akhdar b. Shajna, were among the Khawarij who were killed in the Battle of Nahrawan.

Meeting Ibn Muljam

Ibn Muljam, who had entered Kufa to kill Imam 'Ali (a), met Qatam and proposed for marriage. Qatam said that she would marry him only if he killed Imam 'Ali (a). On another account, Ibn Muljam married her and spent three nights with her. According to other accounts, Ibn Muljam proposed to Qatam's daughter, Rubab, not Qatam herself.

Sayyid Ja'far Shahidi believes that the story of Qatam's contribution to the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a) was fictional because it involves many contradictions. He wrote: "it seems that the story of Qatam was fabricated and associated to the three people in order to make it more attractive".

The Role of Qatam in the Martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a)

  • Encouraging and motivating Ibn Muljam: she allegedly accused Ibn Muljam of being a coward to encourage him even more.
  • Conditioning her marriage with Ibn Muljam upon the murder of Imam 'Ali (a).
  • Sending a person, called Wardan, to help Ibn Muljam with the plan to murder Imam 'Ali (a). Wardan b. Mujalid al-Taymi was Qatam's cousin. Wardan had repeatedly told Qatam that he would kill 'Ali (a) if someone helped him. Thus, Qatam introduced Ibn Muljam and Wardan to each other.


According to Jurji Zaydan, after the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a), Qatam fled to Egypt, but she was imprisoned because she had not informed 'Amr b. 'As of the plan for his murder. She then escaped from the prison and departed to Damascus, but she was killed and decapitated on her way. Part of her head was taken to Egypt. 'Amr b. 'As gave 1000 dinars to her murderer.

Qatam in Literary and Dramatic Works

Jurji Zaydan, the Christian writer, wrote a novel under Ramdan 17 concerning the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a), highlighting the role of Qatam in the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a).

In the Iranian TV series, Imam 'Ali (a), the role of Qatam in the events of Kufa and especially the martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a) is prominent. In this TV series, Vishka Asayesh played Qatam.