Iman was born Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid on July 25, 1955, in Mogadishu, Somalia. She is the daughter of Marian Abdulmajid, a gynecologist, and Mohamed Abdulmajid, a diplomat and former Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Among Iman's siblings are Elias Abdulmajid, Feisal Abdulmajid, Idil Abdulmajid and Nadia Abdulmajid.
When Iman's parents met, Somalia didn't have independence. She was born into a family, that was very politically active. Growing up, her house was bustling with people; her parents were holding meetings and discussions, so she was constantly aware of what was going on.