Zinnira (r. anha)

Zinnira (r. anha)

Hz. Zinnira was a slave. She heard that the Prophet called people to Islam. She saw that some people who believed in the Messenger of Allah were tortured. Despite these pressures and tortures, the light of belief started to enlighten her heart. She became a Muslim though she knew that she would face difficulties. Thus, she got rid of spiritual slavery though she remained a slave materially.  

Zinnira’s master was a hard-hearted enemy of Islam. As soon as he heard that she became a Muslim, he burst with anger. He wanted to dissuade her. He took action at once. He inflicted unimaginable torture on her. He thought he would be able to dissuade her and make her worship idols again. Despite the tortures inflicted upon her, Zinnira persevered in her belief. Man would never give up the truth once he found it.

This perseverance of Hz. Zinnira’s drove him crazy. When he failed to dissuade her, he called Abu Jahl, who took pleasure in troubling and torturing Muslims. This would be a great pleasure for Abu Jahl. He arrived there at once. He did his best to make Hz. Zinnira give up her religion. He thought he would be able to extinguish the light of belief in her. However, Hz. Zinnira persevered in an incredible way. This situation made him angrier and angrier, causing him to increase the level of torture.

Hz. Zinnira became a good example of the following decree: “Belief is both light and strength. Yes, one who obtains true belief may challenge the whole universe and be saved from the pressure of events in accordance with the strength of his belief.” On the other hand, with the unendurable torture they inflicted upon a poor woman, Abu Jahl and the other polytheists were included in the scope of the following decree:   “Unbelief transforms man into a weak animal and an impotent creature.” How else can torturing and insulting a female slave be described except weakness and bestiality?

Hz. Zinnira became very weak and lost her eyes due to the tortures inflicted upon her. This situation made Abu Jahl, whose heart was covered by the darkness of unbelief, hopeful and said, “Our Gods Lat and Uzza made you blind because you gave up worshipping them. Give up Islam and they will make your eyes see again.”

However, Hz. Zinnira’s heart was full of belief. She never believed that pieces of stone and wood, which were unable to harm or benefit anyone, could do anything like that. She realized that it was a means of testing for her. She persevered in her belief. She addressed Abu Jahl as follows with all her sincerity:

“No. I swear by Allah that Lat and Uzza, which you worship as gods but which are only pieces of wood and stone, can neither harm nor benefit anyone. They do not know who worship them and they are unaware of those who do not worship them. This is the job of my Lord. My Lord has the power to make me see again.”

Abu Jahl was astonished when he received this unexpected answer. When he overcame his astonishment, he started to hit Hz. Zinnira. After a while, he stopped hitting her because he became tired.

Yes, Hz. Zinnira said, “My Lord has the power to make me see again.” Could it be hard for our Lord, who created the whole universe, man, the sun, the moon and stars, animals and plants out of nothing, and who controlled and maintained them, to make Hz. Zinnira see again? He definitely has power over everything. Was it possible for Him not to be able to do so? As a matter of fact, Zinnira started to see again in the morning.

When the polytheists who came to resume the torture in the morning saw that she could see again, they were astounded. Their belief in their idols weakened. Some of them nearly became Muslims. However, Abu Jahl intervened. He said, “Were you not astonished by those insane people who follow Muhammad? If what Muhammad brought were true and something good, we would go to it first. Can Zinnira find the truth before us? Which one of you saw it?”

Those who were near him believed in his lies because they were heedless. Instead of thinking and taking lessons, they said, “This is Muhammad’s magic." Then, they persevered in their ignorance. Thereupon verse 11 of the chapter of al-Ahqaf was sent down:

“The Unbelievers say of those who believe: 'If (this Message) were a good thing, (such men) would not have gone to it first, before us!' and seeing that they guide not themselves thereby, they will say 'This is an (old), old falsehood!'”

This incident increased the belief of the Muslims and the unbelief of the unbelievers. On the other hand, Allah Almighty saved Hz. Zinnira from material slavery through Hz. Abu Bakr due to her sincerity. Hz. Abu Bakr bought her from her master and released her for Allah's sake. [1]


[1] al-Isaba, 4: 312; Sirah, 1: 340; Usdu’l-Ghaba, 5: 463; Insanu’l-Uyun, 1: 239.

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