Zaynab bint Ishaq al-Nafzawiyya

Zaynab bint Ishaq al-Nafzawiyya was noble and beautiful women of princely blood who captivated the entire world, as much as by her imposing beauty as by her intelligent perspicacity. Our sources state that some claimed she was a sorceress or a magician. People said that she controlled the jinn. According to one legend, she had the keys to underground treasures from which the happy mortal who won her affection and married her would be able to gain. In short, she was the subject of many fables.

The Bayan states that many chiefs and amirs were her suitors but she rejected them, saying that she would only marry the man who would govern all of the Maghrib. So, as the end of this year, 460 AH in the month of Dhu'l-Qa'da/ September 1068, Abu Bakr ibn 'Umar married Zaynab, and the following year, 461/1068-1069, he decided to proceed to the Maghrib.

In 460/1068, Abu Bakr administered his new possessions from Aghmat in an empire which was parcelled out and confined to the desert. At this time, no one was expecting to see the Murabitun conquer the Maghrib.

Before Abu Bakr left for his jihad in the south, some say that he separated from his wife Zaynab and divorced her as it was impossible to take her with him to the desert. He would not agree to leave such a beautiful wife behind him. Others claim that it was she had demanded the divorce, preferring it to a long separation as she did not think it proper to be left behind by a husband when she did not know when he would return, and Abu Bakr agreed to that.

Nevertheless, she approved of that course of action and profited from the advice which Abu Bakr ibn 'Umar gave to his cousin Yusuf ibn Tashfin, "Marry her. She's a woman of genius." [Bayan, 56.]

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