Banafsha bint Abdullah al-Rumiyyah
|Banafsha bint Abdullah al-Rumiyyah |
بانفشة بنت عبد الله الرمية
|Umm walad of the Abbasid caliph|
|Successor||Zumurrud Khatun |
(mother of al-Nasir)
Baghdad, Abbasid Caliphate
Sheikh Maarouf Cemetery, Baghdad
|Relatives||One daughter |
|Mother||Unnamed Greek woman|
She was the daughter of Abdullah, a Greek, and was Al-Mustadi's favourite concubine. She was a slave bought to the Abbasid harem of the Caliph. Her origin is termed to have been "Roman" or Rumiyya, that is to say of Greek origin from the Byzantine Empire of Constantinople. As was the custom she was compelled to convert to Islam and was given a new name.
Banafsha are described as loving and merciful. She became a favorite of the Caliph, who manumitted her and married her. He had a palace built for her personal use in Baghdad.
She did not give birth to a son, but she successfully supported her stepson Al-Nasir to the succession before his brother prince Hashem. Because of this, she was favored by Al-Nasir when he became Caliph in 1180.
It was impossible for her to leave the harem, but she became known for her donations and charitable projects, which was a common method for the secluded harem wives of the Caliphs to create a public name for themselves. She died on 27 December 1201 and was buried in the mausoleum of Zumurrud Khatun in Sheikh Maarouf Cemetery.
- al-Sāʿī, Ibn; Toorawa, Shawkat M.; Bray, Julia (2017). كتاب جهات الأئمة الخلفاء من الحرائر والإماء المسمى نساء الخلفاء: Women and the Court of Baghdad. Library of Arabic Literature. NYU Press. pp. 66–68. ISBN 978-1-4798-6679-3.
- Ibn al-Sāʽī, Consorts of the Caliphs: Women and the Court of Baghdad, ed. by Shawkat M. Toorawa, trans. by the Editors of the Library of Arabic Literature (New York: New York University Press, 2015)