Have you heard of Shahdidar Hanuma? You could call her a real life Cinderella! She was a servant to a princess, who stole a prince’s heart! The prince, who is well known in Bosnia for his kindness and wisdom, was Gazi Husrev Bey, the grandson of Sultan Bayezid I. The story of how a prince fell in love with a servant will forever remain a mystery. What is known is that Shahdidar married Gazi Husrev Bey and they remained married until the end of their lives.
Both Gazi Husrev Bey and Shahdidar were well known for their generosity. Shahdidar oversaw the construction of a school and mosque between 1540 and 1556. The mosque was known among the people as “Dzamija za banjom”. Gazi Husrev Bey died in 1541 and Shahdidar attended to their inheritance. She left detailed instructions of what was to be done with their assets following her death, to ensure they were used for good and for the benefit of society. As an example, she donated a house next to the mosque to the Islamic Community, so that the imam of the mosque and the teacher of the school would have a place to live, highlighting the importance of education.
Shahdidar’s story is the stuff of legend. A true rags to riches story. She was known as a kind, wise and generous woman. An example to all of us more than 500 years later.