Ithmid Kohl was known and used by the Arabs before the dawn of Islam, at the time of Jahiliyyah.
The famous pre-islamic story of a woman called Zarqaa Al-Yammamah. She was reported to have an extraordinary vision with an ability to see as far as three days journeying distance.
When another tribe wanted to launch an attack on the tribe of Zarqaa, they were so concerned with Zarqa seeing them from far and alerting her people in advance.
They came up with a plan : every man was to carry and hide under a freshly dislodged tree whilst on the march. That way Zarqa would not be able to see them coming. They thought she will think of them as trees in the distance.
However, Zarqa was able to spot them coming from very far distance. She told her tribesman about the sight of moving trees that she can see in the distance. Her fellow tribesman found this to be ridiculous and did not believe her, thinking that Zarqa must have lost her mind. Before they knew, the enemy was upon them and having taken them by surprise was able to easily to defeat them.
Zarqa was taken captive and was later executed on the orders of the king of the victorious tribe. It is said they then dissected her eyes and found visible traces of Ithmid Kohl within her veins. The king decided to call the area “Alyamamah” in honour of her. Al-Yamama is still a district in modern day Saudi Arabia.