The Prophet SAW in his ascent to Jannah could smell a beautiful smell and asked Jibrael what the beautiful smell was. He SAW was told this was the smell of the hairdresser of the daughter of Firaun, and her children,.
Who may this woman and her children be, we may ask? Yet another figure in an Islamic history book? But surely, my dear sisters, this woman is more than a dormant figure in a book. This woman is the magnificent, most beautiful example for us all, on what Iman really means. What steadfastness upon the Haq really means. And what sacrifice fi sabeelilah really means.
And the hadith narrated in Ahmad and Ibn Majah is as follows:
The hairdresser of the daughter of the Firaun, a nobody, another servant in the expansive quarters of the Firaun was one day combing the hair of her master’s daughter. And as she was doing so, she accidentally dropped the comb and after picking it up to resume her combing, she subconsciously uttered Bismillah. Just as we do, my dear sisters, before we eat, before we do any action, the utterance of bismillah is alhumdulilah of second nature to us, as it alhumdulilah was to her. But this utterance in no way had the same repercussions as maybe out utterances do today. Swiftly the daughter asked her what she had said, asking her whether she was mentioning the name of her father.
But this brave and valiant woman’s reply was – No. I mention Allah, my God and the God of your father. Immediately the daughter became angry and rushed to her father to tell him what had happened. He, in his anger, at finding this out, summoned her to him.
And she came and stood, a woman, a woman, sisters, in front of this great, most tyrannical and dictatorial Pharaoh. And he said to her, ‘who is your god?’ And she said, ‘Allah is my lord.’ He said ‘who is Allah?’ She said ‘Allah is my god and yours.’ Yes, she was cornered and put in a place, when she had to answer, she answered. No compromise, no thinking about how it would affect her job, her livelihood and most of all her 5 children.
Her answer made the Firaun furious and he ordered for chains to be brought. They whipped her, punsihed her but her reply was the same ‘Allah is my lord and yours.’
And so he ordered for them to bring a large container and he spilt boiling oil in to this container, and then he said, ‘bring me all her children!’ And her first child was brought. A child who for a mother, her heart aches for, when he may graze his knee, bang his head. Yet as the Firaun asked her the same question again and her response was the same, this child was put into the boiling oil, for his flesh to melt away from his bones, leaving his mother in this dunya.
But my dear sisters, the pain of the loss of a child, in front of your very eyes, in a manner which could make the coldest of hearts weep, did in no way weaken this jewel of Allah. She continued to watch all four of her children being immersed in the boiling oil and killed in this way. And then came the fifth, a baby who was still breastfeeding. And she was about to pull back. Imagine sisters, the innocent form of a baby whose total dependence on the mother for all form of nourishment, imagine how a mother would feel to think of the fate that laid for him. And then Allah SWT, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, in his magnificence, enabled this baby to speak to his mother. ‘Be patient my mother, you are in the truth, Allah Allah has promised you with a great heaven, keep going mother.’ SubhanAllah!
And the same fate befall the innocent baby.
She knew she was next and she began to cry. The tyrant, Firaun, then asked her why she was crying. And sisters, it was not in regret of what she had done, or in anger for Allah’s test upon her. No. It was because she had a request she wanted to ask this man, but she did not know whether he would comply. And what was this request?
This request was – After she was also boiled alive, that all that remained of her and her children should be gathered together and buried in the same grave. This is so, on Yawm Ul Qiyamah, she could be raised with all the children beside her and enter Jannah with them.
Sisters, what are our tests? Comfort? Ease? The fear of what people will say to us? The sacrifice of wealth, status, career? Just think of this fragant jewel of Jannah, and remember that nothing is too big a sacrifice for the sake of our Rabb.