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21 May 2019 CE | 17 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

The Beautician of Firawn’s Daughter

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When I was taken towards the heavens I got a very pleasant odour. I asked Jibril about it and he said that it was the odour of the beautician of the daughter of Firawn and her children. I asked him to tell me more about them and he said, 'One day she was engaged in the routine task of beautifying the daughter of Firawn when the comb fell from her hands. While picking it up she said, ‘Bismillah’ (In the Name of Allah). Firawn’s daughter asked her if she referred to her father when she called the name of Allah. She replied, ‘No! But my and your father’s Lord is only Allah!’ The girl asked, ‘Shall I reveal what you say (to Firawn)?’ She replied that she may tell him if she liked. So, she revealed it to her father, Firawn, who summoned the beautician and asked, ‘Do you have any other Lord besides me?’ She answered, ‘Yes, my and your Lord is Allah.’

Firawn had a fire kindled and a brass cow-shaped vessel was heated over it. When it was ready (very hot), he ordered that the woman and her children be thrown into it. She interjected, ‘I have something to say.’ He said, ‘Go on say, what is it?’ She said, ‘After we are burnt down, our bones (mine and the children’s) should be placed together in a cloth and buried in the earth.’ He agreed that he would do so.

Firawn commanded that her children should be thrown into the fire first. So, they were cast into it one by one. She watched until it was the turn of the last child, the new-born baby suckling its mother’s milk. This made her sob a little. The infant suddenly spoke to her, saying, ‘Mother! Jump into this fire! For the punishment of this world is very minor compared to that of the next.’ Hence, she jumped into the fire.” [Ahmad]

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) learnt of this story on the night of Miraj (his ascension to the heavens). Through this hadith we learn of one of the beautiful rewards that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) gives to the Shaheed. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) smelt the scent of the beautician and her children in Jannah and indeed the people who die in the path of Allah go straight to Jannah. Everybody dies, but Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) tells us in the Quran not to call the Shuhada dead, for they do not die but move directly to their existence in Jannah. That is why there is no funeral prayer prayed over the Shaheed.

In the midst of frightfully strong people there is sometimes a weak one who manages to create panic in the hearts of disbelievers. This is the story of one such woman who agreed to be plunged into a worldly fire than risk being thrown into the fire of the next world.

The beginning of the beautician’s trial was when Firawn questioned her, “Is there any Lord besides me?” She could have concealed her faith to save her life and the lives of her helpless, innocent children. But she stood firm in her love of Allah and her testimony of faith.

It is the peculiarity of the field of love that those who enter it face a fresh trial every time. Allah says: “Alif Lam Meem. Do the people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be tried? And certainly We tried those who were before them. So Allah will certainly determine those who speak truly, and He will certainly determine the liars.” [Quran 29:1-3]

The faith of a person is tried according to his religious standing. The more religious a person, the more he should be prepared to face trial. It is easy to make a claim but to get through with steadfastness is the real thing.

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) displays His power by raising believers in the centres of polytheism. Faith is the fragrance that spreads out through the thickest of seals. This is what happened to the beautician when she uttered "Bismillah." When that happened she decided not to conceal her faith anymore. It is generally believed that a man’s life is his dearest possession. But this is not true for a mother. A mother’s life is meaningless without her children, and it takes terrible will-power to be responsible for their being thrown into fire.

There have been six new-born babies who have spoken in the cradle as a manifestation of the power of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala): Eesa bin Maryam (alaihis salam), the child who spoke in favour of Jurayj Al-Abid, the baby who made a supplication counter to its mother’s, the child who testified to the truth of Yusuf (alaihis salam), the one indicated in Surah Burooj concerning the Companions of the Ditch, and the child of the beautician of Firawn’s daughter in this hadith.

This is not only a story of the past. Hazrat Ali (radi Allahu anhu) said concerning the emergence of Imam Mehdi, “He will come at the end of time when a person will be killed only for saying: ‘Allah, Allah.’” [Hakim in Mustadrak. Sahih on the conditions of Imams Bukhari and Muslim.] Each Hadith and each Ayat carries a message till the end of time. How receptive we are to the message, depends on us.

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