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The Hairdresser of Pharaoh’s Daughter

hairdresser of pharaoh's daughter
The article relates the story of the hairdresser of Pharaoh daughter, who gave an ideal example for all women in patience, sacrifice and adherence to faith.

It was narrated from Ubayy ibn Ka`b that on the night when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was taken on the Night Journey (Isra’), the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) noticed a good fragrance and said: “O Jibril, what is this good fragrance?” Jibril said: “This is the fragrance of the grave of the hairdresser and her two sons and her husband.” (Ibn Majah)

The message of Moses (peace be upon him) spread out and his followers increased everywhere forming an actual threatening to Pharaoh and his dominion. In his palace, Pharaoh went through a state of blazing anger thinking about Moses and his followers and the most decisive action to be taken against them. Pharaoh asked for his Prime Minister Haman to consider this matter together. They determined to arrest anyone who believes in the message of Moses and subject them to intensive torture until they desert their new religion. Pharaoh sent out his soldiers in search for the believers in Moses. It did not take long that the prisons of Pharaoh were filled up of the followers of Moses (peace be upon him). They were extremely tortured at the hands of Pharaoh’s soldiers, their rose high of the rigorous torment upon them imploring God to relieve them of the aggression of the oppressor.

The torment was applied upon all believers equally, even the infants were not saved of the oppression of Pharaoh and his soldiers. The ordeal has been intensified upon Muslims and a lot of them had to conceal their faith in God out of fear of Pharaoh and his arrogance and some of them had to flee their religion away from the eyes Pharaoh.

It was in Pharaoh’s palace a woman combing the hair of Pharaoh’s daughter and doiong her makeup. This woman believed in Moses but she concealed her faith from Pharaoh. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “On the night on which I was taken on the Night Journey (Isra’), a beautiful fragrance came to me.  I said: O Jibril, what is this beautiful fragrance? He said: This is the fragrance of the hairdresser of Pharaoh’s daughter and her children. I said: What is their story? He said: Whilst she was combing the hair of Pharaoh’s daughter one day, the iron comb fell from her hand and she said, ‘Bismillah (In the name of Allah).’ The daughter of Pharaoh said: ‘My father?’ She said: ‘No. My Lord and the Lord of your father is Allah.’ She said: ‘I will tell him about that.’ She said: ‘Yes.’ So she told him and he summoned her and said: ‘O So and so, do you have a Lord other than me?’ She said: ‘Yes, my Lord and your Lord is Allah.’ He ordered that a baqarah (lit. “cow”) made of copper be heated up, then he ordered that she and her children be thrown into it. She said: ‘I have a request to make of you.’ He said: ‘What is your request?’ She said: ‘I would like my bones and my children’s bones to be gathered together in one cloth and buried.’ He said: ‘This will be done for you.’ He ordered that her children be thrown into it in front of her, one by one, until they came to the last one who was an infant boy who was still being breastfed. It was as if she wavered because of him, but he said: ‘O mother, go ahead, for the punishment of this world is easier to bear than the punishment of the hereafter.’ So she went ahead.” (Ahmad)

The woman and her children dived into the fire asking Allah to accept their faith in Him. She gave a good example of a Muslim woman whose faith in God was stronger than mountains. She bravely adhered to her religion, beard all the hardships for God’s Sake and sacrificed everything in His cause. They passed away as martyrs in the cause of God, after they gave the finest example in patience, sacrifice and redemption.


Source: Translated and adapted from a book entitled “Mashaheer An-Nisaa’ Al-Muslimat” (Famous Muslim Women) by Sheikh `Ali bin Nayif Al-Shahud.

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