The Prophet (saw) narrated the story of the Pharoah’s hairdresser who was combing the hair of Pharoah’s daughter and dropped her comb on the ground.
“Bismillah, in the name of God,” she blurted as she bent down to pick it up.
She and her four children were burnt to death because of this slip of tongue and then her refusal to deny her belief in Allah. Her baby was one of the few who spoke in infancy, reassuring her in remaining steadfast, before she was killed.
I heard a beautiful reflection by Amr Khaled about this story. The heart is like a container filled with liquid–thoughts, feelings, whatever it is that we focus on and fill our lives with. Sometimes when we let our guard down or act subconsciously, that liquid spills over, and we glimpse what our heart contained. The hairdresser’s heart spilled over when she dropped the comb. She forgot herself and the secrecy, and the purity overflowed.
When the Prophet (saw) ascended to the heavens in israa and miraj, he smelled an unworldly, beautiful scent. The angels informed him that it was the smell of the hairdresser and her children–Allah replaced the smell of their burning flesh with a glorious scent that could still be detected centuries later.
I wonder what my heart holds and how much it has been polluted by waste. What spills over when I am not paying attention, when I am struck with fear, when I am on my deathbed, when I lose my patience?
I must be careful–oh so careful–what I pour into my heart’s container.
Maha Ezzeddine lives in Texas with her husband and four children. She is a dedicated MAS worker, wannabe crunchy homemaker and part-time writer.