The Pharaoh’s daughters hairdresser

imageI write this story of the Pharaoh’s daughters hairdresser, to convey to my own mind (and to others) the difference which belief makes. It takes one from the ordinary to the extraordinary and while our mind tends to be trapped in the physical boundaries we have created, just sometimes we realise what eternity means. Allah says in the Quran, you will look back and feel I have but spent an evening and night here. But, you will realise that with deeds you can spend an eternity elsewhere. Maybe, also understand in physical comparisons, what eternity can mean.

I have taken the names out of this story, because it is irrelevant who were the specific parties involved. The Pharaoh in this case, had claimed being the ultimate deity, the power above all and represents gross evil. While, the slave hairdresser, who had secretly committed her faith to the one Allah, represents good and eternity.

One day, as this very hairdresser, combed the hair of the Pharaoh’s daughter, the heavy metal comb in her hand dropped and fell to the floor. Inadvertently the word Bismillah (in the name of Allah) came to her lips and she said it. The Princess on hearing this confirmed you ‘mean my father’? The hairdresser did not belittle her faith, and said, ‘No, my and your fathers Lord, the real Allah’. The Princess warned that she shall tell her father, but the hairdresser was calm and firm in her belief.

The news was conveyed to the Pharaoh, who was astonished that a lowly slave refused to recognise his being God. She was called to court, alongwith her children, one of whom was still at the suckling stage. The Pharaoh said to her, ‘who is your god’? And she said, ‘Allah is my lord’. He enquired ‘who is Allah’? She said ‘Allah is my god and yours’. Here was a slave, facing a great Pharaoh, cornered and forced to answer, and yet chose faith and belief. She could have taken the easy way out, gone home and repented to Allah. But No! Her faith rose above all that. This is no mean moment in mans history and it compares with many great ones.

They punished her and she remained firm. So finally oil was boiled and the Pharaoh threatened to burn her children and herself. As the children were dropped into the boiling oil, and the lady in mental agony prayed to Allah, Allah opened the curtains, allowed her to see the unknown and she saw her daughter smiling and saying we will be together in Jannah. Another account suggests that her infant actually spoke to her in encouraging terms and firmed up her belief. Whatever the case, lost in the realms of history, the lady did not utter a cry and remained firm. Finally when it came to her, she said to the Pharaoh, for this wrong promise me only one thing, that you will bury all our bones in one grave, so that we are together. I suppose in awe and admiration the Pharaoh promised this and so they were buried together.

This is where we, in our tiny worldly walls, begin to understand what eternity means. Over 2000 years later, the greatest person in history begins the most remarkable moment of his life, the Prophet (saw) flies towards Masjid Aqsa, on the night of the Mairaj, and as he flies over Palestine, he is near Egypt. And out of Egypt, comes a very pleasant fragrance. So he says, “O Jibreel! What is this pleasant fragrance?” And Jibreel replies “This is the fragrance of the hairdresser of the Pharaoh’s daughter and her children, in their grave.” SubhanAllah! For an eternity and continuing, this woman has achieved success and moreover has been mentioned in terms of admiration by the Prophet (saw).

Our lives and worldly deeds are worth a drop in an ocean, compared to what is to be achieved by our belief and faith. These moments of material ecstasy are tiny, worth little and the reality is elsewhere. No one will speak in admiration of a CEO or a Wall Street banker in 3500 years, but this paltry hairdresser lives on and creates inspiration millennia later.

May Allah guide us to faith. This write up is created after reading many accounts and I have not quoted the hadiths and various add ons. May Allah excuse me in case of any errors in this blog.

The picture is from dreamstime.com

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A Quantum Leap of change in Pakistan

imagePost elections many younger people have felt dissatisfaction at the process applied during elections and (I fear) we face disenfranchising these people, who are part of the future of Pakistan. So, I have tried below to show them the philosophy of change and how what has happened in the last few days is a positive step.

A society is a web, connected, intermingled and when you move a small wheel, it will move a larger wheel and so move a still larger one and thus the societal machine will work like any other machine. Small movement, cause and effect translates into large changes over time. A small change now, leads to large change 30 years from now. An example; the creation of madrassas in the late 70’s is today a massive part of Pakistan’s social fabric.
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Thus  I watched with interest the changes which could allude to larger change, during these elections. Simple little changes.
  • young people participating
  • technology being used
  • innovative campaigning involving ground activation
  • people standing up for their legal rights
  • a self aware people
Some perturbing ones.
  • people voting more for local rights, federal consequences being less visible
  • a divide beginning to happen …so called educated v less educated
Where this change will lead to, I am not sure. As with any change and an unsure future, one is apprehensive. But change can occur in only three forms:-
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Miracle/disaster
This would be the most unplanned and therefore most change inducing. Miracles seem to have disappeared nowadays, but when they do happen they have far reaching effects. Thousands of years ago Hazrat Musa crossed the Red Sea and Pharaoh was destroyed, but we live the effects of that moment till today. I don’t think we should be awaiting a miracle, as we have been these decades in Pakistan. As far as disaster is concerned, a disaster has occurred several times in our history, like 2010 floods etc. Disasters can be a set back for years, or worse a culmination, thus causing great change. There is an impending feeling of doom in this country and a fear that disaster is approaching.  Disregard it!
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Revolution
Typically revolutions aim for utopia, they wipe out status quo and the new structures are set at utopian levels. Over time learning ensues and the revolution is institutionalized and disappears. Society starts reversing the effects of the revolution and it comes back to a more mid lane process..I don’t think we are ripe for revolution, as our belief platforms are too diverse.
China is a great example of the progressive effects of a revolution. Mao killed freely in the 40s-50s-60s. Later after his departure, in late 70s China opened up and the disciplines and hardships of Mao, led to a surge in the last 30 years.
Iran is a bad example of a revolution. A reversal of revolutionary zeal has led to a totalitarian state and the benefits of revolution have not transpired. Instead a bureaucracy has now replaced the zeal and it controls Iran. Similar events happened in the Soviet Union.
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Evolutionary Change
This has worked best over millenia of human development. Seemingly slow progress, but half a century on, a later generation looks back and says wonderingly, “look how that and that event has caused an evolution which has changed our lives.”
Evolutionary change can trend towards good, but as nations decline it can trend towards bad also. So in Yarmuk, Muslims won a hard fought battle and for the next 500 years dominated, as the way north and west was opened up. But Nero fiddled while Rome burned and while the Roman empire lasted almost 400 further years, but the decline was inexorable after that.
This evolutionary change is what I am talking about above. To all those who are upset at the elections, because there was a great deal of unfairness. “Wheels on wheels have been set in motion. Patience, this will deliver dividends and progression will happen. You watch. Be patient. Inshallah the wheels are in motion, your Pakistan will change.”
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