One Account, One Miracle
The Handkerchief Did Not Burn
Arshad Aslam Attari Madani
“What are you looking for?” asked Umm Habiba. “I am looking for a broom,” answered Sohaib.
“Why? Are you cleaning the house today?” she laughed.
“Then why do you need it?”
“Sis! First tell me where it is then I’ll tell you why I need it.”
“Why are you taking the broom outside?” asked Umm Habiba once again.
“My friends have swept the front of their homes, so I want to too.”
“Okay, you can go, but don’t get your clothes dirty.”
After sweeping the whole yard, Sohaib turned to Owais, “We have gathered so much rubbish whilst cleaning. What should we do with it?” After thinking for a moment, Owais answered, “Let’s burn the rubbish. The uncle next door does. You stay here Sohaib, I’ll get some matches.” Owais came back, lit the fire, and said, “Thankfully the fire has started.”
“Look at how many matches we wasted!” exclaimed Sohaib. They began to throw paper and plastic bags into the fire. They had great fun doing this. Khubayb went outside and saw them putting plastic bags into the fire. He pulled them away from the fire and extinguished the fire with some water. He told them off and said, “Owais go home and Sohaib, go to Granddad. “Do you know what Sohaib was doing?” said Khubayb to Granddad. “He was gathering rubbish with Owais and burning it.” Granddad looked towards Sohaib and lovingly said, “Why were you doing this?”
“Granddad! Owais said we should do it. He said the uncle next door does it too.”
“Children should never light fires. Your clothes, hands or feet could get burnt! Burning bits of paper could fly away and cause fires elsewhere! If you promise not to do this ever again, I will tell you about a miracle.”
Sohaib immediately became happy and said, “I will never do it again Granddad.”
“Good boy! I will tell you a miracle; about a handkerchief.”
Granddad started to narrate the story, “Some guests once arrived at the house of the companion of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, Sayyidunā Anas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ. When it was time to eat, a dining mat was laid for the guests. He said to his maid, “Bring a handkerchief too.” Sayyiduna Anas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ looked at the handkerchief and said, “Put this into the fire.” The maid then threw it into the fire.
“Granddad! Why did Sayyidunā Anas do this?” asked Umm Habiba.
“He wanted to clean the handkerchief, so he had it put into the fire.” Granddad answered.
“He wanted to clean it with fire?! Why are you joking Granddad! Fire burns; if he wanted to clean it, he would have used water.”
“I am not joking! This is what he would do. He would have his clothes washed with water but he would have that handkerchief cleaned with fire.”
“What was so special about the handkerchief that it was cleaned in fire?” asked Khubayb.
“Listen carefully to the rest of the story, and you will understand what was so special about it.” Responded Granddad. He continued, “After some time, the handkerchief was taken out of the fire. The handkerchief was white as milk and not burnt at all. Children! It was not an ordinary handkerchief, but it was in fact very, very special.
The guests of Sayyiduna Anas were also amazed, and they said to him, “Tell us what is so special about this handkerchief.” Sayyidunā Anas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ explained, “The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would wipe his face with this handkerchief. Whenever we need to clean it, we put it into a fire.”
Granddad resumed, “Sayyidunā Anas then told his guests something very important.”
“What did he tell them?” the children asked.
“Sayyidunā Anas said to them: Fire can never burn anything that touches the faces of the Prophets.”
“Ah! Now I understand why it wasn’t burning,” cried Khubayb.
“Brother! Why did it not burn?” asked Sohaib. Khubayb explained, “The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم wiped his face with this handkerchief. That’s why no fire could burn it!” Granddad stood up, looked towards Sohaib and said, “Do not light a fire next time like that.” He then left to meet his friend.
 Al-Khasaais al-Kubra, vol. 2, p. 134