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Musa AS and Asiyah – Part 5

Aug 05, 2022

We have thus covered two women related to Musa AS i.e. his Mother and his Sister and we have learned some wonderful lessons and characteristics which they displayed.

Today we will take a look at Asiyah, the wife of Firoun.
Musa AS was handed this particular fate of having been raised simultaneously by another woman of renowned fame, and that was Asiyah, who in some measure had become his adoptive mother.

As we have already seen, Asiyah, Firoun’s wife, became strongly enamoured of this child who had come to fill the lack of affection she cruelly suffered, bullied as she was by her authoritarian husband.

The Qur’an also describes her as an exemplary woman:
وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱمْرَأَتَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ٱبْنِ لِى عِندَكَ بَيْتًا فِى ٱلْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِى مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِۦ وَنَجِّنِى مِنَ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
And for the believers Allah has set an example in the wife of Fir’on (Pharaoh), who said: “My Rabb! Build for me a house as a special favor from You in paradise, deliver me from Fir’on and his misdeeds, and save me from the wicked nation.” [Al Tahrim 66: 11]

Thus, she stands amongst the women that the Qur’an has raised as a spiritual ideal for all believers; a feminine example of this sublime belief; a belief born in the home of all unbelief.

Like Umme Musa, Asiyah made resistance to the dictatorial powers of Firoun her lifelong campaign. Living in the opulence, the luxury and the splendour of the palace of one of the greatest tyrants known to humankind, she nonetheless managed to preserve herself from the snares that this lifestyle offered her, and devoted herself to the worship of One Allah.

Forced to live under this authoritarian king she too armed herself with endurance, faith and renunciation, which allowed her to ascend to the rank of human perfection as recounted in a famous hadith by the Prophet Muhammad.

عَنْ أَبِي مُوسَى الأَشْعَرِيِّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ‏ “‏ كَمَلَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ كَثِيرٌ وَلَمْ يَكْمُلْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ إِلاَّ مَرْيَمُ بِنْتُ عِمْرَانَ وَآسِيَةُ امْرَأَةُ فِرْعَوْنَ وَإِنَّ فَضْلَ عَائِشَةَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ كَفَضْلِ الثَّرِيدِ عَلَى سَائِرِ الطَّعَامِ ‏
It was narrated from Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari RA that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Many men have attained perfection but no women have attained perfection except Maryam bint ‘Imran and Asiyah the wife of Fir’oun. And the superiority of ‘Aishah over other women is like the superiority of Tharid over all other foods.” [Ibn Majah]

While everybody kowtowed to Firoun and glorified his reign and his power, Asiyah refused this enslavement and proclaimed her refusal to adhere to his despotic logic. She opposed his diktats despite her powerlessness before Firoun’s Machiavellian strength.

She openly professed her faith in Allah and dared to violate the existing laws which considered Firoun as god on earth. Asiyah, by virtue of her spiritual revolt, lived in permanent state of confrontation with the regime. But despite her isolation, destitution and suffering, throughout her life she challenged the established order of injustice and oppression. She too must have etched upon the mind and education of Musa AS this love of justice and freedom.

Raised between these two exemplary mothers, these two worlds that everything seemed to separate, Musa AS developed a strong personality, impregnated with wisdom and force of character.

By the will of Allah, he was placed under the protection of these two exceptional women who prepared the one who was soon to become the messenger of Allah, to contest the symbols of tyranny, oppression and slavery. These two women were ultimately free because they said NO to servility, injustice and human exploitation. Each one living in their separate worlds but nourished with the same spiritual certainty, they taught him to resist the terror of absolutist power and to convey to his people the message of dignity and liberty, as intended by their Creator.

They loved him infinitely, protected him tenderly, defended him to the ultimate end, whilst educating him and preparing him for what he was later to become, a Prophet liberator of men… and women.

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