وَأَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ فَـٰرِغًا ۖ إِن كَادَتْ لَتُبْدِى بِهِۦ لَوْلَآ أَن رَّبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قَلْبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“The next day, Musa AS’s mother felt a void in her heart (faarighan) – if We had not strengthened (rabatna) it to make her one of those who believe” [Al Qasas 28: 10]
In this passage, the Qur’an subtly describes the heart of this woman that had become “emptied” after the separation from her son; the Arabic word “faarighan” can be translated as “drained away” or “dried”. The description is nuanced and the metaphor used by the Qur’an here attempts to convey the depths of Umm Musa’s sorrow. Her heart was drained of everything but Musa. In her eyes nothing else mattered; life had become meaningless and only the memory of her child remained vivid inside her heart. Such was her suffering that she was on the verge of screaming out her pain, of disclosing the secret and telling all. Had it not been for the resoluteness which Allah blessed her with, to persist with her conviction, she would have betrayed herself. This strength that Allah instilled in her is subtly translated in the Qur’an by the word “rabatna,” an Arabic term meaning “tie” or “binding”. The ordeal was so great that Allah “binds” her feelings to prevent them from bursting open in broad daylight.
Allah in His profound mercy supported this woman, accompanying her in her distress while forcing her to remain resolute, strong and to overcome her maternal fears. He fortified her faith and her belief and protected her during those agonizing moments with His infinite compassion. And with Allah’s grace she remained calm and patient.
So, who exactly was this woman, Umme Musa?
In Ruhul-Ma’ani her name is given as Yuhanadh (يوحانذ) and in Itq`an it is said that her name was Lihyana daughter of Yasmad Ibn Lawi (لحيانه بنت يصمد بن لاوي). Others say her name was Barkha (بارخا) and still others that it was Bazakht (بازخت) [Some people who dispense charms and amulets attribute strange properties to her name but according to Ruhul-Ma’ani there is no basis for such a belief and probably it is nothing more than a hoax to entice innocent and ignorant people].
The Imaan and Tawakkul of this lady is really and truly amazing and it is through her that Allah has taught us so many lessons. If we have to ponder over just one such lesson – normally when we fear that something is going to be taken away, or stolen, or snatched away from us, then our immediate, compulsive and humanistic reaction is to hold harder, tighter, firmer and stronger, (you walking through a dangerous area, you automatically place your hands around your pockets). So Umme Musa feared that her baby was going to be taken away so naturally she became more protective over her baby, Musa, but Allah then gave her the command to give up her child, to place the baby in the river, in other words, she was commanded by Allah to do the opposite of what a person instinctively would be doing – a person would hold on tighter, but she was told to let go, she is actually being told that if you want to keep him then you have to let him go.
SubhanAllah! What Tawakkul this mother had to have! First it was the fear of Firoun and his soldiers, but now she has the added fear of the river, this baby can`t swim, what if the basket topples and the baby falls into the river?
There is an irony here – if she keeps the baby, Firoun will find the baby and kill him. If she wants to save the baby, she has to let go!
It was only once she placed her trust in Allah, understood that Allah will deliver on His promise, that Allah then saved the baby.
This is a great lesson of Tawakkul which we all need to learn!