Muslim Soul The heart of Islam

Lady Asiyah- Wife of Pharaoh



Asiya bint Muzahim is one of the four most respected women of all time and is highly honored by Muslims. It is said that Hazrat Asiya (may Allah be pleased with her) was a sincere believer and that she fully submitted herself to Allah despite being the wife of Pharaoh. Hadith said she would be among the first women to enter Paradise because she accepted Moses's monotheism over Pharaoh's beliefs. The Qur'an mentions Hazrat Asiya as an example to all Muslims. Her supplication is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:


And Allah sets forth an example for the believers: the wife of Pharaoh, who prayed, "My Lord! Build me a house in Paradise near You, deliver me from Pharaoh and his ˹evil˺ doing, and save me from the wrongdoing people." (Surah Al-Tahrim: 11)


Abu Musa Ashaari narrated that once the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stated:


Many persons among men are quite perfect, but there are none perfect among women except Mary, daughter of Imran and Asiya, wife of Pharaoh, and the excellence of Aisha as compared to women is that of Tharid over all other foods. (Sahih Muslim: 2431)


Asiya bint Muzahim attained perfect faith as described by the Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). She lived in ancient Egypt during the rule of the most oppressive Pharaoh in history. Not only did she live under his rule, but she lived in his home as his wife. This Pharaoh was a horrible tyrant who claimed to be an all-powerful god, and he made his people worship him. At the same time, however, he was so paranoid about being overthrown (as a fortune teller predicted) that he ordered baby boys born in the land to be killed. In one particular year, the newborn boys could live, and in the next, the infant boys were killed.


It was against this backdrop that Prophet Musa (Moses) was born; in a year, the baby boys were to be killed. But Musa was no ordinary child—people who laid eyes on him felt love toward him. The midwife who received him could not make herself report his birth, which would result in his killing. Instead, Musa's mother—a remarkable woman in her own right—put her newborn baby boy in a crate in the river as inspired by God:


We inspired the mother of Moses: "Nurse him, but when you fear for him, put him then into the river, and do not fear or grieve. We will certainly return him to you and make him one of the messengers." (Surah Al-Qasas: 7)


As Allah would plan, baby Musa ended up in the home of the tyrant pharaoh himself. Hazrat Asiya and her maids found a crate floating in the Nile River. Hazrat Asiya ordered that the crate be drawn ashore. The maids thought there was a treasure inside, but instead found a baby boy, Moses. Hazrat Asiya instantly felt motherly love towards him. She told the Pharaoh about the baby. The incident has been described in the Holy Qur'an as:


The wife of Fir'on said: "This child may become the comfort of the eyes for me and you. Please do not kill him. He may prove useful to us, or it may be that we will adopt him as our son." They were unaware of the result of what they were doing. (Surah Al-Qasas: 9)


Hazrat Asiya offered Moses's biological mother to live in their household as his wet nurse and paid her for her services, unaware of their relationship. And thus, in the Pharaoh's own home, the Prophet Musa—the exact boy the tyrant was paranoid of—was raised by his wife. 


Asiya bint Muzahim loved Musa as her own son. She believed wholeheartedly when he started preaching the message of the one true God. However, being the wife of the violent and oppressive man who thought himself to be a god, she kept her faith secret.


One day, a daughter of the Pharaoh (from someone other than Asiya) heard her hairdresser say, "Bismillah," meaning "in the Name of Allah." She reported it back to her father, as he would find this a reason for execution. He sentenced the hairdresser and her children to a public death in a pit of burning copper. One by one, the Pharaoh had the children thrown to their demise until it was just the hairdresser and her newborn in her hands. At this point, the hairdresser felt some hesitation, and God caused her newborn to speak miraculously. The baby encouraged her that their punishment was nothing compared to the next if they sacrificed their faith.


Upon witnessing this courage from the hairdresser, Hazrat Asiya also found the ability to stand up to her husband and reveal her true beliefs. She told him she believed in the true God, disbelieved in the Pharaoh, and did not care about what he would do to her while knowing he felt no remorse for burning children alive and having women raped.


After learning of his wife's true beliefs, he took her to the desert, starved her, and stripped her. The Pharaoh tried so hard to degrade Hazrat Asiya, but he did not realize that her faith was impeccable. She was striving only for God and His pleasure, and nothing can cause humiliation for a person with that character. While enduring her husband's punishments, Hazrat Asiya made a supplication:

"My Lord! Build me a house in Paradise near You, deliver me from Pharaoh and his ˹evil˺ doing, and save me from the wrongdoing people." (Surah Al-Tahrim: 11)


She asks for a home in Paradise, but before she even says that, she requests her abode to be near God. Her priorities were clear: she wanted to be close to her Lord. Nothing else mattered—not the pain, not the suffering, not the humiliation her husband was trying to cause her at that very moment.


In response to her supplication, God opened the skies and allowed her to see where her abode would be, and she laughed in joy at this revelation. It was then that the Pharaoh decided to have her killed by a huge boulder. Before the boulder came upon her body, God took back her soul, and thus, the life of Hazrat Asiya came to an end.


Lately, many women have come forward regarding situations in their lives in which powerful men silenced them and took advantage of them. For many years, they abused their place and got away with their misdeeds. Hazrat Asiya (may Allah be pleased with her) endured a marriage with an oppressor who was the worst of them all. Yet, she, too, found the courage to stand up to him with no one else at her side but God. Her Lord granted her true victory because of her perfect faith. Although the witnesses of her death believed she was degraded and left this world in a sad state, she achieved an extremely elevated status. She is an example that no matter your situation, your dignity and honor can stay intact if you remain true to who you are and what you believe.


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