Lady Asiya: The brave wife of the Pharaoh
Nothing is more frustrating than the persisting stereotypes regarding Muslim women as being voiceless, oppressed, and abused. Islam, in fact, had provided us with different stories about women that were so powerful and independent. To the extent that many would consider them as role models. Among these women was the remarkable Lady Asiya. Known for being the wife of the most tyrannical individual of all time, the Egyptian king Pharaoh. One exceptional trait of this woman was her bravery to stand against such a heartless and dictatorial person. He claimed to be a god and that everyone else should worship him. Lady Asiya defended her faith in God and didn’t hesitate till the day of her death at the hands of Pharaoh.
The background story of Lady Asiya
Lady Asiya was married to the most abusive and tyrant man at that time, Pharaoh, who made every one under his power in Egypt worship him, and only him. Faith in another God would always end up with immediate execution. It all started with a prediction from a fortune teller that a man will be born and eventually overthrow him. Since then, Pharaoh ordered the killing of any newborn boys in town. Surprisingly, the Prophet Musa was born at that time. Fearing from getting killed, God inspired his mother to put him in a crate and to leave it in the river. In the notable Quran, God mentioned
“And We inspired to the mother of Moses, ‘Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.’” (Q. 28:7)
As God promised Musa’s mother, he was found by Asiya and kept by her since she had no baby of her own. Of course after debating and convincing her husband. And thus, the newborn boy that was freaking the Pharaoh out was actually raised under his roof. What was more interesting was the reunite between Musa and his mother, since she started working as a nurse.
Musa as a prophet
Asiya raised and protected Musa as if he is her son. Years passed and Musa became a prophet with a sole message: to worship one God. One of his first followers was Asiya herself, but due to fact that she is a wife to an oppressive man, she decided to keep her faith a secret. However, that didn’t last long since Pharaoh found out that she believed in “another God” and decided to punish her, just like everyone living under the rule.
Pharaoh took Asiya to the desert, he started to torture her massively in front of his daughters from another wife. Asiya was subjected to starvation and violence in order to pressure her to abandon her own faith, but she strongly refused and stood still. Right before her death, Asiya was so close to God and devoted her fears and worries only to him by a supplication:
“My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” (Q. 66:11)
Despite her being a rich queen that lived with fortune and wealthy life, her supplication showed that she didn’t care about anything except to be closer to God. Asiya is an iconic persona with unique characteristics. She kept her faith in God till the very last breath and saw that a true home was to be beside God in Paradise. Other than that didn’t matter to her.
(Written by freelancer Yara Lotfy)