(The Woman Who Left Her Worldly Paradise for the Everlasting One.)
In the Quran, Allah subhanahu wa taala has mentioned to us stories(qisas in Arabic). These stories include stories of the prophets, other righteous people like; the companions of the Ditch, the companions of the Cave, the story of Luqman, al Khidr, and accounts of righteous women.
We should know and realize that Allah has mentioned to us these stories not for entertainment and history, but rather for a very important reason beyond all that.
فاقصص القصص لعلهم يتفكرون
So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect. [Al A3raaf:176]
Allah also says:
أولئك الذين هدى الله فبهداهم اقتده
They are those whom Allah had guided. So follow their guidance. [Al An3aam:90]
لقد كان في قصصهم عبرة لأولي الأبصار
Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding.[Yusuf:111]
Therefore, in the Quraan and Sunnah, stories are meant to raise our imaan and teach us a lesson that life is not easy and it was NOT easy for the righteous ones before us. Nowadays, we complain about things such as not being able to wear the hijaab because of school ,work, or what peers may think of us. Not growing a beard because of such and such, not being able to make it to jumuah(for men) because of "work" and with all these "excuses", people fail to realize that Islaam is not limited to acts of worship.
When one submits to Allah, this means that you are dedicating your life to Allah, you are putting your Creator first and above your creation. Now , let us look at the glimpse of a woman who had all the world could offer , yet gave all that up for her Creator and in the end, gave up her own life for Allah subhaanah.
وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا امْرَأَت
َ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe, the wife of Firawn (Pharaoh), when she said: "My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise, and save me from Firawn (Pharaoh) and his work, and save me from the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers and disbelievers in Allah). [Tahrim:11]
So, who was this woman , who made such an incredible supplication to Allah? Why did she specifically ask Allah for a mansion in paradise and what was it that her husband, the pharaoh was doing that she had to ask Allah to save her from? This woman was none other than, Aasiyyah bint Muzahim.
She was the wife of the greatest tyrant of the world at the time, the disbelieving pharoah of Egypt. The man who claimed to be God. The man who declared war on Musa alayhissalam, the one who was known as Kaleemullaah (the one who spoke to Allah ). The one who put the children of Israel under the worst form of slavery and psychological torment. The one who ordered his vizier and right hand man, the kaafir, Haman to build a ladder for him so that he can "reach" the God of Musa and see if He truly exists. What disbelief! We seek refuge in Allah from their likes!
Yet, this noble woman of such high stature made a conviction to believe in Musa alayhissalam. And this only made sense, how can she(Aasiyyah) believe that the Musa who now claimed to be prophet , was a liar and sorcerer , when she was the woman who had helped raised him from his infancy? Who knew Musa better than her! She was his second mother.
It was Aasiyyah who asked for the life of Musa alayhissalam, when he was an infant, to be spared. She volunteered to take the child in and raise him as her own. Aasiyyah felt a strong connection and love for Musa alayhissalam and Allah had blessed her to see him grow into a strong young man, until he left Egypt.
Now that he had returned with the message of Tawheed, Aasiyyah definitely knew that someone like Musa, whom she had raised , would never claim something false.
We have to realize that the environment and the roof in which Aasiyyah dwelt under was not an easy one. Aasiyyah was living under a dictator(if we use today's terms), she saw the evils and oppression of Firawn firsthand. In other words, she underwent the greatest form of jihaad any woman could go through. And that is saying the word of truth in the face of an oppressive tyranny.
However, to show us the strength of this strong , beautiful woman, she still went forth and accepted the message of the prophets of Allah Musa and Harun. When Firawn found out, he resolved to put her under great torture and persecution , just like the other believers.
In Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
Qatadah says, "Fir`awn was the most tyrannical among the people of the earth and the most disbelieving. By Allah! His wife was not affected by her husband's disbelief, because she obeyed her Lord. "
Look at the strong emaan of this woman. She was living under a disbeliever, but because of her sincerity and love for the truth, Allah protected her from being influenced by Firawn's disbelief and she stayed firm on the truth. Firawn who had lost all sense of humanness and compassion, had no problem having his wife tortured and killed before his very eyes!
Aasiyyah meant nothing to him as soon as she chose the truth over his disbelief. Why did Aasiyyah ask for a mansion in paradise ? Firawn would have Aasiyyah tortured and during this ordeal, the angels would shade her and she would be shown her palace in the sky.
The scholar Ibn Kathir writes in his tafsir:
Ibn Jarir recorded that Sulayman said, "The wife of Fir`awn was tortured under the sun and when Fir`awn would finish the torture session, the angels would shade her with their wings. She was shown her house in Paradise.''
Aasiyyah also asked Allah to save her from Firawn and his evil actions? This was to show her disavowal and innocence from her husband's kufr.
Towards the end of her torture, Aasiyyah would ask " who has prevailed?" And then it was said to her, "Musa and Harun have prevailed (over Firawn)." She replied, " I believe in the Lord of Musa and Harun."
Ibn Kathir then writes:
Fir`awn sent his aides to her and said to them, `Find the biggest stone. If she insists on keeping her faith, throw the stone on her, otherwise she is my wife. When they came to her, she looked up to the sky and was able to see her house in Paradise. She persisted on the faith and her soul was then captured. The stone was thrown on her lifeless body.'' end qoute.
Nothing pleased Aasiyyah but to know that the truth will prevail. She understood as a believer(mu'min) that the truth required much sacrifice and that Islaam is not a deen built upon "I believe" only and that it is a religion of tests and trials, and in the end it is the muttaqeen (pious , God-fearing ) who will prevail. It doesnt matter who wins these battles. As long as we know the end result is for the believers, then we should not complain and worry. May Allah have mercy on our mother Aasiyyah and unite us with her in the peak of al Firdaws!