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The story of life of Pharaoh's wife, Asiya and her methods for religious invitation:
The name of “Asiya” literally means “healer”. Asiya was one the four greatest women in the religion of Islam. Her name has been derived from the name of Egyptian Queen, Amnia. According to the Quran and Islamic Hadiths, Asiya the wife of Pharaoh, is contemporary with Moses. Historians have mentioned her as one of the women of the children of Israel and the wife of Ramses II, Pharaoh of Egypt (ruled: 1304-1237 BC), during the time of Moses (a.s). According to the Quran, when they found Moses and brought him out of the river, Asiya was there and urged Pharaoh to let him stay alive. According to Muslims’ beliefs, Asiya was one of the first people who believed the monotheistic religion of Moses. Muslims believe that Asiya is one of the four holy women.
Asiya, bint Muzahim one of the Quranic and Islamic legends:
In the Quran, only two legendary women have been mentioned by their names, Mary (the mother of Jesus) and Mary (the sister of Moses and Aaron). It is an indication of the low status of women in the Arabian Peninsula in earlier times and also in the current time. In Islamic Hadiths, the name of Asiya has also been mentioned in relation to Moses and also these three or two legends share the same meaning which is ascribed to the sacred tree (Myrhe, Ace). From the other hand, it seems that the name of Asiya was compared with Asnas (meaning misery) who was considered as the legendary wife of Joseph who lived in Canaan and the name of the Asiya’s father which was Muzahim ( meaning in difficulty and trouble) is an evidence for this meaning. On the basis of the legendary narrative of the Torah, the Hyksos (meaning rulers of foreign lands) or the Shepherd Kings had taken the Hebrews to Egypt as slaves. If it is so, therefore in this regard their numerous Egyptian vassals and the silence of Egyptian news sources could not be correct. Anyhow, the name of Asiya or Myrhe / Myre is related to the name of the Myrtus tree (= Myrhe, the name of the Adonis's mother, the Phoenician god) and the name of Maria itself in Aramaic means the Saint which has apparently been the goddess of the sacred Myrtus tree and is related to Al-Uzzá the goddesses of Arabian religion (Hagar, Naeleh, Amrah) meaning the goddess with dignity and sacred plants (Om Qylan, Acacia). But Mary, as the sister of Moses (god of Mitanni tribes) and Aaron (the Hurrians of the Hyksos tribes alliance) daughter of Imran (Originally the Amorite of great Semitic tribes and the member of Hyksos tribes alliance) is relevant to the name of Marie which after integration with the Hyksos tribes alliance (the Shepherd kings, Companions of Al-Ras Quran) they possessed Egypt until the time of Pharaoh Ahmose (literally meaning the brother of Moses = Mitha, Mithra, Mihr).It is believed that the name of the people and country of Marie have been derived from the name of a goddess called Mareh or Maria (The Saint) whose headless statue called Ishtar was found in the ruins of the glorious ancient city of Marie.
Finally, after a century and a half, in the mid-sixteenth century BC, the Hyksos expelled and drove out Kamose (the Companion Spirit of god Mitha, Moses Kalim Allah) the Coptic leader of Upper Egypt, who was the last leader of the Hyksos from Egypt and chased him and his Hyksos Vassals to Palestine. Regarding Ishtar (the name means full of water) it has to be mentioned that she was the same goddess which was respectively called by the Hindus, Persians and Greeks as Saraswati (water = Afghan), Aredvi Sura Anahita (goddess of clear and flowing waters) and Aphrodite and was worshiped by them. Therefore, in fact Asiya bint Muzahim, the supporter of Moses has been Marie, the goddess of the people of Marie. They had a luxurious life in the city of Marie along the Euphrates in Syria, before violating the code of Hammurabi. In fact the Hebrew (Jews) have attributed the history of the immigrant Hyksos minority to Palestine, entirely to themselves which based on modern criteria, it is exactly like a historical plagiarism.
Name of Asiya in the Holy Quran:
This woman has two times been mentioned in the Quran without her name. One of them is related to bringing Moses (a.s) out of the Nile that in this regard, Quran says in Surah Al-Qasas: “And the wife of Pharaoh said: (this child) would be the comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son, but they perceive not (the result of that).” (Surah Al-Qasas-verse 9). Another time is when she asks God to save her from Pharaoh and his folks who are wrongdoers and bestows Paradise upon her. Accordingly God says in this Surah: “And Gods presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, "My God, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” (Surah At-Tahrim-verse 11). In interpretation of this verse, most of the interpreters believed that the name of this woman had been Asiya. Anyhow it is said that the name of the wife of Pharaoh was "Asiya" and her father’ name was “Muzahim”. It has been said that when she observed the miracle of Moses against the wizards, her heart was filled with light of faith and from that moment on she believed in Moses but she always concealed her faith from the others. However, loving for God and having faith in Him is not something that can always be concealed. When Pharaoh became aware of Asiya’s faith, he repeatedly restrained her and insisted her to give up the religion of Moses and to leave his God, but this woman persevered and never surrendered to Pharaoh’s demands. Finally, Pharaoh ordered to tie her hands and legs with nails and place her under the hot sun, and throw a huge stone on her chest. In the last moments of her life she prayed that: “My God! Build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people!” God accepted the prayer of this faithful woman and placed her near to the best women in the world like Mary and according to these verses she has been mentioned at the same level with Mary. In this sentence “Build for me near You a house in Paradise”, God, has summarize all desires of a good servant in the path of obedience. Because when a person’s faith is made complete, his appearance and what is in his heart are matched up and his heart and tongue would match up too. Such a person tells nothing except about what he acts and does not act, except about what he tells. This person does not make a wish and does not request it by his tongue except what he seeks with his act. Also since while describing the character of this woman and referring to her special dignity, the Almighty God mentions her prayer, it implies that her prayer was an indication of her obedience. It also indicates that she has followed this dream throughout her life and has requested the Almighty God to build for her near Him a house in Paradise and to save her from Pharaoh and his deeds and the wrongdoing people. So Pharaoh's wife has asked for the mercy of her God in order to be near to Him and she has preferred the nearness to God to nearness to Pharaoh, despite the fact that if she had requested nearness to Pharaoh, she could have had all the pleasures and whatever she wished could have been ready for her at Pharaoh’s court and even she could have owned whatever no human could ever think or dream of. Therefore, it becomes clear that Pharaoh's wife had left all pleasures of life and it was not because these pleasures were not available for her, however she left them despite the fact that all these pleasures were available for her. She had asked for the nearness to God and had believed in the unseen and had persevered in her faith until she passed away. The step that Pharaoh's wife has taken for obedience to God can be considered as an example for all of those who want to step in the path of obedience. That is why God summarized her status, her wish and her act throughout her life within a short prayer. The prayer that means nothing but to take her away from all temporal entertainments and whatever that could cause her to become heedless of God. In her prayer she also sought refuge with her God while she had no wish but nearness to Him and living in her Paradise. According to Hadiths, the term “Pharaoh's wife” refers to Asiya which has been mentioned in the Quran as an example for the believers. ]n this prayer “My God! Build for me near You a house in Paradise” Asiya has asked for a house, near to God and in the Paradise. This is because Paradise is a house for nearness to God and closeness to the Lord (God) of the worlds as God Almighty says: “those who have been killed in the cause of God are alive with their God, receiving provision.” (Surah Ali `Imrans-verse 169). Moreover, nearness to God and being with Him is a spiritual blessing however, living in Paradise is a superficial blessing. So the servants’ request from God for having both of them could be natural. In this verse “and save me from the wrongdoing people” the wrongdoing people refer to the folks of Pharaoh and in fact this prayer is an indication of another aversion to the folks of Pharaoh. Therefore she asks the Almighty God to save her from a wrongdoer society as in the previous sentence she asked to save her from her family, Pharaoh.
According to the above mentioned verses and Islamic Hadiths, despite the fact that Asiya lived in the court of Pharaoh, she had faith in God and when Moses (a.s) became prophet, she believed in him too but she always concealed her faith. Finally, something happened that Pharaoh realized she had faith in God, then he asked her not to worship God, but she refused and Pharaoh ordered to torture her. On the basis of a Hadith: at the end of the tortures a large stone was thrown on her chest but her soul had always left her body. In contrast to women including the wives of Noah and Lot who were disbelieved in God, in spite of interacting with the prophets of God, Quran mentions Asiya as an example of a pious woman who did not give up his faith in Spite of living in an environment full of disbelief. There is a Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad which says: Asiya alongside Mary (a.s), Khadija (a.s) and Fatima (a.s) is among the best women in the Paradise. According to another Hadith from Prophet Mohammad, in pre-Islamic times, three people never disbelieved: the believer of the family Pharaoh, Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) and Asiya, Pharaoh's wife. (Saduq, 192; Tabarsi).
Martyrdom of Asiya:
Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh, was one of the honorable women of the children of Israel that she worshiped the true God in secret. When Pharaoh murdered the wife of Ezekiel (believer of family of Pharaoh), Asiya saw that the Angels were flying with her soul and taking her soul to heavens and as a result it increased her faith. After killing Ezekiel, when Pharaoh jubilantly made her wife aware of this news, to his great surprise, Asiya said: woe to you O pharaoh! How dare you against God the Exalted?! How dare you to be impudent against God the Exalted?! Pharaoh who did not expect such words form his wife said: it seems as if you've got crazy like Moses. Asiya replied: I have not got crazy but I believe in God the Exalted, my Lord and your Lord and the Lord of the worlds. Pharaoh summoned Asiya’s mother and said to her: "your daughter has become crazy, I have sworn if she does not disbelieve in Moses I would burn her with fire. Asiya’s mother spoke to her in private: "save your life and do agree with your husband ..." but she did not pay attention to her mother’s nonsense words and said: “to disbelieve in God, this is something I will never do” so then the pharaoh ordered to bring her and she was tied to the ground by four wedges in her hands and legs.
That is why Pharaoh has been mentioned in the Quran as owner of the stake (Surah Al-Fajr-verse 10). He placed her under the hot sun, and placed a huge stone on her chest while she was hardly breathed unders the torture. Moses (pbuh) passed by her and she asked him for help using her fingers, Moses (pbuh) prayed for her and because of the blessing of his prayer, she did not feel no more pain and said: “O God! Build a house for me in the Paradise” and at that very moment, her soul was taken to Paradise. She ate and drank in the Paradise. God inspired to her to lift her head up and so she did and she saw her house in Paradise and it was built with pearls so she laughed, and then the pharaoh said to the audiences: “look how crazy she is, she laughs while being tortured.” Accordingly this tenacious and kind woman to whom Moses (pbuh) owed very much and had been saved by her on several occasions was martyred (Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13, p 164).
Asiya, bint Muzahim one of exemplary women in the Quran:
Asiya, bint Muzahim is one of exemplary women in the Quran. In spite of living in the court of pharaonics and being the wife of the pharaoh of that time, Asiya abandoned the arrogance and corruption by which she had been surrounded and paid no attention to the Worldly issues. So she became an example, not only for women but also for all the believers in the world. Accordingly Quran has mentioned Asiya and Mary (pbuh) as great examples for the believers. “And God presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh, when she said, "My God, build for me near You a house in Paradise.” (Surah At-Tahrim-verse 11) and there is no doubt that being an example is the most valuable compliment for all the believers which has been mentioned in the Quran. “She has also been mentioned in Hadiths as one of the few exemplary women.” God has chosen Mary, Asiya, Khadija and Fatima from among all women. Asiya is of the famous women that her story of life has been mentioned in the Quran. She was the first lady and wife of Pharaoh, the tyrannical and selfish king of the ancient country of Egypt. Pharaoh's oppression and injustice is so well-known in the human history that there is no need to be explained. Like Nimrod, Pharaoh the King of Babylon, claimed that he is God, safeguard of house of idols and promoter of idolatry among the people. Pharaoh who misused people’s foolishness and ignorance, not only called himself the Lord (God) but also said: “I am the most exalted lord.” (Surah An-Nazi`at-verse 24). However, his wife “Asiya” was a virtuous, meritorious and pious woman. Although Asiya was the wife of such a despotic and dangerous man that from whom, his tyranny and cruelty no one were safe, she was not such a person to disbelieve in God and lose her faith by these hardships. “Asiya” the Queen of Nile, has become so near to God that the Prophet of Islam said:"Many men have reached the degree of perfection, but only four women have reached that: Asiya (wife of Pharaoh), Mary (mother of Jesus, peace be upon him), Khadija, and Fatima." In another Hadith, the Prophet of God said: "Paradise is eager to meet four women: Mary bint Imran, Asiya bint Muzahim, khadijah bint khuwaylid, and Fatima." He also said: "The best women of Paradise include four women: they are Asiya, the daughter of Muzahim and wife of Pharaoh, Mary the daughter of Imran, Khadija the daughter of khuwaylid and Fatima the daughter of Muhammad, which the best of them is Fatima.” According to Hadiths: In the Day of Resurrection, Asiya, Mary and Khadijah will walk ahead of Fatima Zahra (a.s) and will guide her to Paradise with respect like the vans. Her noble character, paying attention to her human duties and having faith in God, made a woman living at the court of Pharaoh become a Paradise dweller and be placed among the best women in the world. Asiya was never influenced by her husband’s oppressions and cruelties. She extremely suffered from observing that her cruel husband cut open the belly of Jacob lineage pregnant women in order to kill the babies if they were male, lest he should grow up and impede his oppression and cruelty, therefore in this regard she always disagreed with him.
Asiya, an example for having faith in difficult conditions:
The most significant characteristic of Asiya is that despite living in an environment full of idolatry and arrogance, she seeks worshiping God and never pays attention to worldly attractions and remains steadfast in the faith unto her death. In this verse “when she said, "My God, build for me near You a house in Paradise” (Surah At-Tahrim-verse 11) God has mentioned the example of Pharaoh’s wife when she says: My God, build for me near You a house in Paradise. Although she owns the greatest and most beautiful palaces in the world, she asks God for bestowing upon her a house in the Paradise because her heart has filled with faith she cannot tolerate living in Pharaoh's palace. She also asks God to save her from Pharaoh and Pharaonic ethics. This is the consequence of Prophets’ invitation that totally changes the people who have been drowned in the worldly attractions and regardless of narrow view of this world, it opens a wide horizon for them. As a result she cannot endure anymore this environment which is full of disbelief and therefore, she seeks a way to escape to a world which is full of light of faith. In the verse “and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” She is Pharaoh’s wife who was not wavered by the disbelief of people around her, but even in Pharaoh's palace, she renounced pharaoh and the wrongdoing people and asked God to save her and bestow upon her a house in the Paradise. She was a person that there was not a woman as strong as her in the whole vast territory of Pharaoh.
Asiya’s methods for religious invitation:
Asiya who has been mentioned as an exemplary woman in the Quran does not have a direct method for her religious invitation and therefore, it is only possible to extract some practical methods from her attitudes and behaviors which it indirectly indicates her invitation to doing sacrifice, having faith and worshiping God:
1. Serious attempt to escape from an environment full of disbelief:
The first method that is impressed from Asiya’s life is that because she did not have the power to change Pharaoh and his people’s corrupted beliefs, she did not neglect her personal duty and expressed her beliefs and asked God to save her from this condition which was full of disbelief and arrogance. It should be noted that she had sheltered and supported Moses when he was a child even before she had believed in his prophet hood and many times she had prevented Pharaoh from killing this adopted child. These are all represented Moses’s pure essence and his spiritual readiness for joining the other believers and it also indicated that she was being guided step by step. It has been said that as soon as the staff of Moses devoured the magical spells, Asiya the wife of Pharaoh believed in Moses and therefore, Pharaoh tortured her a lot and finally he brutally murdered her.
2. Aversion to injustice and oppression:
Asiya prevented the tyranny of the tyrants like Pharaoh, as far as she could, especially against Moses but when she was totally disappointed that she would not be able to change their beliefs she clearly declared her aversion to Pharaoh and his shameful and cruel deeds and totally separated herself from the folks of Pharaoh. In this verse “and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people.” (Surah At-Tahrim-verse 11) Asiya’s aversion can be considered in two stages. The first stage indicates Asiya’s prayer and asking God to bestow upon her a house in Paradise. It means that she is not satisfied with her worldly house and companionship of Pharaoh. In the second stage, she clearly indicates her aversion to Pharaoh and asks God to save her from his tyranny.
3. Sheltering and supporting the believers:
In the way of faith, everybody is responsible for fulfilling his duty, as far as he could and the least duty of everybody while inability of doing major reforms, is to support the reformers and their practical goals. It should be said that this exemplary woman has been mentioned in the Quran. She protected Moses very well and supported him as far as she could. She was also the one who brought Moses out of the river and fostered him while many times she dissuaded Pharaoh from killing the future prophet. During Moses’s childhood, she motherly made an attempt at his physical and emotional nurturing and finally she was guided to the true faith and chose the eternal paradise over the mortal world.
1 - Mohammadi Rayshahri, Mizan Al Hikmah, vol. 1, p. 228
2 - Sayyid Qutb, Fi Zilal al-Quran, vol. 6, p. 3622
3 - The Islamic Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, Article of Asiya (of the women of the children of Israel), By: Muhammad Ali Molavi
4 – translation of tafsir al mizan, vol. 19, p. 401, p. 578
5 - Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 43, pp. 20 - 37 - 53.
6 – The exemplary Women, Ali Shirazi, p. 17
7 - Tafsir Nemooneh, vol. 24, p. 303
8 - Majma' al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 319
9 - Quranic exemplary men and women and their methods for religious invitation, By: Mustafa Abbasi Moghadam
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