The wife of the pharaoh was a very pious and great woman. It’s ironic in this situation how the most powerful and arrogant leader on the Earth at the time was married to such a God fearing woman. This woman is none other than Asiyah bint Muzahim.
The Prophet (saw) described her as having perfect faith. She lived in Ancient Egypt. Her husband was the most oppressive pharaoh in history. Many people may not realize, but her husband claimed to be an all-powerful god and he would further make people worship him. At the same time, he was extremely concerned about his citizens potentially overthrowing him. Because of this, he would order baby boys born in the land to be killed. During this time period, Prophet Musa (as) was born. As we know from our rich heritage, Musa (as) was no regular baby. People who laid eyes on him felt sincere love towards him. Due to this special bond with him, the midwife who delivered him could not make herself report his birth since he would end up getting killed if anybody found out about him. Musa (as)’s mother knew she couldn’t hide him for too long, so she instead decided to put her newborn child in a crate in the river Nile. This move to send Musa (as) away in the river was guidance from Allah (swt).
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.”
-Surah al-Qasas, Ayah 7
Allah (swt) had planned for Musa (as) to end up right behind the pharaohs house. Asiyah found Musa (as) in the crate and also felt a strong connection with the baby prophet. She did not have any children of her own either. Asiyah at once told the pharaoh about the situation. Asiyah’s feelings are demonstrated in Surah al-Qasas:
“And the wife of Pharaoh said, ‘[He will be] a comfort of the eye for me and for you. Do not kill him; perhaps he may benefit us, or we may adopt him as a son.’”
-Surah al-Qasas, Ayah 9
And just like that, the pharaohs own enemy was residing in his palace. Coincidentally, Asiyah hired Musa (as) mother as a wet nurse, and just as Allah (swt) promised to Musa (as) mother, she was reunited with her child by pure chance.
Asiyah loved Prophet Musa (as) like her own son. When he started calling people to tawheed (Oneness of Allah) she believed in him without any hesitation. Of course, she was in a very precarious situation. After all, her husband was the most oppressive man alive so she ended up keeping her beliefs secret.
The pharaoh had a daughter from another woman as well. So one day, a hairdresser was doing the pharaoh’s daughters hair and the hairdresser said “Bismillah” meaning “In the Name of Allah.” At once, the daughter was shocked as to who the hairdresser was referring to and so she immediately told her father about the hairdresser’s words. Pharaoh sentenced the hairdresser and her children to a public death in a pit of burning copper. Slowly, one by one the pharaoh threw each of the children into the pit until only the hairdresser and her newborn were left. At this point, the hairdresser felt some hesitation and Allah (swt) miraculously made the newborn speak. The baby told the hairdresser that the punishment they faced in this world is nothing compared to the one in the hereafter if they sold their faith away.
Asiyah was witnessing the murder of the hairdresser and her children. After witnessing this gruesome scene, Asiyah also found the courage to stand up to her husband and reveal her true beliefs. She went up to the pharaoh and told him she believed in only Allah (swt). She further said, that she didn’t care what he would do to her.
As soon as the pharaoh found out about Asiyah’s true beliefs, he dragged her into the desert, starved her, and stripped her. He humiliated her and his concubines and servants laughed at her. He tried everything in his power to degrade he, but little did he know that her faith was unshakeable. She was only trying to please Allah (swt). While being punished by her husband, Asiyah made a sincere duah:
“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.”
-Surah al-Tahrim, Ayah 11
Allah (swt) heard her duah and immediately opened the skies wide open to show Asiyah where her house in Paradise would be. She laughed and was in joy at seeing this beautiful sight. At that point, the pharaoh couldn’t stand seeing Asiyah happy so he decided to have her crused by a giant boulder that would fall from a cliff. Before the boulder landed on her, Allah (swt) took Asiyah’s soul and she didn’t have to suffer that excruciating pain.
Subhan’Allah, Asiyah endured such a horrible married life. Her husband was the biggest oppressor alive, yet she found a way to stand up to him. That courage to stand up to her husband was only because of her sincerity with Allah (swt) and her faith.