Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Asiyah: Mother of a Prophet and a Revolution

Asiyah: Mother of a Prophet and a Revolution

And the wife of Pharaoh said, “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.” And they perceived not. [Surat Al-Qasas, 28:8-9]
In these moments, Musa gained his second mother: she who did not birth him, but who raised him from infancy to become the man he was to be: a man of nobility and ethics, with a keen sense of justice. In the heart of Pharaoh’s palace, ‘Asiyah, the queen of Egypt, held her adopted son close and gave him the spiritual and intellectual education he needed to bring forth a revolution unlike any other.
Surrounded by wealth and luxury, protected by the privilege of his adopted parents’ power, Musa could have grown up to be spoiled and arrogant, entitled and apathetic to the plight of those who shared his blood. Undoubtedly, it was ‘Asiyah’s wisdom and compassion that guided him to be aware of himself as far more than just a pampered prince of Egypt.
Perhaps she sat at his bedside when he was a child and murmured to him the tale of how he was brought into her arms, the Nile River depositing the basket carrying its unexpected gift of a son.
Perhaps it was she who answered his questions about why he didn’t look like the other children, why he carried the stamp of Bani Isra’il on his features; why he was still alive, and safe, in the Pharaoh’s palace while every other year, the land was witness to a massacre of infant boys and the rivers flooded with the tears of their mothers.
Perhaps her heart broke every time she gazed upon the young boy who was the coolness of her eyes, remembering that her beloved almost-son had very nearly been one of those slaughtered children.
Perhaps she told him, her voice wavering with emotion, that the only power she had to stop the blood-lust of her husband lay in that moment when she held baby Musa in her arms and beseeched Pharaoh to, just once, save an innocent life.
No doubt that she treasured him all the more for it; no doubt that in that one moment of unimaginable courage in the face of a murder, ‘Asiyah taught Musa what it meant to stand up against injustice. It was ‘Asiyah, more than anyone else, who knew that silence and inaction from those in positions of influence would only lead to more horror.
It was ‘Asiyah who raised Musa: a queen who raised a Prophet; a woman who raised one of the greatest revolutionaries the world has ever known.
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