Āsīya (Arabic: آسیة) was the wife of Pharaoh and the daughter of Muzahim b. 'Ubayd who played a role in taking the Prophet Moses (a) out of the Nile River. She is admired in the Qur'an and hadiths. In some Shiite hadiths, she is referred to as Khadija bt. Khuwaylid's companion in the Heaven.
Lineage and Family
Asiya's name does not appear in the Qur'an, but exegetes have taken "the wife of Pharaoh" which has occurred twice in the Qur'an to refer to Asiya. According to the verse 9 of Qur'an 28, when the baby Moses (a) was taken out of the river, Asiya was there and encouraged the Pharaoh to keep him alive. Moreover, Asiya is admired in the verse 11 of Qur'an 66 (as believing in God despite her companionship with the Pharaoh), in contrast to the wives of Noah (a) and Lot (a), who were infidels despite their companionship with prophets. According to this latter verse, Asiya asked God to give her a house in the Heaven and save her from the Pharaoh and the cruel people.
According to some Qur'anic verses, although Asiya lived in the Pharaoh's palace, she believed in God. When she saw the miracle of Moses's (a) staff or rod (turning into a snake), she believed in him. She concealed her faith from the Pharaoh, and when he learned about her faith, he asked her to give up worshiping God, but she refused to do so. The Pharaoh tortured her. He ordered that her arms and legs be tied to nails, her body be put under the sun, and a giant stone be put on her head. She was killed after these tortures.
Some hadiths have referred to Asiya as one of the four superior women of the world along with Maryam bt. 'Imran, Khadija, and Fatima al-Zahra (a). According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, the fact that they are superior to all women in the world does not contradict the belief that one of them is even more superior than the others. According to some other hadiths, Fatima al-Zahra (a) was superior to the other three. He also appealed to hadiths according to which people in the period of Fatima al-Zahra (a) were more civilized and mature than people of the other periods to show the superiority of Fatima (a). Some Sunni scholars, such as al-Alusi, have appealed to a hadith from Prophet Muhammad (s) to show the superiority of Fatima (a) over other women. According to this hadith, "Fatima is part of my body." Al-Alusi argues that since Fatima (a) is part of the Prophet's (s) being, and since the Prophet (s) is the most superior creature, then Fatima (a) is also the most superior.
According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), which is cited in some Shiite sources of hadiths, when Fatima (a) was born, the Quraysh women left Khadija (a) alone. So, God sent women from the Heaven to Khadija (a), including Maryam and Asiya. In some hadiths, Asiya is referred to as a companion of Khadija (a) in the Heaven. According to another hadith, when Khadija (a) died, Fatima (a) constantly longed for her mother. Thus, the Prophet (s) showed her the place of Khadija (a) in the Heaven besides Maryam and Asiya.
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