Our Only Concern is Reliance on Allah
by Shaykha Ieasha Prime
At her weekly “Live and Learn” class hosted by the Islamic Centre at New York University on 13th April 2020, Shaykha Ieasha Prime discusses the concept of reliance on Allah Most High (tawakkul). She utilizes two female personalities from the life of Prophet Musa (may Allah grant him peace) to illustrate this fundamental guiding principle. One of them is Queen Asiyah, the wife of the Pharaoh, but who could the other be? The details can be found in this article.
Pharaoh’s Fear – Background Knowledge
It is well established and documented in the history books and religious texts that during the reign of King Pharaoh of Egypt, there was a prophecy of a boy being born from the Israelites who would overtake his leadership and ruin his kingdom. He attempted to solidify his power by ordering the midwives to kill all Hebrew boys at birth and later to throw them into the Nile River. He allowed the girls to live. The baby boy from the prophecy was Prophet Musa (may Allah grant him peace) and Allah Most High speaks to his survival and reassures his mother in the following verse;
“And We inspired 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.” (Qur’an, 28:7)
Prophet Musa’s Message
As Prophet Musa (may Allah grant him peace) grew up and received revelation, he preached the message of Allah Most High. He warned his people that those who rejected God’s signs and the judgment to come were bound to meet their doom and no one would be able to save them.
The Hairdresser’s Allegiance
Belief in The One True God
On one particular day in the house of Pharaoh, as the hairdresser bends to retrieve a comb she says: “In the name of God.” The daughter of Pharaoh upon hearing that, seeks clarification on whether the God mentioned meant her father. To her surprise, the hairdresser answers, “Allah is my Lord and your Lord and the Lord of the universe.”
Consequences for This Belief
Pharaoh’s daughter runs to her father to report this act of disobedience and he immediately becomes very angry. He knows the power that one believer with conviction could have in spreading this belief throughout the kingdom. He does the only thing a man in this situation can do; he summons the hairdresser. Upon being asked about her actions, the hairdresser repeats her mantra without any doubt, and Pharaoh orders her family to be captured and placed before him.
Will the hairdresser and her family now face a life of imprisonment? Pharaoh strategizes on how to sway the heart of a woman and mother. He kills her protector! In goes the husband in a large cauldron pot of hot oil, followed by the children one by one, except the youngest in her arms. At this point, the baby speaks to the mother and tells her that she is on the straight path. Comforted by these words, she loosens her grip and releases her child.
The end is near for the hairdresser. Pharaoh asks her one last time, “Who is your Lord?” and she replies the same, “Allah is my Lord and your Lord and the Lord of the universe.” Nothing deterred the heart of this believer from her Creator. This is nothing short of a love story between the servant and their Lord, never ashamed to profess His greatness and never worrying about anything other than pleasing Him.
Queen Asiya’s Sincerity
News of the Hairdresser’s Death
News of the killing of the hairdresser and her family permeates the land and the one remaining who is most hurt is Queen Asiya. In some narrations, it is said that both women were believers together and they prayed to Allah secretly. What are the Queen’s options now? Should she keep her faith silent, run, hide, or assume the side of her husband?
The Response of Queen Asiya
In what may be described as an interesting turn of events, Queen Asiya confronts King Pharaoh, questions him, and declares her belief in the Lord of Musa (may Allah grant him peace). Pharaoh tests her by stripping her naked and hangs her over the veranda of the castle for everyone to see. At first, the people query this action, but they soon side with the King as their Lord. Pharaoh’s punishment upon his wife continues, as he places her in the desert to be tortured by animals, followed by tying her up between two horses, who gallop in opposite directions tearing her body; skin from bone, bone from limb.
This reality can leave any believer speechless.
Acceptance by Allah Most High
Had it not been for the Qur’an, we would never have learned the secret supplication Queen Asiyah made to Allah Most High during these absolutely torturous last moments of her life. She neither worries about the tyrannical King nor the fickle people. Her only concern is professing her love for her Lord.
And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe – the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: “O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee, a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings and save me from those who do wrong” (Qur’an, 66:11).
Rely on Allah Most High
Shaykha Ieasha Prime asks us to reflect on our own trials and tribulations and to find that certainty (yaqeen) and that reliance on Allah as seen through the examples of the hairdresser and Queen Asiya. She asks us to see the win-win situation for the believer. If we trust in Allah, we will find His help and mercy in this life, and we will find it in the eternal life when we meet Him, God willing (Insha’Allah).
Biography of Shaykha Ieasha Prime
Ieasha Prime is a traditional Islamically trained educator, activist and public speaker. She studied Arabic and Qur’an at the Fajr Institute followed by general Islamic studies in Cairo, Egypt. After two years in Egypt, she moved to Hadramaut, Yemen and enrolled in Dar al Zahra, an Islamic University for Women. There, she studied Aqeedah, Qur’an, Hadith, Arabic, Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Islamic law, Purification of the Heart and other religious related learning.
Her lineage of scholarship from whom she received direct education can be traced directly back to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) from the Husseini lineage.
Under the tutelage of her professors, she has established several circles of knowledge and continues to teach and lecture across the United States of America and beyond. Her passion is educating and empowering Muslim women to be leaders. She is the Executive Director of Barakah Inc, a community-based organization empowering women and youth with a foundation of Islam.
Further details can be found on this link http://www.ieashaprime.com/about-her.html
Videos on Closeness and Reliance on Allah