“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.”
– Dua of Asiya found in Surah At Tahrim
Asiya, peace be upon her, is one of the four greatest women to ever live. She makes this dua while she is being tortured by the Pharoah, her husband because she believes in Allah. Its so beautiful because she says indaka “near You” before she says baytan “a house”. Meaning she placed being near Allah above everything else. The priority of her dua was to be near Allah, as if being in a house in Jannah wouldn’t be meaningful to her unless she got to be near Allah. If she was given a house in jannah, but didn’t get to be near Allah, that would be like hell for her.
She begins the dua by saying “Rabbee” meaning my Lord. Rabbee signifying the name of Allah that describes how He takes care of those under Him. Rabbee a name that signifies closeness. She doesn’t call out by beginning the dua with Ya, but by saying the name of her Lord who cares for her in every moment “Rabbee”. She mentions being “near You (Allah)” before she even mentions her current circumstance of needing to be saved from Pharaoh.
This is a woman who truly loves Allah. There’s this story of Rabia of Basra, in which she was asked about what made a person a great. She was asked about a person who is patient in hardship and thankful when given blessings and she said no. She was also asked if it was a person who in hardship was thankful and when given blessings was patient and again she said no. Eventually they lamented and asked her what a great person was and she replied the one who whether they are given blessings or hardship they don’t lose sight of Allah.
The one who doesn’t lose focus on their Love; Allah. This is the kind of woman Asiya is. She does make dua to be saved from Pharaoh and his deeds and to be saved from the wrongdoers, but her priority and her focus is always the same: Allah. “indaka, near You”
She is a person who drew close to Allah in the life of the dunya, but also a person who wouldn’t be able to be satisfied with anything in the next life except with closeness to Allah.
“My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise” Ameen.
As Muslims we believe in the unseen. We believe in the world of Angels, revelation, the day of Judgement, the life of the grave, a life to come and many other unseen things. We don’t see any of these things with our physical eyes in this life. To most of us I think, unless we’ve witnessed unveilings the unseen is exactly that; the unseen. The heart can definitely see the world of the unseen if its been trained to. It can feel tranquility and light in it when in an angelic presence.
What’s amazing about confirming the unseen in the world is that you also have to face the unseen in yourself. Read a verse in the Quran about how Allah can see all including seeing what is in our hearts.
There was this video called Judged, created by the UTA MSA (University of Texas Arlington Muslims Student Association). It was about how this non-scarf wearing Muslim sister, Nura was being judged by some of the other Muslims including some men and some scarf wearing Muslim sisters. As one of the girls spoke ill of Nura I realize that perhaps we see fault in someone and Allah has overlooked it, but we speak ill of them and Allah has not overlooked the fault on our tongue. Perhaps the sinner who struggles is more beloved to God than the one whose outward religiosity comes easy to them, but their heart is poison.
Isn’t the hypocrite the one that outwardly says they believe, but inwardly attest to something else? Do we not fear that our tongues will reveal the vileness in our hearts and that our limbs along with our hearts will testify against us that perhaps we were merely acting. Actions are but by intention and true intentions are part of the unseen part of people, but God is al Baseer, the all seeing.
And then suddenly I am naked. Astaghfurillah, I seek Gods forgiveness. Naked because I realize I cannot hide anything from the King of all dominions. The king of the dominion of my heart and unseen parts of my being. I have too much to work on within my own self and within my own actions. I am much too sick of a man, much too faulty of a man to waste time searching for the faults of others. There will come a day when the only person I have to answer for is myself, standing alone before God.
We get bombarded with images of “beautiful” people. Women covered with make up and digitally made up with photoshop. Perfect complexion and Barbie bodies. We’ll probably never get sick of Ryan Gosling either. We get spoon fed images of perfection and then we all end up bloated having body image insecurities. The industry told us to consume so we consumed it.
But breath. Read the words of divine revelation. Remember that the best woman to ever live on the face of the Earth was Mary the mother of Jesus. Peace be upon them. Remember that the most beautiful woman to ever walk, breath, live and eat was her. And despite the beauty of her creation she was God’s devoted slave who was eternally modest. Her modestly was so profound that she is known around the world as “Virgin Mary”. Despite Islamaphobia in the west, especially against head scarfing wearing Muslim women, Mary can’t be imagined in the images of the west without being in a head scarf. She is unadulterated beauty and reminds us that true beauty wasn’t her unimaginably beautiful face, but her unimaginable devotion to face God in her heart in prayer and serve Him. Her body was not a vessel of objectification, but a body that embodied mercy and nurtured Jesus.
We grow up in a society that wants to take everyone’s purity away, but remember that the woman that is loved more than any other woman by God is Mary, the Virgin that gave birth to Jesus, peace and blessings be upon them. Its significant that in a world where women have eating disorders due to system that systematically attacks her body image, two of the profound stories mention about Mary in the Quran are about how she miraculously was fed.
I just wanted to remind us all that God who created Mary and proportioned her features on her face also proportioned yours and created you. You are beautiful because God created you, not because a man says you are or aren’t. “Exalt the name of your Lord, the Most High, Who created and proportioned, And Who destined and [then] guided” (81:1-3)