The Trial of Mashtha and Asiyah
Two ladies in the time of Musa (AS)
The daughter of Firaun had a nurse maid. The name of this nurse maid was Mashtha. There came a day when Mashtha, the nurse maid, was busy combing the hair of the daughter of Firaun. Whilst combing, the comb fell out of her hand onto the floor. In raising and lifting that comb from the floor, this maid of the daughter Firaun, uttered the following words,
"Curses be upon those who reject Allah!"
Immediately the daughter of Firaun turned to her and said,
"Do you believe in a god besides my father?!"
Mashtha, the maid said,
"My Creator, my Allah, and your Allah and your father’s Allah, and the Allah of the heaven’s and the earth, He is one Allah, no partners have He!"
Then the daughter of Firaun said,
"You dare say such a word!"
...and she entered the chambers of her father weeping and crying. (Hadith)
What happened here was in the time of Prophet Musa (AS). Amongst the era of the Israelites, there were many who had accepted an Islam in secret. They had come to him and accepted. They came and accept Islam, the true religion. They accepted the deen of Musa (AS), or Islam. They accepted it, but they remained in secret. Why did they remain in secret? I’ll quote it to you in the first ayah of the Quran. They accepted and remained in secret why???
Firaun was an oppressor!!! He slew their male children and he preserved the females alive for personal use and aggrandizement (glorification). So because he was an oppressor, they were afraid and fearful to reveal their Islam to him. Therefore they held it back. But there were many Muslims in the employ of Firaun. Many, many they were who had accepted the deen.
One of them so happened to be the youthful maid, of the daughter of Firaun who worked in the palace, in the chambers of Firaun.
Firaun with a tremendous power and strength in Egypt (the Quran says) in Surah Zukhruf 43:51-52. And Allah says:
"And Firaun proclaimed among his people. O My People! Does not the land of Egypt belong to me and I am not the possessor, the maker of the land of Egypt and these are the rivers that flow in my property, the Nile and the tributies of the Nile. I have created them. They are my property. They belong to me. There’s no god besides me. Don’t you see am I not better than Musa, who is a disgrace and can’t even express himself clearly?" (Muslimeen, you know the story of Prophet Musa, not being able to utter clearly)
Now what does Firaun? He laughs at Musa,
"This Musa is the Musa that grew up in MY palace. He is trying to bring about change and he is trying to bring about La ilaha illa Allah. Well he is a disgrace! He doesn’t even speak clearly. He doesn’t even have bracelets of gold or angels to attend to him in orderly procession (while Firaun had ALL these armies and parades)."
He (Firaun) said,
"Musa hasn’t got anything!"
In the Egypt, the mark of a man of status was (you’ll see it even now in the idols and so on) they have this golden bracelet around the neck.
"So Musa hasn’t even got any mark of being a man of honor, of status and dignity! He’s got not blue blood! And he’s got no angels or soldiers or armies parading for him!"
That is what Allah tells us. This is how Firaun was. That’s the kind of man he was. Quran tells us in Surah Mu’min 40:25:
"And when the Prophets [Prophet Musa (AS) is meant here] came to them with a troop from us, they said (O these oppressor said), ‘Slay the sons of those who have believed with him [in other words, slay the sons of those who have believed with Musa (AS)] and save their daughters alive for our use. But the strategy of the disbelievers (says Allah) was to end in vain."
We’re coming to our story now…
What did Firaun say?
"Any believer you find in my community and amongst my people, anyone you find who is believing in the deen of Musa (AS), slay their sons (with him) and save their daughters alive."
But the strategy says, all of the believers was to end in vain. Allah (SWT) also says in Surah An-Nazi’at 79:23-27. Allah says (And this Firaun, he called up a big parade on Monday, a big rally he made, and what did he say?),
"And the Firaun gathered his people and he proclaimed, ‘I am your Lord and the Supreme one.’ Therefore (says Allah), Allah chastised him with a punishment of the hereafter and also of the present life (and Allah says), verily here is an example and a lesson for him, that fear of Allah."
The story I am about to tell you. This is the theme of it, "That we must learn to respect, honor our deen and to fear Allah (SWT) all the time."
See now the fear of a maid, in the palace. See now the courage and the bravery of a simple maid, in the palace of this powerful Firaun. Imagine what I’m going to tell you now and reveal to you now, of what is courage of iman and what is bravery of quite conviction.
Here is a girl, young girl, she was a mother, yes. She’s a young girl, she comes from a very poor family. She’s working for a living. She is the comb girl and maid of the daughter of the Firaun. But when iman came into her, look at what iman did to her.
This maid’s name was Mashtha. She was the mother of two. She was the wife of Karkeel, who also had accepted the deen of Prophet Musa (AS), Islam. But Mashtha was an extrovert, meaning that she was a fearless person. Whatever she had to say, she always said it. Remember when she was picking up the comb, she said what she wanted to say. So she was an extrovert type of person. Very brave, very honorable, very courageous. And she admitted to Firaun’s daughter to believing in Allah and said that he is Lord and Creator of the worlds and of Firaun and of the heavens and of the earth.
The daughter of Firaun went and reported this girl Mashtha to her father. Firaun holds court, in other words, like a court proceedings. Firaun holds court and he summons Mashtha. Soldiers, go and bring her, chained as she is. She is brought before the justice of Firaun. She comes however smiling and laughing. And in her heart she says,
"Today is a test of my iman, today is the test of my faith. I, she tells herself, will never succumb because I am ever prepared to meet my maker. Today, let the interrogation begin. Ask me what you will, but you shall not get me to change my faith or to succumb."
So Firaun proceeds.
After establishing her faith, she says she believes in the God of Musa, in the Allah of Musa, in the unity of Allah, Allah is one. Accepting the words which she said in front of the daughter of Firaun. She repeats it bravely and courageous in front of this powerful ruler (where Allah says what his power was, in the Quran recited above). Allah also speaks of his power. He (that said),
"Everything belongs to him."
That man threatens her and he tells hers, and she in front of him, without fear of punishment, she tells him exactly the truth. Then he tells her, he says,
"Look here Mashtha leave your Allah and accept me as your Lord and Creator for who is going to save you now? If you accept me as your God I can save you and release you. But if you have a God, where’s your God? Can He save you now?"
This was his belief. And he said,
"All right Mashtha! I’ll give you a chance. Leave your God. Leave your Allah. Accept me as your Allah, as your God and I will spare your life."
Listen to her reply. Mashtha replies, she says,
"Not on your life! Not on my life! Do your worst you criminal, but me you will never convince! Not til the day of Qiyamah (day of judgment)!!!"
This is the first time where anybody has had this bravery and courage (besides Prophet Musa (AS) of course). This is the first time in the history of Egypt, when Firaun ruled, where a young girl of this kind, a servant girl, stood up in front of Firaun and bravely told him his story. This courage and conviction came from this servant girl.
So Firaun, like Shaytan, also adopted certain strategies and steps to punish people. He orders Mashtha, he orders the soldiers, to take her to the reptile den.
He had a special reptile den. If anybody who is a believer, suspected of belief is brought in front of him, he questions them. He asks them whether they are believers. If they admit they are believers, they are put into a reptile den. That is where the people are made to suffer, where there are reptiles and scorpions, and everything are kept.
So, he orders Mashtha to be taken to the reptile den, and she is told,
"O Mashtha, you will be released to these pythons, reptiles, snakes, and scorpions and they shall feed on you for two months. We warn you before we put you in there. Accept Firaun as your God and we will set you free."
And she replied to the soldiers and she told them,
"You talk of two months? To me, even if you put me in this reptile den for seventy months, that would be too little. With each day of this punishment that I have here in this reptile den, my faith will only increase without going back. Without abating one bit. No matter to what trial and test you face me or force me!"
And she laughed at them in their face!
In Sahih Bukhari there is a Hadith which says,
"The power of iman is such that once it fills the heart of a true believing Mu’min it is impossible to be removed."
Mashtha had two daughters. She’s put into the reptile den. Whatever happened there is not told to us. What period she remained in the reptile den, we don’t know. All we know that she was taken out from there by the soldiers of Firaun UNSCATHED. So, she is removed from there.
Test number two: Mashtha had two daughters. One was a five year old girl and she had a breast-feeding baby. So Firaun orders these two girls, of this young mother, the two daughters must be brought. He first says,
"Take Mashtha and strap her."
Now Firaun had a punishment torture chamber. On this chamber there was a big slab of stone. And on this stone, there were four places (four pegs) jetting out of the ground. And he had these little prongs and anybody he wanted to punish or torture was thrown onto this slab of stone and then they were pegged like a tent. Their two hands and feet were stretched like this and tied down. They were pronged to it.
So he orders Mashtha to be tied down in this matter. This was the custom which was started, this custom of torture was started by Firaun. This is what the Quran says regarding the system of torture which was introduced by Firaun. Firaun said (O to this Mashtha) in the Quran. Firaun tells her (to Mashtha and whatever believers there were) he tells her,
"Have you believed in Him, in this Allah, of Musa before I have given such permission. Verily this is a plot which you have contrived in the city to remove its inhabitants. But you shall soon know that I am the Lord and the Master and the Creator, for I will cause you, your feet and your hands to be cut off on opposite sides and cause you all to be crucified."
So this system of crucification and strapping was introduced (tells the Quran to us), by Firaun. Firaun used to strap those who he suspected of true belief in one Allah and in the deen of Musa (AS) by their hands and feet, to four sticks, fixed on the slab of stone, the torture stone, and then to torture them, torment them.
So Musa saw Mashtha was tied down and prepared for torture and torment. First her eldest five year old daughter is brought, placed over the chest of her mother and in those days the system of torture was if they wanted to kill anybody, all they did was to take a sharp knife and slit their throats, cut it off completely! This was the system of punishment. This little girl is brought, placed over the breast of her mother. And in front of her mother while her mother is looking on, her neck is cut off!
And then Mashtha is told,
"Now listen. O Mashtha get some sense into you. Accept Firaun as your Lord and your God and we will release you. Otherwise we will have to slaughter your little baby."
And she replies (as a mother only can reply),
"If you bring the whole of this world and sacrifice every daughter on my chest, I will not leave Allah, my Rubb, my Rubb."
Firaun then orders, let the baby be brought and slay it across her chest and her bosom.
Her little child is brought. He is placed on her chest. Her body, hands and feet being strapped and fastened as they were, this mother is totally helpless. And they prepare to cut the baby’s neck.
The six month old baby of Mashtha, who had only recently suckled milk from her mother and who was now undergoing the supreme test of faith and iman. The tears flow freely down this mother’s eyes and her baby and her body (the mother’s body) contorts with the emotion of heartbreak and every nerve and tissue, every fiber of her body is wreck by the passionate pain which only a mother experiences, the love which only a mother experiences for a child.
And in this tense and frightful but macabre (gruesome) moment this baby of Mashtha (AS), this six month old baby, of this mother (who should be an example to every living mother of this world) speaks out in a loud and clear tone of voice.
This little baby six month old baby, as the solider holds a knife to slaughter it and to cut off its neck; this little child in a loud voice so that everybody congregated in that chamber (hundreds of them used to congregate in that chamber to see the torture meated out by Firaun ,over those who were believers). This little child in a loud voice where everyone that is present there can hear tells his mother,
"O my beloved mother, why do you cry so? Why do you weep so? I can see Jennah is being prepared for you my mother. O mother! O mother, don’t weep so. When you get to Jennah, you will be blessed with a vision and the noor (light) of Allah. So be in peace, in peace and in peace!"
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