Asiyah RAA, the wife of the pharaoh, had everything a woman could possibly want in this world. She has the palaces, the riches, the power, the beauty, the comfort. When prophet Musa AA came with the belief that God is One. She found in that message a truth that this world could not give her, and so she believed. Her devotion, however, was tested. The pharaoh tortured her in the most brutal of ways so that she may recant her faith, but she did not. Her last words in this world were a prayer that rippled across time and reached us through the Quran; “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”(1). Allah s.w.t honored her steadfast character by mentioning her in the Quran and the Prophet SAAW referred to her as one of the four greatest women of all time (2).
Asiyah is a woman who chose heaven over this world with unaverred conviction. An ambition fueled by a deep love for her creator, and a certain belief that the eternal happiness of heaven is worth the sacrifice of an imperfect, temporary world. On a smaller scale, we are faced with similar choices in our everyday life. Should I pray now or should I delay it since the time/place is inconvenient? Should I dress modestly or should I fit in with society’s fashion standards? Should I give into vulgar speech since it’s becoming a norm, or should I stick to principal? Should I spend this free time listening to music, or should I use it to remember Allah s.w.t through thikr? All choices that either build our heaven or take us further away from it.
In the spirit of Ramadan, I have been thinking about my heaven a lot lately. I say my heaven, because it is a very personal thing. A reward from my creator to me and according to my tastes, wishes, and the efforts I put into building it in this world. Fasting is not easy but we push through, knowing the reward is great. I am particularly reminded of my heaven in the last hour of fast. It is the longest hour, my energy levels are low and my body is exhausted. My heart, however, feels so full. As though the emptiness of my stomach gave room for my heart to breath and flourish. In that hour, in attempt to distract myself from the screaming hunger, I like to think of all that I want in my heaven.
I want heaven. I want the eternal happiness, the eternal comfort, the unparalleled beauty of nature. Rivers and oceans and forests and jungles and more. I want to taste the fruits of heaven. I want beautiful homes in heaven; beautiful clothing and I want to be beautiful in heaven. I want to be there with those whom I love from family and friends. I want to meet Asiyah and tell her how I too, chose heaven. I want to meet the prophet SAAW and tell him how much of his sunnah I tried to follow and how his legacy traveled through time to settle in our hearts. I want to meet Yussuf AS, just to see how beautiful he is. I want to meet Bilal RAA and tell him I too, was in pursuit of the sweetness of faith. I want to meet my creator, the One and only whose mercy and love is the essence of who I am today.
Praying for what I want in my heaven builds my motivation to pursue it against all odds. I try to imagine it as though I can almost see it. Many live their lives with an abstract and distant idea of heaven. I want my heaven to be concrete and present in the actions of my everyday life. I want every single step I take in this world to be a step closer to my heaven. Because I have reason to be there. Because Allah s.w.t has my heaven customized just for me. And He, the most generous, the most merciful, never dissapoints.
Blessed Ramadan 2018 to all.
(1) Surah Al-Tahrim, Verse 11
(2) In a famous narration, Anas Bin Malik reported that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:“From among the women of the world who have reached perfection and who are worthy of following are (the following four):Miryam the daughter of Imrân; Khadija daughter of Khuwailid; Fatima daughter of Muhammad and Asiyah wife of Fir’aun” (Tirmidhi)