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Yokheved, Moses’ Mother, an Example of Muslimaat

Yokheved, Moses’ Mother, an Example of Muslimaat

Yokheved, mother of Moses, is the example of Muslimaat (women who surrender unto Allah’s orders). She was so faithful to God that consented to His order and put her beloved baby in a wooden box and cast it in the river of Nile.

Yokheved was an offspring of Prophet Jacob (Israel). Her ancestors had been inhabitants of Egypt from the time of Prophet Joseph and comprised a considerable population in that country.

Yokheved had three children: a girl named Mary and two sons named Moses and Aaron. The votaries of Pharaoh had notified him that an Israelite man would rise to overthrow him. They had additionally warned him that the Israelite man shall put an end to his life and that Pharaoh’s annihilation by him would be inevitable.

To escape that terrible destiny, Pharaoh had ordered his officers to slay all male newborns of Israelite origin and not to leave even one male baby alive.

From that day on Pharaoh’s men strictly watched Israelite families, who were considered the monotheists of their time. As soon as a boy was born, he was immediately slain.

Under the very horrible circumstance, Yokheved became pregnant with Moses; however, since Almighty Allah had willed to appoint her baby to the standing of prophethood later on so that he would guide the Israelites, nobody became informed of her pregnancy to the last minute. When the time for her parturition approached, she was involved in a serious worry; but her faith in God calmed her down and caused her to beseech the Almighty to save the life of her beloved baby.

When she gave birth to her son, she wondered what would happen to him if the Pharaoh’s envoys were informed of the case. At that critical moment, Almighty God sent down His revelation:

So We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: "Suckle (your child), but when you have fears about him, cast him into the river, but fear not nor grieve: for We shall restore him to you, and We shall make him one of Our messengers."
[Sura al-Qasas]

This divine commandment cast a beam of light into the heart of Moses’ mother and made her hopeful to the grace of Allah that He will safeguard her baby. Therefore, she laid her little son in a wooden box and launched it in the Nile River lest the envoys of Pharaoh appear and slay him. She had pinned her hope on Allah’s grace. The detailed story is as follows:

When Moses was born, his eyes glittered in a way that the midwife was shocked and her heart was filled with the love for that little baby. She told Yokheved: I intended to report the birth of your baby to the Pharaoh’s men, but now I feel a sharp love for this baby deep in my heart and I wish him to be away from any slight hurt. Take care of him and do not let Pharaoh’s people be warned of the matter. I suppose this is the same promised child who shall demolish Pharaoh and his ruling system.

When the midwife left the house, some of the spies saw her going out and decided to enter the house where Moses was born. Moses’ sister notified her mother immediately, which made her badly disturbed. Her anxiety was to the extent that prevented her from making a rational decision at that critical moment; therefore, in her hurry, she wrapped her baby in a piece of cloth and threw him in the burning oven in their house. The spies rushed into the house and started their search, but found nothing but the burning fire inside the oven. They asked Yokheved, “What was this midwife doing here?” “She is my friend and comes here from time to time to see me”, replied Yokheved. The spies became frustrated and left the house. At the moment they left the house, Moses started to cry, pushing his mother to run toward the burning fire. Much surprised was she to see her baby being rescued miraculously. Through a miracle, Almighty Allah had saved Moses from burning. Fire had turned into a safe and sound environment to little Moses! But the situation was dangerous and it was probable that the cry of the baby would attract the attention of spies.

At that point, a divine inspiration enlightened the heart of Yokheved; an inspiration that ordered her to do a seemingly dangerous job. Nevertheless, Yokheved experienced a sense of tranquility at the same time. It was a divine mission to be accomplished, and she decided to put the divine commandment in practice and submit her little son to the River of Nile. For that purpose, Yokheved went to a carpenter and asked him to build a little wooden box for her. Having guessed the story, the carpenter made his mind to notify Pharaoh’s executioners. But as soon as he arrived at the place, a bizarre sense of fear surrounded his spirit which tied up his tongue. He tried to convey his message by giving hints, but the Pharaoh’s men thought that he was ridiculing them. Any time he went to them, the mysterious event recurred; until the carpenter concluded that there was a divine secret in that strange story. Thus he relinquished reporting it, made the wooden box, and delivered it to Yokheved.

Early in the morning, Yokheved took Moses and the box to the shore of Nile, let her little baby drink enough milk, put him inside the box, and launched it in the river. The box started moving on the water, and was driven away by the waves. Watching the scene, Yokheved suddenly felt that her heart had been separated and moved away from her. If divine mercy had not calmed down her stormy spirit, perhaps she would have shouted out and disclosed her secret feeling.

But there came to be a void (a sense of tranquil) in the heart of the mother of Moses: She was going almost to disclose his (case), had We not strengthened her heart (with faith), so that she might remain a (firm) believer.
[Sura al-Qasas]

The Merciful God, who had put such a difficult task on her shoulder, made her heart firm as well, so that she would not lose her faith in Him, and know that the destiny of her little baby was within the hands of the Almighty. God would return her child to her – as promised – and appoint him as His great prophet on the earth.

As soon as Moses was driven away in the river, the mother ordered her clever daughter to pursue the box:

And she said to the sister of (Moses), "Follow him" so she (the sister) watched him in the character of a stranger. And they knew not.
[Sura al-Qasas]

As related by the Holy Koran, Moses’ sister, Mary, went after the box and saw that it was eventually caught by Pharaoh’s men.

Much furious was Pharaoh to see that little baby; however, his wife (Asiya) felt a deep love for that baby within her heart. She told her husband, “This baby is above one year old. You ordered to slaughter babies of the current year only. So let this baby remain alive; maybe we can adopt him as a beloved son or maybe he will benefit us.”

The wife of Pharaoh said: "(Here is) joy of the eye, for me and for you: slay him not. It may be that he will be of use to us, or we may adopt him as a son." And they perceived not (what they were doing)! [Sura al-Qasas]

On the other hand, Moses’ sister could enter the palace with her good sense and braveness just when the Pharaoh’s envoys were searching for a nursemaid to suckle the baby. Politely she suggested, “ Do you let me introduce to you a household to foster the baby?”

… until (His sister came up and) said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a house that will nourish and bring him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?"...
[Sura al-Qasas]

Moses refused breasts of all women; and it was due to the divine ban which prohibited him from accepting them.

And We ordained that he refused to suck any foster-mother before…
[Sura al-Qasas]

Finally, by the grace of Almighty Allah, the child was returned to his mother by the guidance of Mary. Smelling the fragrance of his mother, Moses grasped her breast and reposed in her arms.

It is narrated that Pharaoh summoned Yokheved and asked her, “Why the baby consented to suck your breast?” She replied, “Because my body is fragrant and my milk is tasty. That’s why any baby would accept my breast.” Pharaoh was convinced by the reply and did not follow the matter anymore. And in this way, the divine promise was fulfilled:

So We restored him to his mother that she might be comforted and not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true: but most of them do not understand.
[Sura al-Qasas]

Now imagine what kind of woman was Yokheved when she obeyed the order of Almighty and laid her son in a box and launched it in the river. She was a lady who was decent enough to receive the divine revelation, and was so outstanding that raised a child on her lap, who later on turned to be Kalimullah (Interlocutor of Allah).

All these merits and virtues are the products of her perfect faith in Allah and her full obedience to divine commands. So she deserved to receive divine graces and to be a brilliant example of submission to Allah’s instructions.

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