On the desperate instructions of her distraught mother, Hadhrat Musa’s sister walked along the banks of the River Nile to ascertain the fate of the casket containing the baby Musa (alayhis salaam), which had been assigned to the water of the river. Mentioning this episode, the Qur’aan Majeed says: “And she (the mother of Musa) said to his sister: ‘Follow it (the casket). Thus (she went) and observed it from a distance whilst they (the people) did not know (that she was the sister of Musa).”
She had observed from a safe distance the enactment of the entire episode of the retrieval of Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) from the river. She hastened home to report to her mother. The safety of the baby brought considerable peace to the distressed and grieving mother of Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam).
Meanwhile a search for wet nurses to suckle the baby was initiated at the palace of Fir’oun. Women in droves applied for this honourable duty, but the infant refused to be suckled. Referring to this Scheme of Allah Ta’ala, the Qur’aan Majeed states: “We had prohibited for him (the infant) (the milk) of all the wet nurses (hence the baby refused to drink from anyone of them).”
Refusing to be suckled, the baby began sucking his own thumb. Eight days passed without this wonderful baby destined to be among the Ulul Azam (the greatest) Ambiya, drinking a drop of milk. The baby’s sister would appear frequently and discreetly make enquiries about his condition. Finally she mustered up courage, and despite her fear, she presented herself at the palace of Fir’oun and in the words of the Qur’aan Majeed said: “She said (to the people of Fir’oun):”Should I inform you of a home whose inmates will take well care of him and treat him with love and affection?”
On hearing the proposal made by the baby’s sister, Haamaan, Fir’oun’s prime minister, in a state of shock jumped up from his chair and announced: “Arrest this girl! She appears to be aware of the house where this baby was born. Undoubtedly, this is the boy who will be the cause for the demise and destruction of Fir’oun and his land.”
Allah Ta’ala fortified the heart of Musa’s sister. Maintaining her composure, she said: “I am merely offering good advice out of sympathy for Fir’oun for the sustainment of his son. I don’t know who you are nor who the baby is.” The hearts of men are in the control of Allah Azza Wa Jal. On observing the firmness of the girl, Fir’oun spoke and said to Haamaan: “She spoke out of goodwill for me. She has no relationship with the baby.” This enemy of Allah and enemy of Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) spoke up in defense of Musa’s sister although hundreds of babies were still being slaughtered in the insane scheme to destroy the one whom the astrologers had predicted would be the cause of Fir’oun’s demise.
Turning to the baby’s sister, Fir’oun said: “O girl, go and bring the lady who will care for the baby with affection and love.” Musa’s sister was sent off with honour in a royal coach to bring her mother. On reaching home, she hastily explained the position. Thus, with honour, Hadhrat Musa’s mother was transported to the palace of Fir’oun. When she was ushered into the presence of Fir’oun, the baby was being lovingly fondled in the lap of Fir’oun. Hadhrat Musa’s mother appeared in the presence of Fir’oun with her face covered.
Fir’oun handed the baby to his wife Aasiyah (rahmatullah alayh) to pass him on to Hadhrat Musa’s mother. The baby immediately began to drink from his mother. Fir’oun was flabbergasted. He thought: “The baby had not drunk a drop of milk for the past eight days. He had refused to be suckled by innumerable wet nurses. What could be the reason for his immediate attraction to this woman?” He then interrogated Musa’s mother. “Woman who are you? Are you perhaps not his mother?” The pious and intelligent lady spoke with courage and said: “I am a pure and chaste woman who is fragrant with perfume. My milk is extremely wholesome and sweet. This is why your son has taken to my milk. This phenomenon is not restricted to your infant son. Bring any baby to me and he/she will react in the same way.”
Convinced by the reply, Fir’oun said: “Good, take the baby to your home and tend to him affectionately. I shall compensate you handsomely. Once a week bring him to my palace so that I and Aasiyah may cool our eyes.” With profound gratitude in her heart for Allah Ta’ala and with delight, she was returned home with her baby, Musa (alayhis salaam). Thus, Allah Ta’ala fulfilled His promise which the Qur’aan mentions in the following aayat: “Then We returned you to your mother so that her eyes be cooled and that she does not grieve.”
One day when Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) was three years of age, he was sitting on the lap of Fir’oun. Suddenly, the child grabbed the beard of Fir’oun and powerfully tugged it. A few hairs were uprooted. With his free hand, Musa very forcefully slapped Fir’oun. Fir’oun was now overwhelmed with wrath. He issued an order for the immediate slaying of Musa (alayhis salaam). Hadhrat Aasiyah (rahmatullah alayh) who happened to be present, pleaded that the child was merely displaying childish boisterousness, and that his action was not motivated by any malice.
It was the practice of Fir’oun to adorn his beard with expensive pearls which glimmered. Aasiyah said: ‘O Fir’oun! The child was attracted by the glimmer of the pearls, hence he acted in this manner. Do you not know that burning embers and pearls are the same to a little child?” Fir’oun said: ‘Well, we shall soon see.’ He ordered a tray with burning embers and a tray of pearls and diamonds to be brought to him. Both trays were placed in front of the boy, Musa (alayhis salaam). As Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) stretched his hand towards the tray of pearls, Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) in invisible form appeared and diverted his hand to the tray of burning embers. Musa (alayhis salaam) took a burning ember and placed it into his mouth. The ember burnt his tongue and this was the cause of the lifelong stutter with which Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) spoke. His hand too suffered burns. Allah Ta’ala later transformed this hand into what is known Yad-e-Baidha (the glittering hand) which was one of the Mu’jizaat (Miracles) which was bestowed to Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam).
Observing this episode, Fir’oun was not only satisfied and convinced with the argument of Aasiyah (rahmatullah alayh), but his affection for Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) increased. He lifted Musa on to his lap and displayed profound affection for him. He spared no effort in the endeavour to treat and cure the injuries of Musa (alayhis salaam).