Hafsah Binti ‘Umar Al Khattab.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and May Allah blessings and peace be upon His Messenger.
‘‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu`anhu)who narrated that Habsah’s husband, Kunai Ibn Hudzaifah As-Sahmi (radiallāhu`anhu), who was one of the companions of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) and he fought in Badar and later Uhud, which was seriously wounded and died. ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radiallāhu`anhu) said, “I met ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (radiyallāhu`anhu) and offered Hafsah to him in marriage. I said, “If you wish, I will marry Hafsah Binti ‘Umar to you”. He said, “I will think about it”. Several nights were passed, and then he said, “I think that I do not want to get married at this time”. ‘Umar said, “Then I met Abu Bakar and I said, “If you wish, I will marry Hafsah Binti ‘Umar to you”. Abu Bakar kept quiet and did not give me any response. I became more upset about him than about ‘Uthman. Several nights went passed, then the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) proposed to her and I married her to him. Then Abu Bakar met me and said, “Perhaps you felt upset when you offered Hafsah in marriage to me and I did not reply? I said, “Yes”. He said, “Nothing prevented me from responding to your offer but the fact that I knew that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) had mentioned her, and I did not want to disclose the secret of the Messenger of Allāh (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). If he had decided not to marry her, I would have accepted your offer”. [Al-Bukhari].
Hafsah Binti ‘Umar (radiyallāhu`anha) was born five years before the Messenger of Allāh, became a Prophet. She was six years older than her brother ‘Abdullah. She was a beautiful and pious woman. Her first marriage was to Kunai Ibn Hudzaifah Ibn Qais as-Salami (radiyallāhu`anhu) who was from Quraish. He took part in the two emigrations; Abyssinia and Al-Madinah. He also fought in the battles of Badar and Uhud. In the latter battle he was fatally wounded and died shortly thereafter in Al-Madinah. Hafsah was then 18 years old.
‘Umar was depressed because of his daughter's affliction, since she had become a widow at such a young age. Whenever he went home and saw his sad daughter, he grieved. After thinking for a long period, six months becoming a widow he decided to find her a husband.
‘Umar first approached Abu Bakar (radiyallāhu`anhu) the dearest person to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) and offered her hand in marriage to him. ‘Umar thought that Abu Bakar would not refuse to marry a young, pious woman who was the daughter of the man by whom Allāh made him supported Islam. Having sympathetically listened to him, Abu Bakar did not respond. ‘Umar went back with a broken heart and almost did not believe what had happened.
He then went to 'Uthman Ibn ‘Affan (radiyallāhu`anhu) whose wife, Ruqaiyah the daughter of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) had recently died. ‘Uthman apologized to Umar by saying: "I think I would not like to marry at the present time." ‘Umar's gloom increased further by 'Uthman's refusal.
He was very upset with his two companions, mentioning it to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) complaining about Abu Bakar and ‘Uthman. Thereupon the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) smiled and said:
"Hafsah will get a husband who is better than 'Uthman and 'Uthman will get a wife better than Hafsah." [Al-Bukhari]
After that, the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) married Hafsah and ‘Uthman in turn married Umm Kalthum, the Prophet’s other daughter. Accordingly, ‘Umar was elated to receive such a great honor which he had never imagined possible, earlier. He went off to tell the good news to whomever he met.
When Abu Bakar met him, he realized the source of his joy. ‘Umar told him of his unhappiness at Abu Bakar's refusal to reply when he had offered Hafsah's hand to him. Abu Bakar (radiallāhu`anhu) congratulated him and apologized by saying:
"Do not be angry with me, ‘Umar, the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) mentioned about Hafsah before, and I could not disclose the secret of the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). Had he refused her, I would have married her."
The people of Al-Madinah were pleased with the Prophet’s marriage to Hafsah Binti ‘Umar. It was contracted in the month of Sya'aban in the 3rd of Hijrah. Thus, Hafsah joined the rank of the pure wives of the Prophet, the Mothers of the Believers, who were by then, Sawdah and ‘Aishah; and became a member of the household of the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). Sawdah was happy to see her but 'Aishah was upset because Hafsah was within her age group and she feared that Hafsah would share the love of the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). ‘Umar knew very well that the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), loved ‘Aishah more than any of the other wives and at times tried to make his daughter aware of this fact. He once said to her: "You are not like 'Aishah and your father are not like her father."
When the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), deserted his wives because they became too demanding, ‘Umar once again advised Hafsah to be careful saying: "You should not be deceived by the one who has been motivated by her beauty and the love of the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), for her [‘Aishah]."
When the Prophet, married his other wives ‘Aishah (radiyallāhu`anha) began to realize that her protestations were in vain and she made a friend of Hafsah. Among the other wives of the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), ‘Aishah was the most intimate and the closest one to Hafsah. It was Hafsah and ‘Aishah who supported each other against the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), in a domestic intrigue which is mentioned in the Quran.
It is also mentioned in a tradition reported in the book of Imam Al-Bukhari, 'Aishah (radiallāhu`anha) narrated:
“Allāh's Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) used to drink honey in the house of Zainab Binti Jahsh (radiyallāhu`anha) and would stay there with her. So Hafsah and I agreed secretly that if he comes to either of us she would say to him: 'It seems you have eaten Maghafir [a kind of flower whose nectar is sucked by the honey bee, and has slightly bad smell] for I smell in you the smell of Maghafir,' [we did so] and he replied: 'No, but I was drinking honey in the house of Zainab, the daughter of Jahsh, and I shall never take it again. I have taken an oath as to that, and you should not tell anybody about it.’”
The idea was to suggest to him that this bad smell came from his mouth because of his taking that particular honey. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam has always disliked strong smells especially on his breath.
He then forbade honey unto himself for which Allāh revealed:
"O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allāh has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful. Allāh has already ordained for you [Muslims) the dissolution of your oaths. And Allāh is your Protector, and He is The Knowing, The Wise." [Surah At-Tahrim, 66: 1-2]
According to Imam Al-Bukhari, Hafsah was a bit short-tempered and sometimes would even answer the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) back. One day, her father, ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (radiallāhu`anhu) who had come to know this, went to her and asked:
"I have heard that you talk to the Prophet, as if you were on an equal footing with him. Is it true?"
Hafsah replied: "Of course! I do".
’Umar said: "My daughter, I warn you of Allāh's punishment. Do not compete with ‘Aishah, who is proud of her beauty due to the Prophet’s, love for her."
Hafsah would never hesitate in asking the Prophet(Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) , questions on any topic or problem. Once the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “The companions of Badar and Hudaibiyah will not enter Hell.”
Hafsah quickly said: "O Prophet! Allāh Says that every one of you will pass over Hell."
The Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), answered her: “Yes! But Allāh also says in Surah Maryam: "Then We will save those who feared Allāh and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees.” [Surah Maryam, 19:72]
The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) divorced Hafsah once when she sided against him and disclosed his secret [as mentioned earlier, in the story regarding ‘Aishah and the Prophet’s oath not to drink honey]. But Jibril came to him, and told him to take her back and said:
“Take Hafsah back because she is keeping fasts and is observing prayer in the last parts of the night, and she is going to be your wife in Paradise.”
Allāh Says: “And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allāh showed it to him, he made known part of it and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said: ‘Who told you this?’ He said: ‘I was informed by the All-Knowing, the Acquainted.’ If you two (wives) repent to Allāh, (it is best), for your hearts have deviated. But if you cooperate against him – then indeed Allāh is his Protector, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants.” [Surah At-Tahrim, 66: 3-4]
Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallāhu`anhu) narrated: “For the whole year I had the desire to ask ‘Umar bin al-Khattab regarding the explanation of a verse [in Surah At-Tahrim], but I could not ask him because I respected him very much.
When he went to perform Hajj, I too went along with him. On our return while we were still on the way home ‘Umar went aside to answer the call of nature by the Arak trees.
I waited until he had finished then I proceeded with him and asked him:
‘O Chief of the Believers, who were the two wives of the Prophet(Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) , who aided one another against him?’
He said: ‘They were Hafsah and ‘Aishah.'
Then I said to him: 'By Allāh. I wanted to ask you about this a year ago, but I could not do so owing to my respect for you.'
‘Umar said: 'Do not refrain from asking me. If you think that I have knowledge [about a certain matter], ask me; and if I know [something about it], I will tell you.'
Hafsah realized the gravity of what she had done to her noble husband when she disclosed his secret. However, after the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) forgave her, she lived in tranquility and repose again.
Hafsah seemed to be much attached and close to her father, who used to consult her in matters relating to women. Once he noticed a woman reciting poetry about her husband who was away on Jihad. ‘Umar was disturbed, and asked Hafsah how long a woman may remain without her husband. She said six months, upon which ‘Umar issued a decree to all of his commanders to relieve every warrior after every six months.
When the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) died and Abu Bakar succeeded him, it was Hafsah who was chosen to keep the first copy of the Noble Quran. She continued worshipping Allāh devoutly, fasting, praying, and keeping the copy of the Muslims’ constitution, the immortal miracle and the source of legislation and belief: the Quran.
When the second compilation of the Quran was made during the caliphate of ‘Uthman she was asked to bring that copy, which she did, after putting the condition that when the work was completed, her copy would be returned to her. After the standard copy was made, ‘Uthman had decided that all the different versions of the Quran should be destroyed, but he was unable to do it with Hafsah's copy because of the condition she had attached. It was only after her death that the copy was discovered and destroyed.
Hafsah occupies a high position as far as scholarship and piety are concerned. She reported 60 Hadiths from the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam). Out of these, four are agreed upon, six are in the book of Imam Muslim and the remaining are in the other books of traditions. When her father, ’Umar, the Caliph of the Muslims, was about to die after being stabbed by Abu Lu'lu'ah the Zoroastrian in the month of Dzul-Hijjah 23 AH, Hafsah was the guardian of what he left of inheritance.
Hafsah took custody of all his important documents including his copy of the Glorious Quran, which was compiled during the time of Abu Bakar's Caliphate. Before her death, she made a will to ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radiallāhu`anhu) that her property at Galba should be donated in charity. Hafsah had no children from the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam).
Hafsah, lived with the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) in Al-Madinah for eight years, and lived on for another thirty-four years after his death; witnessing with joy the victories and expansion of Islam under her father's guidance, and with sorrow the troubles that beset the Muslim community after the murder of 'Uthman(radiallāhu`anhu) .
She passed away during the reign of Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufian in 47 AH at the age of sixty-three.
And Allāh Knows Best
And Allāh Knows Best