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Hafsa (رضي الله عنها) was the daughter of Sayyiduna Umar ibn al Khattab (رضي الله عنه). She had been married to someone else, but was widowed when she was still very young, only eighteen. Umar asked both Abu Bakr and Uthman ibn Affan (رضي الله عنهم), one after another, if they would like to marry her, but they both declined because they knew that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) had expressed an interest in marrying her.

Prophet's wife- Hafsa bint Umar

When Umar (رضي الله عنه) went to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to complain about their behavior, the Prophet smiled, and said,

"Hafsa will marry one better than Uthman and Uthman will marry one better than Hafsa."

Umar was startled and then realized that it was the Prophet was asking for her hand in marriage. He was overcome with delight. They were married just after the battle of Badr, when Hafsa was about twenty years old and the Prophet as fifty six. By this marriage, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) strengthened the ties between two of his closest Companions, the two who would become the first two rightly guided khalifs after his death. He was now married to the daughter of Abu Bakr, A'isha and to the daughter of Umar, Hafsa (رضي الله عنهما).

Two of the other closest Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who would become the third and fourth Rightly guided Khalifs were also connected to the Prophet through marriage. Uthman ibn Affan (رضي الله عنه) married Ruqayya (رضي الله عنها), then daughter of the Prophet, in Mecca, and then, after her death in Medina, soon after the battle of Badr, he had married Umm Khulthum (رضي الله عنها), also the daughter of the Prophet. It was because he married two of the daughters of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) that Uthman was given the title of Dhun Nurayn, which means 'the possessor of two lights'. And Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه) had married Fatima (رضي الله عنها), the youngest daughter of the Prophet, shortly before the Prophet had married A'isha.

Hafsa, like A'isha with whom she became close friends, was never at a loss for words, and was not afraid to argue with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who was content to allow her to say what she thought. One day, while speaking to Hafsa's mother Umar (رضي الله عنه) said, "I think I shall do so and so." Whereupon his wife replied, "But it would be better if you did such and such." "Are you arguing with me, woman?" said Umar who was a fierce man who did not expect his wives to talk back at him. "Why not?" she answered. "Your daughter keeps arguing with the Messenger of Allah until she upsets him for the whole day." Umar (رضي الله عنه) immediately put on his cloak and went directly to his daughter's house. "Is it true that you argue with the Messenger of Allah?" he asked. "Indeed I do." She replied. Umar was just about to chastise her for what he considered were bad manners, when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) came into the room and would not allow him to even touch her.

So Umar went round to visit Umm Salama (رضي الله عنها), to whom Umar was related in order to try and influence Hafsa's behavior through her. "I wonder at you, Ibn Khattab," she said, after she had listened to him. "You have interfered in everything. Will you now interfere between the Messenger of Allah and his wives?" Sayiduna Umar when relating this incident, continued, "And she kept after me until she made me give up much of what I thought proper." Some sources say that the Prophet divorced Hafsa with a single divorce and that Umar was heart broken when this happened and began to throw dust on his head.

Then the Prophet took her back after Jibril had descended and said to him.

"Take Hafsa back. She fasts and prays and she will be your wife in the Garden."

Like A'isha, Hafsa (رضي الله عنهما) memorized the entire Qur'an by heart. The written copy of the Qur'an which was recorded by Zayd ibn Thabit on Abu Bakr's (رضي الله عنهم) instructions, and which was then given to Umar for safekeeping, was then given by Umar to Hafsa to look after. When Uthman eventually became the khalif, he instructed several written copies of the Qur'an to be made so that they could be sent to the main centers of the now rapidly expanding Muslim empire, and it was the copy in Hafsa's keeping that was used, after it had been meticulously checked for its accuracy by referring to all the other written records of the Qur'an and to all the Muslims who knew the Qur'an by heart.

Hafsa lived with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in Medina 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. She died in 47 AH at the age of sixty three. May Allah be pleased with her.