In the Name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, All- Merciful
“Areesh!! don’t speak loud,” I said to my 6-year daughter who was being loud with her 2-year younger brother. While cooking in Kitchen, I was thinking how delicate and sweet these daughters feel to heart.
I was thinking about Aisha RA who got this huge blessing to have the company of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ in very young age. How beautifully heﷺ taught her manners while she was a little girl that later grew up as one of the famous and well-known scholar of Islam. So many lessons especially for parents of young girls. It leaves a deep mark to help their child to enhance their inner personality skills with care, affection, and wisdom.
My mind was strolling in Makkah and Madina, in the days when Mother of Believers Hafsa bint Umar; the daughter of 2nd Caliph of Islam Umar ibn-al-Khattab and Zaynab bint Madhun was born. She was born 5 years before Prophethood. The leaders of Quraysh were having conflict over the black stone to fix in its spot after Kaba was rebuilt due to Flood. To solve this Issue, it was decided to allow the Person who will enter first in Kaba would have the honor to carry the stone to its place. The first person that entered in Kaba was Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. He ﷺ presented a unique idea to solve this issue allowing all leaders to carry the corners of the sheet carrying the stone to its place. Then he ﷺ carried and put the stone in its place with his hands. It was a very wise decision, which surprised everyone in Makkah. It was the time when prophethood was blooming and people could feel its fragrance around. These were the days when Hafsa bint Umar was born. Hafsa bint Umar’s birth happened in the times when the birth of a daughter would distress parents. It would consider as a disgrace for Family. As Quran says,
وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِالْأُنثَىٰ ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ
And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief.
[Surah An-Nahl: 58]
Since Islam has not emerged at that time, Umar Ibn-al-Khattab was restless with the birth of his daughter. Later in future, it proved if daughters are raised with care, provided with the best education and manners, they could make a difference in society.
Looking back in the history, it was Dhul-Hijah, the last month of the 6th year of Prophethood, when her life took a main turn towards its origin. She was a young girl of around 10 years old. These were the days when her father, Umar ibn al-Khattab accepted Islam who was considered as one of the biggest opposition of Islam. Prophet Mohammad (saw) asked Allah SWT to strengthen Islam with either Umar ibn al-Khattab or Abu Jahl bin Hisham. Allah SWT accepted his prophet’s dua and blessed Umar ibn al-Khattab with the light of Iman.
Abdullah Ibn Abbas Rady Allahu Anhu reported the Prophet ﷺ was saying,
“O Allah, strengthen Islam with Abu Jahl bin Hisham, or with Umar bin al-Khattab”. In the morning, Sayyidina ‘Umar Rady Allahu Anhu went to the Prophetﷺ and accepted Islam; then prayed openly in the mosque.
(Ahmad and Tirmidhi)
Hafsa’s aunt Fatima bint al-Khattab and her Husband Sa’id bin Zayd has already accepted Islam. She was growing up in the environment where she could hear the whispers of revelations around her. She had strong, brave, confident personality like her name (Hafs in Arabic means lion) having shades of her Father whose conversion became a super source of new Strength for new Muslims. Till now muslims were hiding their Faith and were not able to worship openly. Now Islam has appeared boldly. Muslims were able to pray openly in Kaaba. Hafsah RA was going through these phases of emerging Islam. The Importance of Faith had begun to develop in her roots.
Is it still possible to develop this Importance of faith in our Generations too? Especially when it’s the time of X-Box, Ps3, iPod and such Androids in which our children have developed their interests. The answer is YES, it is possible if we as parents began to practice Islam and connect them with their main roots introducing them History of Islam. Tell your child the stories of Companions of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. Use these gadgets, as a tool in knowing of their religion from an early age, will surely develop their strong relationship with Islam. They need motivations these real personalities can easily become their role models.
I can imagine Hafsa RA, a teenager getting married to Khunais (RA) bin Hazafa Sahmi. He was also a brave man who made a difference in the events of Islam. It was the time when Pagans in Makkah were targeting muslims. It pushed many of them to migrate Abyssinia. Hafsa and her husband also migrated where Khunais (RA) could not get along with Abyssinia’s different climate and environment and decided to return Makkah. Since Muslims were still going through extreme opposition in Makkah. Khunais and Hafsa now migrated to Madina where they were welcomed by Rafa’s bin Abdul Munthir and stayed at his place as his guests. Hafsa was going through difficult times as traveling back and forth and facing opposition to save one’s faith was a big task. Hafsa was facing all these tribulations during her Youth.
Allah SWT said the believers upon their arrival at Madina, to be patient, forgiving until He brought His awaited support.
وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“ but if you persevere patiently, and have Taqwa, then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs.”
[Surah Ale-Imran: 186]
Such Quranic Verses were also peaceful for Hafsa RA against such suffering from opposition and migration.
Another amazing perspective of her personality that appears in this age strikes one’s heart. All these issues with life had not kept Hafsa (RA) from Learning. She was a very intelligent girl with an excellent memory. She managed to learn each new verse that was coming down through revelation those days. She was not only memorizing Quran but pondering over it too, which helped to build her character with great attributes.
Sadly, nowadays it has been considered that youth is for fun and enjoyment only. The majority tends to postpone learning knowledge of Deen for future years to come. Here we see Hafsa RA had wisely used peak time of her. Adolescence is the time to explore one’s inner and outer world. A real education of minors must start with “why” questions and then begin to help young people develop their own identity, sense of purpose, and understanding of the world and their place in it.
We can see later, how this hard work and effort of Hafsa RA will be adorned by Allah SWT by blessing her with incomparable Honor of being Mother of Ummah.
The Khunais (RA) fulfilled his duty as a devoted believer during the Battle of Badar and fought against enemies to defend the believers. He could not recover from serious injuries during the war and died few days after Battle of Badar. Hafsa showed extreme care for her husband during his illness and remained calm on his death. Instead of complaining her fate or going in the phase of depression, she held on to the patience and intensified her relationship with the Creator. She began to spend more time in Ibadah. Her devotion to the Ibadah helped to come out of this huge pain.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”
(Surah Ar-Ra’ad : 28)
The remembrance of Allah was slowly removing the traces of the distress from her heart. However, for her father, it was very painful to see his young daughter at the age of 19 to be a widow. Her silent courage under these circumstances, her patient prayers and her study of the Quran brightened her countenance with a spiritual beauty and innocence, but there was also sadness because of the harsh loneliness that had become part of her life.
 After deep thought ‘Umar RA decided to approach ‘Uthman bin Affan, whose wife Ruqayyah the Prophet’s daughter, had passed away. He thought that sharing a common bond would help to alleviate their sorrow in losing worthy spouses. But he refused that he presently was not planning on marriage. From there he went to Abu Bakr Siddiq and offered him his daughter in marriage. He too lowered his gaze and did not answer him.
In the distress when Umar RA complained about the strange behavior of his beloved friends Abu Bakar and Uthman ibn Affan to Prophet ﷺ. He ﷺ smiled and said,
“Hafsa will marry one better than Uthman and Uthman will marry one better than Hafsa.” 
After every night there appears the bright day. This day turned out to be brighter than ever. Allah SWT gifted Hafsa (RA) with the companionship of his beloved Prophet. The marriage was taken place in the 3rd year of migration after the 6 months of Khunais (RA) death. Hafsa RA was 20 years old at the time of her 2nd marriage.
The family of Umar ibn-al-Khattab was honored by having ties with Prophet and Umar Ib-al Khattab could not even imagine that he ﷺ himself will marry his daughter.
 After the marriage, Abu Bakr Siddiq RA met with Umar RA and told him the truth, which was that the Prophet ﷺ had mentioned to him that he planned to marry Hafsa RA. That was the reason he had remained silent, as it would not have been proper to betray his confidence. If matters were different he would have been only too happy to accept her hand in marriage. Umar RA open-heartedly accepted his reason.
Allah SWT has promised that He will test each of us, whether we remain grateful or ungrateful, and whoever is grateful truly, his gratitude is for himself; and whoever is ungrateful, it is for the loss of only himself.
TO BE CONTINUED ………………
Note: For ease of reading, we have not inserted “May Allah be pleased with her (RA)” each time with Hafsa’s RA name or the name of each Companion is mentioned, but please take it that the salutations apply to all of them, may Allah be pleased with them all.
Compiled by Binte Abdul Waheed
- Umar’s conversion to Islam (1995)
- The mothers of the believers (part 1 of 2): Who are the mothers of the believers? – new Muslims eLearning site.
- Biography of Hafsa (RA)
- Hafsah bint ’Umar
- Inc, S. (2016) List of Sahaba R.A – updated.
- Hadith – book of wedlock, marriage (Nikaah) – Sahih al-Bukhari
-  Sahih al-Bukhari 4005
-  Ibn Saad/Bewley vol. 8 pp. 56-58. The story is told in five separate traditions