HAFSA BINT UMAR AL-KHATTAB – THE MOTHERS OF BELIEVERS (Part 2)

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In the Name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, All- Merciful

“We are going for dinner tonight”, my sister announced when she called me other night. “My friends are also going along”, she further informed me.

It saddened me for a while. Our Youth is wasting much of their time in having dinners, meals at the restaurant, watching movies, enjoying ice-cream, coffee, having surprise parties, going to the mall for shopping frequently. Is it wrong to enjoy some time out from this tough life? This question can jump up in response to above apprehension. We are allowed to enjoy time with friends, but Islam presents an idea of maintaining balance in every matter. Too much waste of time and resources in entertainment can make us less vibrant.

According to the saying of Prophet ﷺ

A servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Judgment till he is questioned, about his age and how he spent it, his knowledge and how he utilized it, his wealth and from where he acquired it, in what activities he spend it (wealth), his body and how he used it”.

(At-Tirmidhi, Hadith 407)

Coming back to our Role Model, Hafsa (RZ), she was 20 years old girl at the time of her marriage. Her habits were growing, being married to Prophet Mohammad ﷺ meant, she was in an institution for her training where her moral behaviors and conduct would be polished. Any angular towards less than decent will be brought to brilliance.

Just like other girls, she also wanted more time of her beloved Husband. Prophet ﷺ would visit his each wife every day after Asr keeping a beautiful balance in his life dealing with Public Issues yet giving adequate time to his own family as well. It was noticed by Hafsa RZ and other wives, for few days he ﷺ was spending more time at Zainab bint Jahsh ‘s Apartment , it was the concern for them due to their love towards him. They came up with a special plan so he ﷺ would not spend more time at Zainab bint Jahash’s Apartment. Hafza Rz was also involved in this plan. One day when Rasoolullahﷺ visited Hafsa Rz and Ayesha RZ one of them said, “It seems you have eaten Magafir (a kind of bad smelling resin), for I smell in you the smell of Maghafir,” .

It was also mentioned by other wives, which concerned him ﷺ more. He ﷺ replied,“No, but I was drinking honey in the house of  Zainab (his other wife- the daughter of Jahsh) and I shall never take it again.”  So he ﷺ decided not to drink it again because of bad smell from his breath due to his clean and pure nature.

He ﷺ is a leader of whole Ummah, this decision of not eating honey ever was rebuked by Allah SWT, as in Surah Tahreem it is said,

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

اے پیغمبر جو چیز خدا نے تمہارے لئے جائز کی ہے تم اس سے کنارہ کشی کیوں کرتے ہو؟ (کیا اس سے) اپنی بیویوں کی خوشنودی چاہتے ہو؟ اور خدا بخشنے والا مہربان ہے

(Surah Tahreem 66:1)

It was alarming for all wives, how honest and careful they must be in dealing with the Prophet ﷺ.

During around these days, another incident happened in the life of Hafsa RA, it was a turning point in her life bringing her closer to Allah SWT. The impact was deeper on her as she was going through diverse circumstances and ayaat of Quran were being sent down along with affairs. It was building a very beautiful conscious personality in her. Once Prophet SWT shared a secret with her and emphasized not to mention it to others. Yet having a friendly relationship with Aisha RA who was almost around the age of Hafsa RA, she shared this secret with her. This act of Hafsa RA was notified near Allah SWT, and mentioned in Surah Tahreem.

وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَىٰ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَن بَعْضٍ ۖ فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَهَا بِهِ قَالَتْ مَنْ أَنبَأَكَ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَ نَبَّأَنِيَ الْعَلِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ

And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allah 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 Knowing, the Acquainted.”

اور (یاد کرو) جب پیغمبر نے اپنی ایک بی بی سے ایک بھید کی بات کہی تو (اس نے دوسری کو بتا دی)۔ جب اس نے اس کو افشاء کیا اور خدا نے اس (حال) سے پیغمبر کو آگاہ کردیا تو پیغمبر نے ان (بی بی کو وہ بات) کچھ تو بتائی اور کچھ نہ بتائی۔ تو جب وہ ان کو جتائی تو پوچھنے لگیں کہ آپ کو کس نے بتایا؟ انہوں نے کہا کہ مجھے اس نے بتایا ہے جو جاننے والا خبردار ہے

(Surah Tahreem 66:3)

This act of disclosing the secret of Prophetﷺ and plotting against him in the matter of Honey by Aysha RA and Hafsa RA was not ignored but was amended through verses of Quran. Allah SWT knew that they did out of their love, but they were mothers of Believers and required to make it clear, how one should be honest in their dealings.

إِن تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا ۖ وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ

If you two [wives] repent to Allah , [it is best], for your hearts have deviated. But if you cooperate against him – then indeed Allah is his protector, and Gabriel and the righteous of the believers and the angels, moreover, are [his] assistants.

 اگر تم دونوں خدا کے آگے توبہ کرو (تو بہتر ہے کیونکہ) تمہارے دل کج ہوگئے ہیں۔ اور اگر پیغمبر (کی ایذا) پر باہم اعانت کرو گی تو خدا اور جبریل اور نیک کردار مسلمان ان کے حامی (اور دوستدار) ہیں۔ اور ان کے علاوہ (اور) فرشتے بھی مددگار ہیں

(Surah Tahreem 66:4)

This remarkable incident stands as a lesson for Humanity, how Allah SWT protects his Messengers. A very minute action of beloved wives was taken into consideration near Allah.

This incident presents a lesson for every girl as a wife to have a satisfactory and pure relationship with her husband. If Husband shares any secret to her wife, she should not break her husband’s trust by sharing with her friends or relatives. Another reason for the increase in the divorce rate, which has risen up to 9,000 cases per year in a current decade, is not having a sincere relationship with life partners.

Marriage is the form of bond that Islam motivates to ascertain between spouses. This relationship of a couple is actually the essence of any society. If there is trust, care, and reliance in this correlation, it will transfer in children as well.

Another quality of Hafsa RA was that she had great bonding with other wives of Prophet ﷺ.  In the Beginning, Aisha RA was afraid if Hafsa being of same age group, as hers will take her place in the heart of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. It was natural jealousy that every woman can feel towards her husband. Umar bin Al-Khattab RA, the father of Hafsa  knew very well about Prophet ﷺ loved Aisha RA more than other wives. He often mentioned this fact to Hafsa RA. Once he said to her, “You are not like Aisha and your father is not like her father.”  Here we see the role of a father who taught his daughter to be realistic and patient.

Sooner after a while, Aisha RA and Hafsa had a very good friendship. It was her inner beauty, how she earned her space in her husband’s household with good characteristics .The positive guidance from her parents cannot be ignored as well.

Umar RA was also aware of his daughter’s tough behavior at times. Once Prophetﷺ divorced Hafsa RA but soon after took her back. Allah SWT sent the angel Jibreel AS ,

” Take Hafsa back as she is keeping fasts and is observing prayers in the last part of night, and she is going to be your wife in Paradise.”

It was an honor for Hafsa RA , as her virtues were acknowledged through an angel from Allah SWT.

Her personality, sincerity, and devotion towards Ibadan and being among those who seek forgiveness in the night when others sleep, rank her on the higher status and set her as a Role Model for the daughters of Ummah.

The instance of divorce and tougness in the attitude does not lower Hafsa’s significance and prestige being a Mother of Believers but instead, it underlines her personality of being naturally firm but flexible when it comes to turning back and repent.

Let’s take a pause here and reflect. A married life is like a journey where on the way one confronts many passages, which can be narrow or broader. The strong and pure relationship with Allah, being pure and honest from inside will help to go through hard passages in life smoothly. Hafsa RA was somewhat demanding and strong by nature it could be an effect of her name or being the daughter of Umar RA, it was possible that she had attributes of her father. Every human is born with some traits by nature. We have to deal with these traits to bring them in the moderate level, which needs extreme effort. She did input her efforts not to let this happen again.

They were humans and were going through same circumstances as others but their ways of dealing these situations were magnificent and fabulous. They were flexible and modest, and reason was their full trust and faith in Allah.

Hafsa RA memorized whole Quran. She was a confident lady when it’s about knowledge. She used to ask questions to quench her thirst for knowledge. Once during a sitting with her, Prophet ﷺ said, “All the people who had given the pledged of allegiance at Hudaybiya under the tree would go to paradise , not to Hell.” 

Hafza RA asked how is this possible and mentioned ayah of Surah Maryam,

وَإِن مِّنكُمْ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَا ۚ كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ حَتْمًا مَّقْضِيًّا

There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell).”

اور تم میں کوئی (شخص) نہیں مگر اسے اس پر گزرنا ہوگا۔ یہ تمہارے پروردگار پر لازم اور مقرر ہے

(Surah Maryam: 71)

In response to her dialogue, Prophetﷺ removed her confusion and read next ayah from the same surah, that says,

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّي الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّنَذَرُ الظَّالِمِينَ فِيهَا جِثِيًّا

Then We will save those who feared Allah and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees.

پھر ہم پرہیزگاروں کو نجات دیں گے۔ اور ظالموں کو اس میں گھٹنوں کے بل پڑا ہوا چھوڑ دیں گے

(Surah Maryam: 72)

Hafsa RA was a wonderful wife and an obedient daughter. Umar RA would often consult her matters regarding women. Once after the death of Prophet ﷺ, during the time of his Khilafah, he needed to issue a decree about warriors for how long they should be away from their wives. He asked Hafsa RA , for how long a women may remain without her husband. She wisely responded 6 months. Upon this, Umar RA issued a law to his Commanders to relieve soldiers after every 6 month to return home to spend quality time with their households.

She lived around 32 years after Prophet’sﷺ death. She was known for her memorization of and preservation of Quran. She was chosen as a Custodian of an original copy of Quran, that was compiled by Zaid ibn Thabit under the order of the first Caliph Abu Bakr RA. It was her house where revealed verses of Quran written on palm branches, slates and other materials were kept. People would visit her place to see these original copies of Quranic Verses.

When the second compilation of Quran was made during the Caliphate of Uthman, the original copies of verses were used as a primary source. She was an excellent reciter and writer. She was among those rare people in that time who were able to write. She also, narrated around 60 hadith from Prophet ﷺ. She completed her Journey of life at the age when she was about 61 years old. She was in the state of fasting at the time of death. I can feel the warmth of her love, she was my mother, our mother, and the family of our beloved Prophet ﷺ. A family that was purified by Allah himself. The desire to be with this beautiful family is a dream that can come true by following their legacy and having love and respect for them in our hearts.

It’s time to move on to next door to visit our Mother Umm-e-Salama RA. I am sure her door will be wide open for us to learn and benefit ourselves more and more……
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

References:

  • “Hafsa Bint Umar.” Islam Wiki.
  • “Hafsa Bint Umar | WISE Muslim Women.” by Ambreen.
  • “Hafsah Bint ‘Umar the Prophet’s Wife in Paradise -II.”Islamweb.
  •  Idealmuslimah.com.
  • Qutb, Muhammad ʻAli. Women around the Messenger.
  • “Why Is the Divorce Rate Increasing?” A Wide Angle View of India.
  • “Islams Women – Hafsah Bint ‘Umar.” Islams Women – Hafsah Bint ‘Umar.
  • “The Mothers of the Believers (part 1 of 2): Who Are the Mothers of the Believers?” – New Muslims Elearning Site.
  •  Maghafir (page 1) – Sunnah.com – Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم).”
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