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The Prophet’s Wives Series

Discovering the Personality of Hafsa bint Umar

Part Four

Read all parts here

We are often introduced to the people around the Prophet (PBUH) through his life and perspective.

While there is a good reason for this, it can also be of great benefit to learn about the companions of the Messenger as individuals.

They were the people who Allah (SWT) calls in the Quran, “[…] the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind.” (Qur’an 3:110)

It is very important to look into the lives of the honorable and honored wives of the Prophet (PBUH) to also understand that they too were human beings who lived, ate, laughed, and struggled to please Allah (SWT).

After the Prophet, can there be a better example for us than the mothers of the believers who were all promised paradise?

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Continuing on our journey to find out if our mothers were funny, sensitive, outgoing, introspective, self-doubting, or fearless, we take a look at Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) wife, Hafsa (may Allah be pleased with her).

Hafsa was known for being studious, trustworthy, tough, and very devout.

Hafsa Was Studious

In a time when most men and women were illiterate, Hafsa (may Allah be pleased with her) could read and write.

Discovering the Personality of Hafsa bint Umar - About Islam

Hafsa devoted herself to learning the literary arts when it was not a necessity of life and was very rare indeed for women to have this knowledge.

But her studious habits went further than reading and writing.

When she migrated from Mecca to Medina, Hafsa made special arrangements to memorize the verses of the Qur’an as they were revealed.

After memorizing each verse, she would think deeply about them, paying special attention to their meaning, implications, and interpretations.

Hafsa’s devotion to knowledge went above and beyond what was required of her.

She worked tirelessly to acquire knowledge and to preserve that knowledge for future generations.

Hafsa Was Very Inquisitive

Hafsa (may Allah be pleased with her) never shied away from being questioned.

She was often discussing the finer points of Islamic law or asking the Prophet (PBUH) for clarification.

Once, Hafsa, another female companion, and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were sitting and chatting together.

Discovering the Personality of Hafsa bint Umar - About Islam

During this chat, the Prophet (PBUH) told his wife and this companion that everyone who had given the pledge of loyalty at Hudaybiyah would enter Paradise. She asked how that was possible.

Hafsa could see that the Prophet had become piqued, but she did not give up her line of questioning.

She quoted a verse from Surah Maryam,

“There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell)” (19:71)

as her reason why she was curious about his statement.

In response, the Prophet (PBUH) quoted the very next verse from Surah Maryam as clarification to her question,

“Then We shall save those who use to fear Allah and were dutiful to Him. And We shall leave the wrongdoers therein to their knees (in Hell)” (19:72)

She was never at a loss for words and was not afraid to contend with the Prophet (PBUH).

But she never questioned the Prophet out of defiance. Hafsa just needed to know.

Whether or not it was aggravating, she just truly felt a strong urge to satisfy her inquisitive nature.

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About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.