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The Prophet’s Wives Series

Discovering the Personality of Hafsa bint Umar

Part Four

Hafsa Was Trustworthy

After her arrangement in Medina to memorize each verse as it came down, Hafsa naturally became a hafiz of the Qur’an (someone who has memorized the Quran in its entirety).

Because she was literate, hafiz, and a part of the Prophet’s household, she was entrusted with the palm branches, slates, and other materials upon which the revealed Qur’an had been written.

Hafsa protected the documentation of the revelation of the Quran during the Prophet’s life until the time of ‘Uthmaan, when he (may Allah be pleased with him) decided to compile the Qur’an into a single book form.

The Qur’an is the most important and treasured thing the world could ever contain.

And Hafsa (may Allah be pleased with her) was entrusted with its verbal and written forms.

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She was considered the custodian of the Quran and the primary source in both verbal and textual forms.

If she had not been of the utmost trustworthiness, the Prophet (PBUH) and the Companions would not have given her this momentous task of safekeeping the Qur’an.

Hafsa Was Though

Hafsa’s personality reflected her father’s, who was renowned for his toughness and her namesake.

Hafsa, meaning “young lioness” in Arabic, means strong and tough.

One day, while speaking to Hafsa’s father, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “I think I shall so and so”.

Whereupon Hafsa replied, “But it would be better if you did such and such”

“Are you arguing with me, woman?” said Umar. “Why not?” she answered.

“Your daughter keeps arguing with the Messenger of Allah until she upsets him for the whole day.”

Umar immediately put on his cloak and went directly to his daughter’s house.

Discovering the Personality of Hafsa bint Umar - About Islam

“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 (PBUH) came into the room and would not allow him to touch her.

So Umar went around to visit Umm Salama (may Allah be pleased with her), […] in order to try and influence Hafsa’s behavior through her.

“I wonder at you, Ibn Khattab [Umar],” she [Umm Salama] said, after she had listened to him.

“You have interfered in everything. Will you now interfere between the Messenger of Allah and his wives?”

Umar, when relating this incident, continued, “And she kept after me until she made me give up much of what I thought proper.”

Hafsa stood her ground when it came to her right to discuss issues with her husband and even argue with him.

She was brave and tough even in the face of her father’s anger.

But she didn’t back down and maintained that not everything her father thought proper should or could happen in her own marriage.

Hafsa Was Devout

Angel Gabriel described her to the Prophet (PBUH) as frequently performing (voluntary) fasting and night prayers, and that she was to be one of his wives in Paradise.

Hafsa had her flaws, but she was also a strong woman, who knew her own mind and would not allow anyone to convince her of something without evidence.

She was a true slave of Allah and a follower of the messenger of Allah (PBUH).

She stands out in history as a truly great and dynamic woman.


The article is from the archive, published at an earlier date, and is higlhighted here for its importance.

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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.