Hafsah bint 'Umar
One day the Angel Jibril told Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about Hafsah:
"She is an often fasting and worshipping lady and she will be your wife in Paradise too." [Mustadrak Al-Hakim 4/15]
Hafsah was the daughter of 'Umar Faruq, and the niece of another famous Sahabi, 'Uthman bin Maz'un. Her uncle from the paternal side was Zayd bin Khattab. 'Abdullah bin 'Umar was her brother.
Hafsah was an extremely religious lady who used to spend her time in prayer and fasting. An excellent writer and orator, an ardent follower of Islam.
Hafsah had such noble qualities and such an amiable nature that 'A'ishah remarked that among wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) only she could compare with her. Her life is exemplary, brought up as she was by a Companion of the calibre of 'Umar bin Khattab.
Hafsah was born in the family of a great warrior and wrestler, 'Umar bin Khattab who was well known for his martial skills. In her growing years she was brought up in an Islamic environment, both her parents and her aunts and uncles having already converted to the new religion. When she was old enough, she was married to Khanis bin Huthafah As-Sahmi. He was influenced by the teaching of Abu Bakr Siddiq and had accepted Islam.
Due to worst cruelty and oppression, Khanis had to migrate to Al-Madinah with his wife. He was welcomed by Rafa'h bin 'Abdul Munthir and stayed in his house as his guest.
Both Khanis and Hafsah loved the new life in Al-Madinah. Hafsah made special arrangements to memorize the Ayat of the Quran as and when they were revealed. Then she would give deep thought and attention to the meaning and interpretation of the Ayat. Her husband meanwhile was enthusiastically preparing himself for Jihad and improving his martial skills. He was constantly alert to the movements of the enemy and was ever ready to meet them head on.
News came that the Quraysh of Makkah, after making elaborate preparations for a war to wipe out the Muslims, were marching towards Al-Madinah under the leadership of Abu Jahl.
The Muslims under the leadership of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), practically unarmed, reached Badr and set up camp taking control of the only source of water. All they had with them was their strong faith in the Allah.
Khanis bin Huthafah, 'Umar Faruq and the maternal and paternal uncles of Hafsah and her cousin were all part of this courageous band. Her husband was determined to win the battle for Allah and bring to dust the pomp and grandeur of Abu Jahl's forces. Finally the forces met and Khanis bin Huthafah went tearing through the ranks of the enemy. He was seriously wounded, but most of the leaders of the disbelievers were killed, and Islam triumphed. It is one of the greatest battles fought in history where a handful of unarmed and outnumbered men routed a powerful and well-equipped army.
When Hafsah heard of her husband's heroic deeds she was very happy, and praised his valour in battle; but she also realized that in this condition he would need the best care possible. She immediately recited the Ayah of Surat Al-Anfal which were revealed in connection with the Battle of Badr,
"Allah made it only as glad tidings, as that your hearts be at rest therewith. And there is no victory except from Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." [Noble Quran 8:10]
These Words of the Allah Almighty promising victory inspired her and she happily turned to the task of nursing her husband back to health. But it was not to be, for he was to be blessed with an exalted position. A few days later he succumbed to his injuries and joined the ranks of those who are blessed with eternal life. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) heard of his passing away he arranged for him to be buried in Jannatul Baqi, next to the uncle of Hafsah; he personally led the funeral prayers. Hafsah was, naturally, grief stricken, but being a true believer she respectfully submitted to the Will of Allah. She turned towards her Maker and courageously gave herself even more to prayer and meditation. She was at this time barely twenty-one years old.
For her father it was very painful to see his daughter in this state. Her silent courage under these circumstances, her patient prayers and her study of the Quran irradiated her countenance with a spiritual beauty and innocence, but there was also a sadness because of the harsh loneliness that had become part of her life. After deep thought 'Umar Faruq 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. So, having taken this decision he went direct to 'Uthman. After the formal greeting and expression of condolences on his wife's death he broached the topic closest to his heart. 'Uthman lowered his eyes and then after a few moments pause, he said he needed time to think it over.
'Umar Faruq met him again after a few days and asked him if he had thought over the proposal. 'Uthman answered that he was not presently 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. Imam Bukhari in his book of Hadith, As-Sahih Al-Bukhari, has given a whole chapter to the topic of an honorable man offering his sister or daughter in marriage.
'Umar Faruq was very upset because both the men he approached had either avoided or refused marriage to his daughter. He was confident of a willing and joyful acceptance but things turned out otherwise. He was very upset and worried at the turn of events; in a sense it was an affront to him and his position as a sincere defender of the faith. People, he thought, would consider it an honor to have an alliance by marriage with him. With this grievance he went to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and explained to him the position he found himself in. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) smilingly answered that he should neither grieve nor worry, and Allah willing he would find a man better than 'Uthman for Hafsah and 'Uthman in turn, would find for himself a better woman than Hafsah.
'Umar Faruq was pleased on hearing this from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself, but also a little perplexed over who such a man could be? A few days later the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) married his daughter, Umm Kulthum to 'Uthman. 'Umar Faruq realized that one part of the prediction had come true, but he continued to puzzle over the second half of the statement. Who could possibly be a better man than 'Uthman? Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) proposed marriage to Hafsah. 'Umar Faruq could not believe his ears; his daughter would have the honor of joining the select band of women who were known as the Mothers of the believers! 'A'ishah and Sawdah were already part of the Prophet's household. It seemed too good to be true. Thus Hafsah was joined in marriage to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in the 3rd year after Hijrah, before the Battle of Uhud. She was about twenty-two years old at the time. On seeing off his daughter to her husband's house, 'Umar Faruq told her that she should never try to compete with 'A'ishah, who was the Prophet's favorite and better than her in many respects. He said she should respect her sincerely and live happily as a member of the first and foremost family.
Sa'id bin Al-Musayyab, a learned scholar, states that the Prophet's prediction that he was a better husband for Hafsah than 'Uthman was proved right, as was his statement that Umm Kulthum was a better wife for 'Uthman than Hafsah. After the marriage Abu Bakr Siddiq met with 'Umar Faruq and told him the truth, which was that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had mentioned to him that he planned to marry Hafsah. 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 Faruq expressed his happiness by quoting the following Ayah,
"This is by the Grace of my Lord - to test me whether I am 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). Certainly my Lord is Rich, Bountiful." [Noble Quran 27:40]