Heritage and Legacy: Ḥafṣah bint ʿUmar, a Mother of the Believers

Ḥafṣah bint ʿUmar. 605–665) was a wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and therefore a Mother of the Believers.

Hafsah was the daughter of Umar ibn al-Khattab and Zainab bint Madh’uwn. She was born “when Quraysh were building the House [Ka’abah], five years before the Prophet was sent,” i.e., in 605.

She was married to Khunais ibn Hudhaifah but became a widow in August 624.[2]

As soon as Hafsah had completed her waiting period, her father Umar offered her hand to Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, and thereafter to Abu Bakr; but they both refused her. When Umar went to Muhammad to complain about this, Muhammad replied, “Allah will marry Uthman to better than your daughter and will marry your daughter to better than Uthman.”[3]

Muhammad married Hafsah in Shaaban AH 3 (late January or early February 625).[4] This marriage “gave the Prophet the chance of allying himself with this faithful follower,”[5] i.e., Umar, who now became his father-in-law.

Uthman, when he became Caliph, used Hafsah’s copy when he standardized the text of the Qur’an. She is also said to have narrated sixty hadeeth from Muhammad.

She died in Shaban AH 45, i.e., in October or November 665. She is buried in al-Baqi next to the other Mothers of the Faithful.