“The Memorizer of the Qur’an” and Protector of the Divine Message
Hijri 16-45 (AH); Common Era 606-666 (CE)
Memorizer and Protector of the Divine Message... Hafsa bint ‘Umar, one of the Prophet’s wives, was known for her memorization and preservation of the Qur’an after the Prophet Muhammad’s death. Hafsa was the daughter of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, a close family friend of the Prophet and the second caliph after the Prophet’s death. After becoming the widow of Kuhnays ibn Hudhafah who was martyred in the Battle of Badr, Hafsa was married to the Prophet Muhammad in 625 at the age of 19. The Prophet married Hafsa because he felt a duty to her father, ‘Umar, whose acceptance of Islam helped boost the status of Muslims in Mecca against their opponents. Hafsa became close to one of the Prophet’s other wives, Aisha, but unlike Aisha who was known for being supportive and loving, Hafsa was known for being strong, opinionated, and educated. The Prophet valued Hafsa’s ability to read and write which was rare among women at the time. After the death of the Prophet, Hafsa was made responsible for preserving and protecting the folios of the Qur’an which was eventually was assembled into a single document. She knew she was blessed with God’s revelation which needed to be protected from manipulation by political figures like Marwan, governor of Medina who sent a courier to request the folios. She resolutely denied his request.
“I am the Prophet’s librarian. And this
is the book; al-Kitab. The only set
of Abu Bakr’s folios, first copy of God’s kiss.
It’s ink still hums against my very skin.”