Inspirational People

Inspiring Women Throughout History – Hafsah bint Umar (ra)

Hafsah was a wife of the Prophet (pbuh), before marrying him (pbuh) she was married to Hisn ibn Hudhafah he passed away after the Battle of Badr and then she married the Prophet (pbuh).  

She was an incredible woman who had a fiery personality. Her name derives from the Arabic word for lion and it is said that she lived up to her name! She had a strong personality and wasn’t afraid to speak up and give her opinions.

She was one of the few people who could read and write as at that time most people couldn’t as they had an oral tradition. She had memorised the Quran and was given the responsibility of being the  guardian of the Quran as all the verses which had been revealed were written down and it was her who was given the responsibility of looking after it. This was so important as this was how later the companions were able to piece all of it together for us to have the Quran that we read today. Without her it may not have been possible. She and all that she had kept safe were the primary sources when Uthmaan (ra) made the Quran into a single book.

She was also known for her wisdom and being able to give great advice. Her father was the second Caliph and when she found out that he hadn’t said who would succeed him as the next Caliph she went and advised him to choose to avoid fighting and division amongst the people.

Her and Aisha (ra) were known to be really close despite when she first married the Prophet (pbuh), Aisha felt jealous but eventually they became really close as they tended to always agree on the same matters and it was as if they were sisters. Hafsah supported Aisha when the hypocrites tried to attack the Prophet (pbuh) by spreading slander and lies about Aisha being unfaithful.

She was someone who loved to learn and spent a lot of time studying and had an inquisitive nature who often spent time discussing the finer points in Islam with the Prophet (pbuh). Sometimes she would even question him or argue her point, not to be rude, but because she was the type of person who just needed to know the answer. Her father once told her off for arguing with the Prophet (pbuh) but another wife came to her defence asking him why he is interfering in matters between a husband and wife.

She was an incredible woman who was entrusted with the most important thing at the time, the papers which had all the verses of the Quran and was integral in ensuring that the verses and chapters were all correctly bound together. She was fiery and passionate and did not shy away from asking difficult questions. She was opinionated and stood her ground.

Booksish Discussions

An Afternoon With Jenni Murray – Manchester Literary Festival

On Monday I went to my very first Manchester literary festival event. It was a really fun and interesting event and I’m really glad I got to go!


Jenni discussed her latest book, A History of the World in 21 Women. I haven’t had the chance to read this one yet but after listening to her talk I’m really looking forward to reading it.

I had initially wanted to go to her event as I had read A History of Britain in 21 Women and I really loved it! The women she chose were really interesting and some that I hadn’t heard about or knew much about and others were some of my favourite women. I wish we had been taught more about the amazing women when I was in school.

During her talk she spoke about some of the women she wrote about in her book going back to ancient Egypt to women still alive today. She spoke about how they each had to deal with circumstances that made it difficult for them to succeed but persevered and made an impact in history.

From the pharaoh Hatshepsut who had to pretend to be a man to be able to be a ruler to Dowager Empress Cixi who had to be ruthless in her rule. Women who stood up for justice and despite the odds being against them were resilient and brave. They range from rulers to scientists to artists to politicians.

It was a fun and engaging event and even my husband, who only comes because I drag him along, really enjoyed the event.

After the event we were also able to meet Jenni and get our books signed and she was really lovely to chat to. I am really looking forward to reading her new book and I definitely recommend reading A history of Britain in 21 Women.