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Engrossed in ‘Ibaadah


(Hafsah bintu Seereen [rahimahallah] – Part One)

Hafsah bintu Seereen (rahimahallah) was a Taabi‘iyyah (one who had seen the Sahaabah [radhiyallahu ‘anhum]). Her siblings were Muhammad bin Seereen (the renowned hadeeth scholar and interpreter of dreams), Yahya, Kareemah and Ummu Sulaim (rahimahumullah).

Hafsah (rahimahallah) had memorized the Quraan Majeed at the age of twelve. She would enter the musjid of her home (the portion of her home dedicated to salaah and ‘ibaadah) before the Zuhr Salaah. There she would remain, engaged in ‘ibaadah, until she had performed the ‘Asr Salaah, the Maghrib Salaah and even the ‘Esha Salaah. After performing the ‘Esha Salaah, she would further remain in her musjid, engaged in ‘ibaadah, until the Fajr Salaah. Even after she had performed the Fajr Salaah, she would not leave her musjid, but would remain engaged in ‘ibaadah until the time of the Dhuha Salaah (chaasht). It was only after she had performed the Dhuha Salaah that she would leave her musjid, in order to sleep, see to her needs and perform wudhu. At the time of Zuhr, she would once again enter her musjid for ‘ibaadah. This was her habit for approximately thirty years.

Hafsah (rahimahallah) would recite half the Quraan Majeed every night, and would fast every day, besides the five days of the year in which it is prohibited for one to fast (the two ‘Eids and the days of tashreeq).

When standing to perform her Tahajjud Salaah, Hafsah bintu Seereen (rahimahallah) would light her lamp. Occasionally, while in salaah, the lamp would be extinguished. However, in the absence of the light of the lamp, her room would miraculously remain illuminated and bright until the morning.

Hafsah (rahimahallah) once purchased an Indian slave girl. When the slave girl was asked to describe her mistress, she said, “She is a pious woman. However, it seems that she has committed some grave sin, for she spends the entire night crying and performing salaah!”

Hafsah bintu Seereen (rahimahallah) passed away in the year 101 A.H. at the age of ninety.

(Reference: Sifatus Safwah vol. 2, pg. 241-243, Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 484 and Tahzeebut Tahzeeb vol. 12, pg. 409)


1. There is one common ingredient in the recipe to the success of all people – dedication. They do not lose focus of their goal and work committedly and consistently, until they finally achieve their goal. The same ingredient was found in the life of Hafsah bintu Sereen (rahimahallah). She did not allow herself to be distracted and thus remained engaged in her ‘ibaadah until her demise. Today, there are countless distractions in ambush, waiting to rob us of our precious time. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp to ‘meets and eats’ in coffee shops, we squander and ‘kill’ invaluable moments of our time in which we could have been gaining the proximity of Allah Ta‘ala. Let us conduct a simple experiment for just one day – whenever we have the urge to pick up our phone and pass time, pick up the Quraan Majeed and recite, or a tasbeeh and engage in zikr instead. Thereafter, take note of how much of zikr and tilaawah was achieved in that single day. In this way, we may surprise ourselves and realize that we are nowhere near fulfilling our potential!  

2. Engaging in nafl ‘ibaadah is meritorious and virtuous. However, it is necessary for one to fulfil their priorities and obligations before engaging in voluntary deeds. Hence, we should not make the mistake of neglecting our duties and obligations (such as to the children, home and husband) due to trying to engage in excessive nafl ‘ibaadah. If a person has no obligations, or their obligations will not be affected, they can tread the path of Hafsah bitu Seereen (rahimahallah).

(to be continued insha-Allah)