The Messenger (peace be upon him) married Hafsah (may Allah be pleased with her) in the month of Shaban, when she had finished her waiting period after the death of her previous husband. This was in 3 A.H. [At-Tabaqah Al-Kubra].
Hafsah felt deeply distressed by the death of her husband Khunees ibn Khathafah As-Sahamy during the period between the battles of Badr and Uhud. Her father, Omar (may Allah be pleased with him), felt sorry for her; she had become alone, without a husband, although she was still young.
This fatherly care encouraged him to try to make things better for her by looking for a suitable hisband to marry her. He did not find anyone better than his friends Abu Bakr and Uthman. Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) tells us, “I went to Uthman ibn Affan and suggested he marry Hafsah. He replied, ‘I will think about it.’ I waited that night and met him the following day, when he told me, ‘I have decided not to marry now’” [related by Al-Bukhari].
Consequently, Omar went to the Messenger (peace be upon him) to complain about Uthman’s reply. The Messenger (peace be upon him) answered, Isti'ab fi Ma'rifat al-Ashab (Lessons from the stories of the Companions)].
Omar did not understand what the Messenger meant. He continued telling the story to us, saying, “I met Abu Bakr As-Sadeeq and said, ‘If you like, I will marry you to Hafsah bint Omar.’ Abu Bakr was quiet and did not reply. I was more upset with his response than I was with that of Uthman. However, the following day, the Messenger announced his engagement to Hafsah, and I married her to him. I later saw Abu Bakr, who said, ‘Were you upset with me when I did not reply to you when you offered to marry me to Hafsah?’ I replied in the affirmative. Then Abu Bakr explained, ‘Nothing stopped me from answering when you offered to marry me to Hafsah but that I knew that the Messenger was thinking of marrying her. However, I could not disclose the Messenger’s secret. If the Messenger had changed his mind about Hafsah, I would have accepted to marry her’” [related by Al-Bukhari].
At tht time, Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) understood what the Messenger (peace be upon him) had meant when he said, < Hafsah will marry one who is better than Uthman,> after Omar won the honour of becoming an in-law of the Messenger. The Messenger (peace be upon him) was eager to marry Hafsah bint Omar for the same reason he wanted to marry Aisha bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them all), i.e. to strengthen the relationship between him and his Companions by becoming in-laws, which was one of the very strong relationships among the Arabs.