‘Umar b. al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) reported:
When Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) kept himself away from his wives, I entered the mosque, and found people striking the ground with pebblesand saying: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) has divorced his wives, and that was before they were commanded to observe seclusion ‘Umar said to himself: I must find this (actual position) today. So I went to ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) and said (to her): Daughter of Abu Bakr, have you gone to the extent of giving trouble to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)? Thereupon she said: Son of Khattab, you have nothing to do with me, and I have nothing to do with you. You should look to your own receptacle. He (‘Umar) said: I visited Hafsa daughter of ‘Umar, and said to her: Hafsa, the (news) has reached me that you cause Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) trouble. You know that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) does not love you, and had I not been (your father) he would have divorced you. (On hearing this) she wept bitterly. I said to her: Where is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)? Shesaid: He is in the attic room. I went in and found Rabah, the servant of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), sitting on the thresholds of the window dangling his feet on the hollow wood of the date-palm with the help of which Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) climbed (to the apartment) and came down. I cried: 0 Rabah, seek permission for me from Allah’s Messenger (way peace be upon him). Rabah cast a glance at the apartment and then looked toward me but said nothing. I again said: Rabah, seek permission for me from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). Rabah looked towards the apartment and then cast a glance at me, but said nothig. I then raised my voice and said: 0 Rabah, seek permission for me from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). I think that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) is under the impression that I have come for the sake of Hafsa. By Allah, if Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) would command me to strike her neck, I would certainly strike her neck. I raised my voice and he pointed me to climb up (and get into his apartment). I visited Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), and he was lying on a mat. I sat down and he drew up his lower garment over him and he had nothing (else) over him, and that the mat had left its marks on his sides. I looked with my eyes in the store room of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). I found only a handful of barley equal to one sa’ and an equal quantity of the leaves of Mimosa Flava placed in the nook of the cell, and a semi-tanned leather bag hanging (in one side), and I was moved to tears (on seeing this extremely austere living of the Holy Piophet), and he said: Ibn Khattab, what wakes you weep? I said: Apostle of Allah, why should I not shed tears? This mat has left its marks on your sides and I do not see in your store room (except these few things) that I have seen; Ceasar and Closroes are leading their lives in plenty whereas you are Allah’s Messenger. His chosen one, and that is your store! He said: Ibn Khattab, aren’t you satisfied that for us (there should be the prosperity) of the Hereafter, and for them (there should be the prosperity of) this world? I said: Yes. And as I had entered I had seen the signs of anger on his face, and I therefore, said: Messenger of Allah, what trouble do you feel from your wives, and if youhave divorced them, verily Allah is with you, His angels, Gabriel, Mika’il, I and Abu Bakr and the believers are with you. And seldom I talked and (which I uttered on that day) I hoped that Allah would testify to my words that I uttered. And so the verse of option (Ayat al-Takhyir) was revealed. Maybe his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you…” (Ixv. 5). And if you back up one another against him, then surely Allah is his Patron, and Gabriel and the righteous believers, and the angels after that are the aidera (lvi. 4). And it was ‘A’isha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and Hafsa who had prevailed upon all the wives of Allah’s Prophet (way peace be upon him) for (pressing them for mote money). I said: Messenger of Allah, have you divorced them? He said: No. I said: Messenger of Allah, I entered the mosque and found the Muslims playing with pebbles (absorbed in thought) and saying: Allah’s Messenger has divorced his wives. Should I get down and inform there that you have not divorced them? He said: Yes, if you so like. And I went on talking to him until I (found) the signs of anger disappeared on his face and (his seriousness was changed to a happy mood and as a result thereof) his face had the natural tranquillity upon it and he laughed and his teeth were the most charming (among the teeth) of all people. Then Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) climbed down and I also climbed down and catching hold of the wood of the palm-tree and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came down (with such ease) as if he was walking on the ground, not touching anything with his hand (to get support). I said: Messenger of Allah, you remained in your apartment for twenty-nine days. He said: (At times) the month consists of twenty-nine days. I stood at the door of the mosque and I called out at the top of my voice: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has not divorced his wives (and it was on this occasion that this) verse was revealed:” And if any matter pertaining to peace or alarm comes within their ken, they broadcast it; whereas, if they would refer it to the Apostle and those who have been entrusted with authority amongst them, those of them who are engaged in obtaining intelligence would indeed know (what to do with) it” (iv 83). And it was I who understood this matter, and Allah revealed the verse pertaining to option (given to the Prophet (may peace be upon him in regard to the retaining or divorcing of his wives).