I want to share some of his life with you:
Abu Hurairah was born in Baha, Yemen into the Banu Daws tribe from the region of Tihamah on the coast of the Red Sea. His father had died, leaving him with only his mother and no other relatives. His name at birth was Abd al-Shams (servant of the sun). However, as a child, he had a cat and became known as "Abu Hurairah" (which literally means "Father of the Kitten" or more idiomatically "Of the kitten").
After embracing Islam Abu Hurairah looked after the mosque and Prophet Muhammad. He made it a regular habit to give the left over food to the wandering cats. Gradually the number of cats around the mosque increased. He loved to caress and play with them. Hence he got the name Abu Hurairah - Father (care taker) of kitten.
As a young man, he worked for Bushra bint Ghazwan.
In speeches and lectures, in Friday khutbahs and seminars, in the books of hadith and sirah, fiqh and ibadah, the name Abu Hurairah is mentioned in this fashion:
"On the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said …".
Through this phrase millions of Muslims, from the early history of Islam to the present, have come to be familiar with the name Abu Hurairah.
His mother, Maymouna Bint Subaih, who was still a polytheist, was with him. He prayed for her to become a Muslim, but she refused. Sunni sources report:
One day, he again invited his mother to believe in the One God and His Prophet. She answered with some bad words about the Prophet. Abu Hurairah went to the Prophet with tears in his eyes. “Why are you crying, Abu Hurairah?” asked the Prophet. “I always invite my mother to Islam, and she always refuses,” said Abu Hurairah. “I asked her again today. But she said some things about you that made me sad. Can you pray to Allah for her to turn to Islam?” The Prophet prayed for Abu Hurairah’s mother to accept Islam. When Abu Hurairah went home, he found the door closed. He heard the splashing of water. He tried to enter the house, but his mother said, “Wait a minute. Don’t come in yet.” Then she got dressed and said, “You can come in now.” When Abu Hurairah went inside, his mother said, “I declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.” Abu Hurairah again went to the Prophet crying. But this time his tears were tears of joy. “I have good news, Rasul'Allah,” he said. “Allah has answered your prayer and guided my mother to Islam.”
Abu Hurairah died in 681 or 59 AH at the age of 78 and was buried at Al-Baqi'.
Of the hadith held as authentic by the Sunnis, Abu Hurairah is the most quoted person in men. Next to him come the names of such companions as Abdullah ibn Umar, Anas ibn Malik, Jabir ibn Abdullah, Abu Said al-Khudri and Aisha (the youngest wife of the Prophet) all of whom transmitted over a thousand sayings of Muhammad.
He is quoted saying:
“I grew up as an orphan. I emigrated as a poor person. I used to serve Gazevan’s daughter, Bushra. I served others when they stopped on the road. I drove the camels on the road. Then Allah made it possible for me to marry Bushra. Praise be to Allah who has strengthened His religion and made me an imam (leader).”
His daughter married Said ibn Al-Musayyib.
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