Abu Hurayrah

“So my friend and I made a supplication to God before Abu Hurayrah did and the Prophet began to say Ameen to our dua.

“Then Abu Hurayrah made a supplication saying: “O Lord, I ask You for what my two companions have asked and I ask You for knowledge which will not be forgotten.”

“The Prophet, peace be on him, said: ‘Ameen.’ “We then said: ‘And we ask Allah for knowledge which will not be forgotten, and the Prophet replied: ‘The Dawsi youth has asked for this before you.” “With his formidable memory, Abu Hurayrah set out to memorize in the four years that he spent with the Prophet, the gems of wisdom that emanated from his lips. He realized that he had a great gift and he set about to use it to the full in the service of I slam.

He had free time at his disposal. Unlike many of the Muhajirin he did not busy himself’ in the market-places, with buying and selling. Unlike many of the Ansar, he had no land to cultivate nor crops to tend. He stayed with the Prophet in Madinah and went with him on journeys and expeditions.

Many companions were amazed at the number of hadith he had memorized and often questioned him on when he had heard a certain hadith and under what circumstances.

Once Marwan ibn al-Hakam wanted to test Abu Hurayrah’s power of memory. He sat with him in one room and behind a curtain he placed a scribe, unknown to Abu Hurayrah, and ordered him to write down whatever Abu Hurayrah said. A year later, Marwan called Ab u Hurayrah again and asked him to recall the same ahadith which the scribe had recorded. It was found that he had forgotten not a single word.

Abu Hurayrah was concerned to teach and transmit the ahadith he had memorized and knowledge of Islam in general. It is reported that one day he passed through the suq of Madinah and naturally saw people engrossed in the business of buying and selling.

“How feeble are you, O people of Madinah!” he said.

“What do you see that is feeble in us, Abu Hurayrah?” they asked.

“The inheritance of the Messenger of God, peace be on him, is being distributed and you remain here! Won’t you go and take your portion?”

“Where is this, O Abu Hurayrah?” they asked.

“In the Masjid,” he replied.

Quickly they left. Abu Hurayrah waited until they returned. When they saw him, they said: “O Abu Hurayrah, we went to the Masjid and entered and we did not see anything being distributed.”

“Didn’t you see anyone in the Masjid?” he asked.

“O yes, we saw some people performing Salat, some people reading the Quran and some people discussing about what is halal and what is haram.”

“Woe unto you,” replied Abu Hurayrah,” that is the inheritance of Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace.”

Abu Hurayrah underwent much hardship and difficulties as a result of his dedicated search for knowledge. He was often hungry and destitute. He said about himself:

“When I was afflicted with severe hunger, I would go to a companion’ of the Prophet and asked him about an ayah of the Quran and (stay with him) learning it so that he would take me with him to his house and give food. ”

One day, my hunger became so severe that I placed a stone on my stomach. I then sat down in the path of the companions. Abu Bakr passed by and I asked him about an ayah of the Book of God. I only asked him so that he would invite me but he didn’t.

“Then Umar ibn al-Khattab passed by me and I asked him about an ayah but he also did not invite me. Then the Messenger of God, peace be on him, passed by and realized that I was hungry and said: “Abu Hurayrah!”

“At your command” I replied and followed him until we entered his house. He found a bowl of milk and asked his family: “From where did you get this?”

“Someone sent it to you” they replied.

He then said to me: “O Abu Hurayrah, go to the Ahl as-Suffah and invite them.” Abu Hurayrah did as he was told and they all drank from the milk.

The time came of course when the Muslims were blessed with great wealth and material goodness of every description. Abu Hurayrah eventually got his share of wealth. He had a comfortable home, a wife and child. But this turn of fortune did not change his personality. Neither did he forget his days of destitution. He would “I grew up as an orphan and I emigrated as a poor and indigent person. I used to take food for my stomach from Busrah bint Ghazwan. I served people when they returned from journeys and l ed their camels when they set out. Then God caused me to marry her (Busrah). So praise be to God who has strengthened his religion and made Abu Hurayrah an imam.” (This last statement is a reference to the time when he became governor of Madinah.)

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