Lexically the word Abu Hurairah means ‘kitten owner’, the nickname he acquainted on account of his fondness for a little cat.
His real name is uncertain, although some call him Abu Hurairah ad-Dausee al-Yamani. After embracing Islam he was known as Abdullah or Abdul Rahman. He is famous for having related more Hadises than any other Companions of the Prophet (salallahoAlaiheWasalam). Through his prodigious efforts, hundreds of Hadises has been transmitted to later generations. He became Muslim at the hands of Tufil ibn-e amr the chieftain of the Dause tribe to which he belonged. The Dause lived in the region of Tihamah which stretches along the coast of the Red Sea in south Arabia. When Tufail ibn-e Amr returned to his village after embracing Islam Abu Hurairah was one of the first to response to his call.
Having embraced Islam it was the beginning of 7 AH that he arrived in Madina with others of his tribe. The Prophet (salallahoAlaiheWasalam) had gone on expedition to Khaibar. Being destitute, he joined the special group of materially impoverished Muslims known as the Companions of the Bench (Ashab-e Suffah). He was single, without wife or child. With him however was his mother who had still not embraced Islam. He longed and prayed for her to become a Muslim but she adamantly refused. One day, he invited her to have faith in Allah and follow His Rasool (salallahoAlaiheWasalam) but she uttered some bitter words about the Prophet which saddened him greatly. He went to the presence of Rasoolallah (salallahoAlaiheWasalam) and requested him to supplicate to Allah to make the heart of her mother incline to Islam. The Prophet responded to his request and prayed for his mother. When Abu Hurairah went home, to his surprise her mother was waiting for him to embrace Islam.
The time came of course when the Muslims were blessed with great wealth and material goodness of every description. Abu Hurairah eventually got his share of wealth. He had a comfortable home, a wife (namely Bushrah) and a daughter. But this tune of fortune did not change his personality. Neither did he forget his days of destitute. Much of Abu Hurairah’s time would be spent in spiritual exercise and devotion to Allah. During the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar, he was appointed by the Caliph as Governor of Bahrain. Hazrat Umar used to be very scrupulous about the type of persons whom he appointed as Governors. The Caliph Hazrat Umar was always concerned that his Governors should live simply and not acquire much wealth. However, in Bahrain Abu Hurairah became very rich by breeding horses and gifts which he received. Hazrat Umar asked him to hand over the wealth to the treasury.
Muslims own a debt of gratitude to Abu Hurairah for helping to preserve and transmit the valuable legacy of the Prophet. He died in Madina in 57 or 59 AH at the age of 78.
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