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Before embracing IslamEdit
Abu Hurayrah was born in Baha, Yemen in the tribe of Banu Daws from the region of Tihamah on the coast of the Red Sea around 603 C.E. (78 B.H.)
He was orphaned by his father's death and no relatives. He was named Abd al-Shams ("Servant of the Sun") at birth but was called Abu Hurayrah ("Father of the kitten") because as a child he had a pet kitten he took care of as a father.
Coming to IslamEdit
Abu Hurayrah embraced to Islam through his tribe's chieftain Tufayl ibn Amr when the latter embraced Islam after meeting Muhammad and called his tribe to do the same and Abu Hurayrah was the first to respond to his call.
It was Muhammad who named him Abd al-Rahman ("Servant of the Most Merciful [one of Allah's 99 names]") when Abu Hurayrah came to meet the Islamic prophet with his tribe's chieftain.
Abu Hurayrah was a man living an ascetic and humble life, cherishing knowledge and worship
Life in the Haramayn (Mecca and Medina) Edit
Abu Hurayrah was one who loved the Prophet's company and found favour with him and hence was the most renowned of Hadith narrators. Unlike many Muhajirin (Meccan sahabas who emigrated to Medina) he did not busy himself in the market places with buying and selling and unlike many Ansars (Medinan sahabas) he had no land to cultivate nor crops to tend. He stayed with Muhammad and travelled with him. Sahih Bukhari source relate the following hadiths:
Narrated Abu Huraira: People say that I have narrated many Hadiths (The Prophet's narrations). Had it not been for two verses in the Qur'an, I would not have narrated a single Hadith, and the verses are: "Verily those who conceal the clear sign and the guidance which We have sent down ... (up to) Most Merciful." (al-Baqarah 2:159-160). And no doubt our Muhajir (emigrant) brothers used to be busy in the market with their business (bargains) and our Ansari brothers used to be busy with their property (agriculture). But I (Abu Huraira) used to stick to Allah's Apostle contented with what will fill my stomach and I used to attend that which they used not to attend and I used to memorize that which they used not to memorize. (H - 1.118)
He prayed to God to give him knowledge that he would not forget and and he was indeed gifted with a formidable memory to quote and narrate the Prophet's sayings and traditions. The following sources relate:
"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 Islam."
He passed away in around 681 C.E (59 A.H.) at the age of 78
Shia sources list Abu Hurayrah among people who apostated from Islam or did not accept the doctrines of Islam in the first place along with sahabas like Anas ibn Malik, Abdullah ibn Umar, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and the three Rashidun caliphs except Ali ibn Abu Talib.
The Shia consider him as an enemy of Imam Ali, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain due to having been in favour of the first Umayyad caliph Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, the one who rebelled against Ali when he was ousted from governorship.
Some sources say that he was married Bushrah for whom he worked and his mother, formerly pagan, embraced Islam as a result of the Prophet's prayer to Allah. The sources relate it as follows:
“Abu Hurayrah said: 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).”
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.”