One of the most interesting aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is that which has to do with his companions (Sahabah). Of these companions, one of them truly stood out and he is affectionately known as Abu Hurairah but his real name was Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Sakhr Ad-Dausi and he remains the most prolific of all the narrators of the hadith. His nickname ‘Abu Hurairah’ means ‘father of a cat’ or ‘father of a kitten’ because of his love for these feline creatures. Here is the tale of a companion who had so much love for the Prophet (SAW).
Even though Abu Hurairah spent just a little over two years with the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), he was fully involved in several activities of the Noble Messenger to the extent that they even went on trips and expeditions together. Today, at least a total of 5,374 narrations of hadith have been credited to Abu Hurairah. Such was the depth of the devotion and loyalty he and other companions had for the Noble Messenger of Allah (SWT).
Records show that Abu Hurairah was born in 600 AD and he belonged to the Arab tribe of the Banu Daws. As he had lost his father and had no other family relatives, it was left to only his mother to raise him. He became a Muslim via the efforts of Tufayl ibn Amr who was the leader his tribe. The tribal leader had returned to their village after he had a meeting with the Prophet (SAW) and he accepted Islam. Of all the tribes people, Abu Hurairah was the first person to accept Tufayl’s call for conversion.
New Name Abd Al-Rahman
After he became Muslim, he travelled to Mecca with Tufayl to meet the Holy Prophet (SAW) who then gave him a new name of Abd Al-Rahman which meant ‘servant of the Merciful’. Since that period, he was closely involved in many of the activities of the Prophet (SAW) and on many occasions demonstrated that there was nothing he would not do for the sake of the Prophet (SAW), Allah (SWT) and Islam.
Devotion and Demise
After the death of the Rosul (SAW) which hit Abu Hurairah and other companions badly, he decided to devote the rest of life to doing nothing but teaching everyone about the hadiths in Medina. However, because of his experience and trustworthiness, caliphs would also appoint him to public offices like when he was made the Governor of Bahrayn (Eastern Arabia) under Caliph Umar and later Governor of Medina by the Ummayad caliphs.
He never wavered in his devotion to Islam and Almighty Allah (SWT) until his death in 681 CE and he was aged 78 years old at his demise. He was interred at the famous Jannat al-Baqi which is the first and oldest cemetery for Muslims in Medina and it not far from the Prophet’s Mosque. Even though he died centuries ago, the contributions of Abu Hurairah to Islam remain very relevant today. May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant Abu Hurairah the highest station in Jannah, aameen.