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Abū Hurayrah al-Dawsī al-Yamānī (Arabic: أبو هريرة الدوسي الزهراني; 603–681), often spelled Abu Hurairah, was one of the sahabah (companions) of Muhammad and, according to Sunni Islam, the most prolific narrator of hadith. He was known by the kunyah Abu Hurayrah "Father of a Kitten", in reference to his documented attachment to cats. It is unclear as to what his real name is, the most popular opinion being that it was ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Ṣakhr (عبد الرحمن بن صخر). Abu Hurayrah spent four years in the company of Muhammad and went on expeditions and journeys with him. It is estimated that he narrated around 5374 Ahadith.
Abu Hurairah was born in 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-Shamsh ("Servant of the Sun").
Life as a Muslim
Abu Hurairah embraced Islam through Tufayl ibn Amr, the chieftain of his tribe. Tufayl had returned to his village after meeting Muhammad and become a Muslim in the early years of his mission. Abu Hurairah was one of the first to respond to his call, unlike the majority of Tufayl's tribesmen, who embraced Islam later. Abu Hurairah accompanied Tufayl to Mecca to meet Muhammad who renamed him Abd al-Rahman ("servant of the Merciful", one of the 99 Names of God). Abu Hurairah then returned to his tribe to live for many years.
Military campaigns during Muhammad's era
He was present during the Expedition of Dhat al-Riqa‘. Some scholars claim, the expedition took place in the Najd, a large area of tableland in the Arabian Peninsula in Rabi‘ II or Jumada al-awwal, 4 AH (or the beginning of 5 AH). They substantiate their claim by saying that it was strategically necessary to carry out this campaign in order to quell the rebellious bedouins in order to meet the exigencies of the agreed upon encounter with the polytheists, i.e. minor Badr Battle in Sha‘ban, 4 A.H. Muhammed received the news that certain tribes of the Ghatafan were assembling at Dhat al-Riqa‘ with suspicious purposes.
Muhammad proceeded towards Najd at the head of 400 or 700 men, after he had mandated Abu Dhar al-Ghifari – or in the Umayyad version, Uthman, the Umayyad chief who killed Abu Dhar – is given this honor to dispose the affairs of Medina during his absence. The Muslim fighters penetrated deep into their land until they reached a spot called Nakhla, where they came across some bedouins of Ghatfan.
However, the opinion according to Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri in his The Sealed Nectar, is that the Dhat ar-Riqa‘ campaign took place after the fall of Khaybar and not as part of the invasion of the Najd. This is supported by the fact that Abu Hurayrah and Abu Musa al-Ash'ari witnessed the battle. Abu Hurairah embraced Islam only some days before Khaibar, and Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari came back from Abyssinia and joined Muhammad at Khaybar. The rules relating to the prayer of fear which Muhammad observed at Dhat Ar-Riqa‘ campaign, were revealed at the Invasion of the 'Asfan and this, scholars say, took place after the Battle of the Trench.
Death and legacy
Following the death of Muhammad, Abu Hurayrah spent the rest of his life teaching hadith in Medina, except for a short period as governor of Eastern Arabia (then called "Bahrayn") during the reign of Umar, and when he was the governor of Medina during the early Umayyad Caliphate. Abu Hurayrah died in 681 CE (59 AH) at the age of 78 and was buried at al-Baqi'.
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The Shia seldom accept hadith narrated by Sahabah that opposed Ali after the death of Muhammad unless there is a substantial similarity to one narrated by the family of Muhammad (who are considered reliable). According to the Shia, Abu Hurairah reportedly accepted Islam a few years before Muhammad's death, during the Battle of Khaybar.
- Glassé, Cyril (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira. p. 102. ISBN 0759101906.
- Sahih Bukhari Volume 001, Book 003, Hadith Number 118
- El-Esabah Fi Tamyyz El Sahabah. P.7 p. 436.
- Shorter Urdu Encyclopedia of Islam, University of the Punjab, Lahore, 1997, pg. 65.
- Muir, William (1861), The life of Mahomet, Smith, Elder & Co, p. 224
- Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Saifur (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 240
- Abgad Elulm, pp.2, 179.
- "KA'B AL-AḤBAR - JewishEncyclopedia.com". www.jewishencyclopedia.com.