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Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr Ad-Dausi Al-Zahrani (Arabic: عبد الرحمن بن صخر الدوسي الزهراني; 603–681), better known as Abu Hurayrah, was one of the sahabah (companions) of Islamic prophet 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 attachment to cats, and he was a member of Ashab al-Suffa. Abu Hurayrah was from the prominent Arab tribe of Zahran of the clan of Banu Daws and was born in the region of Al-Baha which was in Asir at that time. 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 2 years 3 months approximately in the company of Muhammad and went on expeditions and journeys with him. He is credited with narrating at least 5374 Ahadith.
Abu Huraira was from the Arab tribe of Zahran of the prominent clan of Banu Daws and was born in the region of Al-Baha which was in Asir at that time. His father had died, leaving him with only his mother and no other relatives.
His name is disputed among Muslim scholars. His name is said to be "Abd al-Rahman Ibn Sakhr", "Abul Rahman Ibn Ghnam", "Abd Ibn Ghnam", "Abd Nahm Ibn 'Amir", "Abd Shams Ibn 'Amir", "'Omir Ibn 'Amir", "Abd Shams Ibn Sakhr", "'Amir Ibn Abd Ghnam", "Sikin Ibn Mal", "Sikin Ibn Hana'", "'Amr Ibn Abd Shams", "Amr Ibd Abd Nihm", "Sikin Ibn Jabir", "Yazid Ibn 'Ashrqah", "Abdullah Ibn 'Aith", "Sikin Ibn Wathmah", "Borir Ibn 'Ashraqah" or "Saeed Ibn Al-Haryth".
His birth name is also disputed among Muslim scholars, his birth name is said to be "Abd Shams", "Abdallah", "Sikin", "'Amir", "Borir", "Amr", "Saeed", "Abd Amr", "Abd Ghnam", "Abd Yalil" or "Abd Tim".
Life as a Muslim
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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"). 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. In his absence, he mandated the affairs of Medina to Abu Dhar al-Ghifari (or according to Umayyad tradition, Uthman ibn Affan). 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 681CE (59AH) at the age of 78 and was buried at al-Baqi'.
Reliability as Hadith Source
Although credited with over 5000 hadith (A. Kevin Reinhart states that 5,374 hadith have been attributed to Abu Hurairah), Al-Bukhari's biography of the Prophet Muhammad noted that Abu Hurairah was a late convert to Islam who spent approximately 2 years and 3 months in the company of the Prophet. This averages about seven hadith per day in a land and era when the Arabs were known for memorizing thousands of lines of poetry. It is notable that in many narrations, he may narrate hadith through an unnamed companion he heard it from, and not directly from the prophet Muhammad himself. This is acceptable because in Sunni hadith studies, every companion is considered a trustworthy narrator, and companions would only narrate from other companions.
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- "ON THE TRUTHFULNESS OF ABU HURAYRAH IN NARRATING HADITH". University of Malaya. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
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