Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu explains the reason for his numerous transmissions:
إنكم لتقولون أكثر أبو هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و الله الموعد و يقولون ما للمهاجرين لا يحدثون عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم هذه الأحاديث و إن أصحابي من المهاجرين كانت تشغلهم أرضوهم و القيام عليها و إني كنت امرءا مسكينا ألزم رسول الله علي ملء بطني و كنت أكثر مجالسة رسول الله أحضر إذا غابوا و أحفظ إذا نسوا و إن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم حدثنا بوما فقال من يبسط ثوبه حتى أفرغ فيه من حديثي ثم يقبضه إليه فلا ينسى شيئا سمعه مني أبدا فبسطت ثوبي أو قال نمرتي فحدثني ثم قبضته إلي فوالله ما كنت نسيت شيئا سمعته منه
You say that Abu Hurairah transmits in abundance from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And by Allah is the rendezvous. They say: What is with the Muhajirin that they do not narrate from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam these ahadith? My Muhajirin friends were occupied with their lands and looking after them. I was a poor man and remained permanently in the company of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to fill my stomach. I would frequently sit in the company of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I was present when they were absent, and I would remember when they forgot. One day, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam narrated to us and said, “Whoever will spread open his garment until I complete this talk of mine and then press it against himself will never forget anything he heard from me.” So I spread my garment―or he said: my spotted garment―and he narrated to me. I then pressed it against myself. By Allah, I never forgot anything I heard from him.
He would say:
و أيم الله لولا آية في كتاب الله ما حدثتكم بشيء أبدا ثم يتلوا إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يَكْتُمُوْنَ مَا أَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدىٰ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ أُولٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُوْنَ
I take an oath in Allah, had it not been for a verse in the Book of Allah, I would never ever have related to you anything. He would then recite: Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture – those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse.
He would encourage people to disseminate knowledge and to avoid falsely attributing anything to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He reports from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
من سئل عن علم فكتمه ألجم بلجام من نار يوم القيامة
Whoever is asked about knowledge but conceals it, will be made to wear a bridle from fire on the Day of Qiyamah.
He also transmits:
و من كذب علي متعمدا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار
Whoever lies against me intentionally should prepare his abode in Hell.
أي بسبب شبعي أي أن السبب الأصلي الذي اقتضى له كثرة الحديث عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ملازمته له ليجد ما يأكله لأنه لم يكن له شيء يتجر فيه و لا أرض يزرعها و لا يعمل فيها فكان لا ينقطع عنه خشية أن يفوته القوت فيحصل في هذه الملازمة من سماع الأقوال و رواية الأفعال ما لا يحصل لغيره ممن لم يلازمه ملازمته و أعانه على استمرار حفظه لذلك ما أشار إليه من الدعوة النبيوة له بذلك قوله و كان المهاجرون يشغلهم الصفق بالأسواق
To fill my stomach, i.e. the main reason which allowed the abundance of ahadith from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was his sticking to him to find something to eat because he had nothing to sell nor any land to cultivate or work on. Hence, he would remain permanently with him fearing that he might miss out on food. This devotion allowed listening to his words and reporting his actions which others who did not stick to him the way he did were not capable of. The prophetic invitation he indicated towards assisted him in retaining his memory of this. He says: The Muhajirin were busy with trading in the market places.
Al Nawawi explains:
أي الازمه و اقنع بقوتي و لا أجمع مالا لذخيرة و لا غيرها و لا أزيد على قوتي و المراد من حيث حصل القوت من الوجوه المباحة و ليس هو من الخدمة بالأجرة
I would stick to him and be content with my food. I would not gather wealth to hoard it, nor anything else nor would I increase my food. The meaning is from whichever permissible avenues food came. He was not a paid servant however.
The abundance of Sayyidina Abu Hurairah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrations is nothing worthy of disparagement. On the contrary, it is worthy of praise for his brilliant memory was the product of the du’a’ of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And this is a virtue in his favour.
Is it not surprising that the Rawafid find it hard to believe that Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu memorised few thousand ahadith while they report that Hassan could speak 70 million languages? Al Majlisi classified the isnad of this narration as sahih. They also believe that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu learnt one thousand chapters of knowledge from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, each chapter opening another hundred chapters. They believe that he and his offspring knew everything in the heavens and earth and nothing was hidden from them. They believe that the Imams possess more knowledge than the Prophets. In fact, they are more knowledgeable than the one who can forget (bada’) because they cannot.
As regards him remaining with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to fill his stomach; why do those loathe this who fill their bellies by eating haram khums for which they distort the Qur’an? They convert the war booty of the kuffar into booty from the poor which the Shia clergy wearing turbans devour impermissibly.
 Surah al Baqarah: 159.
 Sahih al Bukhari; Sahih Muslim.
 Fath al Bari vol. 13 pg. 323.
 Sharh Sahih Muslim vol. 16 pg. 53.
 Al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 426.Back to top