Refuting the Argument Regarding Abu Hurayra Narrating Too Many Hadith


Bassam Zawadi

Some have argued that Abu Hurayra narrated too many hadith even though he knew the Prophet (peace be upon him) for such a short time. They assume that Abu Hurayra couldn't have done this and that he is a liar. Interestingly, the question of why Abu Hurayra narrated so much hadith was even asked during his lifetime. Abu Hurayra says why and how he could do so... 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 001, Book 003, Hadith Number 118.

Narated By 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." (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.  

Volume 003, Book 034, Hadith Number 263.

Narated By Abu Huraira : You people say that Abu Huraira tells many narrations from Allah's Apostle and you also wonder why the emigrants and Ansar do not narrate from Allah's Apostle as Abu Huraira does. My emigrant brothers were busy in the market while I used to stick to Allah's Apostle content with what fills my stomach; so I used to be present when they were absent and I used to remember when they used to forget, and my Ansari brothers used to be busy with their properties and I was one of the poor men of Suffa. I used to remember the narrations when they used to forget. No doubt, Allah's Apostle once said, "Whoever spreads his garment till I have finished my present speech and then gathers it to himself, will remember whatever I will say." So, I spread my coloured garment which I was wearing till Allah's Apostle had finished his saying, and then I gathered it to my chest. So, I did not forget any of that narrations.


Volume 004, Book 056, Hadith Number 789.

Narated By Abu Huraira : I enjoyed the company of Allah's Apostle for three years, and during the other years of my life, never was I so anxious to understand the (Prophet's) traditions as I was during those three years. I heard him saying, beckoning with his hand in this way, "Before the Hour you will fight with people who will have hairy shoes and live in Al-Bariz." (Sufyan, the sub-narrator once said, "And they are the people of Al-Bazir.") 

Volume 004, Book 056, Hadith Number 841.

Narated By Abu Huraira : I said, "O Allah's Apostle! I hear many narrations from you but I forget them." He said, "Spread your covering sheet." I spread my sheet and he moved both his hands as if scooping something and emptied them in the sheet and said, "Wrap it." I wrapped it round my body, and since then I have never forgotten a single Hadith. 

Volume 005, Book 057, Hadith Number 057.

Narated By Abu Huraira : The people used to say, "Abu Huraira narrates too many narrations." In fact I used to keep close to Allah's Apostle and was satisfied with what filled my stomach. I ate no leavened bread and dressed no decorated striped clothes, and never did a man or a woman serve me, and I often used to press my belly against gravel because of hunger, and I used to ask a man to recite a Qur'anic Verse to me although I knew it, so that he would take me to his home and feed me. And the most generous of all the people to the poor was Ja'far bin Abi Talib. He used to take us to his home and offer us what was available therein. He would even offer us an empty folded leather container (of butter) which we would split and lick whatever was in it. 

So we see that Abu Hurayra dedicated those three years to sticking to the Prophet (peace be upon) while the others were busy attending to their families or businesses. So basically, his learning from the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a full-time job. So it comes as no surprise that he narrated so many hadith.

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