“Abu Hurairah was never tired of looking at the Prophet, whose face appeared to him as having all the radiance of the sun”
“Abu Hurairah, R.A. said: qala rasulu-llahi, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam…”
Through this phrase millions of Muslims from the early history of Islam to present day have come to be familiar with the name Abu Hurairah. In speeches and lectures, in Friday sermons and seminars, in the books of Hadith, seerah and fiqh, the name Abu Hurairah is mentioned in this fashion:
“On the authority of Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) who said: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said… “Through his prodigious efforts, hundreds of hadiths have been transmitted to later generations. His is the foremost name in the roll of Hadith transmitters. Next to him comes the names of such companions as Abdullah ibn Umar, Anas ibn Malik, Aíishah (the Prophet’s wife), Jabir ibn Abdullah and Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, each of whom transmitted over a thousand hadiths of the Prophet.
Abu Hurairah became a Muslim at the hands of At-Tufayl ibn Amr, the chieftain of the Daws tribe to which he belonged. Abu Hurairah’s name was Abdu Shams (Servant of Sun) which changed, after embracing Islam, into Abdur-Rahman (the Servant of the Beneficent). However, he continued to be known as Abu Hurairah, “the kitten man,” literally “the father of a kitten” because he was fond of cats and since his childhood often had a cat to play with.
Abu Hurairah loved the Prophet a great deal and found favor with him. He was never tired of looking at the Prophet, whose face appeared to him as having all the radiance of the sun and he was never tired of listening to him. Often he would praise Allah for his good fortune and say, “Praise be to Allah Who has guided Abu Hurairah to Islam. Praise be to Allah Who has taught Abu Hurairah the Qur’an. Praise be to Allah who has bestowed on Abu Hurairah the companionship of Muhammad (peace be upon him).”
With his formidable memory, Abu Hurairah set out to memorize in the four years that he spent with the Prophet, the gems of wisdom that emanated from his lips. He realized that he had a great gift and he set about to use it to the full in the service of Islam.