Abu Hurairah’s Secret (Hadith No. 2037)
Hadith no. 2036 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 3, Book 39, Number 539 :
Narrated by Sahl bin Sad (radiallaahu `anhu)
We used to be very happy on Friday as an old lady used to cut some roots of the Silq, which we used to plant on the banks of our small water streams, and cook them in a pot of her’s, adding to them, some grains of barley. (Ya’qub, the sub-narrator said, “I think the narrator mentioned that the food did not contain fat or melted fat (taken from meat).”) When we offered the Friday prayer we would go to her and she would serve us with the dish. So, we used to be happy on Fridays because of that. We used not to take our meals or the midday nap except after the Jumua prayer (i.e. Friday prayer) .
Don’t we all wonder how Abu Hurairah stands at the top of the list of Hadith transmitters. This is because of the sheer bulk of his narrations (5,375). He was regarded by the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) himself as the most eager, among all Muslims, to acquire the knowledge of Hadith. Wanna know how he did it? Read on!
Volume 3, Book 39, Number 540 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The people say that Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu) narrates too many narrations. In fact Allah knows whether I say the truth or not. They also ask, “Why do the emigrants and the Ansar not narrate as he does?” In fact, my emigrant brethren were busy trading in the markets, and my Ansar brethren were busy with their properties. I was a poor man keeping the company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and was satisfied with what filled my stomach. So, I used to be present while they (i.e. the emigrants and the Ansar) were absent, and I used to remember while they forgot (the Hadith). One day the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever spreads his sheet till I finish this statement of mine and then gathers it on his chest, will never forget anything of my statement.” So, I spread my covering sheet which was the only garment I had, till the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) finished his statement and then I gathered it over my chest. By Him Who had sent him (i.e. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)) with the truth, since then I did not forget even a single word of that statement of his, until this day of mine. By Allah, but for two verses in Allah’s Book, I would never have related any narration (from the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)). (These two verses are): “Verily! Those who conceal the clear signs and the guidance which we have sent down …..(up to) the Merciful.’ (2.159-160)
The two complete verses with translation:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَبَيَّنُوا فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
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, except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those – I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. [2:159-160]
So he devoted his life towards acquiring knowledge. Having spent three years with the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), he really did make the best of it. Whatever we have of the Hadith collections, much of it we owe to him and his excellent memory. :)