Abu Hurairah (RA)'s large amount of narrations are due to multiple reasons working together. We have to also keep in mind the following statement by Abdullah ibn Umar (RA), the second highest narrator, vouching for Abu Hurairah's hadith knowledge:
Ibn 'Umar said to Abu Hurairah: "You used to stick to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) most out of all of us, and you used to best memorize his Ahadith out of us." Tirmidhi
So, this is a list of some reasons:
- Abu Hurairah (RA) did not have a job or business during his time with the Prophet (SAW). He was one of the people of Saffah, so he spent most of his time in the mosque of the Prophet (SAW):
Narrated Abu Huraira: The people of As-Suffah were the guests of the people of Islam, they had nothing of people nor wealth to rely upon. And By Allah, the One Whom there is none worthy of worship besides Him – I would lay on the ground on my liver (side) due to hunger, And I would fasten a stone to my stomach out of hunger. (Tirmidhi)
He relied completely on the donations to survive. On the other hand, the other Sahaba had jobs and business to conduct for their sustenance. Abu Huraira (RA) simply sat and learned.
Abu Hurairah (RA) had no family to look after except for an elderly mother. The other Sahabah had their own wives and children that they had to spend time with. The evidence for this is self-explanatory from the above hadith. He would not be able to get married when he doesn't have a house to live in.
Abu Hurairah (RA) had a better memory than most of the Sahaba, he was motivated to learn from the Prophet (SAW), and he had Allah's blessing to do so.
Zayd bin Thabit reported, “Abu Huraira, another friend, and I were praying in the masjid. The Prophet came and sat down beside us. We stopped talking. But the Prophet told us to continue. So my friend and I prayed. The Prophet said ‘Ameen’.
Then Abu Huraira prayed. He asked for what we asked. But he also asked for knowledge that would not be forgotten. The Prophet again said ‘Ameen’.
Then we asked for knowledge that would not be forgotten, too. But the Prophet said that the Daws youth asked first. (Sunan al-Kubra al-Nasai, Ibn Hajar comments in Al-Isaabah that the Isnad is good)
- Abu Hurairah (RA) lived for a long time after the Prophet (SAW)'s death in which he had time to narrate so many hadith. More importantly, he spent the rest of his life narrating hadith instead of, as the other Sahabah's did, concentrating in Fiqh or doing Jihad. This is one narration of Abu Hurairah (RA) after the Prophet (SAW)'s death:
Shufaiy Al-Asbahi narrated that he entered Al-Madinah and saw a man around whom the people had gathered. He asked: "Who is this?" They said: "Abu Hurairah." (He said): So I got close to him until I was sitting in front of him as he was narrating to the people. (Tirmidhi)
The following was Abu Hurairah (RA)'s own response to the accusation that he narrates too many ahadith:
Abu Huraira said, "You people claim that Abu Huraira narrates many narrations of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ). (Anyhow) with Allah will be our appointment. I was a poor man, and used to stick to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) contented with what will fill my stomach, and the Muhajirin (emigrants) used to be busy trading in the markets, and the Ansar used to be busy looking after their properties. One-day I heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) saying, 'Who will spread his Rida' (a garment covering the upper part of the body) till I finished my speech and then fold it, (i.e. wrap it over your body), in which case he will never forget anything he had heard from me." So I spread my garment which I was wearing; and by Him Who sent Muhammad with the Truth, ever since, I have never forgotten whatever I heard from him (the Prophet)" (Sahih al-Bukhari)