Abu Hurairah أبو هريرة () certainly is a sahabi on which there's a big dispute among the Muslim scholars in first place the shi'a and sunni scholars.

One of the main issues is the fact that this man who seemingly only lived at maximum three years with the prophet () was able to narrate (or better transmit) the major amount of narrations which reach according to some scholars 5374 hadith (this count includes repetitions, sahih and non-sahih narrations). Followd by 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar () with 2630 hadith, Anas ibn Malik () with 2286 hadith, 'Aishah, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, Jabir ibn 'Abdullah and abu Sa'id al-Khudry (see on wikipedia here in Arabic). The scholar ibn Amin says actually among these 5374 hadith only 8 ahadith in the 9 most known sunni hadith collections (the 2 Sahihs, al-Muawtta', the Sunan's of abu Dawod, ibn Majah, an-Nasa-i, Jami' at-Tirmidhi and the Musnad's of Ahmad and ad-Darimi) are exclusively narrated by abu Hurairah (see here in Arabic).

  • I'm curious whether there is an explanation defending (this amount) and meanwhile explaining how abu Hurairah managed to narrate at least twice as much as any of the sahabah ()?

I wonder if the explanation could be that he used to ask other sahabah and narrate from them.
I also read that he used to consult the former Jew Ka'ab al-Ahbar and we know that narrating from the people of the book is not per se haram based on:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence, and tell others the stories of Bani Israel (which have been taught to you), for it is not sinful to do so. And whoever tells a lie on me intentionally, will surely take his place in the (Hell) Fire." (Sahih al-Bukhari)

It would be nice if these points could also be addressed in an answer.

  • Your only looking for explanations? Or the question is not limited and answers providing evidence that such a number cannot be rightfully be attributed to him is also a valid answer?
    – Thaqalain
    Feb 15, 2019 at 22:08
  • @Honey no I'm looking for an explanation defending the view that he narrated such an amount (it is clear that some of these ahadith are weak as sunni scholars say there exist only 4000 + sahih narrations). You're free to ask about the opposite view :)
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 15, 2019 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  1. 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)

  • There should be backup for your points 2-4 too.
    – Sassir
    Feb 21, 2019 at 6:24
  • 1
    @Sassir I added some more support.
    – The Z
    Feb 21, 2019 at 7:17
  • What is the source of the report of Zaid?
    – Medi1Saif
    Feb 22, 2019 at 5:47
  • 1
    @Medi1Saif I found the source for it.
    – The Z
    Jul 9, 2020 at 10:57

Assalamo Alaikom. I wrote about Abu Hurayra, and I am an Arab who knows this man's history. The ahadith which Abu Hurayra narrated or transmitted or are attributed to him can be categorized as follows:

  1. authentic and accurate ahadith which Abu Hurayra learned from the Prophet (P) and they agree with the Holy Qur'an; these ahadith can be accepted and acted upon and surely Abu Hurayra will be rewarded by the Almighty for having disseminated them among Muslims;
  2. ahadith which he coined as demanded by his Umayyad patrons who showered him with money and high government positions, and these must be rejected especially when the verses of the Holy Qur'an do not support them,
  3. ahadith which various Muslim scholars and traditionists coined, tailored, custom-designed to support the rule of this despot or that then attributed to Abu Hurayra falsely while the man has nothing to do with them. Umayyad and Abbasid rulers have paid these scholars and traditionists to coin these "ahadith" which serve their political objectives.

May Allah Almighty guide our steps and lead us to what He loves and prefers, Wassalamo Alaikom.

Your Brother Yasin T. al-Jibouri

  • Please consider supporting your claims by evidences. Scholars have checked his narrations and came to the conclusion that only a handful have no backup in other sahaba's narrations.
    – Medi1Saif
    Mar 31, 2021 at 15:48

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