Companion of the prophet
Father of the Kitten . Abu Hurayrah al-Dawsi al-Yamani was one of the best known Companions of the Prophet Muhammad and a narrator of hadiths. It is said that he was given the name Abu Hurayrah (Father of the Kitten) because he had a kitten and used to play with it while herding people’s goats for a living.
Late Convert . Abu Hurayrah was among the converts to Islam who arrived in Madinah around 629, the seventh year after the migration, and after that he associated closely with Muhammad. He was one of the poor people known as the Ahl al-Suffa, who inhabited the platform in the Prophet’s masjid and depended on charity.
Hadith Narrator . Although he arrived at Madinah only about four years before the Prophet’s death, he is best known as a narrator of hadiths about the Prophet’s daily life and other affairs. More than 3,500 of these traditions are attributed to him, and eight hundred different hadith collectors received traditions from him. According to Ibn Saad (784-845), the well-known biographer of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) and the Tabiun (the second generation after the original Companions), Abu Hurayrah passed on more traditions than other Companions—including Aisha, the Prophet’s young wife—because he occupied himself only with remembering the words and deeds of the Prophet, while others had different priorities and pursued other activities. The story is also told that Abu Hurayrah’s memory was blessed by the Prophet. Some of the hadiths attributed to Abu Hurayrah were not transmitted by him and are thus not authentic; because of his reputation for reliability, others sought to lend credence to nongenuine traditions by attaching them to his. The careful process of winnowing his traditions by analyzing their content and chain of transmission still resulted in many authentic ones appearing in the authoritative collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim. The traditions passed on by Abu Hurayrah are an important source of information about the daily life of the Prophet and his Arab contemporaries.
“Abu Hurayrah,” in The Alim for Windows, Multimedia Edition, Release 4.5 (Baltimore: ISL Software, 1996).
Schottenius, “De underjordiska källorna,” in Pdjorden: 1960-1990, volume 4 of Nordisk kvinnolitteraturhistoria, edited by Unni Langas (Hoganas: Wiken, 1997), pp. 412-419.