HAZRAT ABU HURAIRA
(God be pleased with him)
Hazrat Abu Huraira was one of those followers of the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) who were distinguished for their extreme poverty and destitution. But notwithstanding such an acute distress, he never departed from the path of patience and perseverance. Sometimes he had to bear the pangs of hunger and had to go without food for days and nights together. He describes his condition as under:-
"Whenever I had taken a little bit of meal, I used to pay a visit to the Holy Prophet to obtain the benefit of his instructions. For this reason I could not afford rich food or costly dress or avail of the services of slaves of either sex. Whenever I was tormented with acute hunger, I visited some companion and asked him to recite some verse of the Holy Qur'aan so as to divert his attention towards my plight and give him a hint that I was hungry and needed food."
Again he says that he was one of those seventy Suffah companions who had not even a complete mantle to cover their bodies with. A rug or a piece of cloth wrapped round their neck formed their entire clothing. They were usually famished with bitter hunger. Starvation alone compelled anyone of them to come out of his house at any off-prayer hour. Often it so happened that some other people were found there in the same condition. One day he went to the Prophet's Mosque and found a man who enquired form him, "What brings you here this time?" He replied, "Nothing but hunger." As he too was in the same condition, they consulted each other and decided to wait upon the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam). Accordingly they approached the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam - Blessing of Allaah and peace be on him), who asked them the reason for their visit. Having come to know of their condition, the Holy Prophet had a tray of dates brought before him, out of which he distributed two dates to each of the visitors, saying that those two dates would be enough for each of them for the whole day. Hazrat Abu Huraira (May Allaah be pleased with him) took one date for himself and put the other one for his mother. Thereupon the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) asked him to eat the other date also, giving him a couple of dates for his mother.
Glory to God! How noble Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) was to his mother! Oppressed with excessive hunger, Hazrat Abu Huraira often fainted and fell down near the dwelling place of Hazrat Aisha (God be pleased with her) and some passers-by, taking him for an insane person, would sit down upon his chest; Hazrat Abu Huraira would remove his misunderstanding saying:
"Brother, it is nothing but the agony of hunger."
Sometimes he could not sit erect due to excessive hunger and had to recline on his elbow for support with stones bound to his stomach. He says that once he was sitting in that posture when Hazrat Abu Bakr (Raziallaahu anhu) passed by. He asked Hazrat Abu Bakr (Raziallaahu anhu) about a verse of the Holy Qur'aan, hoping that he would come to know of his condition and take him home to offer him some thing to eat. But Hazrat Abu Bakr (Raziallaahu anhu) moved onward without notice. Next Hazrat Umar (Raziallaahu anhu) passed by in the same manner. In the end, the Holy Prophet passed by that way. He noticed the signs of starvation on his face and took him home. He found a cup of milk there. On making enquiries as to where it had come from he asked Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) to invite all the Suffah Companions to share the milk. The Suffah Companions were the guest of Islam alone. They owned neither house nor property. When the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) received any alms, he sent it all to the Suffah Companions (May Allaah be pleased with them). But when he received any gift, he shared it with them. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) says:
"That moment I felt a little disturbed when the invitation was extended to all the Suffah Companions because I was hopeful of getting the whole for the milk for myself and would have gained strength afresh. But the behest of the Holy Prophet had to be obeyed. I accordingly delivered the Holy Prophet's message to the Suffah Companions and brought them to the Holy Prophet's house. When all of them assembled, the Holy Prophet ordered me to hand over the cup of milk one by one to the Suffah Companions. They all drank out of it and gave the cup back to me. After that the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) smiled and asked me to drink from the cup of milk. I drank from it. The Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) asked me over and over again to drink more, I did so and assured him that I had no room left in my stomach. Then the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) drank the rest of the milk himself."
But in spite of his acute poverty and absolute pauperism, Hazrat Abu Huraira maintained his self-respect with remarkable dignity and patience. Once he came to Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab when he was saying the praise and glorification of Allaah after offering his prayers. He waited till he finished his recitations. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) asked Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab to teach him some verses of the Holy Qur'aan. He taught a few verses from the Soorah (Chapter) entitled 'Aal-e-Imran' and leaving him at the door of his house went inside. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallahu anhu) thought that he would come out after changing his dress, and bring him something to eat. But Umar Bin Khattab did not turn up. He was coming back disappointed, when he met the Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) on the way. The Prophet asked him:
"O Abu Huraira, why a bad smell is coming out of your mouth?"
"O Prophet of Allaah, I have been fasting for days without break having nothing to eat."
The Holy Prophet (Salallaahu alaihi wasallam) took him home and ordered his Abyssinian girl slave to bring him a cup containing some remains of the food he had previously taken. He ordered Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) to eat whatever there was in the cup. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) said that he started eating with Allaah's name. he scratched some of the remains which were stuck to the brim of the cup, collected and ate them up till he was fully satisfied.
As an Orphan and Pauper.
Hazrat Abu Huraira used to say:
"I was brought up as an orphan and I migrated (performed Hijrat) as a pauper. I was just a labourer in the service of Basra Bint Ghazwan. My remuneration was food and conveyance only. I served my mistress during her halt in journey and whenever she mounted the camel, I sang the traveller's song. Later it so happened that the same Basra Bint Ghazwan became my wife!"
Imam-ut-Tabiyin Sayeed Ibn Musayab (13 A.H. to 94 A.H.) says about Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu):
"On return home from the market, he used to ask for food from his family members."
On receiving a reply in the negative, he used to say:
"Then I am on fast."
Notwithstanding his grim poverty, he was never greedy and did not take his meals in excess. He practised high abstinence and ate only as much as was necessary for his sustenance. If ever he obtained fifteen dates, he ate five at breakfast, kept five for 'Sehri' and reserved remaining five for 'Aftar' on the following evening. He underwent a prolonged ordeal of adversity and destitution till by the grace of Almighty Allaah he became rich and began to enjoy the blessings of prosperity and happiness. At this time he was overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude. He always remembered the days of his poverty and reminded people of the bounties of God and induced them to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam).
Once he passed by a group of persons who were feasting upon a roasted goat. They invited him to share with them. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) declined saying:
"The Apostle of God passed away from the world without ever taking his full meal."
Muzarib Bin Kharan says that once he was travelling at night. He heard a man uttering Taqubir. On enquiry, he came to know that he was Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) who was uttering Taqubir so as to express God's gratitude for arranging his marriage with Basra Bint Ghazwan, of whom he had once been a servant. When he had a guest to entertain, he used to send his salutations to his mother and requested her to send him some food. His mother used to send him three cakes, some olive oil and salt arranged in a tray. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu), on receiving the food, used to exclaim:
"All glory is to God. There was a time when I had nothing to eat except dates and water."
Whenever Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) had a chance to put on a fine dress during his days of prosperity, he would feel proud and compare these days with the days of misery. He remembered the days when once he fell down near the residence of Hazrat Bibi Aisha (Raziallaahu anha) due to starvation and nothing else.
Hazrat Abu Huraira constantly requested his mother to embrace Islam and requested the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) also to pray for her conversion to Islam. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) prayed to God for her conversion. When Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) returned home, his joy knew no bounds when his mother greeted him heartily with the Kalima of Faith on her lips. Hazrat Abu Huraira (Raziallaahu anhu) started weeping due to excessive joy. At his request the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) prayed for the establishment of love and harmony between the mother and the son and the rest of the Muslim brotherhood.
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)