We traced the traditions talking about the virtues of Abu Hurayra and we found that the only source of them, in the most cases, was Abu Hurayra himself.
Ibn Abdul Birr said in his book al-Isstee’ab: “Abu Hurayra became a Muslin in the year of (the battle of) Khaybar. He participated in the battle with the Prophet (S.). Then he kept to the Prophet (S.) caring for knowledge. He was content of no more than his feed. His hand was in the Prophet’s (S.) hand. He went with him wherever the Prophet (S.) went. He was the most of the companions in memorizing the Prophet’s (S.) traditions.
He attended with the Prophet (S.) what the Muhajireen and the Ansar didn’t attend because the Muhajireen were busy trading and the Ansar were busy working in their gardens. The Prophet (S.) witnessed that he (Abu Hurayra) paid much attention to knowledge and Hadith. Once he said to the Prophet (S.): “I hear much from you and I am afraid that I may forget some.” The Prophet (S.) asked him to spread his dress. He did. The Prophet (S.) ladled into Abu Hurayra’s dress and asked him to join it to him. Abu Hurayra said: “I joined it to myself. I never forgot anything after that at all.”
These virtues were quoted from Abu Hurayra’s own traditions, in which he talked about himself. We didn’t find any source for these virtues save Abu Hurayra himself. The same was as to the other virtues ascribed to him undeservedly.
His becoming Muslim in the year of Khaybar was true because it was told by others than him, but that he had participated in the battle with the Prophet (S.), was not told of by any one except him.
As for what he said that he kept to the Prophet (S.) for the sake of knowledge and learning for nothing other than to satiate his stomach, his hand was in the Prophet’s (S.) hand and he went with him wherever he went, all of these things were pretended by him where he said: “I came to Medina while the Prophet (S.) was in Khaybar. I was more than thirty years old then. I kept to him until he died. I went with him to his wives’ houses.1 I served him, fought with him and performed the hajj2 with him. I was the most aware of his traditions. By Allah (S.w.T.), some of companions, who had accompanied the Prophet (S.) long before me, asked me about his traditions for they knew my keeping to him. Among those were Omar, Othman, Ali, Talha, az-Zubayr…”
The wise might wonder at the daring of this man narrating such traditions, which were unreal and untrue. But when they knew the fact that he didn’t tell of these traditions and their likes at the time of the great companions but he dared to tell of them after the most of the companions had died and the countries of Sham,3 Iraq, Egypt, Africa and Persia were conquered where the companions spread here and there and that the new Muslims of the conquered countries didn’t know anything about what happened at the time of the Prophet (S.).
Then he and the other liars found themselves in another world that didn’t know anything about the first age of Islam. They found that their new world believed them and heard them worshipingly for they were the remainders of the Prophet’s (S.) companions, who were entrusted with his Sunna and that they had to announce it. Moreover, the Umayyad state did the best to support them. Hence they had a great opportunity to tell whatever they liked of wonders and oddities, which were unacceptable by the Shari’ah and reason.
They told of absurd and null traditions for the sake of their benefits and to serve the policy of the unjust tyrants, who dealt with the religion of Allah (S.w.T.) as means to carry out their private aims and dealt with the people as their slaves. They divided the wealth of the Muslims among them as if it was their heritage! Those liars devoted themselves to the unjust oppressors, who, in return for that, gifted them with all means of comfort and tried their best to support them especially at the age of Mu’awiya. Those liars were the right hand, the spokesman and the spy of the Umayyad state.
(Woe, then, to those who write the book with their hands and then say: This is from Allah (S.w.T.)) 2:79.
How I wonder, by Allah (S.w.T.), at al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmed and the others, who were well-advised and had great minds, to be led so foolishly by what Abu Hurayra and his likes raved. Could they know when Ali, Omar, Othman, Talha, az-Zubayr and the other companions did ask Abu Hurayra? Did they ask him in the wakefulness, in the sleep or in the world of imagination? About which tradition did they ask him? Who did narrate that except Abu Hurayra? Which one of the historians or the authors of books of Hadith or biographies mentioned that one of these great companions had narrated even a single tradition4 from Abu Hurayra? When did they pay attention to his traditions? We didn’t find that he had told of traditions in the presence of them. He didn’t dare to. They often discarded him and denied his traditions as mentioned in details in the previous pages.
Now let us go back to what ibn Abdul Birr said about Abu Hurayra. His saying (that Abu Hurayra was the best of the companions in memorizing the prophetic traditions) was quoted from Abu Hurayra’s tradition, in which he said: “I was the most aware of his traditions”.
His saying (that he attended the Prophet’s (S.) meetings, which the Muhajireen and the Ansar didn’t attend) was quoted from Abu Hurayra’s tradition, in which he talked about spreading his garment in front of the Prophet (S.) as we mentioned it before with our comments.
His saying (that the Prophet (S.) witnessed that he had paid much attention to the knowledge and the Hadith) was quoted from Abu Hurayra’s Saying: “I said: “O messenger of Allah (S.w.T.), who is the happiest one to get your intercession? He said: “I thought that no one would ask me about this worthier than you when I saw you paying much attention to the Hadith.”5
Among his virtues, which those, who wrote his biography, talked about in details, was his haversack, from which he had eaten more than two hundred wasaqs6 of dates, his escaped servant, whom he set free for the sake of Allah (S.w.T.), his keeping two vessels of knowledge that he spread one and kept the other secret, the Prophet’s (S.) prayer for him and his mother, his walking above the water until he crossed a gulf without becoming wet and many others of his comic tragic stories at the same time! May Allah (S.w.T.) be with us to bear all that!