"I wish you had seen some of us living on a starvation diet
for several days, successively, so much so that we could not even
stand erect. On account of spasms of hunger, I would lie on my
belly and press my stomach against the ground or keep a stone
tied to my abdomen.
Once, I intentionally sat in wait for some notable people to
pass that way. As Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallaho anho) came along,
I joined in conversation with him, intending to continue the talk
till we reach his home, where I expected him to invite me to share
his meals, as was his wont. But his answer was brief, and my plan
did not work.
The same thing happened with Hadhrat Umar, (Radhiyallaho anho)
when he chanced that way. The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wa-sallam)
himself was the next to come. A smile spread on his face when
he saw me, for he at once divined why I was sitting there. 'Come
with me, Abu Hurairah', he said, and I accompanied him to his
He took me in, where a bowl of milk was brought before him. He
asked, 'Who brought this milk?" and was told that somebody
had sent it as a present. He bade me to go and invite all the
Suffah friends. The Suffah people were treated as everyone's guests
by all the Muslims. They were such persons who had neither hearth
nor home of their own, nor any other means of livelihood.
Their number varied with time. But at this particular juncture,
they mustered seventy in all. The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam)
would send them in groups of two or four each to the well-to-do
Sahabah as guests. He himself would pass on to them all that came
to him as 'Sadaqah', and would share the gifts too with them."
"When the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) asked me
to invite all these persons, I naturally had some misgivings,
for the milk was so little that it could hardly suffice a single
person. Also, I was aware that the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe
wasallam) would ask myself to serve the milk to the others first,
and a server is always the last and, more often than not, gets
the least of the lot. Anyway, out I went, and fetched them all.
The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said to me: Hadhrat
'Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallaho anho), do serve the milk to them.'
I took the bowl to each person in turn, and he drank the contents
to his heart's desire, and returned the same to me, till all of
them were served. The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) then
held the goblet in his own hand, smiled at me, and remarked;
Only two of us are left now!' 'Quite so', I replied. 'Then take
it,' he said. I needed no second bidding, and took enough. He
exhorted me to have more, and I had my fill; till I declared that
I had no room for any more. He then took hold of the bowl, and
drained the still remaining milk."
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