Can you provide the history of Abu Hurayrah’s (radiyallahu ‘anhu) agnomen (kunyah) with cats? Was he an avid cat lover?
Imam Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) has recorded the following Hadith which explains the reason:
‘Abdullah ibn Rafi’ (rahimahullah) says, “I asked Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Why were you given the agnomen Abu Hurayrah?’ He asked: ‘Do you not fear me?’ ‘Abdullah ibn Rafi’ replied, ‘Indeed, I am in awe of you.’ Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) then said: ‘I used to tend the sheep of my people, and I had a small kitten which I would place [on] a tree at night and during the day I would play with it. So they named me Abu Hurayrah [father of the kitten].'”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3840. Declared sound –hasanun gharib– by Imam Tirmidhi. Also see: Al Isabah, vol. 13 pg. 29 onward)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar