Imam Bukhari

Imam Bukhari

Imam Bukhari (194 – 265)

By: Shaykh al-Hadîth `Allâma Ghulâm Rasûl Sa`îdî Translated by: `Allâmah Ishfaq Alam Qadri and M. Iqtidar

After the Sahâbah al-kirâm, Imâm al-Bukhârî ranks as the most eminent of those pious people who have conferred endless bliss upon the Ummah of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam. The greatest evidence of this is the book of Ahâdîth an-Nabawî he compiled, commonly known as Sahîh al-Bukhârî. It is universally acknowledged as the most authentic book after the Holy Qur’ân. So long as their is one Muslim left on the Earth, the blessings of Imâm Bukhârî will have a place in his or her Îmân and Islâm. Let us briefly examine below a short survey of his life and works.

His Early Years

Imâm al-muhaddithîn Hadrat Imâm Abû `Abdullâh Muhammad ibn Ismâ`îl al-Bukhârî was born on the 13th of the Islâmic month of Shawwâl, 194AH, in the famous city of Bukhara, of the land “beyond the canal” – present day Uzbekistan -. The father of Imâm Bukhârî, Ismâ`îl ibn Ibrâhîm ibn Mughîrah al-Ja`fî, was a great muhaddith and ascetic from whom he inherited his characteristics of literary zeal and excellence. During infancy his father passed away and his mother took on the entire responsibility of bringing him up. Imâm Bukhârî became blind at a young age. He had recourse to many famous and skilled doctors of his time but their treatments made no difference. His mother was a pious worshipper and a righteous woman. She cried out for help in the court of Allâh the Almighty, for her child and begged for the restoration of his eyesight. At last, “the river of mercy flowed over her,” and Almighty Allâh accepted her invocation. One night, she visited Ibrâhîm `alayhis-salâm in a dream and was told, “Allâh has restored the sight of your son because of your intense and beautiful invocations.” In the morning, as Imâm Bukhârî got up from his bed, glimmers of light reached out into his eyes.

Primary Education and  Interest in Hadîth

When Imâm Bukhârî reached the age of ten and after acquiring his elementary education, Almighty Allâh inserted the interest in the science of Ahadîth into his heart and he obtained admission in the Hadîth class of Bukhara. He obtained his educations after vigorous study. A year later, he had such a good retention of the text and chains of transmission of Ahâdîth, that sometimes teachers got their corrections from him. Imâm Bukhârî had been acquiring religious education with competance and swiftness and at the tender age of sixteen, he had completely learnt by heart the books of `Abdullâh ibn al-Mubârak, al-Wakî` and other learned companions of al-Imâm Abû Hanîfa radiyallâhu `anhum.

The Visit to the Haramayn and the Commencement of His Ahâdîth Compilation

At the age of eighteen, He visited Makkah accompanied by his mother and elder brother, Ahmad ibn Ismâ`îl. After performing the pilgrimage, his brother returned with the company of his mother, but Imâm Bukhârî stayed there for further education. Meanwhile, he wrote a book called, Qadâyâ as-Sahâbah wat-Tâbi`în. After this he went to Madînah al-munawwarah to compile the famous book of Asmâ` ar-rijâl (Names of men of   transmission) called, Târîkh al-kabîr, while sitting by the tomb of the Holy Prophet sallallâhu `alayhi wa sallam during moonlight hours. Immediately after completing this, a series of imitations had begun. Muhammad ibn Yûsaf al-Furyâbî said that at the time he had copied Târîkh al-kabîr, Imâm Bukhârî did not yet have any facial hair.

Imâm Bukhârî travelled to cities far and wide for the transmission of Ahâdîth and had gained immense knowledge while sitting far from his own country for several years. He stated himself, “To seek knowledge, I travelled to Egypt and Syria twice, Basra four times, spent six years at the Hijâz and left for Kufa and Baghdad on so many occasions accompanied by Muhaddithîn.”

His Remarkable Memory

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