Thursday, November 8, 2007

Imam Bukhari

Imam Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma`il Al-Bukhari was born on Shawwal 13, AH 194, in the famous city of Bukhara, present day Uzbekistan. The father of Al-Bukhari, Isma`il ibn Ibrahim ibn Al-Mughirah Al-Ja`fi, was a great scholar of Hadith and ascetics, from whom the son inherited the characteristics of literary zeal and excellence.

His father died while he was still in his infancy and his upbringing was left entirely to his mother, who looked after his health and education very carefully and spared nothing in order to provide him with the best education.

Quite early in life, Imam Bukhari's intellectual qualities became noticeable. He had great piety and an extremely good memory and devotion to learning. It is said that while he was still in his teens he knew by heart 70,000 ahadeeth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

At the age of 16, he went to Mecca with his mother and enjoyed his stay in the Holy City so much that he decided to prolong his visit in order to benefit from the company of the great Muslim scholars who were always to be found there. At the age of eighteen, he wrote his first book on the subject of the Prophet's Companions and their immediate successors, and later a book on history called "Al-Tarikh-al-Kabir".

Imam Bukhari was very interested in history and the Ahadeeth (sayings of the Prophet). He sought the company of great scholars in order to learn and discuss the Ahadeeth of the Holy Prophet. He visited various countries, travelling to Damascus, Cairo, Baghdad, Basra. Mecca, Medina etc. During his stay in Baghdad, he frequently held discussions with the Imam Ahmad Hanbal, the founder of the Hanbali school of law.

During all these travels, Imam Bukhari had one aim: to gather as much knowledge as possible and to make the greatest possible collection of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet. He wrote profusely all the time. He once said that, “l have written about 1800 persons, each of whom had a Saying of the Prophet, and I have written only about those who have passed my test of truthfulness."

The Imam possessed one of the most amazing memories, and his contribution to the science of the Ahadeeth remains unequalled. He wrote several books on Ahadeeth but in his book: "Al-Jami-al-Sahih': the Imam had recorded all the Sayings of the Prophet which he found to be genuine after thorough examination and scrutiny. He spent sixteen years in research and examined more than sixty thousand Sayings from which he selected some 7,275 Sayings whose genuineness and accuracy he established beyond the slightest doubt. Deducting duplicates, the Imam's collection contain about four thousand distinct Sayings.

Imam Bukhari was extremely charitable in his remarks and opinions about men and scholars. Seldom did he brand the reporter of a false or inaccurate Hadith as a liar or forger, but simply called him "untrustworthy".

His popularity inspired jealousy in the hearts of reactionary Ulama' of his time and he was banished from the land of his birth by the Governor of Bukhara as a result of intrigues against him.

Writings and Other Compilations:
Imam Bukhari wrote many kitaabs besides Bukhari Shareef (Al Jamius Sahih). Here are some books written by Imam Bukhari:

Al Aadaabul Mufrad
Juz - Raf-e-Yadain
Juz - Qiraat-Kalful-Imam
At-Taareekh-Al Kabeer - Al Awsat-As Sageer
Kitabul Ashribah
Kitabul Hibah
Kitabul Ilal
Kitabul Wuhdaan
Af’aalul Ibaad

Imam Bukhari died on 1 Syawwal 256 AH on the eve of 'Eid Fitr at the age of 62 years in a small town near Samarkand, Tadzhikistan.

May Allah Have Mercy on his Soul and reward him abundantly for his great service to Islam. Amin.

1 comment:

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