Imam al Bukhari was the youngest and the greatest scholar of Islam.The youth of today needs to look into the life of this great imam .His principles,his morales and his conduct is exempalary for a muslim.
The youth of today are ignorant of even the names of our past scholars, never mind their biographies or contributions to Islam. Thus cut off from the past, many Muslims are in a state of ignorance and confusion, and seem to be waiting for someone to light up the way for them. Most people are tired of listening to speeches, and everyone wants to see people who represent, through their demeanor and deeds, a practical manifestation of the religion of Islam. One has to look far and wide to find people who fit these criteria .People look at fellow muslims to know about Islam.To have a better understanding on religion,one should look at the scholars of pasts,the makers of Islamic civization who have represented Islam in the best manner.One such person is Imam al Bukhari,the youngest scholars of all time,His Biography is easily available and you don’t have to go far in search of person who can explain you the manners in Islam.
Original Name of Imam Bukhari :
Ismail ibn Ibrahim al-Bukhari is one of the most well known scholar that Islam has produced in fourteen centuries.People speak of him as ‘al-imam-al-bukari”.His full name was Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim al-Bukhari al-Jufi.
Books of Imam Bukhari
Imam Bukhari is the author of the most famous book of hadeeth : Sahih Bukhari. The full title was called al-Jami’ al-Musnad al-Sahih al-Mukhtasar min Umur Rasulillah wa Sunanihi wa Ayaamihi.
His books Al adab al Mufrad (dealing with morals and manners), a useful work for starters, and a suitable home-halaqah reading-book. The Imam did not observe the strictness of chain therein which he observed in his Sahih Bukhari.And is very easy to grasp for a new muslim.
Imam al Bukhari left a great legacy of learning to generations of Scholars.Al-Bukhari had many writing besides the monumental Al-Jami al-Sahih.He wrote at least twenty-one works. His contributions to the preservation of the Sunnah were paramount. Unfortunately not all his works have survived the passage of time.
Exceptional Memory of Imam Bukhari
Imam Bukhari had an exceptional Memory . You will be amazed to know that
- By the age of 10, he was reading the available works of hadith;
- By the age of 16, he had memorized the works of Waki and Abdullah ibn alMubarak and he was familiar with the opinions of the Iraqi jurists.
- By the age of 30, al-Bukhari demonstrated an amazing memory and encyclopedic mastery of hadith.
His elder brother, Rashid ibn Isma‘il reports that the young Bukhari used to attend the lectures and discourses of learned men along with him and other pupils. But, unlike other pupils he never took notes of these discourses. They criticised him for not taking notes of the lectures and thus wasted his time. Bukhari did not give any reply. One day, being annoyed by their consistent criticism of his carelessness, Bukhari asked his fellow pupils to bring all they had noted down. By that time, his fellow pupils had taken down more than 15 thousand Ahadith. Young Bukhari, to the amazement of all, narrated all the 15 thousand Ahadith from his memory with minutest details which had not been noted down by the follow pupils.
His sharp intellect:
Pointed the mistake of a lecturer at the age of ten,when in those times pointing at mistake was not considered good especially by a 10 yrs old child:
According to his own narrative, he began to attend the lectures of the local scholars around the age of ten. He attended al-Daakhili’s lectures in Bukhara. One time he heard al-Daakhili read a hadith with the chain, “Sufyan from Abu al-Zubair from Ibrahim.” He told the lecturer that that was a mistake. Obviously, al-Daakhili was taken by surprise by being refuted by such a youngster.Imam Al-Bukhari stated that the correct chain was al-Zubair ibn Adi from Ibrahim because al-Zubair had never recorded hadith from Ibrahim. He told al-Daakhili to check his original if it was available to him. AlDaakhili admitted his mistake. Al-Bukhari was eleven years of age when that incident took place .
Imaan of Imam Bukhari-
He performed Hajj at the age of only 16.
At the age of sixteen he left Bukhara with his mother and brother to perform the pilgrimage to Makkah. This occurred after he had gained whatever knowledge he could in his homeland. He stayed for some time in either Makkah or Madina. It was at this time that he began his writing career. In Makkah, he wrote his Tarikh al-Kabeer which is a biographical work concerning the narrators of hadith.
Praised by all scholars of his time till now and will be everafter
Imam Al-Bukhari received the praise and admiration of almost all of the scholars of his time and afterwards. Ibn Hajr once wrote, “If we were to open the door [to recording] the words of praise for him from those who came after his time, the pages would be exhausted… It is an ocean that no seashore can contain.”
He was the master of the science of Ilah
The science of illah (spotting hidden defects) in hadith is considered one of the most difficult sciences to master. It is state that very few of the scholars of hadith ever really mastered it. It is agreed upon that Imam al-Bukhari, though, is one of those who did master this science. Al-Tirmidhi said, “I have never seen anyone more knowledgeable concerning illah and narrators than al-Bukhari.” He even admitted that much of the information that he included in his work on illal came from al-Bukhari.
He threw 10,000 gold coins amounting to today’s million dollars to save his reputation so that People accept his hadeeth.
During his studentship Imam al-Bukhari had to sail in a boat on a river. He had a thousand ashrafis (golden coins) in his possession. He was joined by someone who also boarded the boat and met him reverentially, and gradually developed cordial relations so that Imam al-Bukhari happened to mention to him about the money he had with him. One morning the man began to raise hue and cry, saying that his bag containing one thousand ashrafis was missing. The passengers began to be searched and Imam al-Bukhari, appraising the situation, threw the bag into the river. The Imam’s belongings were also searched but the money could not be found… When the journey was over the man asked Imam al-Bukhari about the bag of money.Imam Al-Bukhari replied that he had thrown it away into the river. When the man asked him why he thought it necessary to jettison it into the river and sustain such a big loss, al-Bukhari said, “All my life I have spent in collecting and compiling the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and my integrity has assumed proverbial proportions. How could I afford to lose the far greater wealth that I have acquired against my life’s blood by acquiring the taint of a theft?
He did not barter away his faith for money.
One time he was cheated out of 25,000 dirhams. He was told that he should go to the governor of the area to have the dispute settled. He replied, “If I do that for a worldly purpose, the governor might request a legal ruling from me on a religious matter, and I am not going to barter away my faith for money and the Hereafter for this world.” The person finally agreed to pay Imam al-Bukhari ten dirhams a month as payment for the 25,000 dirhams that he took.
He was a man of Principles
On another occasion Imam al-Bukhari had received some gifts. A trader came to him and offered him 5,000 dirhams for them. He said that he would think about it and give him the answer on the following day. He made up his mind to sell the goods to that trader. Before telling that trader his decision, another trader came and offered him 10,000 dirhams for the same goods. Imam Al-Bukhari declined the offer stating that he had already made the intention to sell it to the first trader and he did not wish to go against what he had intended in his heart.
He never backbitted anyone.
With respect to speaking about others, Imam al-Bukhari was very careful. He once stated, “I have not backbitten anyone since I learned that backbiting is forbidden.” He was soft when it came to the terms he used in jarh or the “discrediting of narrators”. He would not call others liars or words similar to that. The most he would say about somebody is that the person’s narration is to be avoided. He stated that if he says that about somebody, it means that it is not allowed to narrate that person’s hadith.
He ate grass at one time,although he was a rich man
Imam Al-Bukhari was known to be a very pious person. He did not care for the pleasures of this world. He would give a lot in charity and would eat very little. He was also willing to sacrifice for the sake of hadith. He once stated that he went to visit Adam ibn Abu Iyas and his money was late in arriving. He was forced to eat grass until someone whom he did not know gave him a pouch full of money.
Many scholars of his time envied him and he was patient
Near the end of his life, Imam al-Bukhari had decided to move to Naisaboor. By this time, obviously, he was a well-known scholar. All the people of Naisaboor came to greet him; some even setting up tents outside of Naisaboor was Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhuhli. Al-Dhuhli was also anxious to meet al-Bukhari and encouraged the people to give him a good greeting.
But things changed drastically afterImam al-Bukhari had spent some time there. AlDhuhli and the other scholars of Naisaboor’s popularity were greatly reduced while alBukhari’s lectures were always full. Finally, they conspired against Imam al-Bukhari by claiming that he believed that a “person’s wording of the Qur’an is created.” Someone went to al-Bukhari’s lectures to confront him on this matter. When Imam al-Bukhari was asked about the matter, he declined to answer but the questioner insisted. Eventually, alBukhari answered by saying, “The Qur’an is the speech of Allah and is not created. But the actions of the slaves are created. And to ask about such mattes is an innovation.” The person immediately misinterpreted al-Bukhari’s position and stated that Imam al-Bukhari said that the wording of the Qur’an is created. Al-Dhuhli took this opportunity to oppose al-Bukhari and stated that no one should sit in al-Bukhari’s lectures anymore since he is an innovator. Everyone except Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj and Ahmad ibn Salama listened to al-Dhuhli and left al-Bukhari. When these two left alDhuhli’s lecture, al-Dhuhli finally declared, “That person should not be allowed to live in this land.” Al-Dhuhli’s influence was great and al-Bukhari took this as a warning that he must leave Naisaboor.Imam Al-Bukhari stated that he had no desire of fame or fortune or power in Naisaboor and that it was just envy that led his expulsion from that city.
Due to this incident, Imam Muslim refused to record any of the hadith that he had heard from al-Dhuhli. In fact, he sent all of his books from al-Dhuhli back to him. Imam AlBukhari had a different approach. He knew that al-Dhuhli was wrong but at the same time he knew him to be an honest person and a trustworthy narrator and, therefore, he recorded some of al-Dhuhli’s hadith in his Sahih. But he did not record them with the name Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhuhli but he just called him Muhammad. He did this, some say, so people would not think that he admitted to the accusations of al-Dhuhli.1 (Unfortunately, both Abu Hatim al-Razi and Abu Zarah al-Razi were affected by the propaganda against Imam al-Bukhari and they stopped narrating his hadith.2 )Imam Al-Bukhari left Naisaboor to go to his home of Bukhara. Again he was greeted with a grand reception and he began to lecture there. But troubles soon began again in Bukhara. The governor of the area, Khalid ibn Ahmad al-Dhuhli3wanted al-Bukhari to come to the governor’s mansion and lecture privately to his children.Imam Al-Bukhari refused saying that it would be unacceptable for him to lecture privately to some people only and not allow others to listen. He also told the governor’s messenger, “Tell your master that I shall never humiliate knowledge, and shall never carry it to the doors of the people. If he needs me, let him come to my mosque or to my house.”
Sad Death of Imam Bukhari:
The governor became upset and began to rouse the people against al-Bukhari and he was finally expelled from Bukhara also.1 After leaving Bukhara, al-Bukhari was then invited to Samarqand to lecture to the people there. When he reached a town called Khartank, he heard that there was some commotion in Samarqand and some of the people there did not want al-Bukhari to move there. At that time, al-Bukhari made what seems to be his farewell supplication, saying, “Oh Allah, your earth has become too straitened for me despite its vastness. I beseech you to call me to yourself.” He received the news that the people of Samarqand had reconsidered and wanted him to come. Just as he was about to start his journey, he fell ill and finally died on the night of Eid al-Fitr, 256 A.H. He was buried the next day in Khartank
The entire populace of the town and the vicinity came out to pay their last homage to one of the greatest sons of Islam. His monumental work, Sahih Bukhari established his reputation as one of the greatest compilers of Ahadith in Islam. It is said that Bukhari retained in his memory one million Ahadith of the Holy Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) with all the details of their sources and reporters. Out of the million Ahadith which he had learnt from some 80,000 reporters, he selected 7,275 Ahadith and, according to Ibn Hajar, 9,082 for his monumental work, Sahih Bukhari. He took 16 years to complete it. This monumental work of Bukhari has been acclaimed by thousands of scholars, and erudite theologians as a rare accomplishment. More than 53 commentaries, some of these in around 14 volumes, have been written on Sahih Bukhari.
Abd al-Wahid b. Adam reported, “One of those nights I saw the Prophet in my dream standing at some place with a few of his Companions. I saluted him and he answered. I asked, ‘What makes you stand here O Prophet?’ He answered, ‘I am waiting for Bukhari.’ After a few days I learnt that Bukhari was dead. He had died exactly at the date and time of the dream.”
Do you want to read more about the greatest Scholar of Islam “Imam al Bukhari”.You can check this book which is a great read >> Biography of Imam Bukharee.
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