Hazrat Imam Bukhari (RA)

The Chief Guard of Hadith

Kashmir Magazine

Dr.Farooq Ahmad Peer

The Protector or the Chief Guard of the traditions (Hadith) of our beloved Prophet (SAW), Hazrat Imam Abu Abdullah Mohammad Bin Ismael Bukhari (RA) is considered as one of the greatest personalities of Islam whose name will remain eternal in the pages of the history of Islam. He has immortalised himself in view of the fact that he collected the true traditions of the Prophet(SAW)and rectified and put those in a chronological order in his greatest book, “Sahee Bukhari” which consists of a number of volumes. Allah had declared in Surah Jum- ah, in his Holy Quran that“Along with others of them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, Wise.” This underlines the fact that virtuous people like Imam Bukhari would be born who would take the beacon light of Islam in their hands and illume it with their true and rightful efforts even after the Prophet (SAW) and make the religion of Islam a living example and symbol. Imam Bukhari appeared on the scene at a time when the greats of Hadith like Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Yahya Bin Moin and Ali Bin Madini were revered and were held in high esteem by the Islamic scholars and by the public.
Imam Bukhari (RA) was born on 13th of Shawwal in 194 A.H. in Bukhara in the territory of Khurasan (West) Turkistan. His father left for the heavenly abode when the great Imam Bukhari was very young and he was then nourished and looked after by his mother. At the age of ten only he launched to learn the study of Hadith. He travelled to Mecca when he was sixteen years of age and was convoyed by his mother and elder brother. He made his mother and brother to go back and himself remained in Mecca for two years. He roamed and researched the traditions of the last Prophet (SAW) in AL-Hijaz for six years in total which actually covered of Mecca and Madina. He then left for Basra, Kufa, and Baghdad and travelled to Egypt and Syria. He visited Baghdad many times and explored the depths and other enlightening revelations of Islam. During his travels to different corners of the world, he quenched his thirst of meeting the scholars of Islam and made quest for more valuable traditions (Hadith). It is believed that the great Imam disliked meeting rulers, and those in power to avoid conciliation to not be amissed with the mission for which he was born and was striving hard and facing all perils to shield and guard the trueness and irrevocability. During his travels, he collected and gathered the different and precious jewels which were articulated from the Holy lips of our beloved Apostle of Allah (SAW). It is believed that he collected three lakhHadiths and himself remembered two lakh Hadiths. He was on the scene when trials were on to forge and tamper the real Hadith to please rulers and mingle real and unreal.
Imam Bukhari (RA) before recording each Hadith, would make ablution and offer a two Rak’at prayer and supplicate before Allah. The Imam in spite of the fact that his father was rich and had a lot of money lived a simple, munificent and humble life. Hazrat Hashid Bin Ismael relates that Imam Bukhari (RA) had a great memory like Hazrat Abu Hurrairah (RA) because he says that when he was admitted in one of the institutions with them where learning of the Hadith was given. The Imam continuously attended the school of Hadith for sixteen days and would only listen what was being taught and would not make any kind of noting while as other children would note down everything being taught. And his class mates told him that he had wasted time by not noting the lessons. The Imam asked them to bring their note books with them the next day, which they did. The Imam stood up and related fifteen thousand Hadiths chronologically and they were amazed and compelled to believe as if they had been taught all the Hadiths by the Imam (RA).
The Imam had a number of publications to his credit but the most famous and prominent among all is “Sahee Bukhari” the most dependable book on the gems of beloved Prophet (SAW) which is read and studied by everybody and believed to be the most authentic of all books on Hadith. To serve Allah and the Prophet (SAW) and the Muslim Ummah in general, the Imam worked assiduously day and night, surpassed all hazards during travels for collection. All scholars of Islam agree that the “Sahee Bukhari” is the book of Hadith without any fault and the most authentic after the book of Allah. The Imam remembered a huge number of Hadith but cherry-picked approximately 7,275 with repetition and about 2,230 without repetition of which there is no doubt about their genuineness and veracity.
The great Imam Bukhari (RA) left this world and embraced the real world on the first of Shawwal in the year 256 A. H, and was buried in Khartank, a village near Samarkand.
(The author is prominent academician & columnist; and can be mailed at: drfarooqpeer@gmail.com)