Friday, November 13, 2009

Mohammed Al- Bukhari

Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhari , popularly known as Al-Bukhari or Imam Bukhari (194/810-256/870), was a famous Sunni Islamic scholar of Tajik ancestry. He was, perhaps, best known for authoring the hadith collection named Sahih Bukhari, a collection which Sunni Muslims regard as the mostauthentic of all hadith compilations and the most authoritative book after the Qur'an.



Early life

He was born in 810/194 in the city of Bukhara, in what is today Uzbekistan. His father, Ismail Ibn Ibrahim, was a known hadith scholar who died while he was young.

The historian, al-Dhahabi described his early academic life:

"He began studying hadith in the year 205. He memorized the works of [‘Abdullah] ibn al-Mubaarak while still a child. He was raised an orphan. He traveled with his mother and brother in the year 210 after having heard the narrations of his region. He began authoring books and narrating hadith while still an adolescent. He said, “When I turned eighteen years old, I began writing about the Companions and the Followers and their statements. This was during the time of ‘Ubaid Allah ibn Musa (one of his teachers). At that time I also authored a book of history at the grave of the Prophet at night during a full moon.”[2]


At age of sixteen, he, together with his brother and widowed mother made the pilgrimage to Makkah. From there he made a series of travels in order to increase his knowledge of hadith. He went through all the important centres of Islamic learning of his time, talked to scholars and exchanged information on hadith. It is said that he heard from over 1,000 men, and learned over 600,000 traditions, both authentic and rejected ones.

After sixteen years' absence he returned to Bukhara, and there drew up his al-Jami' al-Sahih, a collection of 7,275 tested traditions, arranged in chapters so as to afford bases for a complete system of jurisprudence without the use of speculative law.

His book is highly regarded among Sunni Muslims, and considered the most authentic collection of hadith (a minority of Sunni scholars consider Sahih Muslim, compiled by Bukhari's student Imam Muslim, more authentic). Most Sunni scholars consider it second only to the Qur'an in terms of authenticity. He also composed other books, including al-Adab al-Mufrad, which is a collection of hadiths on ethics and manners, as well as two books containing biographies of hadith narrators (see isnad). It is said that his collection of hadith became sort of an obsession of his. He used all of his money to travel, and never became wealthy.

Last years

In the year 864/250, he settled in Nishapur. It was in Neyshabour that he met Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj. He would be considered his student, and eventually collector and organiser of hadith collection Sahih Muslim which is considered second only to that of al-Bukhari. Political problems led him to move toKhartank, a village near Bukhara where he died in the year 870/256

School of thought

Ibn Taymiyyah was asked whether Bukhari was qualified to deduce his own conditions in jurisprudence, not blindly following any of the Imams, or was he a blind follower. He responded that Bukhari was "an imam in jurisprudence, from those capable of deducing his own rulings, min ahl al-ijtihad."[3]

His theological position was conservative. He is recorded as being both anti-Mu'tazili and anti-Shi'ite. One source says that Bukhari once stated:

“I don’t see any difference between praying Salah behind a Jahmi or a Rafidhi and a Christian or a Jew. They (Mu'tazili/Shia's) are not to be greeted, nor are they to be visited, nor are they to be married, nor is their testimony to be accepted, nor are their sacrifices to be eaten.”[4]


§ Al-Jami' al-Sahih (الجامع الصحيح), also known as Sahih Bukhari

§ Al Adab Al Mufrad الأدب المفرد- Guidance in Good Manners and Etiquette for Muslims

§ al-Tarikh al-Kabir, The Great History, containing biographies of narrators, with a rating of each

§ al-Tarikh al-Awsat - The Middle History

§ Khalq Af'aal Al-'Ibaad

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