The most remarkable person in hadith learning and compilation history is Imam Bukhari. He was considered the most distinguished scholar of hadith in Islamic history . In this short article, we will share with you 9 interesting facts about the precious gem’s life. We will also reflect on his struggles in his pursuit for hadith learning.
The non-Arab who strived hard in the knowledge of hadith.
Imam Bukhari was born in the city of Bukhara during the Bani Umayyah dynasty in 194H. His full name is Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ismaeel ibn Ibraheem ibn Al- Mugheerah ibn Bardizbah Al Bukhari.
The Imam has non-Arab ancestors; the Persians. The Arabic language was not their local language. His great grandfather, Al Mugheerah, accepted Islam at the hand of Yaman Al-Jufee, the ruler of Bukhara.
Imam Bukhari was brought up by a pious single mother.
Imam Bukhari’s father, Ismail, was a prominent hadeeth scholar and Imam Malik’s student. He died when Imam Bukhari was a small child. His mother was a pious woman, and she brought him up in a household of piety and knowledge. There was no clear history about his married life or any of his children. Imam Bukhari lived during Caliphate Al Ma’moon’s reign in 195H until Caliphate Al- Mo’tamid’ Alallah’s reign in 229H.
As a young boy, he began to develop a love for memorization of hadeeth narrations since the age of ten. The Imam traveled to Makkah with his mother and brother to perform hajj at a very young age. That was the first scholarly journey he made in his pursuit of knowledge. He stayed behind in Makkah when they left home after performing hajj.
Imam Bukhari devoted himself entirely to knowledge.
Even though he came from a well-off family, he spent most of his wealth in his knowledge-seeking activities. He visited many different cities throughout his life, learning from many great hadith scholars. The Imam has been to Syria and surrounding regions, Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Basrah, Kufah, and many others in the circles of scholars in the regions. He wrote down hadith narrations from more than one thousand teachers. His high-ranking teachers include Abu’ Aasim, Makkee ibn Ibraheem, Abdullah Ibn Moosa, and Abul Mugheerah.
A pious man with a good character.
Imam Bukhari was a generous person with good character and always contented with his life. He upheld the correct belief that is in line with other famous Imam among the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wa Jamaah. Believed that the Quran is the speech of Allah is his principle and he upheld that Abu Bakar (May Allah be pleased with him) is the best sahabah, followed by other rightly guided caliphs.
A meticulous person in learning the hadith narrations.
Imam Bukhari is a person who was very meticulous in learning the hadith narrations. He remembered the chain of narrators of every hadeeth with him . He would only write a hadith from a particular person until he was sure about the narrator’s lineage, kunyah, and learning background. He avoided at-Tadlees (when a person conceals the identity of a narrator by using a pseudonym to make it more likely that one’s narration is accepted) in hadith narration. He would not write a hadeeth from any particular narrator if he doubted the person’s background.
A great teacher who has contributed a lot to the Muslim Ummah.
Imam Bukhari has contributed a lot to the Muslim ummah in few different ways. He became a great teacher of hadith since he was a young man. According to Al-Firbiree, ninety thousand people heard Sahih Bukhari directly from him. Thousands of people would gather around him and wrote down narrations from him, wherever he went. He gained much respect from the people of knowledge, including his former teachers. Some of his former teachers went to him to study under him. Under his tutorage came many other prominent scholars with giants of knowledge that benefited themselves and all Muslims who came after them. They include Imam Muslim ibn Hajjaj, the author of Sahih Muslim, Imam Abdur-Rahman An-Nasaee, Imam Eesa’ At-Tirmidhee, and Muhammad ibn Ishaq Ibn Khuzaimah. These scholars have authored their notable compilations of hadith that are still being used today.
Imam Bukhari has written the most priceless hadith book in history.
Imam Bukhari has authored many books but the one that is most priceless is ‘Al Jaami As-Saheeh Al Musnad Min Hadeeth Rasoolullah Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa-Sallam, Wa Sunanihi Wa Ayyaamihi’ that is simply known today as Saheeh Al-Bukhari. It ranks second only to the Book of Allah, the Quran, in its truthfulness. He authored the book for over 16 years. Out of 600 000 hadiths, he selected only a few authentic hadiths to write in the book.
Besides Sahih al Bukhari, he authored tens of other books during his lifetime, including At-Tareekh al Kabeer, At-Tareekh Al Awsat, At-Tareekh Al Asghar, and many others. Imam Bukhari was a great and competent scholar of hadith and in the Islamic jurisprudence or fiqh. He has arranged the chapters in Sahih Al-Bukhari that showed his competency in the issue of fiqh.
Imam Bukhari faced trial during his lifetime.
There was a misunderstanding raised by Muhammad ibn Yahya Adh-Dhuhalee. He said Imam Bukhari claimed that the Quran is not the speech of Allah even though he didn’t say so. He has a trying experience as what afflicted Imam Ahmad Bin Hambal during his lifetime. Muhammad ibn Yahya Adh-Dhuhalee has also influenced the governor of Bukhara about the claim that caused division between the people.
Imam Bukhari passed away at the age of 62 in the year 256H, in the village of Khazantak, about ten kilometers from Samarqand. According to the narration, he passed away on the night before Eid Al Fitr, and he was buried after the Zuhr prayer of Eid Day.
Finally, we can conclude from his biography, Imam Bukhari is the gem of our Muslim Ummah. We should treasure and take advantage of the knowledge that he gathered and shared through his books for our use and deliver them to others. May Allah reward him abundantly and placed him in the highest rank Jannah. Ameen.
 According to Al Arabiya News (Published: 27 May 2017, Updated: 20 May 2020)
 According to Taareekh Baghdad (2/10) and Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa (12/407) in The Book ‘The Biography of Imam Al Bukharee’ (Salaahud-Deen ibn Alee ibn Abdul Maujood, 2005, p 32)
 Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa (12/398) in The Book ‘The Biography of Imam Al Bukharee’ (Salaahud-Deen ibn Alee ibn Abdul Maujood, 2005, p 49)
ibn Alee ibn Abdul Maujood Salaahud-Deen (2005) ‘The Biography of Imam Al Bukharee’ Riyadh. Darusalam Publication
Al Arabiya News (27 May 2017, updated: 20 May 2020) retrieved from https://english.alarabiya.net/features/2017/05/27/Who-was-Imam-Al-Bukhari-the-most-famous-Muslim-to-documented-Islamic-hadiths-.
Written by Dr. Fadzidah Ariffin
Read about other prominent Islamic figures here.