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 Muslim intellectual tradition 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 traditions of the Prophet (SAW), and put them in order in his greatest book, “Sahih Bukhari”.
Allah had declared in Surah Juma’h, in the 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 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 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 of knowledge. During his travels to different corners of the world, he quenched his thirst of meeting the scholars of Islam.
It is believed that the great Imam disliked meeting rulers, and those in power to any misgiving about the mission for which he was born and was striving hard and facing all perils.
During his travels he collected different narrations. It is believed that he collected three lakh reports and himself remembered two lakh. He was on the scene when trials were on to forge and tamper the real Hadith to please rulers and mingle real with unreal.
Imam Bukhari, before recording a Hadith would make ablution and offer 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, and humble life. Hazrat Hashid Bin Ismael relates that Imam Bukhari had a great memory like Hazrat Abu Hurrairah (RA).
The Imam continuously attended the school of Hadith for sixteen days and would only listen what was being taught and would not make any notes while as other children would note down everything being taught. And his classmates told him that he had wasted time by not noting the lessons.
The Imam asked them to bring their notebooks 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 Sahih 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 the collection hadith.
All scholars of Islam agree that the Sahih Bukhari is the most authentic book of Prophet’s traditions. The Imam remembered a huge number of Hadith but picked up approximately 7, 275 with repetition and about 2, 230 without repetition depending on the 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.
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