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Sahih Al Bukhari is a book on collection of hadith compiled by Imam Bukahri. His collection is considered to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace), and along with Sahih Mulsim forms the "Sahihain," or the "Two Sahihs."


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˜Al-Jame-ul-Sahih-al-Musnad-min-ahaadeethe-Rasulillah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam -wa-sunanihi-wa-Ayyaamihi. A word for word translation is: The Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith in the form of a book which relates to us the sayings, actions and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) which means a collected version of ahadith.



Abu ‘AbdAllah Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel ibn Ibraaheem al-Bukhaari, later known as Imam Bukhari, was born in Bukhara, eastern part of Turkestanon 13 Shawwal, 194 A.H. The newly-born child had scarcely opened his eyes in the world when he lost his eyesight. His father was immensely grieved at it. His pious mother wept and prayed to Allah to restore the eyesight of her newly-born child. And by the Grace of Allah, the eyesight of the newly-born child was fully restored. His father Ismail was a well-known and famous Muhaddith in his time and had been blessed with the chance of being in the company of Imam Malik, Hammad Ibn Zaid and also Abdullah Ibn Mubarak.


He began his study of the Hadith at the early age of eleven. In his 16th year, he made pilgrimage along with his mother and elder brother. There he attended the lectures of the great teachers of Hadith in Makkah and Madinah. He was still 18 years old, when he wrote a book on the decisions made by the Companions of the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace)and their followers. 


He started on a study pilgrimage of the world of Islam, which lasted 16 years. Of this period, he spent five years in Basrah, visiting Egypt, Hijaz, Kufa and Baghdad several times and wandered all over Western Asia in quest of knowledge and learning. During his travels he reported ahadith from 80,000 persons. With the help of his exceptional memory he could retain these ahadith with all their sources in his mind to be penned down at an opportune time.  He traveled a great deal in order to expand his knowledge.


Al-Bukhaari had more than one thousand shaykhs whom he met in the countries and cities to which he travelled. Among them were: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Hammaad ibn Shaakir, Makki ibn Ibraaheem and Abu ‘Aasim al-Nabeel (May Allah have Mercy on Them All). 


Allaamah Nawawi (May Allah have Mercy on Him) relates that all scholars in Islam have agreed that Sahih Al Bukhari has earnestly gained the reward of being the most authentic after the Glorious Qur'an. He died, May Allah have mercy on him, on the night of Eid al-Fitr, 256 AH, at the age of 62.


Number of ahadeeth

His monumental work, Sahih Al 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 Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace)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 including hadith occurring repeatedly. It has been said that this number excluding repeated ahadith is 4,000 and, according to Ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on him)it is 9,082 and without repetition this number reduces to around 2,602. This is from a total of around 600,000 traditions that the Imam Bukhari collected. He took 16 years to complete it.  It is divided into 97 books with 3450 subsections, each with a heading to indicate its contents.


Uncountable commentaries and ‘Sharah’ (explanations) have been written for this ‘Sahih Al Bukhari’, the most prominent one is that of Hafiz ibn Hajar Assqalani, titled as ‘ Fath al Bari’.


Methods of Classification and Annotation

Imam Bukhari laid down the strictest conditions for acceptance of hadith for his Sahih:

  • The narrator must be of a very high grade of personal character, of a very high grade of literary and academic standard.
  • Good memory and precision on the part of narrators with regard to what they are narrating. 
  • Continuous isnaad from beginning to end, meaning that each narrator heard the hadeeth from the one before him. 
  • Accurate memory narrator should not contradict more memory narrator. (Admu- Muqalfatus Fiqati liman huwa Ausaq Minhu)
  • Should not have Hidden defects which have been identified by higher level scholars of Hadith. (Admul Illati)


These five methods of classification can be read in detail in the book of Tadreebur Raavi by Imam Suyuti

Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim (May Allah have mercy on them) used the following to assess hadeeth: 


- ‘Ilm al-hadeeth Knowledge/Study of the hadeeth

This means the wording the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace), used, its line of transmission and the original listener and/or recorder.


- ‘Ilm rijaal al-hadeeth Knowledge/Study of the credibility of transmitter

This means analysing the transmitters in terms of:

a. Faith: must be Muslim

b. Puberty: must have reached the age of maturity

c. Mental State: must be of stable mind

d. Sin: avoids sin; does not stray or deviate

e. Actions/Manners demonstrates an elevated standard of manners


The six most authentic and distinguished books of ahadith that are taught and learned in Islamic Studies are:

i) Sahih al-Bukhari

ii) Sahih Muslim

iii) Jama’i at-Tirmidhi

iv) Sunan Abu Dawood

v) Sunan Nasa’ii

vi) Sunan ibn Majah


Among the most Authentic books of Ahadith, Sahih Al Bukahri considered to be one of the most authentic collections of the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace), and along with Sahih Al Mulsim forms the "Sahihain," or the "Two Sahihs." [3] [4]








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