His real name was Abu Abdullah Mohammad bin Isma’eel bin Ibraheem. He was born on 13th Shavval 194 AH (July 20, 810 AD) in Bukhara city of central Asia (Uzbekistan). He lost his father in early childhood and hence was brought up by his mother. He had lost his vision in childhood. He had recourse to many famous and skilled doctors of his time but their treatments made no difference. His mother was a pious worshipper and a righteous woman. She cried out for help in the court of Allah for her child and begged for the restoration of his eyesight. Allah blessed him again with vision. Once he had dreamt that he was moving fan over Prophet Muhammad (salallahoAlaiheWasalam). After interpreting this dream scholars predicted that he will eliminate and rectify all wrongly interpreted and said narrations of Prophet Muhammad (salallahoAlaiheWasalam).
When Imam Bukhari reached the age of ten and after acquiring his elementary education , Allah inserted the interest in the science of ahadees into his heart and he obtained admission in the hadees class of Bukhara. At the age of 18, he visited Makkah accompanied by his mother and elder brother, Ahmad ibn-e Ismaeel. After performing the Hajj, his brother returned with the company of his mother, but Imam Bukhari stayed there for further education. Imam Bukhari traveled to cities far and wide for the transmission of ahadees and had gained immense knowledge while sitting far from his own country for several years. He stated himself, “To seek knowledge, I traveled to Egypt and Syria twice, Basrah four times, spent six years at the Hijaz and left for kufah and Baghdad on so many occasions.
Imam Bukhari was a man with a very strong memory. Seeing his memory, the memory of Abu Hurairah is rekindled in the hearts of Muslims. Imam Bukhari’s memory could be understood by knowing that if he glanced through a book, it would be committed to memory instantly. In his early period of acquiring knowledge, he memorized seventy thousand ahadees and later in his life, this figure reached three hundred thousand (3 lakhs). Along with his extraordinary memory, he also had a very sharp intellect. He did not depend on pen and paper as much as he relied on his mind and memory. People examined the capabilities of Imam Bukhari in the science of hadees repeatedly but he always remained successful as a result of Allah’s gift of intelligence and superb memory.
He was bestowed with the highest rank of piety and righteousness. Imam Bukhari was so vigilant in his worship that he used to offer supererogatory namazes and keep fasts in abundance. He used to complete the recitation of the whole Quran Shareef daily in the month of Ramzan and also recited ten chapters of the Holy Quran deep in the night. He would complete the Holy Quran Shareef in the taraveeh namazes and always reciting twenty verses in each rakat. He was very courteous, tolerant and gentle. He never became angry if mistreated by other persons and prayed forgiveness for those who attributed evil to him.
After the sahabah-e kiram Imam Bukhari ranks as the most eminent of those pious people who have conferred endless bliss upon the followers of Islam. The greatest evidence of this is the book of ahadees he compiled, commonly known as Saheeh Bukhari Sharif. It is universally acknowledged as the most authentic book after the Holy Quran.
In order to make sure the correctness of hadees, Hazrat Bukhari had traveled through Islamic countries in Asia and Africa for many years. At night, he used to get up 10 to 15 times and record the hadees shareef which he remembered together with their narrators. He has taken utmost care in recording hadis shareef.
He himself has mentioned the modus operandi of recording, editing and compiling hadis shareef in his book that:
I have compiled this book in the holy Kaba. Before writing each and every hadis shareef I used to perform two rakats namaz followed by istikharah. When my conscious allowed and confirmed the correctness of that hadis then and only then I included in the book. For classification and rearrangement (putting them in order subject wise) I selected the place between Pulpit of Masjid-e Nabvee (Minmbar-e Rasool) and his mausoleum.
9082 ahadees has been recorded (with repetition of few ahadees) in Saheeh Bukhari Sharif.
Imam Bukhari devoted his entire life, in the search for the way of life given by the Holy Prophet (salallahoAlaiheWasalam), in acting upon his sayings and researching into this science. His each and every action was a fragment of the way of the holy Prophet (salallahoAlaiheWasalam).
He passed away in Shavval 256 AH/ August 31, 870 AD). After the Janazah namaz was performed over Imam Bukhari and his body was covered with soil, a beautiful musk smell exuded from the earth of his grave that lasted for several days. People from far and wide began to visit it in astonishment and also took handfuls of earth from his grave for blessings (tabarruk).
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