Bukhari, Al- (810–870)

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BUKHARI, AL- (810–870)

Muhammad b. Isma˓il al-Bukhari, who was born in Bukhara in central Asia, compiled the most important hadith collection in Sunni Islam, called al-Jami˓ al-sahih (The sound collection). Al-Bukhari is said to have started to learn hadiths ("the sayings" of the prophet Muhammad) at about ten years of age, having been blessed with a remarkably retentive memory and a sharp intellect. At the age of sixteen, he made the pilgrimage and traveled to Mecca and Medina to study with well-known hadith teachers there. He next went to Egypt, and spent the following sixteen years traveling through much of Asia in the pious pursuit of hadiths. On his return to Bukhara, he began to scrutinize the roughly 600,000 reports he had collected. He is said to have applied the most stringent standards in determining the reliability of these reports, which led him to record only about 7,397 of them. His painstaking efforts resulted in the Sahih, which by the tenth century had achieved near universal recognition among Muslims, who regarded al-Bukhari's collection as including the most reliable and sound hadiths attributed to the Prophet, based particularly on analysis of their chains of transmission. The Sahih continues to enjoy an almost "canonical" status today, second only to the Qur an in importance as the source for moral and legal prescriptions. The standard edition in use today was prepared by ˓Ali b. Muhammad al-Yunini (d. 1302). Numerous commentaries have been written on the Sahih; in recent times, partial and complete translations of this collection have been made in a number of languages. Al-Bukhari died in his hometown of Bukhara at age sixty.

See alsoHadith .


Rauf, Muhammad Abdul. "Hadith Literature." In Vol. 1, Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period. Edited by A. F. L. Beeston, et al. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Robson, James. "al-Bukhari." In Vol. 1, Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by H. A. R. Gibb, et al. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960.

Asma Afsaruddin