Muhammad Ibn Ismail Ibn Ibrahim Ibn al-Mughirah Ibn Bardizbah al-Bukhari
popularly known as Bukhari or Imam Bukhari, was a Sunni Islamic scholar of Persia. He
is the author of the collection of Hadiths which Sunni Muslims regard as the most authentic
of all Hadith compilations, the Sahih Al-Bukhari. Most Sunni scholars consider it second
only to the Qur’an in terms of authenticity. The Arabic word sahih translates as authentic or
Imam Bukhari was born in 810 A.D. / 196 A.H. in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. His father, Ismail
Ibn Ibrahim, was a known hadith scholar who died while he was still an infant and he was
hence raised by his mother. Imam Bukhari began studying hadith, memorising works of
Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak while still a child.
At age of sixteen, Imam Bukhari made the pilgrimage to Mecca, beginning a series of
travels in order to increase his knowledge of hadith. He went through all the important
centres of Islamic learning of his time, talked to scholars and exchanged information on
hadith. It is said that he heard from over 1,000 men, and learned over 600,000 traditions.
After sixteen years’ absence he returned to Bukhara, and drew up his al-Jami’ as-Sahih,
a collection of 7,275 tested traditions, arranged in chapters so as to afford bases for a
complete system of jurisprudence. Imam Bukhari finished his work around 846 A.D., and
spent the last twenty-four years of his life visiting other cities and scholars, teaching the
hadith he had collected. In every city that he visited, thousands of people would gather
in the main mosque to listen to him recite traditions. Imam Bukhari died in a village near
Samarkand in the year 870/256.
The Sahih Al-Bukhari book covers almost all aspects of life in providing proper guidance of
Islam such as the method of performing prayers and other actions of worship directly from
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Hadiths are a practical example of the implementation of Quranic guidance and are
essential supplements to the teachings of the Quran. Neither the Quran nor the Sunnah
can be understood correctly without the other. They have been meticulously compiled
by individuals with exceptional memory skills and analytical expertise like Imam Bukhari,
who travelled tirelessly to collect thousands of narrations and distinguish the true words of
prophetic wisdom. Muslims during the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
and generations that followed and generations to come are blessed to have these pearls of
wisdom to guide us in a righteous, Islamic way of life leading to Al-Firdaus.