Did you know that the compiler of Sahih al-Bukhari, first of the six major Hadith books, passed away in 870 CE on the night of Eid al-Fitr (tonight) exactly 1142 years ago at the age of 62? It was (in some other countries) a saturday night when he passed away and so it is also a saturday night this year!
His full name was Muhammad IbnIsmail al-Bukhari and he was of Persian origin. He completely lostvision during childhood and after several medical attempts to cure him his mother saw Prophet Ibrahim upon him be peace in a dream who told her that Allah had now returned the gift of eyesight to her son due to her continuous supplications! Imam Bukhari was cured that morning! SubhanAllah, do you see the power of a mother’s dua?
Imam Bukhari had a matchless photographic memory. By the age of 16 he memorised all the books of Islamic law and Hadith written by Imam Abu Hanifah’s students, Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak and Wakee al-Jarrah!
Upon arrival in the city, Imam Bukhari was once tested in Baghdad, in Iraq, by 10 hadith scholars in a crowd of thousands. They presented 100 hadiths with their respective chains of narrators all mixed up and Bukhari from his memory repeated all 100 hadiths with their correct chains in the same order as they were presented to him! The crowds were awe inspired and Bukhari was received with utmost respect and esteem in Baghdad.
Imam Bukhari was a true lover of the Beloved Prophet of Islam (upon him be peace and blessings). He would carry a hair of the Esteemed Prophet in his clothes and travelled all over the Muslim world in order to collate an authentic book of prophetic traditions from reliable narrators. Despite having inherited a lot of wealth from his father, Bukhari spent nothing for worldly pleasure rather all of it was spent on travels for the search of Hadith and meetings with the awliya. There was a point where he ate grass and leaves to survive and sold his garments to continue his journey!
Imam Bukhari’s attachment with the Noble Prophet (upon himPeace and blessings) is reflected through this fact that he edited his work sitting near the Noble Grave of the Prophet (upon him be peace and blessings) in Madina! Out of respect for the Beloved Prophet’s hadith, he performed a ritual bath, two rakah Nafl and made dua of istikhara before writing a hadith! This is why it took him 16 years to compile and edit sahih al-Bukhari.
When he passed away, the soil at his blessed grave began to give a fragrant musk smell for several days and people began taking it to their homes for blessings so much that there became a hole near his grave! A wall was therefore constructed around the grave to prevent people from taking soil directly from the grave!Several of Imam Bukhari’s opponents repented after witnessing this miracle.
Once there was a drought in Samarqand and the Qadhi told all people to attend the grave of al-Bukhari and seek rain from Allah Almighty through its blessings so they did and it rained so heavily that day onwards that people could not return to their homes for 7 days!
Imam Bukhari left a legacy of 90,000 hadith scholars when he passed away who studied hisbook. Have you ever pondered: what will you leave behind for the ummah when YOU pass away? If you have no answer to this question, you can start to make a change in life from NOW.
His funeral was prayed on Sunday 1st Shawwal, eid al-fitr day, and he was buried near Samarqand after Zuhr prayer. May Allah shower tranquility upon his shrine and give him the best reward on behalf of the entire ummah, Aameen.
Do NOT forget to make Fatiha for this great Imam today.
(This short biography has been derived from two classical arabic sources: Tabaqat al-Shafiyah al-Kubra and Muqaddima Fath al-Bari).