About Al-Jami-us-Sahih known as Sahih Bukhari
1. Motivating factors of compiling Sahih Bukhari
There were many books written on hadith but there were mixtures of Sahih and Daeef ahadith. Imam Bukhari felt that there should be a compilation of only Sahih ahadith. Once while sitting in the gathering of Ishaaq ibn Raahwai he (Ishaq) expressed his wish that a book of Sahih ahadith be compiled, when he heard this, his feeling of compiling such a book was strengthened and this was later consolidated with a dream wherein he (Imam Bukhari) saw a dream that he was waving away flies from Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) with a fan. The dream was interpretated as Imam Bukhari will sift out the fabricated Ahadith form the authentic Ahadith.
The dominant purpose of compiling Bukhari Shareef from the motivating factors was to compile and gather only Sahih ahadith. Apart from that, Imam Bukhari designed and brightened his book with other aspects as well, for eg., he would deduce fiqhi aspects from the hadith, he would express the authenticity of the hadith by presenting another sanad (chain of narrators). He also explains the meaning of many ahadith etc. It is due to the above factors that the hadith in Bukhari Shareef are not in a subject or topic sequence. However, Imam Muslim has arranged and compiled his book according to a topic sequence.
2. Specialities of Bukhari Shareef
- It is the first book compiled only on sahih ahadith.
- It took the author 16 years to compile his book. The tarajims (topics) were prepared at the rowda mubarak.
- Abu Zaid Mirwazi Shafi, who was a very fond shafi was sleeping in the mataaf area when he made ziyarat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi waallam) who asked him, why do you not make research and read my book. Abu Zaid asked: "Oh prophet of Allah which is your book?" Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied the book of Muhammad ibn Ismail ie. Bukhari Shareef.
- When read at the time of difficulties and hardships, matters are made easy.
- When read in a boat it does not sink.
- There are 22 Sulusiyyaats in Bukhari Shareef. However Darami has more sulusiyyaats than Bukhari Shareef.
3. Conditions of Choosing a Hadith
Muhammad Maqdasi says that the conditions of choosing a hadith in Bukhari Shareef are not mentioned by the author himself. The muhadditheen have pondered and studied the book and deduced these conditions, presuming they were the criteria set out by the author. Tahir Maqdasi says that the conditions of choosing a hadith in Bukhari Shareef are:
- The narrator is unanimously realiable. Here a question may arise as to why is there discussions on the reliability and authenticity of many narrators in Bukhari Shareef. Ibn Humam has answered this that certifying a narrator as reliable or unreliable is not absolute (qat’ie). A muhaddith certifies according to his understanding and research.
- The chain of narrators must be an unbroken one (itti’saal - see page five).
- If two narrators narrate from every narrator it is better but not a condition.
- Haakim, author of Mustadrak says it is a condition of Bukhari Shareef that there always be two narrators from a narrator. This is not correct. The first and last hadith indicates that even narrations with one narrator is accepted. In fact, there are about 200 such ahadith in Bukhari Shareef. Ziya Maqdasi has prepared a book Galaaibus Sahihain on this matter.
Hereunder is a more clear explanation as to what type of narrators are chosen by Imam Bukhari.
Imam Zuhri has five categories of students:
- Very realiable in memory and authenticity and always or for a very long time stayed in the company of Imam Zuhri.
- Also very realiable but stayed lesser than the first group.
- Stayed with Zuhri but were criticized by some.
- Did not stay with Zuhri and were criticized by some.
- Weak and unknown narrators.
Imam Bukhari took narrators of the first category, seldom would he take from the second category. Imam Muslim would take from the third cateory as well.
Abu Dawood and Nasai would take from the third category.
Tirmizi from the fourth category, Tirmizi is more superior to Abu Dawood because he discusses the reason a hadith is weak, etc.
Imam Abu Dawood uses the fifth category to support and consolidate. (Read after the section on itti’saal.)
A question arises that if according to Imam Bukhari, the chain of narrators must be an unbroken one, why are there ahadith-e-muanan (hadith with an-an).
According to Imam Bukhari for a hadith muanan to be under the category of unbroken chain of narrators, the narrator and from whom he is narrating must be contemporaries and must meet at least once.
In order to clearly understand the above, the following must be understood:
The narrator and from whom he is narrating, if they are not contemporaries, such a narration is named as Irsaale Jali.
If they are contemporaries but they did not meet, this is called Irsaale Khafi.
If they are contemporaries, met but narrates something he did not hear, this is Tadlees.
According to Imam Bukhari, the two must meet at least once. According to Muslim, merely being contemporaries is sufficient. Imam Bukhari views this as a possibility of being Irsaal, hence the narration will not be of an unbroken chain (muttasal).
One may raise an objection that according to Imam Bukhari, meeting once is sufficient, but still there is a possibility of non-narration. The answer is that we are discussing about a narrator who does not practice Tadlees. A mudallis’s narration is not muttasil, hence disqualifies from being accepted.
In the light of the above discussion, it is clear that Bukhari shareef is more superior to Muslim or any other book on hadith. Dare Qutni says:
The statement of Abu Ali Nishapuri: "There is no other kitaab on the surface of this earth more sahih than Muslim Shareef," is opposed by Nishapuri’s Ustaad, Imam Nasai, who said there is no better book than Bukhari Shareef.
However, it must be noted that the superiority of Bukhari Shareef over Muslim Shareef and other books of ahadith is on a general basis, not that every hadith of Bukhari Shareef is more superior to any hadith in any other book of hadith.
4. The Topics (Taraajim) of Bukhari Shareef
- Sometimes the purpose of Imam Bukhari is not literal. He says something and means isharatun-nas or dalatun-nas.
- Imam Bukhari does not repeat a topic, if so the purpose is different.
- Generally the topic is like a claim and the ahadith follow it as proof, but in many instances, he means to explain the meaning of the following hadith.
- A tarjuma sometimes has two meanings, clear and unclear. People think and assume the clear meaning, hence they experience difficulty in reconciling the topic with the hadith, whereas the unclear meaning is the purpose of Imam Bukhari.
- Sometimes there is no link between the topic and hadith quoted under it, but the hadith with that link is nearby, if not further in the kitaab, or maybe it is not in Bukhari Shareef, because it does not conform with the conditions of Bukhari Shareef.
- Sometimes with the topic, Imam Bukhari quotes sayings of sahaba and tabi’een (radhiallahu anhum), but those sayings have no direct relevance.
- Sometimes there is a baab but no hadith under the baab. The reason for this is that the hadith is somewhat related to the previous baab, just like the fasal of the fuqaha. Imam Bukhari’s purpose is also probably to sharpen the brain, that one ponders in the hadith and deduce some valid point.
- Sometimes there is a tarjama but no hadith under it. This is of different types:
- Either there are verses of quran after the topic, or the verses are part of the topic. In the above two the verses are sufficient substantiations.
- However if there is a topic and no verse or hadith, the reason is either that the hadith is not in conformity with the conditions set out by Imam Bukhari or the hadith is mentioned elsewhere and to avoid exact repetition, he did not mention it or for sharpening the brains, that one ponders over a hadith to substantiate.
- Sometimes a topic is mentioned twice, the purpose of the second is to elaborate on the first one.
- Sometimes such a topic is mentioned that does not need any explanation but he brings it to refute an opinion of some muhaddith. This is common in Bukhari Shareef against Musannaf Abdur Razzaak and Ibn Abi Shaiba.
5. Repetitions in Bukhari Shareef
Generally Imam Bukhari repeats a hadith but with a different chain of narrators or different words. However there are about 21 or 22 places in Bukhari Shareef wherein there are exact (sanad or words) repeated. This is indeed a very negligent number in comparison to the vast number of ahadith in Bukhari Shareef. However, where a hadith is repeated but with a different chain of narrators or different words, the benefits of reporting them are:
- When one sahabi narrates a hadith, that same hadith is narrated by another sahabi, the purpose of quoting the other sahabi’s narration is to remove the misconception of non-familiarity (garaabat).
- One narrator quotes the hadith short, the other complete, Imam Bukhari quotes both as narrated by the narrators.
- A hadith is narrated with different words, for every change of word he brings a different topic and repeats it.
- If there are two posibilities in one narration, of broken and unbroken chain of narrators (muttasil and ghair muttasil) Imam Bukhari quotes the both possibilities to indicate that the irsaal does not prevent the itti’saal’s acceptance.
- Similarly if there are two possibilities, of dependant (mawkuuf) and complete (marfu) narrations.
- In some chain of narrators, if there is an addition, Imam Bukhari brings both versions to show that both are correct.
- One narration is muanan, the other chain expresses meeting, Imam Bukhari brings both to remove doubt.
6. Important Books related to Bukhari Shareef
- Aini (762-855 A.H.) - He wrote his sharah (commentary) over a period of 27 years. This sharah consists of 25 volumes. In this meanings of the words in the hadith are given and the link between the topic (baab) and hadith and many other aspects.
- Fathul Baari (Ibn Hajar Asqalani 773 - 852 A.H.) - This sharah was written over a period of 25 years. It consists of 13 volumes. Before this sharah, Ibn Hajar wrote (Alhadyus Saari) an introduction to Bukhari Shareef and Taghleequt-Taaleeq. After Aini wrote his sharah, Ibn Hajar wrote Intiqaasul I’tiraaz to answer Ainis objections. In Aini and Fathul Baari, there are answers of the same objections by one another. This was also due to some students eg. Burhaan ibn Khizar attending both discourses and informing both of them accordingly. However both the sharah have their own beauties and positive features, but Aini is easier to refer to and understood quickly, due to its concise and orderly fashion.
- Irshaadus Saari (851- 923 A.H. Qastalani) - This sharah is also known as Sharah Qastalani. This sharah is a synopsis of the above two sharahs.
- Alkawaakibud-daraari (Allama Kirmaani 717-786 A.H.) - The author was sleeping by the kaba and there he was inspired to keep this name for his sharah.
- Faizul Baari (Allama Badre Aalam) - Has written the main points from Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiris lessons in Bukhari Shareef.
- Alabwaab Wat-taraajim (Hazrath Sheikh Zakariyya) - This is a must reference for Abwaab as well as other important discussions.
- Laamiud Daraari - (Moulana Yahya Saheb) noted the points from Hazrath Moulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi’s discourses of Bukhari Shareef.
AND ALLAH KNOWS BEST
Reference: Ebrahim Desai (Mufti) Isipingo Beach, South Africa