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Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (Arabic: صحيح البخاري), is one of the Kutub al-Sittah (six major hadith collections) of Sunni Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Sunni Muslims view this as one of the three most trusted collections of hadith along with Sahih Muslim and Muwatta Imam Malik. It is also used as an authentic hadith collection by Zaidi Shia Muslims. In some circles, it is considered the most authentic book after the Quran. The Arabic word sahih translates as authentic or correct.
The actual title of the book commonly referred to as Sahih al-Bukhari, according to Ibn al-Salah, is: al-Jaami’ al-Sahih al-Musnad al-Mukhtasar min Umuri Rasooli-llahi wa sunanihi wa Ayyaamihi. A word-for-word translation of the title is: The Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith with Connected Chains regarding Matters Pertaining to the Prophet, His practices and His Times. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentioned the same title, replacing the word umur (English: matters) with hadith.
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Al-Bukhari traveled widely throughout the Abbasid empire from the age of 16, collecting those traditions he thought trustworthy. It is said that al-Bukhari collected over 300,000 hadith and included only 2,602 traditions in his Sahih. At the time when Bukhari saw [the earlier] works and conveyed them, he found them, in their presentation, combining between what would be considered sahih (correct) and hasan (good) and that many of them included daʻīf (weak) hadith. This aroused his interest in compiling hadith whose authenticity was beyond doubt. What further strengthened his resolve was something his teacher, hadith scholar Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanthalee – better known as Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh – had said. Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel al-Bukhari said, "We were with Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh who said, ‘If only you would compile a book of only authentic narrations of the Prophet.’ This suggestion remained in my heart so I began compiling the Sahih." Bukhari also said, "I saw the Prophet in a dream and it was as if I was standing in front of him. In my hand was a fan with which I was protecting him. I asked some dream interpreters, who said to me, ‘You will protect him from lies.’ This is what compelled me to produce the Sahih."
The 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 the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Bukhari finished his work around 846, 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 Bukhari visited, thousands of people would gather in the main mosque to listen to him recite traditions. In reply to Western academic doubts as to the actual date and authorship of the book that bears his name, scholars point out that notable hadith scholars of that time, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal (855 CE/241 AH), Yahya ibn Ma'in (847 CE/233 AH), and Ali ibn al-Madini (848 CE/234 AH), accepted the authenticity of his book and that the collection's immediate fame makes it unlikely that it could have been revised after the author's death without historical record.
During this period of twenty-four years, al-Bukhari made minor revisions to his book, notably the chapter headings. Each version is named by its narrator. According to Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his book Nukat, the number of hadiths in all versions is the same. The most famous one today is the version narrated by al-Firabri (d. 932 CE/320 AH), a trusted student of Bukhari. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in his book History of Baghdad quoted Firabri as saying: "About seventy thousand people heard Sahih Bukhari with me".
Firabri is not the only transmitter of Sahih al-Bukhari. There were many others that narrated that book to later generations, such as Ibrahim ibn Ma'qal (d. 907 CE/295 AH), Hammad ibn Shaker (d. 923 CE/311 AH), Mansur Burduzi (d. 931 CE/319 AH) and Husain Mahamili (d. 941 CE/330 AH). There are many books that noted differences between these versions, the best known being Fath al-Bari.
- Quality and soundness of the chain of narrators of the selected ahādīth. Muhammad al-Bukhari has followed two principle criteria for selecting sound narratives. First, the lifetime of a narrator should overlap with the lifetime of the authority from whom he narrates. Second, it should be verifiable that narrators have met with their source persons. They should also expressly state that they obtained the narrative from these authorities. This is a stricter criterion than that set by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj.
- Muhammad al-Bukhari accepted the narratives from only those who, according to his knowledge, not only believed in Islam but practiced its teachings. Thus, he has not accepted narratives from the Murjites.
- The particular arrangement and ordering of chapters. This expresses the profound knowledge of the author and his understanding of the religion. This has made the book a more useful guide in understanding of the religious disciplines.
The mainstream Sunni sect has generally accepts Bukhari's collection as sacred, despite its many shortcomings. Ibn al-Salah said: "The first to author a Sahih was Bukhari, Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel al-Ju’fee, followed by Aboo al-Husain Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj al-Naisaabooree al-Qushairee, who was his student, sharing many of the same teachers. These two books are the most authentic books after the Quran. As for the statement of Al-Shafi‘i, who said "I do not know of a book containing knowledge more correct than Malik's book," – others mentioned it with a different wording – he said this before the books of Bukhari and Muslim. The book of Bukhari is the more authentic of the two and more useful."
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani quoted Aboo Ja’far al-‘Uqailee as saying, "After Bukhari had written the Sahih, he read it to Ali ibn al-Madini, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma'in as well as others. They considered it a good effort and testified to its authenticity with the exception of four hadith. Al-‘Uqailee then said that Bukhari was actually correct regarding those four hadith." Ibn Hajar then concluded, "And they are, in fact, authentic."
Ibn al-Salah said in his Muqaddimah ibn al-Ṣalāḥ fī `Ulūm al-Ḥadīth: "It has been narrated to us that Bukhari has said, 'I have not included in the book al-Jami’ other than what is authentic and I did not include other authentic hadith for the sake of brevity.'" In addition, al-Dhahabi said, "Bukhari was heard saying, 'I have memorized one hundred thousand authentic hadith and two hundred thousand which are less than authentic.'"
Number of hadith
Ibn al-Salah also said: "The number of hadith in his book, the Sahih, is 7,275 hadith, including hadith occurring repeatedly. It has been said that this number excluding repeated hadith is 4,000." This is referring to those hadith which are musnad, those from the Companions originating from Muhammad which are authentic.
Several detailed commentaries on this collection have been written, such as:
- Sharh Ibn Battaal by Abu al-Hasan 'Ali ibn Khalaf ibn 'Abd al-Malik (died: 449 AH); published in 10 volumes with an additional volume containing indexes
- Tafsir al-gharib ma fi al-Sahihayn by al-Humaydī (died 1095 AD).
- Al-Mutawari 'Ala Abwab al-Bukhari by Nasir al-Din ibn al-Munayyir (died: 683 AH): An explanation of select chapter titles; published in one volume
- Sharh Ibn Kathir (died: 774 AH)
- Sharh ‘Ala’ al-Din Maghlatay (died: 792 AH)
- Fath al-Bari by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (died: 795 AH)
- Al-Kawkab al-Darari fi Sharh Al-Bukhari by al-Kirmani (died: 796 AH)
- Sharh Ibnu al-Mulaqqin (died: 804 AH)
- Al-Tawshih by al-Suyuti (died: 811 AH)
- Sharh al-Barmawi (died: 831 AH)
- Sharh al-Tilmasani al-Maliki (died: 842 AH)
- Fath ul-Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari by al-Hafith Ibn Hajar (died: 852 AH)
- Irshad al-Sari li Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari by al-Qastallani (died: 923 AH); one of the most well known of the explanations of Sahih al-Bukhari'
- Sharh al-Bulqini (died: 995 AH)
- Umdah al Qari fi Sharh Sahih al Bukhari' written by Badr al-Din al-Ayni and published in Beirut by Dar Ihya’ al-turath al-`Arabi
- Al-Tanqih by al-Zarkashi
- Sharh Ibni Abi Hamzah al-Andalusi
- Sharh Abi al-Baqa’ al-Ahmadi
- Sharh al-Bakri
- Sharh Ibnu Rashid
- "Nuzhat Ul Qari Sharah Sahih Al Bukhari" by Mufti Shareeful Haq
- Hashiyat ul Bukhari by Tajus Shariah Mufti Muhammad Akhtar Raza Khan Khan Qaadiri Al Azhari
- Fayd al-Bari by Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri
- Kausar Yazdani
- Inaam-ul-Bari by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani (9 Volumes; 7 published)
- Neamat-ul-Bari Fi Shrah Saih-ul-Buhari by Ghulam Rasul Sa'idi, 16 volumes
- Kanzul Mutawari Fi Ma'adini Lami' al-Darari Wa Sahih Al-Bukhari by Syaikh ul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalawi -24 volumes. This book is initially a compilation of lectures by Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi and was made complete with additional explanations by Maulana Zakariyya.
One of the most important aspects in Sahih al-Bukhari is tarjamah al-bab or giving name of the chapter. Many great scholars adopted a common saying: "The Fiqh of Bukhari in His Chapters". Not many scholars have commented on this aspect except Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani and a few others. Shah Waliyullah Muhadith Dehlawi had mentioned 14 usul (methods) to understand Abwab wa Tarajim, then added by Hind Maulana Shaykh Mahmud Hasan Ad-Deobandi to make it 15 usul. A study conducted by Syaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya had found as many as 70 usul. He wrote specifically about Tarajim Saheeh Al-Bukhari in his book, Al-Abwab wa At-Tarajim li Shahih Al-Bukhari 
Sahih al-Bukhari has been translated into English by Muhammad Muhsin Khan under the title "The Translation of the Meanings of Sahih Al Bukhari Arabic English" in nine volumes. The text used for this work is Fath Al-Bari, published by the Egyptian Press of Mustafa Al-Babi Al-Halabi in 1959. It is published by Al Saadawi Publications and Dar-us-Salam and is included in the USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts.
The English translation can be downloaded: https://ia700804.us.archive.org/25/items/HadithShahiAlBukhariInEnglish/Sahih_Al-Bukhari.pdf
- Sahih Muslim
- Jami al-Tirmidhi
- Sunan Abu Dawood
- Sunan al-Sughra
- Either: Sunan ibn Majah, Muwatta Malik
- Mabadi Tadabbur-i-Hadith, Amin Ahsan Islahi
- Article by Sayyid 'Ali ibn 'Ali Al-Zaidi, A short History of the Yemenite Shi‘ites (2005).
- The Canonization of Al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon by Jonathan Brown, BRILL, 2007
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