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In the Name of Allah---the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
Authenticity of Sahih al-Bukhari

Here is a brief introduction to the most authentic Hadith book, titled Sahih al-Bukhari.

The era in which Imam Muhammad bin Ismail al-Bukhari, may God bless him and grant him peace, opened his eyes was a period full of temptations for the Muslim Ummah. Some groups fascinated by Greek thought and philosophy were busy attacking certain Muslim beliefs and ideas of Islam. On the other hand, the enemies of Islam were engaged in fabricating narrations from their masters to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) due to the high status of the tradition of interpretation of the Qur'an (Ilm-e-Hadith) in the Muslim Ummah. The traditions passed down were related to the beliefs, principles and branches of religion. This is the period when the above-mentioned groups either completely denied the authenticity of hadith by using the hadith as an argument, or deviated from recognizing the authority of the strong and reliable traditions of the Ummah.

In this turbulent period, Imam Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, decided to compile a collection of hadiths on the initiative of his teachers, which not only includes strong, authentic, and connected hadiths, but also makes it easy to refer back to this collection. Imam Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) had set very strict conditions for the acceptance of tradition. It was as if these were the filters through which only such traditions could pass that were satisfactorily attributed to the Prophet ﷺ. In this way, the collection of hadiths that came into being is remembered as Al-Jami' al-Sahih.

When Bukhari's al-Jami' al-Sahih came to the fore, the great mujtahids and muhaddiths of the Muslim Ummah critically reviewed it. Analyzed and tested it. They also examined the fact that the traditions that Imam Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, described as Musnad, do they really fulfill the condition of Imam Bukhari, or is it just a claim on his part. After this careful examination, the scholars finally came to the unanimous conclusion that al-Jami' al-Sahih of Bukhari is the most reliable collection of hadiths and there is not a single Musnad hadith in it that could be fabricated. After comparing Sahih Bukhari with other books of hadith, Sunni scholars agreed that this collection of hadith is the most authentic book on earth after the Holy Qur'an. That's why it got the title Asah Al-Kitab after Kitab Allah. As for the ancient heavenly books, their reality has already been clarified by the Qur'an that they are distorted and there is a mixture of truth and falsehood in them. Therefore, how will they compete with the Qur'an, they do not even reach the basis of Sahih Bukhari.

Does the question remain whether every tradition of Sahih Bukhari is above all doubts like the Qur'an? It is obvious that checking the traditions of Sahih Bukhari is a human endeavor and differences in human intellect and tendencies are natural. Therefore, the Muhadditheen differ about some of the Musnad traditions of Sahih Bukhari as to whether those traditions fulfill the condition of Sahih Hadith or not. This difference is not about the traditions that describe the halal and haram, but about certain traditions that are related to sermons and advice, the events of the Day of Resurrection, the personal life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), or the events of the war. This difference does not necessarily mean that these traditions must be believed to be fabricated, but usually, such a situation may occur due to the unintentional slippage of a reliable narrator. But the number of such different traditions can be counted on the fingers. Claiming that the entire Sahih Bukhari is unreliable on the basis of differences in a few hadiths counted among thousands of hadiths shows the ignorance of the plaintiff.

Lord, do not make our hearts go astray after you have guided us and have mercy on us.

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Sajid Mahmood Ansari
Research Scholar, Writer, Blogger

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