Biography of Imam Al-Bukhari (194-256 H)
The land of Bukhara, located at the estuary of Jihun river at the north of Afghanistan and the south of Ukraine, is the land of many imams in the discipline of hadith and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). It enshrines the histories of struggle of the imam of the muslims in various branches of Qur’an and hadith sciences. Among them who were born and raised in the land of Bukhara are: Al-Imam Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Abu Ja’far Al-Musnadi Al-Bukhari, who passed away also in it, on Thursday, month of Dzulqa’dah, year 220 H. Also born in Bukhara, Abu Abdillah Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Bukhari, in 194 H, and died in year 256 H, in a village named Khartanak, in the direction of Samarqand. Also born and raised in it, Al-Imam Abi Naser Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Al-Husain Al-Kalabadzi Al-Bukhari who was born in year 323 H and died in year 398 H. There are many other great imams in hadith who were born in it, that adorned the beauty of the history of the land of Bukhara.
However, the only one who comes to every muslim mind today whenever the name “Imam al-Bukhari” is mentioned, is the Imam of ahlul hadith from Bukhara, named Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Bardizbah Al-Bukhari, whose book,” Al-Jami’ush Shahih Al-Musnad min Haditsi Rasulillah wa Sunanihi wa Ayyamihiis” or later known with “ Shahih Al-Bukhari”, is very famous among muslims around the world. The word “Bukhari” itself means “people of Bukhara”. Thus, if it is said “Imam Bukhari”, it means a prominent figure from the land of Bukhara.
The Childhood of Bukhari
The complete pedigree of this biography is as follows: Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Al-Mughirah bin Bardizbah. His grandfather was a Zoroastrian, an indigenous religion of the Persians that worshipped fire. His grandfather died still a Zoroastrian. The son of Bardizbah, Al-Mughirah, then became a muslim under the guidance of the governor of Bukhara, Yamam Al-Ju’fi, thus he (Al-Mughirah) and all his children and grandchildren is related to the tribe of Al-Ju’fi. And in fact, one of his grandchildren of Al-Mughirah later carved his name in the history as a great Imam among the scholar of hadith.
Al-Imam Al-Bukhari was born on Friday, 13th of Syawwal, 194 H in the land of Bukhara, in the middle of a family who loves the science of sunnah of the Prophet, Muhammad -peace and prayer of Allaah be upon him-, because his father, Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Al-Mughirah, was a scholar of hadith who narrated the hadith of the Prophet from Imam Malik Ibn Anas, Hammad Ibn Zaid, and once also learned from Abdullah Ibn Mubarak. The hadith that are narrated by Ismail bin Ibrahim are widely known among the people of Iraq.
Al-Bukhari’s father passed away when he was still a kid. Near his death, Ismail bin Ibrahim cheered his son up who was still very young at that time, while saying, “I do not obtain even one dirham (silver) from my wealth that comes from unlawful source, nor one dirham from dubious source.” A child who is raised with wealth that is pure from any unlawful or dubious sources will be better and easier to educate and guide to the right path. After the passing of his father, Al-Bukhari lived as an orphan, nurtured by the love of his mother.
Muhammad Ibn Ismail received full attention from his mother. He had completed his Qur’an memorization ever since he was young, as well as his ability to read and write. In the age of ten, little Muhammad earnestly began to attend lectures about hadith science, which were dispersed throughout the land of Bukhara. On the age of eleven, he was already able to reprove a teacher of hadith science who was wrong in recounting the order of narration of certain hadith (also called ‘sanad’).
His childhood was spent in memorizing and understanding various knowledges, thus when he grew into teenager of sixteen years old, he had fully memorized the books written by some imams of hadith science, from the third generation of Islam (the tabi’ut tabi’in), such as the book written by Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak, and Waqi’ Ibn Al-Jarrah, and had thoroughly discerned it.
Muhammad Ibn Ismail went through his childhood occupied by a very hectic learning schedule. His diligence during his childhood in memorizing and understanding sciences had come into fruition, as he became a very bright and awe inducing teenager. He became a teenager who was highly regarded by the pupils of any lecture he attended, since at that young age, he had perfectly memorized seventy thousands hadith, complete with its ‘sanad’, beside the thirty chapters of the Qur’an.
Embark on Journeys to Learn Knowledge
At the age of eighteen, Al-Bukhari, together with his brother Ahmad bin Ismail, was taken by his mother to the land of Mecca to perform Hajj (pilgrimage). They traveled the long journey between the land of Bukhara and Mecca riding on the back of camels, donkeys, and horses; a new experience for him, hence he was subsequently got used to many adversities of long journey, through the desert, mountains, and valleys that were not lacking of the wilderness of the nature. During those harsh conditions, he felt closer to Allaah, and he immensely enjoyed the journey that took months to end.
When he arrived at Mecca, Al-Bukhari found that that city was filled with experts in Hadith, who opened lectures at various places; a reality that made him rejoice. Therefore, after finishing his Hajj, he stayed in Mecca while his brother and mother returned to Bukhara. He went back and forth between Mecca and Medina, thus he started to write biographies of the great figures, until he was able to pile it up in his first work in the discipline of hadith science, a book titled “Kitabut Tarikh”. When this book began to spread around the Islamic world, people began to talk about him and everyone was so in awe of him and his broad knowledge in hadith. It was even said that an Imam of Hadith at that time, named Ishaq Ibn Rahuyah brought this book, Kitabut Tarikh by Al-Bukhari, before the governor of Khurasan, Abdullah bin Thahir Al-Khuza’i, saying, “O governor, would you like to behold a trick of wizardry?,” then he showed him the book. The governor then read the book, and he was so amazed by it, thus he said, “I can’t fathom how he could write such book.”
Eventually, Al-Imam Al-Bukhari became very famous in various Islamic countries. When he traveled around those countries, he witnessed how the scholars of Hadith from every country deeply respected him. He traveled around various countries which were the centers of the hadith science, such as Egypt, ancient Palestine, Baghdad (Iraq), Bashrah, Kufah, and some more.
During his time traveling to those countries, one day, he attended the lecture of Ishaq bin Rahuyah. Then it was suggested by one of the attendees there that there should be effort to collect all of the hadith of the Prophet in one book. With this suggestion in mind, Al-Imam Al-Bukhari began to write his book, a compilation of valid hadith, which he finished sixteen years later. In it, he wrote a number of hadith that he believed are valid ones, after researching and selecting it among six hundred thousands hadith. He chose among that many, seven thousand two hundred and seventy five valid hadith, and compiled it all in one book, titled Al-Jami’us Shahih Al-Musnad min Haditsi Rasulillah wa Sunani wa Ayyamihi, later is better known as Shahih Al-Bukhari. This book received praises and flatterings from all over the world of Islam; by that, his expertise in hadith received a wider acknowledgement from the Islamic world. Other imams of hadith highly praised and exulted him, such as Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ali bin Al-Madini, Yahya bin Ma`in, etc.
Imam Al-Bukhari was Lauded Everywhere
Al-Bukhari’s works in the discipline of hadith kept on coming and spreading around the world of Islam. His skills in delivering explanations concerning some delicate issues in hadith science, in various forums of lecture shone brightly, this he was lauded and his expertise was acknowledged by his teachers and the scholars who were at the same level with him, moreover by his pupils. He studied knowledges from more than a thousand of scholars, and they all had good impression of him, or even fascinated by him.
Al-Imam Al-Hafidh Abil Hajjaj Yusuf bin Al-Mizzi narrated in his book, titled Tahdzibul Kamal fi Asma’ir Rijal, some praises and adulations from the experts in hadith towards Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari. Among those praises is a statement of Al-Imam Mahmud bin An-Nadhir Abu Sahl Asy-Syafi’i, which said, “I’ve visited various countries, i.e. Basrah, Syam, Hijaz and Kufah. I saw in those countries a fact that when the scholars mentioned Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari, they would always put him above themselves.”
Therefore, the lectures of Al-Imam Al-Bukhari were always full by thousands of pupils. And when arrived in a country, tens of thousands, even hundred thousands muslims would welcome him at the city border, because since a few days before his arrival, the news of an Imam of hadith coming had traveled through the city. Thus, the muslims were standing in crowd in the roadside that he passed by, just to see his face, or if they were lucky, to shake hands with him.
Al-Imam Muhammad bin Abi Hatim recounted that Hasyid bin Ismail and another man (whose name wasn’t mentioned), revealed that, “The experts of hadith from Bashra at the time when Al-Bukhari was alive felt inferior in their knowledge of hadith compared to Al-Imam Al-Bukhari, even though he was still very young. It is said that once when he walked through the city of Bashrah, he was flanked by the pupils. Finally, he was forced to sit at the sidewalk and a crowd of a thousand surrounded him and asked him about many things regarding their religion. That, while he was a youth whose face was still bare of beard and mustache.”
And The Storm Came..
Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari was lauded and widely praised by everyone everywhere he went. He received praises laced with awe came from every corner of the country, and was appointed as the reference among the scholars since a very young age. Amidst that golde time of his life, of which he occupied with worshipping and pursuing and teaching knowledge, some people began to feel envious and jealous of many splendours that Allaah bestowed upon him.
The storm began with his arrival in the land of Naisabur one day, in order to pursue knowledge from the imams of hadith in there. His arrival wasn’ for the first time, rather, he had visited Naisabur repeatedly since it was one of the center of rightful knowledge. Moreover, it was the home of one of his teacher, an expert in hadith named Muhammad bin Yahya Adz-Dzuhli. One day, a joyful news was spread throughout Naisabur, that Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari will come to visit the country and will stay there for some times. Al-Imam Muhammad bin Yahya Adz-Dzuhli himself even specifically announced that news in his lecture, saying that, “Whosoever wishes to welcome Muhammad bin Ismail tomorrow, please do, because I myself will welcome him.” Hence, a large number of people began to prepare for welcoming the great imam of hadith in their town.
On the day of his arrival, thousands of citizens of Naisabur gathered at the city outskirt to welcome him. Among the awaiting crowd was Al-Imam Muhammad bin Yahya Adz-Dzuhli and some other scholars. Muhammad bin Ya’qub Al-Akhram said that when Al-Bukhari reached the gate of Naisabur, there were four thousands people on horse waiting for him, in addition to those who rode on donkeys and mules, as well as thousands other who walked on their feet.”
Imam Muslim Ibn Al-Hajjaj recounted, “When Muhammad bin Ismail came to Naisabur, all of the government officials and all scholars were welcoming him at the country border.”
When Al-Imam Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari arrived at Naisabur, its citizen welcomed him grandly and greatly. Thousands of people crowded at his settlement every day to question him various problems pertaining to religion, particularly delicate matters in hadith science. As a result, many lectures of other scholars were empty from pupils. This probably was the biggest cause of uneasiness among said scholars towards Al-Bukhari.
On the third day of his visitation to Naisabur, the most lamented incident happened. Ahmad Ibn Adi recounted it as follow, “A number of scholar told me that when Muhammad bin Ismail arrived at Naisabur, and people gathered around him in flocks, some scholars at that time began to envy him. Therefore, a news was spread among the scholar of hadith that Muhammad bin Ismail stated that his saying upon reciting the Qur’an is a creature. One day, in a lecture, a man stood up and asked him. ‘O Abu Abdillah (i.e., Al-Bukhari), what do you think of someone who said that ‘my saying upon reciting the Qur’an is creature’? Is it true, or the saying of reciting the Qur’an is not creature?,”
Upon hearing the question, he turned away since he didn’t want to answer it. However, the inquirer kept repeating his question until three times, while pleading for him to answer it. Eventually, Al-Bukhari answered it by saying, “The Qur’an is Allaah’s words, and not a creation, whereas the deed of His slave is creation, and testing people regarding this matter is a heresy.”
Upon acquiring his answer, the inquirer created ruckus in that lecture as he said about Al-Bukhari, “He said that my sayinh upon recitin the Qur’an is creation.’ As a result, there was an outcry inside the lecture, and people dispersed in haste, leaving Al-Bukhari alone. Ever since that incident, Al-Bukhari sat at his residence and people refused to pay him a visit anymore.”
Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi narrated that Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ghalib complete with the sanad, from Muhammad bin Khasynam, (he) recounted that, “After people abandoned Al-Bukhari, they once visited him, stating, ‘Would you take back what you’ve said, so that we’ll return to your lecture,” He replied, “I wont take back my words, except if those have left me are able to present a stronger argument that is stronger than mine.”
Muhammad Ibn Khasynam said, “Indeed, I was so amazed by his steadfastness and how he was unwavering in holding in his conviction.”
The muslims in Naisabur were in uproar as a a result of the incident, and finally, the waves of trial involving Al-Imam Muhammad bin Yahya Adz-Dzuhli. Hence he declared in his lecture, which was now has become crowded again after people leaving Al-Bukhari’s lecture, “Let me inform you that whoever continues to attend the lecture of Al-Bukhari is prohibited to come to our lecture, for the people of Baghdad has revealed to us through their letter that this man (i.e., Al-Bukhari) said that my saying upon reciting the Qur’an is creation. Those who live in Baghdad said that they had advised him not to utter such statement, but he keeps saying so. Therefore, nobody should come approach him, and whoever does approach him, shouldn’t approach us.”
By the involvement of Imam Adz-Dzuhli, inevitably, the false accusation kept on spreading, since Adz-Dzuhli was a highly influential in all of Khurasan regions, of which Naisabur was the capital. Al-Imam Adz-Dzuhli even pronounced further that, “The Qur’an is the words of Allaah and not a creation, from whichever of its sides and all conditions. Whosoever holds firm to this principle, will have no need to utter such words regarding the Qur’an. Whoever claims that the Qur’an is a creation, indeed, he has committed infidelity and stepped out of the the righteous belief; he has to be separated from his wife, and should be forced to repent from saying such words. If he repents, then this repentance is accepted. But if he refused to repent, he has to be decapitated, his possession becomes bounty of the muslims, and he should not be buried at the muslim cemetery. And whosoever is abstained from saying whether the Qur’an is a creation or not, indeed, he has resembled the disbelievers. Whosoever says that ‘my saying of the Qur’an (his words, -ed) is creation’, is indeed a heresayer (an innovator, one who goes astray). It is not allowed to sit and chat with him, and he is not to talk to. Therefore, whoever still comes to the lecture of Al-Bukhari after this explanation, should be suspected because no one would stay at his lecture except he is aligned with him in his digression.”
Upon hearing that statement from Adz-Dzuhli, Imam Muslim Ibn Hajjaj and Ahmad Ibn Salamah stood and left his lecture. Imam Muslim even went further by sending back to Imam Adz-Dzuhli all of the narrational chain of hadith that he received from him, thus, there is no narration from Adz-Dzuhli recorded in Shahih Muslim among all the chain of narrations that he received and compiled.
Inevitably, This attitude of Imam Muslim bin Hajjaj and Ahmad bin Salamah enraged Adz-Dzuhli, hence he declared that, “This person (i.e., Al-Bukhari) shouldn’t stay in the same country as I.”
The declaration upset Ahmad Ibn Salamah, one of the staunch supporter of Al-Bukhari. He immediately went to visit Al-Bukhari, and said, “
“O Aba Abdillaah (i.e., Al-Bukhari), this man (i.e., Adz Dzuhli), is very influential in Khurasan. He has far overstepped his boundary in speaking about this matter hence none of us could advise him regarding it. Then what do you think?,”
Al-Imam Al-Bukhari deeply understood the exasperation of his pupil. He gently and affectionately held the beard of Ahmad Ibn Salamah, while reciting chapter Ghafir:44, which meaning is, “ And I resign all my affairs to Allaah. Indeed, Allaah Overseeing all of his slaves.” Then he bowed his head, saying, “O Allaah, You know that I didn’t live in Naisabur with evil intention, nor with bad intention. You also know, O Allaah, that I don’t have any ambition to rule. Its just that I am forced to return to my country, for my defiers has taken control of the situation. And indeed, this man (i.e., Adz-Dzhuli) has made me his target merely due to being envious of the knowledge that Allaah bestows upon me.”
His face was dejected, filled with profound disappointment. He then looked that Ahmad Ibn Salamah and firmly stated, “O Ahmad, I will leave Naisabur tomorrow so that you will be free from troubles caused by his words (i.e., Adz-Dzuhli’s words) upon by my stay.” Soon afterwards, Al-Bukhari packed his belongings to prepare for his departure on the following day, to return to his country, Bukhara.
Al-Bukhari’s plan to return to the country of Bukhara was spread by Ahmad Ibn Salamah to all muslims of Naisabur; unfortunately, none of them was eager to bid him farewell at the city border. Therefore, only Ahmad Ibn Salamah was there to bid Al-Imam Al-Bukhari farewell, and he walked alone along the long distance to his own country, Bukhara. He said, “Farewell, Naisabur. It seems that I will never see you again,”
The Storm upon Bukhara
Away at the land of Bukhara, news have spread that Imam Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari was on his way to Bukhara. Its residents prepared many things to welcome him at the city gate.
Ahmad Ibn Mansur Asy-Syirazi recounted that he heard from many people who witnessed the reception of Al-Bukhari in Bukhara, that the people constructed a reception gate at a place about one farsakh (about 5 km) from the entrance of Bukhara. When Al-Imam Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari reached that reception gate, he found that almost all residents of Bukhara welcomed him in rejoice, to the extent that they threw gold and silver coins on the street that Al-Bukhari will walk upon. They stood at both sides of the entrance that lead to Bukhara, while scrambling to offer special grape to their beloved imam of hadith.
However, their joy didn’t last long. Several days after that, the scholars in Islamic law (fiqh) began to feel uneasy, in regards to some changes that occurred in the religious ritual of the people of Bukhara. The madzhab that majority of people followed in Bukhara was from the school of Hanafi, whereas Al-Bukhari taught people hadith according to the comprehension of the scholars of hadith which wasn’t bound by any specific school; therefore, what appeared in the society was the result of the teaching of expert in hadith, and not the realization of the schoolf of Hanafi. For example, in announcing iqama, people no longer recited it evenly like in adhan, instead, they recited it once for every sentence, as written in the valid hadith. In reciting takbeer during their prayer, they no longer put their hands down, which was the teaching of Hanafi, but by raising their hands.
Due to these changes, the scholars became increasingly restless, hence a prominent figure of fiqh in that country, Huraits Ibn Abi Wuraiqa’, issued a claim regarding Al-Imam Al-Bukhari, “This man is a trouble maker. He will ruin the atmosphere of religious life in this city. Muhammad Ibn yahya has him expelled from Naisabur, whereas he himself is an imam in hadith.”
Thus, Huraits and his cronies began their attempt to try persuading thr governor of Bukhara at that time, Khalid bin Ahmad As-Sadusi Adz-Dzuhli, to chase Al-Imam Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari away from their country.
Governor Khalid once asked Al-Bukhari to come to his palace to teach his sons his books, At-Tarikh and Shahiih Al-Bukhari, but Al-Imam Al-Bukhari refused to fulfill the governor’s request. He said, “ I won’t humble this science, and I won’t peddle it from door to door. Therefore, if you need it, please come to my mosque or my house.
If what I do displeases you, then you are the ruler. You are free to ban me from opening lectures, so that I will have my excuse before Allaah, on the doomsday, that I didn’t hide this science (rather, he was prohibited by the authority from spreading it).
Governor Khalid was deeply disappointed by his answer; hence, he was saddled by Huraits bin Abil Wuraqa’ and his cronies’ provocation, as well as his personal dissatisfaction. Huraits and Governor Khalid then agreed to create a plan to chase Muhammad Ibn Ismail away from Bukhara. Their plan was further supported by the arrival of a letter from Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Yahya Adz-Dzuhli from Naisabur, which was sent for Governor Khalid Ibn Ahmad As-Sadusi Adz-Dzuhli in Bukhara, which reported that Al-Bukhari has shown some actions that goes against the sunnah of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allaah be upon him-. By this letter, their plan to thwart Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari from Bukhara has reached its completion.
It was started by the authority reading the letter of Muhammad Ibn yahya Adz-Dzuhli out loud in front of all residents of Bukhara, in which he accused Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari of committing heresy by saying that, “my recitation upon reciting the Qur’an is creation.” However, even after the reading, the general public of Bukhara didn’t care of the accusation and kept on glorifying Al Imam Al-Bukhari. Despite their reaction, Eventually, Governor Khalid chased him away forcefully, leaving Al-Imam Al-Bukhari heavily disappointed by this treatment. Before he left Bukhara, he prayed for calamity to befall those who were directly involved in his expulsion. Ibrahim Ibn Ma’qil An-Nasafi said, “I saw Muhammad Ibn Ismail on the day he was chased away from Bukhara. I approached him and asked, ‘O Abu Abdillah. how do you feel about this expulsion?,”’ He replied, “I don’t care, as long as my religion is safe.”
Disappointed and dejected, Al-Bukhari left Bukhara, and the people of Bukhara sent him off with immense sadness. He walked to the village of Bikanda, then to the village of Khartanka, both were the villages of the country of Samarqand. This last village was where he fell sick and was treated in the house of one of his relatives who lived in the village.
Amidst the heartache, and with a haggard body, in the age of sixty two years old, he prayed to his Lord, Allaah The Exalted, denouncing all his sadness, “O Allaah, the earth feels so suffocating to me. I’m begging for Your mercy, O Allaah, to call me to return to You.” A while after that, he took his last breath, and bade farewell to the world that was full of thorns.
Al-Imam Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari passed away in the village of Khartank, Samarqand, on friday night, on the eve of ‘Ied al Fithr, 1st of Syawwal 256 H. Before he breathed for the last time, he left a will to his relatives, to shroud his corpse with three layers of fabric, without head scarf or clothes. He said that the fabric should be the white one. All of his will was kindly carried out by his relatives who took care of his corpse. He was buried in that village, on ‘Ied al Fithr, 1st of Syawwal, 256 H, after midday. Soon after his burial was done, a fragrant scent came from his tomb was spread widely, and the scent stayed even until days.
The governor of Bukhara, Khalid Ibn Ahmad Adz-Dzuhli reaped the fruit of his oppression, by the decree of Caliph Al-Muktamad, about his dismissal from his position since he was accused of involving in the rebellion of Ya’qub Ibn Al-Laits towards the caliphate of Ath-Thahir. Khalid Ibn Ahmad was imprisoned in Baghdad until he died in it, in 269 H. Whereas Huraits Ibn Abil Waraqa’ was ruined by his own child who committed obscenity. Those who opposed Imam Bukhari during life admitted their remorse and sadness by his death, and some of them had visited his grave.
After that, people began to have courage to spread their defense for Al-Imam Al-Bukhari against malicious accusations towards him. However, those pleas were obscured for some times, amidst the pandemonium of slandering and evil accusation towards the Imam. And Allaah is Most Fair towards His slaves.
Muhammad Ibn Nasir Al-Marwazi testified that Al-Imam Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari declared that, “Whoever says that I’ve stated that my saying upon reciting the Qur’an is creation, is indeed a liar. Because I’ve never said anything like that.”
Abu Amr Ahmad Ibn Nasir An-Naisaburi Al-Khaffaf testified that Al-Imam Al-Bukhari had told him, “O Abu Amir, bear in mind what I say now, ‘Whoever assumes that I opine that my saying of the Qur’an is creation, whether he is from the residents of Naisabur, Qaumis, Ar-Roy, Hamadzan, Hulwan, Baghdad, Kuffah, Basrah, Mecca, or Medina, know that whoever assumes of me like that is a liar. Because I’ve never said so. What I say was, “Every single act of Allaah’s slave is creation.”
Yahya Ibn Sa’id narrated, “Abu Abdillah Al-Bukhari had stated, ‘The movements of Allaah’s slaves, their voices, their deeds, their writings, all of it are creations. As for the Qur’an, which is recited by the sound of certain alphabets, which is written on the pages, which is memorized in the hearts of its bearers, all of it are the words of Allaah, and not His creation.”
Ghunjar narrated with a complete record that was traced back to Al-Firabri, that he said that Al-Bukhari had stated that, “The Qur’an is the words of Allaah, not a creation. Whosoever said that the Qur’an is a creation, is a disbeliever.” Al-Imam Al-Bukhari even wrote a specific book about this topic, titled Khalqu Af`alil Ibad in which he explained his stance regarding this topic clearly, explicitly, completely and scientifically.
Slandering and defamation are cruel, even crueler than assassination. It won’t differentiate between the fool or the learned ones from among the scholars. The scholars themselves aren’t free from misjudgment, since the only one that is protected from mistakes is the Messenger of Allaah -peace and prayer of Allaah be upon him-. People who believe that the scholars are protected from making mistakes are the innovators from the likes of Rafidhah (Shia) and the sufis. Likewise, people who insult the scholars for their misjudgment without taking into account whether the mistake is in the matter of ijtihad, or of principled one that is unforgivable, are the ignorants from the likes of Sururiyyin (the followers of Muhammad Ibn Surur) or haddadiyyun (the followers of Mahmud Al-Haddad).
Ahl sunnah wal jama’a do not assume that the scholars are free from mistakes, nor that they insult them upon finding their mistakes. Hence, by this principle, we still honor Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari, as well as Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Yahya Adz-Dzuhli. We pray for Allaah to bestow His mercy upon those imam. We understand every disagreement among them by the guidance of the Qur’and and the sunnah, in order to recognize the rights to follow, and the wrong to abandon.
Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’ah are those who speak and do things based on righteous knowledge. It is not of their characters to gather and act recklessly, then impose a sentence over certain person or certain group, but when they are asked; what is your basis of doing such and such?, their answer is: We are still waiting for the scholarly fatwa!
For these kind of people we shall tell, “What else do you expect from the scholars after the deed, judgement, and sentence has been made? Do you act first, then try to find justification for your act by the scholarly fatwa? If thats the case, then what you are waiting for is the scholarly fatwa that justifies your act, and that, for certain, is not the etiquette of the Ahl Sunnah wal Jama’ah.”
The governor of Bukhara, Khalid bin Ahmad As-Sadusi, and the mufti of Bukhara, Huraits bin Abil Waraqa’, were holding grudge against Al-Imam Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari and were plotting to chase him away from the land of Bukhara. When they were seeking for the reason to justify that act, all of sudden, a letter came from Al-Imam Muhammad bin yahya Adz-Dzuhli from Naisabur, who warned them of the danger of innovation committed by Al-Imam Al-Bukhari. The arrival of this letter is like the old adage; this calls for a treat. Therefore, without holding a proper investigation or being meticulous, the authorities immediately announced the content of that letter in front of the citizen of Bukhara, and soon afterwards, Al-Imam Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Bukhari was sentenced to eviction from the land where was born. By this sequence, they hoped that the people will perceive that the eviction was solely on religious ground, and nothing else.
However, Allaah is The All-Knowing and He unearthed all the evils behind the arguments that falsely used religion as its attributes. So much so that what is written in the history of Islam today is the bad impression left by the deed of Khalid bin Ahmad As-Sadusi and Huraits bin Abil Waraqa’, instead of the bad impression that those who faked the scholars’ fatwa made. Hence, O brothers, take heed! Lies and betrayal will happen repeatedly from time to time; only the perpetrators change. But in the end, it all will go down the history to reach our descendants, just like how the history of lies and betrayal that befell Al-Imam Al-Bukhari becoming the talk of this generation.