The Marvellous Memory of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah)
Haashid bin Ismaa‘eel (rahimahullah) mentions the following:
When Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was still a young boy, he would accompany us when we would attend the lessons of the great Muhadditheen of Basrah to learn Hadith. However, he would merely listen to the Muhadditheen narrating and would not write any of the Ahaadith that they narrated.
A few days passed in which we observed that he was not writing any of the Ahaadith, and hence we would say to him, “You accompany us to learn the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), yet we notice that you do not write the Ahaadith. If you do not write the Ahaadith then how are you going to learn them?”
After sixteen days had passed in this manner, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) finally addressed us saying, “You have continued to urge me to write the Ahaadith, and have persisted in asking me how I am going to learn the Ahaadith. Bring your kitaabs to me, in which you have recorded the Ahaadith.”
We brought our kitaabs to him, and the Ahaadith which we had written in that period were more than fifteen thousand in number. Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) then began to recite these Ahaadith to us from his memory, and continued reciting until he had finished all the Ahaadith that we had written in our kitaabs. He recited the Ahaadith with such accuracy that on hearing him reciting the Ahaadith, we even began to correct certain mistakes that we had made when writing the Ahaadith in our kitaabs.
After completing the recitation, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) said to us, “Do you think that I come here in vain and that I will allow my days to be wasted?”
It was then that we recognized the marvelous memory of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) and his esteemed position, and we realized that no person will surpass him in the field of Hadith.
(Siyar A’laam min Nubalaa 12/408)