Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) – Part Six

On one occasion, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) travelled to the city of Baghdad. On hearing of his arrival in the city, a few Muhadditheen gathered and decided that they would test the memory of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah). They wished to test him to determine his proficiency and mastery in narrating Hadith.

Thus, they selected one hundred Ahaadith and mixed the Ahaadith with the chains of other Ahaadith. Thereafter, they agreed that ten people among themselves will narrate these hundred altered Ahaadith to Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah), with each person narrating ten Ahaadith. They decided that after narrating the Ahaadith, they would ask Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) regarding their authenticity.

The following day, when the people gathered in the Hadith lesson of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah), one of the ten people stood and presented to Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) one of the ten Ahaadith which he was assigned to present. On hearing the altered Hadith, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) said, “I do not know this Hadith.” The man then asked Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) regarding the second Hadith, and third Hadith, until he had asked regarding all ten Ahaadith, and on hearing every Hadith, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) said, “I do not know this Hadith.”

On observing this, the learned people in the gathering realized that Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was being tested, and also realized that Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was not deceived. Rather, he knew that he was being tested and the Ahaadith had been altered.

As for those in the gathering who were not learned, then on observing Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) repeat the words “I do not know this Hadith” time and time again, they felt convinced that Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was not knowledgeable in the field of Hadith.

Thereafter, the second, third and remaining people from the ten people stood and presented their ten altered Ahaadith, and on hearing each Hadith, Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) said, “I do not know this Hadith.”

Finally, when all one hundred of the altered Ahaadith had been presented to Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah), he turned to the first person and said, “The correct version of the first Hadith which you narrated to me is as follows.” Saying this, he narrated the text of the first Hadith with the correct chain of narrators. Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) then did the same with the remaining nine Ahaadith, presenting the correct chain with each Hadith.

Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) then turned to the second person, and third person, until he had completed narrating all the one hundred Ahaadith, in the same sequence they were narrated to him and with the correct chain of narrators.

On observing this, the people realized and acknowledged the marvelous memory and outstanding expertise of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) in the field of Hadith.

(Siyar A’laamin Nubalaa 12/409)

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