Imam Bukhari: His Life and Works part 4


His Trials

Near the end of his life, al-Bukhari had decided to move to NaisAbur. By this

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time, obviously, he was a well-known scholar. All the people of NaisAbur came to
greet him; some even setting up tents outside of NaisAbur was Muhammad ibn Yahya
al-Dhuhli. Al-Dhuhli was also anxious to meet al-Bukhari and encouraged the people
to give him a good greeting.

But things changed drastically after al-Bukhari had spent some time there. Al-

Dhuhli and the other scholars of NaisAbur’s popularity were greatly reduced while
al-Bukhari’s lectures were always full. Finally, they conspired against al-Bukhari
by claiming that he believed that a “person’s wording of the Qur’an is created.”

Someone went to al-Bukhari’s lectures to confront him on this matter. When
al-Bukhari was asked about the matter, he declined to answer but the questioner
insisted. Eventually, al-Bukhari answered by saying,

  “The Qur’an is the speech of
Allah and is not created. But the actions of the slaves are created. And to ask
about such mattes is an innovation.”

The person immediately misinterpreted al-Bukhari’s position and stated

that al-Bukhari said that the wording of the Qur’an is created. Al-Dhuhli took this

opportunity to oppose al-Bukhari and stated that no one should sit in al-Bukhari’s
lectures anymore since he is an innovator. Everyone except Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj and
Ahmad ibn Salama listened to al-Dhuhli and left al-Bukhari. When these two left
al-Dhuhli’s lecture, al-Dhuhli finally declared, “ That person should not be allowed
to live in this land.”
Al-Dhuhli’s influence was great and al-Bukhari took this as a
warning that he must leave NaisAbur. Al-Bukhari stated that he had no desire of
fame or fortune or power in NaisAbur and that it was just envy that led his
expulsion from that city.

Due to this incident, Imam Muslim refused to record any of the hadith that he had
heard from al-Dhuhli. In fact, he sent all of his books from al-Dhuhli back to him.
Al-Bukhari had a different approach. He knew that al-Dhuhli was wrong but at the
same time he knew him to be an honest person and a trustworthy narrator and,
therefore, he recorded some of al-Dhuhli’s hadith in his Sahih. But he did not
record them with the name Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhuhli but he just called him
Muhammad. He did this, some say, so people would not think that he admitted to the
accusations of al-Dhuhli. [1]

(Unfortunately, both Abu Hatim al-Razi and Abu Zarah al-Razi were affected by the
propaganda against Imam al-Bukhari and they stopped narrating his hadith.[2]

Al-Bukhari left NaisAbur to go to his home of Bukhara. Again he was greeted

with a grand reception and he began to lecture there. But troubles soon began again
in Bukhara. The governor of the area, Khalid ibn Ahmad al-Dhuhli [3] wanted al-Bukhari
tocome to the governor’s mansion and lecture privately to his children. Al-Bukhari
refused saying that it would be unacceptable for him to lecture privately to some
people only and not allow others to listen. He also told the governor’s messenger,

  “Tell your master that I shall never humiliate knowledge, and shall never carry it
to the doors of the

people. If he needs me, let him come to my mosque or to my house.”

The governor became upset and began to rouse the people against al-Bukhari

and he was finally expelled from Bukhara also. [4]After leaving Bukhara, al-Bukhari
was then invited to Samarqand to lecture to the people there. When he reached a town
called Khartank, he heard that there was some commotion in Samarqand and some of the
people there did not want al-Bukhari to move there. Finally, he received the news
that the people of Samarqand had reconsidered and wanted him to come. Just as he was
about to start his journey, he fell ill and finally died on the night of Eid
al-Fitr, 256 A.H. He was buried the next day in Khartank.

1 Uthmani, p. 97.

2 Abdul Khaliq, p. 164.

3 Not to be confused with Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Dhuhli whom al-Bukhari left in

4 Al-Bukhari made a supplication, “O Allah, give to them, their children and their
families what they had intended to do to me.” Ibn Katheer describes how Allah
answered this supplication in Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya.

(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at

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