Download PDF: [S] Imam Bukhari’s vast Memory (Islamic story)

It is stated that while Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – was still little, his father, Ismail bin Ebrahim, passed away. His complete care and upkeep was then taken by his blessed mother. However, during this young age, his vision began to disappear and obviously this was a great source of stress and worry for his mother.

 

She was also a female who was noted for her piety and Ibadah and she continued to make Du’a for her innocent child. It is revealed that one night, she saw Nabi Ebrahim – peace be upon him – in her dream who informed her that through her Du’a Allah Almighty will return the sight of her young son.

 

Allama Taajudeen Subki – may Allah be pleased with him – also mentions that once during his travel to Khuraasan, his vision also began to disappear but through the advice of someone, they returned. Even in his young age, he had a great sense of enthusiasm to memorise the Ahadith even before he reached the age of ten. After completing his initial Madressah training, he entered the classes of Muhaddith Daakhili – may Allah be pleased with him – and various other eminent teachers of Hadith.

 

One day, Imam Daakhili – may Allah be pleased with him – mentioned a certain chain of narrators and Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him, who was still a young boy at the time, mentioned the correct chain of narrators. The teacher did not think much of this and thought that it was a mere prank played by a small child. In fact, he completely ignored what the young man said. However, Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – then mentioned to his teacher that if the teacher had the actual recording, he should compare it with that. There was nothing wrong with this suggestion. It seemed logical. Muhaddith Daakhili – may Allah be pleased with him – then went to his room and compared his notes and realised that the young man was correct.

 

When returned to the class, he asked Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – as to the actual chain of narrators. Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – then narrated the names of the actual chain and his teacher attested to this.

 

Later, when Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – was asked what his age at that time was, he replied that he was eleven years.

 

In fact, one of this teachers, Allama Bekandi – may Allah be pleased with him – used to mention that when Mohammed bin Ismail – may Allah be pleased with him – used to enter the class, he used to be struck with awe and fear and when mentioning any Hadith, he experienced immense fear.

 

It is mentioned that once, Hadrat Sulaim bin Mujaahid – may Allah be pleased with him – entered the classes of Allama Bekandi – may Allah be pleased with him, who mentioned to him, “If you had only come a little earlier, I would have introduced you to a young boy who knows seventy thousand Ahadith through memory.”

 

In fact one day, the same Allama asked the young scholar to go through his own teaching material and make any correction if there needed to be correction. People around him were amazed and asked him the reason for this and he replied that there was no one who was comparable to this young man in that era.

 

Allama Qastalani – may Allah be pleased with him – also mentions that Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – knew over seventy thousand Ahadith through memory. (Muqaddimah Fathul Baari).

 

In the same chapter, Hadrat Haashid bin Ismail – may Allah be pleased with him – remarks that they used to attend the classes of the eminent Mashaa’ikh of Basrah in the company of Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him. However, they used to write whatever they learnt while Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – wrote nothing.

 

In fact, his friends also made fun of him one day and mentioned that he was wasting his time. When they continued in this fashion, Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – became a little angry and asked them to bring their notes forward. At that time, fifteen thousand Ahadith had been recorded by them. He then narrated each Hadith Shareef which was on their records and they were so amazed by this that in future they used to give him their notes to rectify.

 

In the same manner, one day he arrived in Baghdad Shareef and the eminent Muhaditheen decided to test him there as well. They nominated ten of them to mention ten Ahadith each but also alter the actual chain of narrators and also certain words in the Ahadith.

 

When the great Imam arrived, the first person began to narrate his ten Ahadith. As he completed each Hadith, the great Imam declared that he was unaware of that Hadith. After each Hadith, he mentioned the same words and obviously, the common people were under the impression that he knew nothing. However, the Ulama present immediately understood that he had caught them out. After they had completed the hundred Ahadith, Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – then cited each Hadith they had mentioned with its incorrect chain of narrators and then mentioned the correct chain of narrators. In fact, all of this was cited by Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Bukhari – may Allah be pleased with him – in exactly the same manner and sequence as they had mentioned it to him.

 

Haafiz ibn Hajr Asqalani – may Allah be pleased with him – mentions something quite amazing. The great scholar says that, “One should not be amazed at the fact that he corrected each Hadith. What is absolutely amazing is that he heard each Hadith only once from each person and had memorized it in that one single sitting. In other words, in that one sitting, he had memorized a hundred Ahadith!”

 

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