|IMAM BUKHARI PART (2)|
|Published by Maularna|
|Thursday, 26 May 2011 09:38|
BY USTAD MAULARNA SHAH/ MUHAMMAD KHUSHAIRI BIN MASDI
THE FIQH OF AL-BUKHARI
Some narrators of hadith were known for simply passing on hadith without having any idea as to the meaning of the hadith they disseminate. Such was not the case with al-Bukhari (and most, if not all, of the early scholars of hadith). Besides being a premier scholar of hadith, he was also known as a great jurist. His contemporaries praised his knowledge of fiqh. Naeem ibn Hammad al-Khuzai called him the faqih (jurist) of this nation. And Bandar (Muhammad ibn Bishr) said that he was the most knowledgeable in fiqh of his time. In Fadl al-Bari, it states, “Abu Musab has claimed that Bukhari enjoys a rank higher than Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in jurisprudence. One of his pupils, when he heard this statement, could not but express his amazement. Abu Musab’s rejoinder to this was: ‘Why do you express your surprise over this? I should go rather further and say that, if you compare al-Bukhari and Malik, you would find theme bearing considerable resemblance.’” Al-Bukhari himself stated that he did not begin to narrate hadith until he had studied the books of the ahl al-ra’i (or the jurists of, in particular, Iraq).
In fact, his al-Jami al-Sahih is not simply a collection of authentic hadith but is also a classic work of fiqh. It is for this reason that al-Bukhari did not record the entire hadith each time he mentions a particular hadith. It was his practice (though not always) to record only that portion of the hadith that was relevant to the chapter. This is why he repeats many hadith throughout his work (many times without mentioning their chains).
Al-Bukhari’s fiqh is clearly seen in his Chapter Titles (tarajim) of Sahih. In those chapter titles, he states fiqh conclusions that he derived from the hadith and verses of the Qur’an of the chapter. This is what led Abdul Rauf to write:
Readers of Sahih with a deep insight will realize that the author had two objectives of writing his book – not one. On the one hand, being himself a great scholar and a leading jurist in his own right, al-Bukhari sought to make his work a rich fountain of knowledge in all areas of the Islamic religion. Apparently he used the tarajim [chapter headings] as a convenient and relevant place for expounding his own views or the opinions of others that he supported and wanted to advocate.
In many cases, his chapter titles or fiqh conclusions can be easily derived from the hadith but in other cases his chapter titles demonstrate a keen perception and true scholarship of fiqh. These chapter titles have been the topic of study for a number of scholars, since they show both the fiqh and fiqh methodology of Imam al-Bukhari. There have been at least nine books written solely on the chapter titles, not to mention the discussion of these chapter titles in the different commentaries on Sahih al-Bukhari.
Unfortunately, in the later years, there was a great deal of envy and competition between some jurists and some scholars of hadith. Some of these jurists began to attack al-Bukhari and belittle his knowledge of fiqh. Indeed the following story was fabricated concerning a supposed ruling from al-Bukhari. They claim that he gave a ruling that the infant who drinks milk from a sheep will be forever “forbidden” with respect to that sheep, that is, he can never marry that sheep and all of the bonds of kinship will apply to them. There is no truth to that story and it is obvious that it was fabricated simply to show that al-Bukhari, the scholar of hadith, was completely ignorant when it came to matters of fiqh. It seems that the people who made such attacks on al-Bukhari had neither seen nor read Sahih al-Bukhari or at least, they did not understand it.
Some of the attacks on al-Bukhari, such as the one quoted above, came from the Hanafis because they felt that al-Bukhari showed some disrespect to Abu Hanifa. Al-Bukhari did refute Abu Hanifa on a number of occasions in his Sahih. But he would never mention Abu Hanifa by name. Whenever he refuted one of Abu Hanifa’s opinions, he would always preface the discussion by saying, “Some people say…” instead of saying, “Abu Hanifa says…”He did this either out of respect to Abu Hanifa, thereby not refuting him directly, or to show that Abu Hanifa was not isolated in the opinions that he held and that al-Bukhari refuted. The following passage from Fadl al-Bari, written by a Hanafi, is quite perceptive:
In the Jami al-Sahih, al-Bukhari has criticized Imam Abu Hanifah at different places, particularly in the Kitab al-Hiyal (The Book of Stratagems and the Kitab al-Ikrah (The Book of Indictment). It is likewise true that there was some intellectual disputation between the famous Hanafite of his time, Abu Hafs Kabir and al-Bukhari, but it would be questioning al-Bukhari’s intellectual integrity to hold it to be at the heart of these criticisms. What probably is nearer the truth is that al-Bukhari has criticized the Hanafite approach as it reached him on the basis of nothing but what he thought was the best. For us, both the Imams are worthy of respect.
SOME OF AL-BUKHARI’S FIQH OPINIONS
Abdul Khaliq is of the opinion that the chapter titles in the Sahih are not all indicative of al-Bukhari’s first priority to collect together the most authentic hadith even if he felt that those hadith have been made conditional, particularized, or abrogated by other hadith or rulings. Abdul Khaliq’s thesis is questionable though as al-Bukhari was free to write any chapter heading he wished. If he recorded a chapter title or hadith that he only partially agreed with, he could have easily noted that point in the chapter title by writing, “The proof that such and such was valid but was later abrogated [or particularized],” or something of that nature. For example, in one chapter heading he wrote, “While urinating or defecating, never face the Qibla except when you are screened by a building or a wall or something like that.’” It is clear from this chapter heading that al-Bukhari felt free to state particularizations or state certain conditions for specific hadith. This goes against Abdul Khaliq’s thesis. Hence, one has to conclude that al-Bukhari’s chapter headings do convey his fiqh opinions unless there is some strong proof to believe otherwise. (Allah knows best.)
Abdul Khaliq lists some of al-Bukhari’s fiqh opinions that may be derived from his chapter headings. Here are some examples: (1) It is not obligatory for a couple to make ghusl (the complete washing after sexual intercourse) simply due to contact of the genitals, although it is better to do so. (2) It is permissible to recite the Qur’an in the bathroom. (3) Water does not become impure if something falls into it unless the impurity changes its color or taste, regardless of the amount of the water. (4) It is permissible for men to sleep in the mosques and for women to do so also if they have a tent set up for them. (5) It is permissible to delay the prayer for specific necessities, such as fighting or protecting one’s self from the enemy. (6) It is acceptable to perform the qunut (the saying of supplications) before or after the ruku (bowing) in prayer.
As-Subki gave an example of al-Bukhari’s clever reasoning in fiqh. According to al-Bukhari, it is permissible for a man to see a woman that he might marry; his evidence is the hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was presented his wife in a dream and he uncovered her face and saw that it was Aisha. Al-Bukhari did not mention exactly how that could be a proof for his position but Taqi al-Din al-Subki understood him and stated that the proof was that what the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did either while awake or asleep (such as his dreams which were also inspirations) are both hujja or proofs from a legal theory point of view.
WAS AL-BUKHARI A MUJTAHID?
There is no question that al-Bukhari was a Mujtahid in the field of hadith but there is some question whether al-Bukhari was a Mujtahid in the field of fiqh. According to Abdul Khaliq, the early scholars did not discuss this question with respect to al-Bukhari. Some of the later scholars, such as al-Qasimi and Tahir al-Jazairi, call him an “absolute Mujtahid” (Mujtahid mutlaq). Abdul Khaliq hesitates in calling him such although he also states that al-Bukhari may have more than a mujtahid of a specific school of fiqh.
Al-Bukhari did not write a work of usul al-fiqh or legal theory (although he did touch on a few points related to usul al-fiqh in his Sahih) nor does it seem that people took him as the leader of a new school of fiqh. For example, it was al-Tirmidhi’s custom to record the opinions of the different jurists yet he only quoted al-Bukhari’s fiqh opinion once. Furthermore, many of the early scholars of hadith were so engrossed in the narration and compilation of hadith that they did not have the time to also try to disseminate principles of legal theory or jurisprudence and, therefore, some of them followed the leading Imams of fiqh of their time.
For these reasons, scholars have tried to determine what school of fiqh Imam al-Bukhari belonged to. Due to al-Bukhari’s fame and reputation, different scholars have claimed him for their own school of fiqh. For example, ibn al-Qayyim and Abu Yala include him as one of the followers of Ahmad; some even said that he was a Hanafi since he was a student of ibn Rahawaih. The most popular opinion of the later scholars, who were the ones who discussed this question, is that he was a Shafi. Al-Subki and Sadiq Hassan Khan both consider him a Shafi.
Near the end of his life, al-Bukhari had decided to move to Naisaboor. By this time, obviously, he was a well-known scholar. All the people of Naisaboor came to greet him; some even setting up tents outside of Naisaboor 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 Naisaboor’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 matters 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 Naisaboor. Al-Bukhari stated that he had no desire of fame or fortune or power in Naisaboor 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. (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.)
Al-Bukhari left Naisaboor 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 wanted al-Bukhari to come 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.
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. At that time, al-Bukhari made what seems to be his farewell supplication, saying, “Oh Allah, your earth has become too straitened for me despite its vastness. I beseech you to call me to yourself.” 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.
IMAM AL-BUKHARI’S WRITINGS
(1) Al-Adab al-Mufrad– This is a collection of hadith that are mostly concerned with the manners and ethics of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This work has been published a number of times and there are also some commentaries on it.
(2) Al-Tarikh (“The History”) – These are a collection of biographies in the style of the scholars of hadith. Actually, al-Bukhari wrote three such works: al-Kabeer (“The Large”), al-Sagheer (“the small”) and al-Ausat (“the intermediate”). The most important of these is al-Kabeer.
(2a) Al-Tarikh al-Kabeer – This is one of the first works that al-Bukhari compiled. He wrote it while in Madina. It contains biographical information on some 40,000 narrators. He said that for each narrator in the book he could reproduce an incident concerning his life but he did not do so as that would make the book too long. Al-Bukhari’s teacher Ishaq ibn Rahawaih praised the book immensely. In fact, it has been passed on to posterity and stands as one of the classic biographical works. Abu Ahmad al-Hakim stated that no compiler of any biographical work who came after al-Bukhari could do without referring to this work. It has been published in eight volumes.
(3) Asami al-Sahaba – Al-Bukhari was the first to compile an entire work solely on the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Perhaps this work laid the foundation for the works to come later on this topic.
(4) Al-Musnad al-Kabeer – It is said that al-Bukhari wrote a work containing one hundred thousand hadith. From the title of this work, it seems that this would be it. Some of the later scholars have mentioned this work but it seems that it no longer exists today.
(5) Kitab al-Kuni (“The Book of Patronyms”) – Many narrators were referred to as Abu Fulan (“Father of so and so”) and sometimes it is difficult to identify exactly whom the referred narrator is. This work by al-Bukhari is of monumental help in identifying such narrators. According to Abu Ahmad al-Hakim, Imam Muslim’s work on this same topic is almost simply a transcript of al-Bukhari’s work with the addition of only simple comments. Later scholars, such as al-Nasai, al-Hakim and al-Dhahabi also wrote on this topic and benefited greatly from al-Bukhari’s work.
(6) Khalq Afaal al-Ibad (“The Creation of the Acts of the Slaves [of God]”) – The early enemies of Islam were not able to drive the Muslims away from Islam so they had to turn to trying to destroy Islam from within. They tried this first by casting doubts on the Qur’an by saying that it was created.2 They denied the attribute of speech to Allah although it is clearly confirmed on a number of occasions in the Qur’an. Another group of people arose who denied qadr, saying that Allah did not know about something until that event actually occurred. This innovation began during the last days of the period of the Companions. After that there began a discussion of the actions of the humans – are they created by Allah or is the person of complete free will. Two extremes appeared, one claiming no role for human beings while the other claimed that humans created their own deeds themselves. Al-Bukhari wrote this book to address these three innovations and to confirm Allah’s attribute of speech, confirm qadr and the knowledge of Allah of all things and confirm Allah’s creating of the actions of the slave. This book was written during al-Bukhari’s last years after he was accused by al-Dhuhli of being an innovator.
(7) Kitab al-Illal – This is a work on the most difficult science of the sciences of hadith: the spotting of defects or mistakes in what look like sound hadith. Al-Bukhari, his teacher Ali ibn al-Madini and Abu Hatim al-Razi were all experts in this field. With the exception of Khalq Afaal al-Ibad, all of the above works deal with hadith or hadith sciences but al-Bukhari also had some works on specific fiqh topics, such as the following: Kitab al-Hibah (“The Book of Endowments”), Rafa al-Yadain (“Raising of Both Hands [in the Prayer]”, a refutation of the Hanafis), al-Qirat Khalf al-Imam (“Reciting behind the Imam”), Kitab al-Ashriba (“The Book of Drinks”) and Qadhaya al-Sahaba wa al-Tabieen (“Judgments of the Companions and Followers,” this was his first work, written while he was eighteen years old). A tafsir of the Qur’an has also been ascribed to him but it was either part of the Sahih or it has been lost over time.
FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES
 Most of this biographical information comes from Ahmad ibn Hajr’s introduction to Fath al -Bari, Hady al-Sari (Riyadh: Dar al-Ifta), vol. 1, pp. 477-493. The interested reader may also consult Taqi al-Din al-Mudhari, Al-Imam al-Bukhari: Imam al-Huffadh wa al-Muhadditheen (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1988); Abdul Ghani Abdul Khaliq, Al-Imam al-Bukhari wa Sahihuhu (Jedda: Dar al-Manara, 1985).
 Imad al-Din ibn Katheer, Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al -Ilmiyya, 1985), vol. 11, p.25
 This is where he hides the identities of the narrators by giving them names that most people do not know them by.
Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani, Fadl al-Bari: Commentary on the Sahih al-Bukhari (Karachi: Idarah Ulum-I-Shariyyah), p. 79.2 Ibid, p. 79.
 Abdul Khaliq, p. 137
 Uthmani, vol. 1, p. 92. It is not stated who wrote the introductory portion on the life of Imam al -Bukhari.
 Al-Mudhahiri, pp. 131-134 lists them.
 Translated by Khan as the “Book of Tricks”
 Translated by Khan as the “Book of Coercion”
Abdul Khaliq, p. 145.
Abdul Khaliq, pp. 146-7.
 Abdul Khaliq, p. 142. For a discussion of the different types of mujtahid, see Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, “Ibn Taymiyya: Mujahid, Mujtahid and Mujaddid II,” Al-Basheer (Vol. 3, No. 4, Nov. -Dec 1989), pp. 20-21.
 Uthmani, p. 90.
 Al-Mudhahiri, p. 55.
 Uthmani, p. 97.
 Abdul Khaliq, p. 164.
 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. Al-Nasafi, in Kashf al-Asrar Sharh al-Manar, states that the reason al-Bukhari was expelled from Bukhara was that he gave a ruling that the infant who drinks milk from a sheep will be forever “forbidden” with respect to that sheep, that is, he cannot marry it and on. As mentioned earlier, there is absolutely no truth to this story and it is simply another case of the jurists trying to attack the scholars of hadith for not being people of sound understanding. To make such a claim against al-Bukhari is even more ridiculous when one considers what a great jurist he also was. Unfortunately, this rivalry existed for some time between the specialists in the two fields, fiqh and hadith, that mean so much to the Muslim nation. Concerning this story, see Abdul Khaliq, pp. 140-142.