|Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Edition||Public Domain via Project Gutenberg|
[Mahommed ibn Ismā'īl al-Bukhārī] (810-872), Arabic author of the most generally accepted collection of traditions ( ḥadīth ) from Mahomet, was born at Bokhara (Bukhārā), of an Iranian family, in A.H. 194 (A.D. 810). He early distinguished himself in the learning of traditions by heart, and when, in his sixteenth year, his family made the pilgrimage to Mecca, he gathered additions to his store from the authorities along the route. Already, in his eighteenth year, he had devoted himself to the collecting, sifting, testing and arranging of traditions. For that purpose he travelled over the Moslem world, from Egypt to Samarkand, and learned (as the story goes) from over a thousand men three hundred thousand traditions, true and false. He certainly became the acknowledged authority on the subject, and developed a power and speed of memory [v.04 p.0771]which seemed miraculous, even to his contemporaries. His theological position was conservative and anti-rationalistic; he enjoyed the friendship and respect of Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal. In law, he appears to have been a Shāfi'ite. After sixteen years' absence he returned to Bokhara, and there drew up his Ṣaḥīḥ , a collection of 7275 tested traditions, arranged in chapters so as to afford bases for a complete system of jurisprudence without the use of speculative law, the first book of its kind (see Mahommedan Law). He died in A.H. 256, in banishment at Kartank, a suburb of Samarkand. His book has attained a quasi-canonicity in Islām, being treated almost like the Koran, and to his grave solemn pilgrimages are made, and prayers are believed to be heard there.
See F. Wüstenfeld, Schāfi'iten, 78 ff.; McG. de Slane's transl. of Ibn Khallikan, i. 594 ff.; I. Goldziher, Mohammedanische Studien, ii. 157 ff.; Nawawi, Biogr. Dict. 86 ff.
(D. B. Ma.)