Hadith Selection Criteria in Sahih Bukhari by Imamul Muhaddethin

Conditions for Selection of Ahadith in Sahih Bukhari

Imam Bukhari (R.A) has imposed conditions which all narrators and testifiers must meet before the hadith can be selected. One condition requires that all testifiers must have a strong memory. There are also restrictions made upon this condition :

1. All the Muhadditheen who possess great knowledge of ahaadeeth must agree upon the testifiers’ in question ability to learn and memorize, along with his reporting techniques.
2. The testimonial must be complete without any missing testifiers.
3. If there are two different narrators of a hadith related to them by a Sahaabi then the hadith shall be given a high stage in rank. However, if only one narrator can be found and the testimonial proves to be a strong one then this shall be accepted without any doubts.

Allaamah Nawawi (R.A) relates that all scholars in Islam have agreed that Sahih-ul-Bukhari has earnestly gained the reward of being the most authentic after the Holy Qur’an.

Sahih-ul-Bukhari consists of 7 275 ahaadeeth including those ahaadeeth which have been repeated. However, should the repeated ahaadeeth be excluded then the total number of ahaadeeth will be 4,000.

Hafiz Ibn Hajar counted the ahaadeeth and concluded that there was 7 397 where the ahaadeeth have been passed down from the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam directly and with the narrations of Sahabah or Tabi’een etc.; procuring a total of 9 407 ahaadeeth in all. Although after excluding the repetitions he found 2 353 narrations of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and 160 sayings of the respected Sahabah totaling to 2 513 narrations in all.

A Distinctive Honour:

Bukhari Shareef has been set apart from other compilations, gaining a distinctive honour due to the following reasons :

1. Whilst Imam Bukhari (R.A) was engaged in the writing of Bukhari Shareef, if the need arose to stop work for a period of time, then he would continue his work only after writing ‘Bismillah’ which is the reason why ‘ Bismillah’ has been found to be written in between in many places.

2. At the end of all chapters Imam Bukhari (R.A) has concluded by use of a word within the sentence so as to give one a point to ponder upon and hopefully so that one becomes more aware of the primary objective of life. e.g. after the first chapter he has included a word which brings one to think of their short life in this world and of their death. His intention is that one reads Kitaabe-Bukhari with death in mind.

3. Imam Bukhari (R.A) has paid great attention towards the beginning and ending his kitaab with an appropriate hadith. For the first hadith narrated within the kitaab is based upon intention which gives one the opportunity to be sincere with himself as to what he intends to gain from studying the words of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam which have been narrated throughout the kitaab. Also the last chapter which Imam Bukhari (R.A) has chosen to end his kitaab with is ‘Kitaab-ul-Tauheed’ which gives one a whole host of words which may be said in order to praise the oneness of Allah; for it is this which is believed to be the sole aid for all humans when they shall find themselves in the unbearable position of being reckoned for their sins on the Day of Judgment.
Hadhrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (R.A) has summed up the above in these words," Imam Bukhari (R.A) has commenced his kitaab with the hadeeth ‘ Innamal Aamaal....’ and concluded it with ‘Kalimataan.