Al-Bukhāri's Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith


This work is the earliest Arabic manuscript in the National Library of Bulgaria. Incomplete and fragmentary, it is a 1017 copy of Volume 3 of Sahīh al-Bukhārī (Al-Bukhārī’s authentic hadiths). Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī (810–70) was born in Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Khartank, near Samarkand. He is considered by Sunni Muslims to be the most authoritative collector of hadiths—reports of statements or deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. This work, completed in 846, is al-Bukhārī’s best-known collection. It was the first work of its kind exclusively dedicated to hadiths, and is the most authoritative of the so-called Six Books—canonical collections that were written down some 200 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. These books ultimately cemented the role of hadith as the second most important source of Islamic jurisprudence after the Qur’an. In its entirety, Sahīh al-Bukhārī has 97 kitāb (books). This manuscript contains an incomplete Book 65: Manāqib Al-Ansār (Virtues of the Ansar companions), starting from the subsection Bāb qawl al-Nabī li-al-Ansār antum aḥabbu al-nāsi ilay (The Prophet telling al-Ansār, “You are the most beloved people to me”), along with Books 66–69: Al-Maghazī (The battles), Tafsīr Al-Qur’an (Qur’an exegesis), Fadha’il Al-Qur’an (The virtues of the Qur’an), and Al-Nikah (Marriage). Attempts to collect hadiths began during the Prophet Muhammad’s life and continued for the next two centuries, but it was al-Bukhārī who established the underpinnings for a clear methodology of authentication and used it to collect hadīths. As the theological and political schism between Sunni and Shia Muslims grew, the issue of authentication became more important. In terms of authenticity, Sunni Muslim scholars typically classify hadiths into six categories, depending on the authority of their isnād, or chain of transmitters. A hadith can be sahīh (authentic), hasan (good), da’if (weak), mawdhu’a (fabricated), or munkar (denounced). Typically, hadiths that are classified as sahīh or hasan can be used in jurisprudence. As the title of this work suggests, Sahīh al-Bukhārī includes only authentic hadiths. Differences between Sunni and Shia hadith traditions largely center on the reliability of the transmitters.

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Title in Original Language

صحيح البخاري أو الجامع الصحيح

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109 sheets ; 175 x 256 millimeters

Last updated: May 3, 2013