Guidance for the Benighted Venturer towards Explanation of the “Saḥīḥ” of al-Bukhari


Irshād al-sārī ilá sharḥ al-Bukhārī (Guidance for the benighted venturer towards explanation of the Sahih of al-Bukhari) is a commentary in ten volumes on the authoritative hadith collection of al-Bukhari. The commentary is by Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Qastallani, a prolific Egyptian scholar and preacher of the 15th and early 16th centuries. In it the author explains the terminology of hadith studies as well as discusses topics in al-Bukhari’s text that cover the entire range of subjects, from faith itself to relations between the sexes. Muhammad ibn Ismaʻil al-Bukhari (810–70) was born in Bukhara and died near Samarkand, both in present-day Uzbekistan. He is considered by Sunni Muslims to be the most trustworthy collector of hadiths (statements or deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad). His Saḥīḥ 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 the Prophet. These books ultimately cemented the role of hadith as the most important source of Islamic jurisprudence after the Qurʼan. Printed on the margins of the main work is the Saḥīḥ of Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri (circa 821‒75), the second-most revered of hadith collections, with the commentary of Abu Zakariyah Yahya al-Nawawi (1233‒77). Al-Qastallani’s commentary on al-Bukhari and al-Nawawi’s on Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj are among the many works that recognized these Saḥīḥayn (two Saḥīḥs) as the principal texts for hadith studies. Both works support the canonical status of the two seminal Saḥīḥs and established the primacy of hadith over other interpretive methods, such as individual opinions in legal cases where scripture (Qur’an) and tradition (hadith) were deemed silent. Both the main texts are thoroughly indexed to facilitate navigation through the dense texts. The work was first printed at the Bulaq Press in Cairo in 1850, and again in 1886. This edition was printed at the Mimniyah Press in Cairo in 1889.

Last updated: May 2, 2017