Manuscript Sources for Sahih Bukhari

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Q:) I read with interest your refutations of the rejecters of the Sunnah. These people reject Hadith and try to influence other Muslims into their line of thinking. It is no use discussing with them as I spent a few days arguing with them to no avail. While I believe this movement to be a clear deviation from the middle way, I would like to ask a question on the basis that you may know more on the history of the hadith than I do and thereby provide a Muslim brother with a stronger argument against these deviations.

What is the original manuscript on which the books of Sahih Bukhari which we have today are based? I understand that there have been several commentaries on Sahih Bukhari and there is a claim that what we have today is just one of the commentaries i.e that of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. There is also mention of a certain Imam Hafiz Yununi who apparently provided the original copy for all available Sahih Bukhari. [Cherif]?

A:) It seems that you have been given very incorrect information concerning Sahih Bukhari.

The present copies of Sahih Bukhari are based on dozens of manuscripts, which are available in many big libraries all over the world. Many of the commentaries mention the differences found in the different manuscripts, while the Indian copy of Bukhari mentions the differences in the side-notes.

As for the copy of Imam Yununi, this is a copy only found a few years ago and published for the first time in 2002.

Thus, there is no basis for claiming that today's copies of Sahih Bukhari are all based on one manuscript.

As for the commentaries, the information you seem to have been given is even more laughable.

Dozens of the commentaries of Sahih Bukhari are present today and are being used eg. Umdatul Qari of Aini, Irshadus Sari, Al-Tawsheeh of Suyuti, Sharh of Ibn Battaal, Commentary of Sindi, Jamiud Darari, Imdaadul Bari, Commentary of Shanqiti, Faidul Bari, Fadlul Bari, Anwarul Bari, Laamiud Darari, Commentary of Ibn Rajab Hambali etc.

These are just a few of the present commentaries of Sahih Bukhari.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Albalagh Note: Many of these questions arise because most of us have not only never received any formal Islamic education, we have not even seen the actual books. It will be quite instructive, therefore, to look at the classic Islamic books in Arabic printed in the Arab world today. Take, for example, the Al-Adhkar of Imam Nawawi. The 2002 edition published by Dar Ibn Kathir, Beirut (available at Albalagh Bookstore), had research done by Yusuf Ali Badewi and Ahmed Muhammad Al-Sayyid.

It is based on two manuscripts, both found in a library in Damascus. A) It bears the number 7017 of the library and was written by hand by Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abdul Rahim in Dhul-Hijja 739 AH. B) It bears the number 1223 of the library and has 178 pages and a page size of 17X26 cm. It was written by Muhammad ibn Uthma ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman Al-Ba'ali. It comes from the trust of Mulla Uthman Al-Kurdi and has been read to and corrected by a group of ulama, the last of whom was Shaikhul Islam Khattab. Yusuf Bedewi has painstakingly gone through both manuscripts word by word and noted the slightest differences between them in the published book. He notes that this word is only found in A and this word is only found in B. A photocopy of the beginning pages of both manuscripts is also included in the book.

Further research includes commentary on the status of each hadith (sahih, hasan, da'eef, munkar, etc.) in the footnotes. This is the care taken for a book of supplications! From this we can imagine the care taken in producing the books that deal with beliefs and laws and the core of Islamic teachings.

The fact is that there is an unbelievable treasure in the Islamic works produced over the centuries. The tragedy is that most of the "educated" Muslims today have never even looked at them and are not even aware of their existence. And they are the ones who disseminate their "expert" opinions about Islamic sciences! The irony of the "information age," as someone aptly remarked, is the proliferation of the uninformed opinion.

Article taken (with Thanks) from Albalagh.Net


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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .