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Imam al-Bukhari was a; Muwahhid, Salafi & Athari, Not a Muqallid, Partisan or Blind Follower of any Madhhab – He was Upon the Madhhab of Ahlul Hadith

Compiled by
Abu Hibban

Many claim that Imām Bukhārī was an Ashʿarī, Ṣūfī, or a fanatic to a particular Madhhab, or … and the claims continue! Yet the most authentic book accepted by all the Muslims after the Quran Imam Bukhārī’s ‘Ṣaḥīḥ’ completely contradicts what the claimant’s state. What follows is merely an aerial view of some of Bukhārī’s beliefs as put forward in his ‘Ṣaḥīḥ’ set out as elementary level for easy understanding. 


Book: Oneness, Uniqueness of Allāh (Tawḥīd)

Chapter: The Prophet () inviting his followers to Tawḥīd of Allāh

Narrated Ibn ʿAbbās: When the Prophet (ﷺ) sent Muʿādh to Yemen, he said to him, “You are going to a nation from the people of the Scripture, so let the first thing to which you will invite them, be the Tawḥīd of Allāh. If they learn that, tell them that Allāh has enjoined on them, five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. And if they pray, tell them that Allāh has enjoined on them Zakat of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. And if they agree to that, then take from them Zakat but avoid the best property of the people.[1]

Our Noble Prophet began with Tawḥīd and he obligated it upon others to also do the same as one can clearly see from the ḥadīth of the noble Companion Muʿādh. For it is the belief in Tawḥīd and a warning from shirk for which all the messengers were sent [16:36] and Allāh will not forgive Shirk and may only do so if one repents before he dies [4:48]. Therefore, we can see why it is vital and obligatory to start with Tawḥīd, as it is the foundation upon which all other aspects of worship are built.

It is a travesty that we have sects today who claim to follow the way of our Prophet but totally make up their own rules of giving daʿwah and what daʿwah should be given to. Some sects such as Ikhwān al-Muslimīn start their daʿwah by calling people to politics and to join the struggle to overthrow rulers, which is itself against the Sunnah! The Jamāt at-Tablīgh are another example, they call to their invented charter and the Tablighī Niṣāb with the call of ‘as long as you establish Salah then this is the most important thing’, clearly this is not true for Shirk nullifies all good deeds [6:88] and it is against the Sunnah of the methodology of our prophet in calling people to Allāh as per the ḥadīth of Muʿādh and the call of all the prophets as stated in the Qurʾān. Therefore, it’s an obligation that we don’t go beyond the Sunnah of the Prophet in any affair and abandon all these innovated sects and methodologies and stick to the truth.

The Tablighī responds and says:

We make the people repent from sin the details Tawḥīd and shirk can follow later.[2]

[as argued by modern day leader of Tablighi’s, Mawlāna Ṭāriq Jamīl in a pre-recorded lecture broadcast on PTV 2013. In other words, the individual is left upon his Shirk and Bidʿah and may never be corrected by them! Then this argument by the head of Bidʿah in the religion Ṭāriq Jamīl was actually responded to by Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah hundreds of years earlier wherein he debated with a Sufi who made a similar claim [to that of Ṭāriq Jamīl] to which Ibn Taymiyyah responded:

And some of them [the Ṣūfis] have said: we make people repent. I [Shaykh ul-Islam] said: you make them repent from what? He [the Ṣūfī] said: from thievery, highway robbery and so forth. I [Shaykh ul-Islam] said: their condition before you make them repent is better than their condition after you made them repent; verily, they were transgressors and they used to believe that what they were upon is unlawful, they were hoping for the mercy of Allāh and repenting to Him or intending to repent. By having them repenting, you made them misguided, polytheists who have deserted from the divine Islamic law, who love what Allāh hates and hate what Allāh loves. And I [Shaykh ul-Islam] have clarified that these innovations that them and others are upon are worse than sins.[3]

Chapter: “(He Alone is) the All-Knower of the Unseen, and He reveals to none His Unseen.”

Narrated Ibn ʿUmar: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The keys of the unseen are five and none knows them but Allāh: (1) None knows (the sex) what is in the womb, but Allāh: (2) None knows what will happen tomorrow, but Allāh; (3) None knows when it will rain, but Allāh; (4) None knows where he will die, but Allāh (knows that); (5) and none knows when the Hour will be established, but Allāh.[4]

Narrated Masruq: ʿAiʿshah said, “If anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, he is a liar, for Allāh says: “No vision can grasp Him.” (6.103) And if anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen the Unseen, he is a liar, for Allāh says: “None has the knowledge of the Unseen but Allāh.”[5]

We can see the clear, precise and concise words collected by the Imām of Imām ul-Anbiyā and his noble wife, our Mother Aisha concerning the fact that it is only Allāh that has the knowledge of the unseen, that is ‘Ilm ul Ghayb’.

Consider the words carefully, for the noble prophet is saying “The keys of the unseen are five and none knows them but Allāh,” this excludes all of creation, including our Noble prophet from having knowledge of these matters. Yet the Ṣūfī Qubūrī lies against the Nabī and gives him that which only belongs to Allāh alone all in the name of ‘loving the prophet’! such ‘love’ was not the belief of the prophet or his companions.

Furthermore, our Mother Aiʿshah calls the person a ‘liar’ who says the prophet has Ilm ul-Ghayb. What then of Aḥmad Raza Khān Barailwī who states:

The Prophet has knowledge of all the unseen including that which has been, will be, even down to how many turns the leaf shall take before touching the ground.[6]

What then of Ashraf ʿAlī Thanwī who said:

The prophets knowledge of the unseen is something that is established beyond any doubt and such knowledge of the unseen was even given to Allāhs friends Awliyā who knew what was inside the womb.[7]

Truthful or liars? For those who have a sickness in their heart they may say this was merely the opinion of Aisha then they should know that she substantiated what she said with the verse of the Quran “None has the knowledge of the Unseen but Allāh.” Alḥamdulillāh, sufficient for us is the belief of our Prophet and noble mother.

Walillahil Hamd Imam Bukharī was not a Muqallid, Partisan, Blind Follower of any Madhhab but was upon the Madhhab of the Salaf!!

Many who are fanatics [but they may not know or acknowledge this] towards there Madhhab oft repeat the mantra that ‘There is Ijma/consensus that the ummah blindly followed one of the four Madhhabs’ and that ‘The scholars of Islam such as Imam Bukhari and others were all blind followers of a Madhhab’. This short article is a result of notes for lessons, presented to my students, May Allah bless them, taken from notes when we covered the subject area of Sahih al-Bukhari.

The article shall illustrate that Imam Bukhari was not a fanatic towards the Madhhabs or a blind follower as opined by the Madhhabists but instead his belief and methodology was to accept the Sunnah even if that was in opposition to the fatwa or verdict of any Imam, his own teachers or the Madhhabs!! From amongst 100 plus examples studied, a few are illustrated below:

[1] – It is established within the Hanafi Madhhab in particular by Imam Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf that the water that remains unused in a tumbler after wudhu is impure.[8] Imam Bukhari responded to this by placing the hadith chapter heading as:

Chapter: The using of the remaining water after ablution

He then followed up his chapter heading with the following authentic hadith:

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) came to us at noon and water for ablution was brought to him. After he had performed ablution, the remaining water was taken by the people and they started smearing their bodies with it (as a blessed thing). The Prophet (ﷺ) offered two rak`at of the Zuhr prayer and then two rak’at of the Asr prayer while a short spear (or stick) was there (as a Sutra) in front of him.[9]

Comment: This illustrates that the way and Manhaj of Imam Bukhari was to present and follow the Sunnah and sayings of the Salaf, regardless of whom may have opposed them! The blind followers of Madhhabs will have such flowery titles before their names but will seldom, rather never, leave their Madhhab for any evidence or narration that may oppose it!

[2] – Imam Sufyan al-Thawri and the people of Kufah held the view that the Women folk are not to attend the eclipse prayer in congregation[10]. Imam Bukhari challenged this view and opposed it by bringing the following chapter heading and narration:

Chapter: Offering of Eclipse prayer by women along with men

Narrated Fatima bint Al-Mundhir: Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said: I came to Aisha the wife of the Prophet (ﷺ) during the solar eclipse. The people were standing and offering the prayer and she was also praying too. I asked her, ‘What has happened to the people?’ … to the end of the narration.[11]

Comment: No matter how esteemed or renowned an Imam may have been if they opposed the traditions and evidence Imam Bukhari rejected their standpoint giving precedence to the Sunnah! The narration also exemplifies the status and position of our Mother Aisha () in being a scholar and one from whom verdicts and Fatawa were taken despite the detractors!

[3] – The illustrious trustworthy Tabi’, Imam Mujahid held the position that the one performing the Hajj should wear the Ihram and thereafter mark out his sacrifice.[12] Imam Bukhari refuted this with the following chapter and narration:

Chapter: Marking and garlanding (the Hadi) at Dhul-Hulaifa and then assuming Ihram

Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama and Marwan: The Prophet (ﷺ) set out from Medina with over one thousand of his companions (at the time of the Treaty of Hudaibiya) and when they reached Dhul-Hulaifa, the Prophet (ﷺ)  garlanded his Hadi and marked it and assumed Ihram for Umrah.[13]

Narrated Aisha: I twisted with my own hands the garlands for the Budn of the Prophet (ﷺ) who garlanded and marked them, and then made them proceed to Makkah; Yet no permissible thing was regarded as illegal for him then.[14]

Comment: Hafiz Ibn Hajar in his Fath comments that Imam Bukharī has refuted the position of Imam Mujahid by formulating the chapter heading and providing his evidence in support.

Also ironically the words related to modern day blind following ‘Taqlid’ [Qala’id] have been mentioned in the Hadith and chapter heading above in relation to animals and the reality is that in the book and Sunnah such words have never been used in a praiseworthy way for humans but mostly for other things such as this hadith illustrates. Yet, those who call to ‘Taqlid’ make it obligatory for the people.

Also in the isnad/chain of the Hadith is present Imam al-Zuhri and many modernists[15] who reject hadith have attempted to vilify and attack the reliability and memory of Imam al-Zuhri simply because he narrated some narration which forbid music and musical instruments from our prophet. To serve their own purposes they attacked the Imams of the Sunnah yet they themselves are not even worth a full stop in a footnote in some book! Imam Bukhari who is the Imam of Hadith clearly thought the narrations of Imam al-Zuhri are acceptable despite what many of the rejectionists claim.

[4] – Imam Ahmad held the view that the Jumu’ah prayer can be offered before the midday. Imam Bukhari responded by rejecting the position by the following chapter heading and narration:

Chapter: The time for the Jumu’ah (prayer) is after midday

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to offer the Jumu’ah prayer immediately after midday.[16]

Comment: Imam Ibn Battal the explainer of Bukhari states that Imam Bukhari refuted Imam Ahmad and Imam Mujahid by writing the chapter heading that he did.

This is also a response to those who say that the Salafis are actually Hanbalis, blind followers of Imam Ahmad’s Madhhab. Evidently, this viewpoint is misconceived as the Salafis of the past, such as Imam Bukhari nor the Salafis of today are bigoted and partisan blind followers of the Hanbali Madhhab, Walillahil Hamd.


[1] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.7372.

[2] As argued by modern day leader of Tablighī’s, Mawlāna Ṭāriq Jamīl in a pre-recorded lecture broadcast on PTV 2013.

[3] Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmūʿ al-Fatāwa 11:472-474.

[4] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.7379.

[5] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.7380.

[6]Aḥmad, Raza Khan, Anbā al-Musṭafā, 12; al-Dawlah al-Makiyya, 21.

[7] Ashraf ʿAlī Thanwī, Behshtī Zewar, 182.

[8] See al-Hidaya and Fath ul-Qadir.

[9] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.187.

[10] Refer to Awn ul-Ma’bud of Azimabadi.

[11] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.1053.

[12] Refer to Fath ul-Bari

[13] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.1695.

[14] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.1696.

[15] For example, Javed Gamdi of Pakistan and ‘Muft’ Abu Layth of UK.

[16] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, no.904.

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