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Is Sahih Bukhari Authentic? Part 2

27 January, 2017
Q I came to believe that the Quran is authentic, but how do we know that books like al-Bukhari and Muslim are authentic? I also heard that al-Bukhari's teacher, Ishaq ibn Rahaweih, was a Jew? What do you think?


Salam (Peace),

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question. Please find the second and final part of the answer to your question below. Find the first part at the link here.

Up to the age of 16, Imam Bukhari took lessons from the teachers near him in his native land.

The chronicler of Imam Bukhari, Ibn Hatim Warraq, states that the Imam said:

When I had learned by heart the works of Abdullah bin Mubarak and had fully understood the positions of Ahlur Rae, I traveled to Hejaz. The leaders of the great seminaries in Mecca at that time included: Imam Abul Walid Ahmad bin Arzuqi, Abdullah bin Yazid, Ismail bin Salim as-Saegh, Abu Bakr, Abdullah bin Zubair, Allama Humaidi, etc. 

At the age of 18, Imam Bukhari did his rehlat (traveling for knowledge of hadith) to Medina.

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Among those who taught him there were: Ibrahim bin Munzir, Mutrif bin Abdullah, Ibrahim bin Hamza, Abu Sabit, Muhammad bin Obedullah, Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Oyesi, and others.

Then, having reached Basra he derived benefit from: Imam Abu Aasim Annabil, Safwan bin Isa, Badil bin Mohabbir, Hamri bin Umara, Affan bin Muslim, Mohammad bin Ar-ara, Suleman bin Harb, Abdul Walid Attyalisi, Imam Aarim, Mohammad bin Senan, and others. 

Imam Nauwi has enumerated the names of a few prominent sheikhs in Kufa as follows: Abdullah bin Moosa, Abu Naim, Ahmad bin Yaqoob, Ismail bin Aban, Alhasan bin Rabi, Khalid bin Mokhlid, Saeed bin Hafs, Talq bin Ghanam, Umar bin Hafs, Urwah Qabisa bin Uqbah, and Abughassan.

These were also teachers of Imam Bukhari

Of his teachers in Baghdad we may mention: Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Mohammad bin Isaa Sabagh, Mohammad bin Saeq, Suraj bin Noman, etc.

Then he journeyed to Sham and studied under: Allama Yousuf Firyabi, Abu Nasr Ishaq bin Ibrahim, Adam bin Abi Eyas, Abul Eman Hakam bin Nafe, Hayat bin Shuraih, and others. 

In Egypt, he learned from: Usman bin Saegh, Saeed bin Abi Maryam, Abdullah bin Swaleh, Ahmed bin Swaleh, Ahmad bin Shabib Asbagh bin Farj, Saeed bin Abi Isa, Saeed bin kasir bin Afir, Yahya bin Abdullah bin Bukair, and others.

While in Jazira, he took lessons from: Ahmad bin Abdul Malik Alharrani, Ahmad bin Yazid Alharrani, Amar bin Khalaf, Ismail bin Abdullah Alriqqi, etc. 

Also in Merv he collected from: Ali bin Hasan bin Shaqiq, Abdan, Mohammad bin Maqatil, and others.

Then in Balkh he collected from: Makki bin Ibrahim, Yahya bin Bishr, Mohammad bin Aban, Hasan bin Shuja, Yahya bin Moosa, Qutaiba, and others.

As for Herat, he collected from: Ahmad bin Abil Walid Alhanfi. 

As for Nishapur, he collected from: Yahya bin Yahya, Bishr bin Hakam, Ishaq bin Rahweh, Mohammad bin Rafe, and others.

While in Ray, he learned from: Ibrahim bin Moosa; and in Wasit from Hesan bin Hesan, Hesan bin Abdullah, Saeed bin Abdullah, among others. 

Numerous are the places Imam Bukhari visited to gain knowledge! His travels were over some 40 years. In 250 A.H /864 C.E., he went to Nishapur and wanted to settle down.

Eventually he had to leave on account of the rivalry of Muhammad bin Yahya al-Dhuhli, at the command of Khalid bin Ahmad al-Dhuhli whose request to give lectures on hadith at his palace was not accepted by the Imam.

From Nishapur, he went to Khartank, near Samarqand, at the request of its inhabitants and died in 256 A.H./870 C.E. 

One of the Imam’s teachers in Nishapur was Ishaq bin Rahweh. I assume this to be the same person (Ishaq bin Rahaweih) you are claiming was Jewish. 

First, there can be no question of this individual being Jewish and a teacher of Imam Bukhari. Read the criteria which Imam Bukhari uses for his selection of hadith. I think you will find one of the criteria is that he should be a practicing Muslim, but there is much more to the criteria than just this. 

It might be possible that the person was a Jew who reverted to Islam. If that was the case, I believe we would have more information available to us in the literature and I haven’t come across it.

If it really were the case, then his life would have to conform to the criteria established by Imam Bukhari, so that the Imam would have learned from him. In any case, there is no bigotry in Islam.

I tried to search for this name in the isnad (chain of narrators), but nothing came up. This is not surprising. Of the 1,000 (+80) teachers the Imam had, he learned 600,000 hadith.

But only 9,082 (including duplications) appeared in his Sahih al-Bukhari and only 2,602 different hadith are present (M.M. Azmi op. cit.). Unless you have a hadith with this name in the isnad, I cannot help further.

Please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Difference Between Prophetic Tradition and Prophet’s Biography?

2 Authentic Books of Hadith

Do We Need The Hadith And The Prophet?

Life of Imam Bukhari