Is Sahih Bukhari 100% Correct?

Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School’s visiting professor Dr. Jonathan Brown answers a question in regards to Sunni canon and methodology vis-a-vis the text Sahih Bukhari.

Categories: Dr Jonathan Brown, Hadith, Islam

20 replies

  1. To save everyone some time:


    “We gotta go back to the Quran and have no objective methodology. The Prophet(saw) didn’t gather his sayings (despite also not gathering the Quran) the four caliphs didn’t collect sayings (despite the fact that they asked people if they heard him say something and along with the plethora of books kept by heavy hitter Sahaba) Also, we shouldn’t listen to people qualified to talk on the subject.” # Salafisareevil

  2. So, how does an average Muslim determine whether certain Hadith, that contradict established medical axioms, such as Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2855) and Muslim (1671) about the curing of illnesses with camel urine is authentic or not? Well scholars accept it to be authentic because it is in Bukhari, but that does not mean the Prophet said it. What is the answer?

  3. Question to Professor Brown:

    Is Sahih Bukhari infallible?

    Brown: No.

    Question to all: So then does it make sense to interpret the infallible Qur’an through the fallible hadith?

    Our reason is also fallible and quite variable.

    But over time, we humans can and do accumulate knowledge.

    I assume all would agree on this blog that the knowledge of the Bible is an accumulation of knowledge, discussions, arguments, extensive studies of devoted people over time.

    I agree with Brown that Bukhari is valuable. I do not agree with many Quranists that Bukhari has no value or authority.

    I believe it has more than nuggets of intimations of how the Prophet interpreted the Qur’an in his particular set of circumstances…the whole set of circumstances that we know of in a limited way.

    And the best exemplar would be the Prophet.

  4. But according to the Qur’an 2:282, to say that hadith a pure representation the Prophet is a travesty of a tall order. According to Allah in 2:282 and common sense (that is not indoctrinated in a tender age of youth or a susceptible state in adulthood), it is illegitimate to make such a tall claim.

    It is wrong how the Word of Allah that is sent and meant for all generations until now (and only Allah knows for how many more generations) is being chained to the hadith and primarily to Bukhari and thus to a teeny-tiny percentage of people of the Ahl al hadith.

    May Allah bless the ahl al hadith. Their work is of value but it cannot excise the brain and replace the mind with Bukhari or Muslim or the Sahih and Hasan ahad hadiths from all collections.

    The hadith is a source of information that needs to be critiqued, not just by isnads which no court in the world would accept as a “Sahih” method for applying any strong penal action such as capital punishment.

    It can be a good method but not a certain method that can veto the faculty of the mind that Allah has blessed and charged with responsibility to be used and to be passed on for a refinement and accumulation.

    The hadith cannot be refined and accumulated. It is a fixed work in time with a value that is fixed.

    Knowledge of mankind can accumulate and the value in some genres, not every genre like ritual practices, but in some genres, knowledge can accumulate.

    The ahl al hadith people in the framework of 8th century can be excused for their shortcomings for their transgressions in extrapolating the authority of the hadith beyond its remit.

    People today who know better cannot be fully excused.

    May Allah guide me and us all to what is true and give us the strength to follow it.

    Brown ends with an excellent psychological explanation of the paranoia of those who feel threatened by any modern questioning of medieval endeavor of hadith, an endeavor not commissioned by the Prophet.

    May Allah forgive me if I made any mistake above, especially knowingly….and may Allah guide me to clear my ignorance on this issue.

    Allah knows best.

  5. I apologize to those who feel offended.

    My objective is not to offend but to share.

    Allah knows best.

  6. “despite also not gathering the Quran”

    This notion to suggest equivalence between the Prophet’s approach to the Qur’an and hypothetical body of what came to be known a century or so later as hadith needs to scrutinized.

    The Qur’an itself calls to its units as “surahs” as challenges any who call the Qur’an false to make a surah like it.

    No Salafi Muslim (or Traditional Muslim) will dispute that the Prophet made an effort to ensure scribes transcribed the Qur’an down to the level of surahs.

    According to the narrative in hadiths, it is implied that there is no evidence that the Prophet had put the Surahs in the order we have today.

    But that is relatively a small point.

    Even if the Qur’an is read with surahs in a different order of surahs, that will not create any major difference in the core teachings of the Qur’an whatsoever.

    To suggest this is equivalent to the indisputable fact that the Prophet did not commission any companions to gather his scattered sayings is not a little absurd.

    If the Prophet (pbuh) had instructed his companions to transcribe his scattered sayings immediately after he said them (as he did so with the revelation of Allah sent to him), but did not put the hadith in the order of books, etc that Bukhari, then one bring this analogy even though it will still be weak since Bukhari came so long after the Prophet.

    But the notion is empty through and through, since the Prophet did not have his companions transcribe his scattered sayings.

    In fact, there are even hadith considered reliable where the Prophet instructed his companions to not transcribe his sayings.

    • @ Ihsan

      Except that he later allowed his sayings to be written down as has been quoted to you already. You just accept one hadith at the expense of the other because it disproves your point.

      Next, the fact that you still after it being explained MULTIPLE times to you think that Bukhari gathered his (saw) sayings shows your ignorance on the subject and why nobody wishes to engage with you about it. You are no different than the countless missionaries who have been refuted on the blog and keep repeating the same crap just hoping to just cause doubt which is why no one respects you.

      • It is wrong to be selective in mentioning only some hadiths and not mentioning all of them.

        I did not claim a comprehensive paper on this ….just a comment to point out that the analogy is a false analogy.

        Are you referring to hadith that “all that comes from my mouth is truth?” or something like that.

        When you get a chance, please provide all hadiths where he (pbuh) is attributed to have indicated that he allowed his sayings to be written down.

        It is interesting that we don’t have any hadith where he refers to his previous command of prohibiting writing down hadith and erasing anything written of hadith, and saying that did that command for such and such reason but that it is no longer applicable and hence he is rescinding that order.

        With regards to Bukhari, I am not saying that none of those sayings were written down prior to him.

        But he has made his own peculiar organization…of books within his Jami….so book of tahara, book or salah, etc.

        It was just to draw what would be a sensible analogy to the order of surahs we have in the Mushaf.

        “You are no different than the countless missionaries who have been refuted on the blog and keep repeating the same crap just hoping to just cause doubt which is why no one respects you.”

        With regards to this topic of the relationship of purported hadiths to the Revelation by God Almighty, I don’t want your respect.

      • @ Ihsan

        Already provided them for you, you can go look back there if interested.

        His organization is irrelevant to the hadith’s content. One can debate about it belonging to a category but the content is authentic. Even I jumbled up all the Suwar of the Quran like Noeldoke did you still have the Qur’an’s content

        No my (and everyone else’s) lack of respect comes from you attempting to distort Islam and being insincere in seeking out information. You can keep using the fake piety card with other people but if you weren’t sure when the missionaries try it that doesn’t really mean much around here as no one is stupid.

  7. Maybe you can explain what is the difference between collecting and cpmpiling hadiths cause I’m unclear myself. Isk’t there some overlap? I see many use both worrds for Bukhari and Muslim.

    • @ Maqs

      Salamualakum wa rahma tu lahi wa barakatu

      Collecting and compiling mean the same thing. A lot of Muslims get confused and think Bukhari “compiled” (i.e. put everything to writing) when he did what was called “codifying” (i.e categorizing and standardizing existing material). This is why when you hear someone say “hadith weren’t written down until 200 years later” instantly know they don’t know what they’re talking about as there were books already in circulation for a LONG time before he hit the scene.

      To explain I’ll use the Qur’an’s history as an example, Abu Bakr(ra) “compiled” the Quran into a single book during his caliphate from scattered notes and people’s memory. Uthman(ra) “categorized” the Quran into a single Qiraat (reading) during his. You cannot “codify” things without existing material already written. What Bukhari did was take older hadith books and absorbed them into his now-famous giant collection as a single encyclopedic reference for scholars. There are hadith books much older than Bukhari like for example Malik’s Muwatta and the Sahifah Hammam ibn Munabbih (who is Abu Hurairah’s (ra) student) There was no need to continue writing those smaller hadith books so everyone just kept copying the bigger collections for convenience sake. Now amazingly we thought works like Sahifah were lost but its manuscripts were rediscovered in modern times. Why this matters is Hammam is mid-7th-century and as I said a student of Abu Huraira(ra) and is in the “chain” of Bukhari, so we can compare both works and see if there were changes and as Islamic Awareness notes:

      “of the 138 narrations in the Sahifa, 98 of them are faithfully witnessed in the later collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim, both through narrations of Abu Hurrairah and witnessing narrations from other Companions. We also see that all but two of the narrations are found in one section of the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, again witnessing the preservation of hadith and that earlier works were faithfully rendered in later documents.[3]”

      The above article goes into detail of earlier works in comparison to Bukhari and the guy in this article sums up the refutation of other people who don’t know what they’re talking about:

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