What Occurred Between Imams al-Bukhari & adh-Dhuhli

In his Târîkh, al-âkim Abū ‘Abdillah said al-Bukhârî arrived at Nishapur in the year 250H and stayed [there] for a period [of time] narrating to [its] residents. He said [he] heard Muhammad bin Hâmid al-Bazzâr saying [he] heard al-Hasan bin Muhammad bin Jâbir saying [he] heard Muhammad bin Yahyâ adh-Dhuhlî saying, “Go to this knowledgeable righteous man and listen to him.” He said the people went to him and took an interest in listening to him, such that the disturbance [it caused] was evident in Muhammad bin Yahyâ’s sitting. He said after that, he began speaking about him.

Hâtim bin Ahmad bin Mahmūd said he heard Muslim bin al-Hajjâj saying [that]

when Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl arrived at Nishapur I had not seen the people of Nishapur do with a ruler or a scholar what they did with him, coming to meet him from a two or three days’ journey from the town. In his sitting, Muhammad bin Yahyâ said, “Whoever wants to meet Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl tomorrow should go meet him, for I am going to meet him.” So Muhammad bin Yahyâ and the general body of Nishapur’s scholars went to meet him. He entered the town and settled at the house of the Bukhârîs. Muhammad bin Yahyâ told us, “Do not ask him anything about [Allah’s] speech, for surely, if he were to reply with contrary to what we are upon it would sow dissension between us and him and every nâsibî, râfidî, jahmî, and murji’ in Khurasân will gloat.”

He said the people streamed into Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl until the house and the terraces were filled. When it was the second or third day from the day of his arrival a man stood to him and asked him about the articulation of the Qur’an. He [replied], “Our actions are created and our articulations are from our actions.” He said differing then occurred between the people. Some of them said he said, “My articulation of the Qur’an is created,” while some of them he did not. Differing occurred between them in that until some of them stood up to others. He said the people of the house then gathered and expelled them.

Abū Ahmad bin ‘Adî said,

A group of shaikhs mentioned to me that when Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl arrived at Nishapur and the people assembled with him, some of the shaikhs of the time envied him. He told the Companions of Hadîth [that] surely, Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl says, “My articulation of the Qur’an is created.” When he participated in the sitting, a man stood to him and said, “O Abâ ‘Abdillah, what do you say regarding the articulation of the Qur’an, created, is it, or uncreated?” al-Bukhârî turned away from him and did not answer him [the] three times [the man asked]. He insisted on it so al-Bukhârî said, “The Qur’an is Allah’s speech, uncreated. The slaves’ actions are created. The examination [of people for it] is a heresy.” The man caused an uproar and said he said, “My articulation of the Qur’an is created.”

al-Hâkim said Abū Bakr bin Abil-Haitham narrated to [them that] al-Farabrî narrated to [them], he said [he] heard Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl saying,

Surely, the slaves’ actions are created, for ‘Alî bin ‘Abdillah narrated to us [that] Marwân bin Mu’âwiyah narrated to us [that] Abū Mâlik narrated to us from Rib’î bin Hirâsh, from Hudhaifah [who] said Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him,  said, «Surely, Allah produces every producer and his production.»

al-Bukhârî said, “I heard ‘Ubaidallah bin Sa’îd, i.e., Abâ Qudâmah as-Sarkhasî, saying, ‘I have not ceased hearing our companions saying [that] the slaves’ actions are created.’” Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl said, “Their movements, their voices, their gains, their writing, are created. As for the clear Qur’an, fixed in the copies and retained in the hearts, then it is Allah’s speech, uncreated.” Allah, exalted is He, said, «Rather, it is clear verses in the breasts of those given knowledge» (29:49). He said Is•hâq bin Râhawaih said, “As for the vessels, then whoever doubts, they are created,” and Abū Hâmid bin ash-Sharqî said [he] heard Muhammad bin Yahyâ adh-Dhuhlî saying,

The Qur’an is Allah’s speech, uncreated. Whoever claimed [his] articulation of the Qur’an is created, he is a heretic. He is not sat with, he is not spoken to. And after this, whoever goes to Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl, indict him, for surely, he does not attend his sitting except whoever was upon his opinion.

al-Hâkim said when dissent was sown between al-Bukhârî and adh-Dhuhlî regarding the issue of the articulation, the people withdrew from al-Bukhârî except Muslim bin al-Hajjâj and Ahmad bin Salamah. adh-Dhuhlî said, “Whoever speaks of the articulation, it is not legal for him to attend our sitting,” so Muslim grabbed his cloak [and drew it] over his turban and stood over the heads of the people. Then he sent the entirety of what he wrote from adh-Dhuhlî to him on the back of a camel. I[1] say Muslim had been just, for in his book, he did not narrate from this one, nor this one.[2]

al-Hâkim Abū ‘Abdillah said [he] heard Muhammad bin Sâlih bin Hâni’ saying [he] heard Ahmad bin Salamah an-Nîsâbūrî saying,

I visited al-Bukhârî and said, “O Abâ ‘Abdillah, surely this is an accepted man in Khurasân, especially in this city. He has been obstinate regarding this affair, such that none of us are able to speak to him regarding it, so what is your view?” He said, “Grab his beard.” Then he said, “I entrust my affair to Allah. Surely, Allah is acutely aware of the slaves. O Allah, You know I never wanted the position in Nishapur out of exuberance, nor out of wantonness, nor out of seeking leadership. On the contrary, I longed for myself to return to the homeland, because of the predominance of the opposers. This man pursued me out of envy for what Allah gave me, nothing else.” Then he said to me, “O Ahmad, I am leaving tomorrow so they can be freed from his speech on account of me.”

al-Hâkim also said [on the authority of] al-Hâfidh Abî ‘Abdillah bin al-Akhram [that] when Muslim bin al-Hajjâj and Ahmad bin Salamah rose from Muhammad bin Yahyâ’s sitting because of al-Bukhârî, adh-Dhuhlî said, “This man could not live with me in the city, so al-Bukhârî became afraid and departed.”

In Târîkh Bukhârâ, Ghunjâr said Khalaf bin Muhammad narrated to us [and] said [he] heard Abâ ‘Amr Ahmad bin Nasr an-Nîsâbūrî al-Khaffâf in Nishapur saying,

One day we were with Abî Is•hâq al-Qurashî and Muhammad bin Nasr al-Marwazî was with us. Mention of Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl passed and Muhammad bin Nasr said [he] heard him saying, “Whoever claimed that I said my articulation of the Qur’an is created is a liar, for surely, I did not say it.” [He] told him, “O Abâ ‘Abdillah, the people have become absorbed in this and they have become many.” He said, “It is not except as I said to you.”

Abū ‘Amr said,

I came to al-Bukhârî and discussed something from the Hadîth with him until he was in good spirits. Then I said to him, “O Abâ ‘Abdillah, here is someone who mentions from you that you say ‘my articulation of the Qur’an is created.’” He said, “Memorize from me. Whoever from the people of Nishapur,” and he named many other countries, “claimed that I said my articulation of the Qur’an is created is a liar, for surely, I did not say it except that I said the slaves’ actions are created.”

al-Hâkim said [he] heard Abal-Walîd Hassân bin Muhammad al-Faqîh saying [he] heard Muhammad bin Nu’aim saying [he] asked Muhammad bin Ismâ’îl about faith when what occurred regarding his affair occurred. He said,

Statement and deed; it increases and diminishes. The Qur’an is Allah’s speech, uncreated. The most virtuous of the companions of Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, are Abū Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthmân, then ‘Alî. Upon this I live, upon it I will die, and upon it I will be ressurected, if Allah, exalted is He, willed.


[1] I.e., Ibn Hajar.

[2] I.e., al-Bukhârî and adh-Dhuhlî

Source: al-‘Asqalânî, Ahmad bin Hajar. Fat•h al-Bârî bi Sharh Sahîh al-Bukhârî. Cairo, Egypt: Dâr ar-Rayân lit-Turâth, 1987. Hady as-Sârî (introduction), pgs. 514-516.


About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

2 Responses to What Occurred Between Imams al-Bukhari & adh-Dhuhli

  1. shen says:

    why is this relevant to rabee al madkhali?

  2. Swap out the names al-Bukhari and adh-Dhuhli for Abul-Hasan and Rabi’ respectively. Not that Abul-Hasan and Rabi’ can compare in status to al-Bukhari and adh-Dhuhli, but if you look into the situations, you can definitely draw some parrallels. As they say, history tends to repeat itself.

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