Imam Bukhari was not a Muqallid


Was Imam Bukhari a Muqallid as Modern muqallideen claim? No, Imam Bukhari was not a Muqallid. A tremendous article by Shaikh Siddique Raza (Hafizahullah) in urdu entitled “Kya Muhadditheen muqallid thay?” i.e Were the Muhadditheen muqallid? from the monthly magazine of Shaikh Zubair Ali Zai “Al Hadeeth” 77. This article is translated by brother Raza Hasan.

Refer to the following 3 articles for a detailed list of Muhadditheen/Salafs and their rejection of Taqleed:
1) Muhadditheen were not Muqallid Part 1:
2) Muhadditheen were not Muqallid Part 2:
3)100 proofs Salaf us Saaliheen were not Muqallideen:

Muqallideen use many different tactics to prove their unproven Taqleed. They concoct many things to satisfy the people, one of which includes that the writers and collectors of the books of ahadeeth were Muqallid. The people who have extended tongues say many other things too, but right now, our discussion is restricted to the Muhadditheen.


1- Ameen Okaarvi from the Deobandi School of thought titled “Wakeel-e-Ahnaaf (The Lawyer of Ahnaaf), Tarjumaan ul-Islaam (Representative of Islam), Munaazir-e-Islaam (Debater of Islam)” and has been given many other titles (by deobandis only), writes:

“Whereas, all the books of ahadeeth that we have today, are either written by Mujtahideen or by Muqallideen, who are mentioned in Tabaqaat Hanafiyyah, Tabaqaat Maalikiyyah, Tabaqaat Shaafi’eeyyah, and Tabaqaat Hanaabilah…. There does not exist a single reliable book of hadeeth in which believing in Ijmaa and Ijtihaad is considered to be Haraam & Shirk; or believing in Fiqh has been prohibited. Not even one reliable reference can be presented concerning its compiler that he was neither able to do Ijtihaad nor did he do Taqleed, that’s why he was a Ghayr Muqallid.”[Tajalliyaat Safdar: 1/113; Published in Multan, Majmoo’ah Rasaail: 3/13]


2- Mufti Ahmed Mumtaaz Saahib “Ra’ees Daar ul-Ifta Jaami’ah Khulafa Raashideen, Karachi” writes:

“This is why in these two last issues, Muhadditheen – rahimahumullah also do the Taqleed of Mujtahideen – rahimahumullah. Therefore, it is due to this taqleed that the mention of Muhadditheen (rahimahumullah) is only found in 4 types of books: (1) Tabaqaat Hanafiyyah, (2) Tabaqaat Maalikiyyah, (3) Tabaqaat Shaafi’eeyyah, (4) Tabaqaat Hanaabilah. No Muhaddith or a Historian has ever written a book named ‘Tabaqaat Ghayr Muqallideen’ in biographies of Muhadditheen”[Asli Chehra, P. 7]


It can easily be understood from these two quotes that they have tried to prove the authors of all the books of ahadeeth to be Muqallid.

Okaarvi Sahab had only written that the Muhadditheen are either Mujtahideen or Muqallideen, but while copying him, Mufti Ahmed Sahab, went even more ahead and tried to prove all the Muhadditheen to be Muqallid.

Anyway, this is correct that the mention of Muhadditheen is only found in these 4 tabaqaat, however, this is not correct at all that it is the result of the same Taqleed – meaning, they [the tabaqaat] are the cause of Muhadditheen being Muqallid.

On the contrary, it is the result of these Muqallideen being engaged in Taqleed that upon seeing the mention [of Muhadditheen] in these 4 tabaqaat, they think that the Muhadditheen were Muqallid.


So what is the actual reason for the existence of these tabaqaat? If we say something from our own selves then it is possible that ta’assub might come in the way of accepting our remarks. Therefore, we will present a “big” reason for it from the books of “Major Deobandi Scholars” themselves. It is possible that they might accept the reality then. See below:


1- Their “Shaikh ul-Hadeeth (of deoband), al-Muhaddith al-Kabeer (of deoband)” Zakariyyah Kaandhalwi writes:

“An issue here is that: Were Ahl ul-Hadeeth and Aimmah Muhadditheen Muqallid or Ghayr Muqallid? And if they were Muqallid then who did they do Taqleed of? There is a difference of opinion in it among the Scholars. And the thing is that a person who is big [respected/Major Scholar], everyone wants that he should join his party, because he has too much value & attraction, and everyone tries to pull him towards himself….”[Taqreer Bukhaari: 1/52, Published in Daarul Aha’at Karachi, Vol 1 Pg 41 in another version


So what is the reason that the mention of Muhadditheen is found in 4 Tabaqaat? It has many other reasons, but the reasons that are made clear from the statement of Zakariyyah Deobandi are as follows:

i- It is the result of Muhadditheen being big [great] personalities

ii- Everyone wants that the big [great] personalities should join his party

iii- There is “attraction” in proving big personalities to be theirs.


Because of this attraction, everyone seems to pull big personalities towards them. For example: Hanafis say that so-and-so was a Hanafi, Shaafi’ees say that he was a Shaafi’ee, Maalikis and Hanbalis also try to prove him to be theirs. A big reason that these 4 Tabaqaat came into existence is this “Attraction”. What is more is that many of the Muhadditheen have been added in these 4 Tabaqaat merely because of studentship also. Moreover, we do not also lack the amount of Muhadditheen who have been added in 2 to 3, in fact in all 4 Tabaqaat at the same time. If the reason is only to indicate their being the student or to indicate that they gained benefits from those Imaams, then there does not seem anything wrong in it. But above that reason, the attempt to prove Muhadditheen to be Muqallid is absolutely intolerable.


2 – The “Imaam Ahl-e-Sunnat” of Muqallideen, Sarfaraz Khan Safdar writes: “If one is a Jaahil (ignorant), he should do taqleed of Scholars. And Taqleed is only for a Jaahil who is unaware of the proofs of Ahkaam….” [Al-Kalaam ul-Mufeed: P. 234]


Notice what he wrote: “And Taqleed is only for a Jaahil”! Na’oozubillah Were the noble Muhadditheen Jaahil? And were they not aware of the Proofs of Ahkaam? Those who dedicated their whole lives in service of ahadeeth, possessing great memories, extracting Masaail from each hadeeth by naming chapters and Tarajim were Jaahil? If not, and certainly not, then it is also not correct to call Muhadditheen Muqallid. And it is akin to strengthening the claims of Munkireen (Rejecters of) Hadeeth, though unknowingly. Because on this claim, they would immediately say that “Taqleed is only for a Jaahil” and Muhadditheen also used to do Taqleed, therefore they were Jaahil! Now how can we trust the ahadeeth collected by these Jaahils?


If Muqallideen had paid attention to the consequences of their claims, then they would not have dared to call Muhadditheen Muqallid. May Allaah give them the ability [to speak truth]!


3- Another one of their “Muhaddith al-Kabeer, Allaamah” Abdur Rasheed Nu’maani, after narrating the opinions of different people of knowledge concerning the Madhaahib of the authors of Sihaah Sittah, writes:

“فانظر الي هذا التجاذب الذي وقع بين هولاء العلام فتارة يعدون احدهم شافعيا و تارة حنبليا و اخري مجتهدا وهذا كله عندي تخرص وتكلم من غير برهان فلو كان احد من هولاء شافعيا او حنبليا لا طبق العلماء علي نقله ولما اختلفوا هذا الختلاف كما اطبقوا علي كون الطحاوي حنفيا و البيهقي شافعيا و عياض مالكيا وابن الجوزي حنبليا، سوي الامام ابي داود فانه قد تفقه علي الامام احمد و مسائله عن احمد بن حنبل معروف مطبوع”


“Look at this force of attraction which occurred between these big Scholars. They count one of them to be Shaafi’ee, sometimes Hanbali, and after sometimes Mujtahid. According to me, all these are merely pointless, and sayings without evidence. If anyone of them had been Shaafi’ee or Hanbali then the Scholars would have agreed upon narrating it and they would never have fallen into such difference, as they agreed upon Tahaawi being a Hanafi, Bayhaqi being a Shaafi’ee, Eyaadh being a Maaliki, and Ibn al-Jawzee being a Hanbali, except Imaam Abu Dawood as he learned fiqh from Imaam Ahmed and his Masaail from Ahmed bin Hanbal are famous and published” [Ma Tamassu Ilaihi al-Haajjah Liman Yutaali’ Sunan Ibn Majah: P. 26]


This was the statement of Nu’maani Deobandi, which makes the following points clear:

· * Calling the authors of Kutub as-Sittah to be Hanbali or Shaafi’ee is “Tajaazub” (act of pulling towards oneself), pointless, and rubbish, which have no daleel.

· * These are “Takharrus” made up, fabricated, and sayings made up from minds, without any evidence & Burhaan.

· * Someone calls a Muhaddith to be Shaafi’ee; some call him Hanbali, while some declare him to be Mujtahid.

· * No one of them is Shaafi’ee, Hanbali etc. If they were, then the Scholars would have agreed upon narrating it.

· * The Scholars are differed upon these Muhadditheen being Hanbali, Shaafi’ee etc. They are not agreed upon.


4- Their “Mufti A’dham Pakistan (for deobandis)” Rafee’ Uthmaani writes:

“The opinions of the Scholars are different as to what is the Fiqhi Madhab of these six Aimmah of hadeeth; because none of them ever confirmed their Madhab. Therefore, some Scholars opine that all these were absolute (Mutlaq) Aimmah & Mujtahideen; they were not the Muqallid of anyone. While some say that none of them was Mujtahid and their Madhab was that of other common Muhadditheen which are neither Muqallid nor Mujtahid. And some have gone into details, and then there is difference in that detail as well.”[Dars-e-Muslim: P. 71-72]

Muhadditheen did not confirm it themselves. Of course how would they have done so when the Taqleedi Madhaahib had not yet come into existence! Thus people made it their blank book, and wrote whatever came in their minds. Some even counted a Muhaddith from their Madhab if they merely saw some of his ahadeeth in accordance to their Madhab and in opposition to the other Madhaahib; while some declared him to be from another Madhab by looking at other Chapters and Ahadeeth. And Muqallideen took these sayings so seriously as if these are the actual facts and realities. Let’s come and see how people “pulled each other” as per the saying of Zakariyah Kandhalwi, and how they “made up” guesses, as per the saying of Nu’maani Sahab. We will, in example, mention their sayings concerning some of the Muhadditheen:


Sayyid ul-Muhadditheen Imaam Muhammad bin Ismaa’eel al-Bukhaari – rahimahullah, Was he a Muqallid??

First, we will observe the opinions of people concerning the author of “The Most authentic book after the Book of Allaah” Saheeh Bukhaari, which is Imaam Muhammad bin Ismaa’eel al-Bukhaari (rahimahullah):


1: Anwar Shaah Kashmiri writes: “Know that Imaam Bukhaari was a Mujtahid, there is no doubt in that. And what became famous that he was a Shaafi’ee then it was only because of his accordance to Imaam Shaafi’ee in the famous Masaail [not otherwise]” [Faydh ul-Baari: 1/58].


2: Ibraaheem bin Abdul Lateef bin Muhammad Haashim Thathwi writes: “As for Imaam Bukhaari then Taaj as-Subki has mentioned him in his Tabaqaat (Shaafi’eeyyah) that he was a Shaafi’ee. Allaamah Nafees ud-Deen Sulemaan bin Ibraaheem refuted him and said: ‘Bukhaari himself was a Mujtahid like Abu Haneefah, Shaafi’ee, Maalik, and Ahmed’” [Sahq al-Aghbiya with reference from Ma Tamassu Ilaihi al-Haajjah: P. 26]


3: Zakariyyah Kandhalwi says in his special terminology: “[Chakki ka Paat yeh hai ke] Fact of the matter is that Imaam Bukhaari was strongly a Mujtahid.” [Taqreer Bukhaari: P. 52]


4: Abdur Rasheed Nu’maani writes: “According to me, Imaam Bukhaari and Imaam Abu Dawood as well are like the other Aimmah mentioned above. They were neither the Muqallid of a specific Imaam nor were they absolute Mujtahids” [Maa Tamassu Ilaihi al-Haajjah: P. 27]


5: Mufti Rafee’ Uthmaani says: “The opinion of Hadhrat Maulaana al-Imaam al-Haafidh Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri, based on some proofs, is that Imaam Bukhaari was without any doubt a Mujtahid Mutlaq, and his book is the just witness of this fact” [Dars-e-Muslim: P. 72]


6: Their “Imaam Ahl-e-Sunnat (of deoband)” and “Muhaddith A’dham Pakistan (for deoband)” Sarfaraz Khan Safdar writes: “Shah Wali Ullah (rah) has written: And similarly Imaam Muhammad bin Ismaa’eel al-Bukhaari is counted among Tabaqaat Shaafi’eeyyah..… Hadhrat Imaam Bukhaari is the one upon whose two booklets: Juzz Rafa al-Yadain & Juzz al-Qira’at, the opposing party run their car of two Ikhtilaafi Masaail. But look at the wonder of Allaah’s nature that even Imaam Bukhaari is proven to be a Muqallid” [al-Kalaam ul-Mufeed: P. 128]


Looking at the practice of Subki, Sarfaraz Khan Safdar declared Imaam Bukhaari to be the Muqallid of Imaam Shaafi’ee. Whereas, Anwar Shah Kashmiri writes:

“And what became famous about Imaam Bukhaari that he was a Shaafi’ee was only because of his accordance with Imaam Shaafi’ee in the famous Masaail. Otherwise, his accordance with Imaam A’dham (Abu Haneefah) as well, is no less than his accordance with Shaafi’ee… Counting him among the Shaafi’ees as per the Tabaqah is no better than counting him among the Hanafis.”[Faydh ul-Baari: 1/58]


Another one of their “Muhaddith Kabeer” Zakariyyah kandhalwi sahab said: “Since Imaam Bukhaari is angrier with Hanafiyyah that’s why it becomes apparent that he is a Shaafi’ee. Whereas, as much Imaam Bukhaari is angry with Hanafiyyah, about the same in fact even more, he is opposed to the Shaafi’eeyyah” [Taqreer Bukhaari: 1/52]


Sarfaraz Sahab became Happy merely upon seeing the name of Imaam Bukhaari in Tabaqaat. He then started screaming upon Ahl ul-Hadeeth and declared it “a wonder of Allaah’s nature” by declaring a huge Muhaddith like Imaam Bukhaari to be a Shaafi’ee Muqallid; whereas, this is only the wonder of Sarfaraz Sahib’s love for “Taqleed”. He should have at least thought that he himself has written in his book that: “If one is a Jaahil, he should do taqleed of Scholars, and Taqleed is only for a Jaahil” [Al-Kalaam ul-Mufeed: P. 234, See above for scanned reference]


Then he himself writes Imaam Bukhaari to be a “Muqallid” right in the same book! Is this not equal to declaring a huge Muhaddith to be a Jaahil? Is this not an insult of Muhadditheen?


And then as per the saying of Kashmiri Sahib, he has accorded Imaam Abu Haneefah more than Imaam Shaafi’ee; and as per the saying of Zakariyyah Sahib “As much Imaam Bukhaari is angry with Hanafiyyah, even more than that he is against Shaafi’ees”. When this is the matter then declaring him to be a Shaafi’ee Muqallid can only be the wonder of Taqleed, not of justice and fairness!


The noble purpose of Imaam Bukhaari (rahimahullah) was to present the Saheeh ahadeeth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which he did, but someone amongst the Muqallideen comes and says that he is more angry with Ahnaaf, someone says that he accorded Ahnaaf more and was angry with Shawaafi’. [What nonsense is this]!! Nu’maani Sahib said the truth that these are mere Fabrications, assumptions, and claims without proofs.


Now as you can see, Kashmiri Sahib affirmed that: “Imaam Bukhaari is a Mujtahid” and Nu’maani sahib, that: “Imaam Bukhaari is not a Muqallid”, but while ignoring the sayings of their Akaabir (elders), someone says in “Takharrus & Tajaazub”: “Imaam Bukhaari, the Taqleedi Hayaati Samaa’ee” [See, Mahnamah “Qaaflah” of a hayati deobandi Ilyas Ghumman, Vol 3 Shumara # 3, P. 14-15].


Inna Lillaahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raaj’oon!

All these proofs are concrete and irrefutable evidence that Imam Bukhari was Not a Muqallid and Allah knows best.