His father died when he was a young child and his mother raised him. At the age of 10, he started acquiring the knowledge of Hadith. He travelled to Makkah when he was 16 years old along with his mother and elder brother. He stayed back and bid farewell to his mother and brother. He spent 2 years there and then went to Madina. After spending another 4 years there, he went to Basra, Kufa and Baghdad, Egypt and Syria. He came to Baghdad on many occasions. He met Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal.
He used to keep away from princes and rulers for the fear that he might incline to say things to please them. It is said that he collected over 300,000 Ahadith and he himself memorized 200,000. It is said that Imam Bukhari had a dream in which he saw himself standing with a fan and driving away the flies from the Prophet (saw). He laboured day and night and although he memorized a large number he only chose approximately 7,275 with repitition and about 2,230 without repetition of which there is no doubt about their authenticity.
Before he recorded each hadith, he would make ablition and offer a 2 rakat salah and supplicate to Allah. Many religious scholars tried to find fault in the great collection (Sahih Bukhari) but in vain. It was generally regarded as the most authentic book after the book of Allah.
Imam Bukhari died on firs Shawwal in the year 256 A.H. and was buried in khartank, a village near Samarkand. May Allah have mercy and peace on him.
--- Written by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin,
Islamic University, Al Madina Munawwara, Saudi Arabia,
1970 (1390 A.H)