Which Is Higher In Ranking, Saheeh Bukhaaree Or Saheeh Muslim

Saheeh Muslim which, along with Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, ranks as the most authentic book after the Quraan. Yet most scholars give preference to the compilation of Bukhaaree, and for a number of reasons:

1) Bukhaaree stipulated that a narrator had to have met the one who narrated from; it was not enough that they merely be contemporaries, whereas that was enough for Imaam Muslim.

2) The precision of Imaam Bukhaaree, for his book contains many deduction in fiqh, deductions that are not found in Imaam Muslim’s compilation.

3) Bukhaaree’s circumspection when it comes to accepting narrators; the scholars of hadeeth have criticized only 80 of his narrators, and even te ruling regarding them is open to argument. The scholars of hadeeth have criticized 160 of Muslims’s narrators. Regarding the 80 narrators criticized in Saheeh Bukhaaree, Imaam Bukhaaree did not relate hadeeths from them often; furthermore, most of them were his teachers, about whom he knew more than did those that came after him.

4) Compared to Muslim, very few of Bukhaaree’s hadeeths were criticized for having hidden defects. In this regard, the former was criticized regarding 130 hadeeths, while the latter was criticized regarding only 78.

For the above mentioned reasons, most scholars rank Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree above Saheeh Muslim, and yet they all agree that Imaam Bukhaaree holds a higher status than Imaam Muslim in the science of hadeeth – even Imaam Muslim acknowledged that. Imaam Muslim related from Bukhaaree, while Bukhaaree did not relate anything from Muslim.

The number of commentaries of Saheeh Bukharee number 82, and the number of commentaries of Saheeh Muslim number 15.

It is true, however, that Muslim’s book is superior to that of Bukhaaree in certain aspects – aspects that have more to do with the design of the book than anything else. For example, Muslim would not separate a hadeeth into two parts, nor would he repeat the mention of a chain; rather he mentioned all that was related about a hadeeth together in a single chapter, and that makes it an easier study for a student than Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree.

Also, Imaam Muslim wrote an invaluable introduction in which he explained both the reasons that prompted him to compile Saheeh Muslim and the methodology he followed in doing so.

[Taken from “The Sunnah And Its Role In Islaamic Legislation”, by Mustafa As-Sibaa’ee, Pp. 547-548]


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