Imam Al-Bukhari Complex


In Hortang village, located in twelve kilometers from Samarkand, there is one of the relics of the Moslem world - Imam Al-Bukhari Memorial Complex. The outstanding Sunni theologian Imam Muhammad ibn Ismail Abu Abdallah Al-Bukhari is known as the author of the most authoritative book after the Koran - "Al-Jami-al-Sahih" whichj is a collection of the most authentic hadiths (Moslem traditions). Imam Al-Bukhari was born in Bukhara in 810. At an early age he was left an orphan, but from childhood he began to study theological sciences and most of all he was interested in studying hadiths. Already at the age of ten he was allowed to participate in debates of theologians, who were amazed by his expressive reading of hadiths and chiefly by his thorough interpretation of Prophet Mohammed’s acts and sayings.

When the young man was fifteen, together with his mother and elder brother he made a hajj to Mecca and Medina. Driven by thirst for knowledge young Al-Bukhari visited Damascus, Cairo, Basra, Baghdad, Hijaz and Kufa. He collected and wrote down hadiths from whatever country or city he visited. Of almost 600 000 traditions al-Bukhari selected 7275 those he considered “trustworthy”. In his book «Al-Jami al- Sahih» he classified them by subject. The book includes such sections as historical, biographical, legal, ethical, medical and others. Many of the hadiths included in this book subsequently were entered in the "Sheriyat" and gained the status of laws for the faithful. More than twenty theological works came from Imam Al-Bukhari's pen.

At the end of his life Al-Bukhari returned home, to Bukhara. Emir Halid ibn Ahmad wished the glorified philosopher live in his palace and teach his sons. According to the legend the Imam declared: «I shall not abase the science by carrying it to palaces. Who needs knowledge, let him carry it himself. The Allah will forgive me that I never hid my knowledge and gave it to those, who studied». Emir ordered to banish him from Bukhara. Aged Al-Bukhari left for Samarkand; however on the way to the ancient city he got ill and died in Hartang settlement in 870 at the age of sixty.

The place where Imam Al-Bukhari was buried became a holy place. In the 16th century a small burial-vault and a mosque were erected over his tomb, whereas plane trees encircled the holy place. As time went by, these constructions dilapidated and in 1998 a memorial complex was constructed on this place. The complex includes a mausoleum, a mosque which can accommodate 1500 believers, and other premises built along the perimeter of the inner courtyard. The mausoleum of Imam Al-Bukhari erected on the axis of the architectural complex is covered with a 17-meter dome; its interior is decorated with stucco fretwork, marble and granite. In the center of the mausoleum there is a tombstone –sagana made of light blue onyx. Through the carved door leading downstairs one can get to a special room dahma – Al-Bukhari’s sepulchre. Behind the mausoleum there is Dorus Hadis educational center for studying hadiths. The walls of Imam Al-Bukhari mosque are decorated with an ornament made of glazed tiles. The Moslem relic Kisva - Kaaba fabric, granted to Uzbekistan by the king of Saudi Arabia, is hanging at the mikhrab niche. The Moslems equate a visit to Al-Bukhari tomb to a small hajj.