Imam Al-Bukhari the Persian

sa7i7Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Ibrāhīm ibn al-Mughīrah ibn Bardizbah (proper old Persian name) al-Ju‘fī (Mawla of the Ju’fi’s, not an Arab Ju’fi himself) al-Bukhārī, in short: Imam Al-Bukhari. This great personality really needs no long introduction, every Muslims knows him. He was born after the Jumu’ah prayer on Friday, 13 Shawwal 194 AH (19 July 810) in the city of Bukhara in Khorasan (in present-day Uzbekistan, back then there was no such country as ‘Uzbekistan’, the area he was born was called Khorasan and ALL of Khorasan was part of Iran and all Khorasanis today are Persian speakers, be it in Iran, Afghanistan etc.).

Imam Al-Bukhari’s great-grandfather was Al-Mughirah and his father was Bardizbah who is the last known ancestor of Bukhari according to most scholars and historians. He was a Magian and died as such. As-Subki is the only scholar to name Bardizbah’s father, who he says was named Bazzabah (Persian: بذذبه‎). Little is known of Bardizbah or Bazzabah, except that they were Persian and followed the religion of their people. Hadeeth scholars mention that “Bardizbah” is Persian for ‘farmer’.

Giant amongst the scholars of the Ahl Al-Sunnah such as Imam Al-Dhahabi (who hailed from a Turkmenistani backround) also confirmed the Persian backround of Imam Al-Bukhari in his ‘Siyar Al-A’lam Al-Nubalaa’:

الذهبي – سير أعلام النبلاء – الطبقة الرابعة عشرة – ابو عبدالله البخاري – مولده ونسبه

[ النص طويل لذا إستقطع منه موضع الشاهد ]

– أبو عبد الله البخاري ( ت ، س ) : محمد بن إسماعيل بن إبراهيم بن المغيرة بن بردزبه ، وقيل بذدزبه ، وهي لفظة بخارية ، معناها الزراع أسلم المغيرة على يدي اليمان الجعفي والي بخارى ، وكان مجوسياً ، وطلب إسماعيل بن إبراهيم العلم

الذهبي – تاريخ الإسلام – الجزء : ( 19 ) – رقم الصفحة : ( 242 )

[ النص طويل لذا إستقطع منه موضع الشاهد ]

– فصل : نقل إبن عدي وغيره أن مغيرة بن بردزبه المجوسي جد البخاري أسلم على يد والي بخارى يمان الجعفي جد المحدث عبد الله بن محمد بن جعفر بن يمان الجعفي المسندي ، فولاؤه للجعفيين بهذا الاعتبار.


Same goes for Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani:

إبن حجر – مقدمة فتح الباري – رقم الصفحة : ( 478 )

[ النص طويل لذا إستقطع منه موضع الشاهد ]

– …. ذكر نسبه ومولده ومنشئه ولا ومبدأ طلبه للحديث : هو أبو عبد الله محمد بن إسماعيل بن إبراهيم ابن المغيرة بن بردزبه الجعفي …. وبه جزم إبن ماكولا وقد جاء في ضبطه غير ذلك وبردزبه بالفارسية الزراع كذا يقوله أهل بخارى وكان بردزبه فارسياً على دين قومه ثم أسلم ولده المغيرة على يد اليمان الجعفي ….

The greatest scholars of Ahl Al-Sunnah have praised Imam Al-Bukhari and testified that he is of Persian origin (and this is an answer to some loose articles around the net that vehemently try to claim that he was an Arab!):

محمد بن إسماعيل بن إبراهيم بن المغيرة بن بردزبه وقيل: بذدزبة ، وهي كلمة فارسية معناها ( الزرَّاع ) ، أسلم جده المغيرة على يدي اليمان الجعفي فنسب إليهم ولاءً .
وينظر لذلك : ( تهذيب الكمال ) للمزي (24/430 ترجمة 5059) ، و( سير أعلام النبلاء ) للذهبي (12/391 ترجمة 171) ، و( تهذيب التهذيب ) للحافظ ابن حجر (3/508 ) .

Abu Al-Fadhl Muhammad Ibn Tahir Al-Maqdisi and Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Hazimi also stated that Imam Al-Bukhari was of Persian origin:

و أبو عبدالله محمد بن إسماعيل البخاري الفارسي – رحمه الله – كانت ولادته ببخارى عام 194هجرية”

شروط الأئمة الستة؛ لأبي الفضل محمد بن طاهر المقدسي، وأبي بكر محمد بن موسى الحازمي، دار الكتب العلمية، بيروت – لبنان، الطبعة الأولى، 1405 – 1984، ص 10

Al-Dhahabi, Ibn Hajar, Al-Mizzi, Khatib Al-Baghdadi (to mention a few) … enough said. Even IF he was not of Persian descent (which is very unlikely, considering that he used to SPEAK Persian, his lineage goes back to Zoroastrians who had proper Persian names, something quite unusual for an Arab, at least the name part) then it does not change the fact that he was from a part of the world that the Messenger of Allah (صل الله عليه و آله و سلم) explicitely praised, particularly its people, namely Persia (and Khorassan was ALWAYS part of Persia and till today Khorassanis regards themselves as Persian who speak no other language than, Persian, be it in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan or Tajikistan). Imam Muslim (of Arab Qurashi descent, from Persia, Khorassan, the town of Nishabour whichis today in north-east Iran) made a whole chapter for just two Hadith, but two Hadith with a very strong Message about the Persians and the people of Persian:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (صل الله عليه و آله و سلم) as saying:

لَوْ كَانَ الدِّينُ عِنْدَ الثُّرَيَّا لَذَهَبَ بِهِ رَجُلٌ مِنْ فَارِسَ – أَوْ قَالَ مِنْ أَبْنَاءِ فَارِسَ – حَتَّى يَتَنَاوَلَهُ ‏”

If the din were at the Pleiades (Thurayyaa, a star), even then a person from Persia [narrator adds: or one amongst the Persian descent] would have taken hold of it and would have surely found it.
[Sahih Muslim 2546, Book 44, Hadith 326]
And if you refer to the sayings of the scholars,you will find that what the Prophet (صل الله عليه و على آله و سلم) meant by praising Salman the Persian (صل الله عليه و آله و سلم) was not just a praise for  Persian of descent, but also for anyone who stems from Persia in terms of being brought up there, born there etc. (like many Arabs such as Imam Muslim the Qurashi Arab, Imam Abu Dawood Al-Sijistani the Azdi Arab etc.) and this is actually clear from the Hadith itself where (the narrator) says that the Prophet either said a man of Persian FROM Persia (which can include any race) or a man from the sons of Persia (which is more likely means someone of Persian descent)
a person from Persia would have taken hold of it [or one amongst the Persian descent]
So in any case, Imam Al-Bukhari was from the lands of Persia (Bukhara which was always part of Khorassan, an ancient part of Persia).

Some interesting notes: Imam Al-Bukhari and his student Imam Tirmithi were not Arabs. Both of them were Persian Khorasanis. During their casual day to day life they would communicate in Persian … in the market place and with neighbors. In fact, Imam Al-Bukhari used one Persian word in his Sahih between two Hadeeths … some say a slip of the tongue perhaps.

And here some of his interesting views (surely he can’t be accused of ‘Wahhabism’, since he lived over 1000 years before the so called founder of Wahhabism was even born!):

Imam Bukhari declared:

“I don’t see any difference between praying Salah behind a Jahmi or a (Shia) Rafidhi and a Christian or a Jew. They (Jahmis/Rafidhis) are not to be greeted, nor are they to be visited, nor are they to be married, nor is their testimony to be accepted, nor are their sacrifices to be eaten.”

(Khalq Af’aalul-’Ibaad, p.14)



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