Undoubtedly, these great efforts of the scholars of Ahadith were laborious and painstaking as they sometimes traveled on their feet for hundreds of miles in those days of hard travel, to get a single Hadith to be collected in their books. The scholars of Hadith devoted their lives for this sacred purpose, and today it is because of their restless efforts that every act and every word of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is preserved.
IMAM BUKHARI AND HIS BOOK SAHIH AL BUKHARI
It has been unanimously agreed that Imam Bukhari's work is the most authentic of all the other works in Hadith literature put together. The authenticity of Al-Bukhari's work is such that the religious learned scholars of Islam said concerning him: "The most authentic book after the Book of Allah (i.e. Al-Quran) is Sahih Al-Bukhari."
Imam Bukhari was born on the 13th of Shawwal in the year 194 A.H in Bukhara in the territory of Khurasan (West Turkistan). His real name is Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Mughirah Al-Bukhari.
His father died when he was still a young child and he was looked after by his mother. At the age of ten he started acquiring the knowledge of Hadith. He traveled to Makka when he was sixteen years old accompanied by his mother and elder brother. It seemed as though Imam Bukhari loved Makka and its learned religious scholars for he remained in Makka after bidding farewell to his mother and brother. He spent two years in Makka and then went to Al-Madina. After spending a total of six years in Al-Hijaz which comprises Makka and Al-Madina, he left for Basra, Kufa, and Baghdad and visited many other places including Egypt and Syria. He came to Baghdad on many occasions. He met many religious scholars including Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.
Owing to his honesty and kindness and the fact that he was trustworthy he used to keep away from the princes and rulers for fear that he may incline to say things to please them.
Many a story has been told about Imam Bukhari regarding his struggles in collecting Hadith literature. He traveled to many different places gathering the precious gems that feel from the lips of the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). It is said that Imam Bukhari collected over 300,000 Ahadith and he himself memorized 200,000 of which some were unreliable. He was born at a time when Hadith was being forged in order to please rulers or kings or to corrupt the religion of Islam.
It is said that Imam Bukhari (before compiling Sahih Bukhari) saw in a dream, standing in front of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) having a fan in his hand and driving away the flies from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Imam Bukhari asked some of those who interpret dreams, and they interpreted his dream that he will drive away falsehood asserted against the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).
So it was a great task for him to sift the forged Ahadith from the authentic ones. He labored day and night and although he had memorized such a large number he only chose approximately 7,275 with repetition and about 2,230 without repetition of which there is no doubt about their authenticity.
Before he recorded each Hadith, he would make ablution and offer a two Rakat prayer and supplicate his Lord (Allah). Many religious scholars of Islam tried to find fault in the great remarkable collection � Sahih Al-Bukhari, but without success. It is for this reason, they unanimously agreed that the most authentic book after the Book of Allah is Sahih Al-Bukhari.
Imam Bukhari died on first Shawwal in the year 256 A.H., and was buried in Khartank, a village near Samarkand. May Allah have mercy on his soul.
IMAM MUSLIM AND HIS BOOK SAHIH MUSLIM
Similarly Sahih Muslim is one of the Six Authentic Books of Ahadith.
Imam Muslim was born in the year 206 A.H. in Naisabur, a town in the territory of Afghanistan. His real name was Abdul-Husain Asakir-ud-Din Muslim bin Hajjaj Al-Qushayri. His parents were religious and he was brought up in that pious environment.
He traveled to Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq etc; to collect religious literature and there he attended a number of lectures on religious teachings and gathering etcl He was also a student of Imam Bukhari.
He collected a great number of Ahadith during his life but finally he selected approximately 4,000 Ahadith out of his collection considering them to be the most authentic ones and compiled them in his book Sahih Muslim.
Imam Muslim died at the age of 55 years in the year of 261 A.H and was buried in Naisabur.
May Allah have mercy on his soul.
Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are named first in the authentic books of Ahadith. Sahih Bukhari holds the honor to be the most authentic book after the Noble Quran of Allah. Sahih Muslim has been graded after it. Those Ahadith which are common in both the collections are termed as �Agreed upon� (���� ����) and posess the highest degree of authenticity.
About fifty or sixty years back, the eminent religious scholar of Egypt, Muhammad Fu�wad Al-Baqi made a collection of these Ahadith and name it as Al-Lu�Lu� wal-Marjan, fima ittafaqa alaihi Ash-Sheikhan (The Diamonds and the Pearls on which the two Sheikh are agreed upon). In fact these Ahadith are much more than the diamonds and pearls for us from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).