It’s a common practice in many parts of the world whereby reliable ‘Ulama that complete their lessons of Sahih Bukhari invite the public to share in the blessings of the final lesson.
Some individuals incorrectly object to this practice.
The following is an explanation of the validity and merit if such a practice.
May Allah Ta’ala increase such gatherings throughout the globe. Amin
Attending gatherings wherein the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is recited draws the mercy of Allah Ta’ala and immense barakah in one’s life, irrespective of one’s academic credentials.
(Muqaddimah ibnus Salah, pg.245-246)
The lessons of the Muhaddithun in the past would be extremely crowded, a lot of the attendees – in some cases- were ‘non scholars’.
Large crowds in the past
1) There would be up to five thousand attendees at the Hadith lesson of Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) – demise: 241 A.H.-. Only five hundred where students and the rest were there to learn from him etiquette and manners of Islam. (i.e, practical aspects instead of the academics)
(Siyar A’lamin Nubala, vol.11 pg.316; as in Adabul ikhtilaf, pg. 73)
2) The teacher of Imam Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah; Imam Abu Ja’far Al-Yami (rahimahumullah) – demise: 258 A.H.- said: “There was a time when we would attend Hadith lessons and you would only hear the sounds of those who were writing (i.e, students) or those who were crying (out of the effect of the Hadith, many of whom would have been those who were not writing, i.e, not students)
(Ma’alim Irshadiyyah of Shaykh ‘Awwamah, pg. 239)
3) On one occasion, there were 120 000 attendees at the lesson of the Muhaddith; ‘Asim ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Asim (rahimahullah) -demise: 221 A.H.-
(Nukatuz Zarkashi, vol.2 pg.28-29)
Also see the footnotes of My Honourable Teacher; Al-‘Allamatul Muhaddith, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah) on Tadribur Rawi, vol.2 pg.311.
1) With specific reference to the gatherings of the completion of Sahih Bukhari, it is widely accepted among the Muhaddithun, that when Sahih Bukhari is completed, Allah Ta’ala accepts the du’a more speedily.
(see a similar point in: Hadyus Sari, pg.16, Al-Wajhus Sabih, fi khatmil Jami’is Sahih, pg. 25 and Al-Fawaidud Darari, pg.156-157)
2) The Muhaddith and Mufassir; Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) said: “Sahih Bukhari is a book that is recited for cure from illnesses.”
(Al-Fawaidud Darari, pg.150)
3) When the Grand commentator of Sahih Bukhari; Hafiz ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalani (rahimahullah) completed writing his commentary on Bukhari, he had a ‘Majlisul khatm‘ (a gathering of completion) which was attended by many ‘Ulama and non ‘Ulama. The last portion of the book was recited and the people were fed and given gifts too.
(Ad-Daw-ul Lami’, vol.2 pg. 38 & Al-Badrut Tali’ pg.105)
4) The famous commentator of Riyadus Sawlihin and Al-Adhkar; Shaykh ibn ‘Allan (rahimahullah) writes: “The book (Sahih Bukhari) is filled with abundant good, with its completion one attains barakah (blessing) in all affairs and all harm and adversity is alleviated.
(Al-Wajhus Sabih, fi khatmil Jami’is Sahih, pg. 25)
5) Ibn ‘Allan and Shaykh Al-‘Ajluni (rahimahumallah) -demise: 1162 A.H. have mentioned an incident wherein a Muhaddith completed the last portion Sahih Bukhari in the presence of the masses.
(Al-Wajhus Sabih, fi khatmil Jami’is Sahih, pg. 24 and Al-Fawaidud Darari, pg.157)
6) Such gatherings are usually crowded, and the bigger the crowd the closer the du’a is to acceptance.
(Mustadrak Hakim, vol.3 pg.347 and Al-Mu’jamul Kabir of Tabarani, Hadith: 3536 with a sound (hasan) chain, see Majma’uz Zawaid, vol.10 pg.170)
7) These gatherings generally have many pious saints in attendance. One is easily affected with their presence. In current day society, we need more of such opportunities…
8) By attending these completions, the layman is also encouraged to aspire for the same for himself or his children, or at least to support this noble cause of the preservation of our Din.
9) Several latter day Muhaddithun (Hadith masters) have authored dedicated books for the ‘Khatm (completion) of Sahih Bukhari’
Among them are:
‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) -demise: 902 A.H.
Hafiz Ibn ‘Allan (rahimahullah) -demise: 1057 A.H.
and Shaykh ‘Abdullah Salim Al-Basri (rahimahullah) -demise: 1134 A.H.
This, in addition to all of the above points show the importance given to such gatherings. Nobody should remain deprived of this! These are great bounties of Allah.
May Allah Ta’ala increase the number of such gatherings in the world.
10) Shaykhul Hadith, Mufti Sayyid ‘Abdul Jalil Qasimi (may Allah protect him) – who is one of my Bukhari teachers- has authored a 7 volume commentary on Sahih Bukhari. At the end of this commentary, he has elaborated on this issue too. Unfortunately, the last few volumes of this book are still under print and I don’t have access to it as yet.
Having said all of the above, the general masses are not to be exposed to the very academic discussions that take place in a Hadith class. This will become a cause for confusion.
(Muqaddimah ibnus Salah, pg.244)
Those who conduct Bukhari completions are generally aware of this. They usually provide more practical lessons in these gatherings, and do not engage in deep academic discussion except where necessary. One would observe that they also do not grant the ijazah (permission to transmit) to one and all. When these Hadith scholars (Shuyukhul Hadith) confer their ijazah, they stipulate that they are granting it to the graduating students, the other ‘Ulama etc.
A new trend
The recent trend of arranging public ‘maqra-ahs‘ (swift Hadith recitals) of certain books, like Sahih Bukhari etc. are indeed beneficial for the scholars, but harmful for the layman who doesn’t have a sound grounding in the basic subjects of the Islamic sciences. Such recitals should be held in controlled environments, for the scholarly only.
An ‘under qualified’ layman cannot suffice on mere Hadith recitals like these after which ‘ijazah’ (permission) for transmitting Hadith is given to all. This could inflate one’s ego more than his knowledge!
(see similar warnings in Muqaddimah ibnus Salah, pg.250)
Attending a few gatherings of completion of Hadith books (like the khatm of Sahih Bukhari) for the purposes mentioned earlier is a different issue altogether and should not be viewed as a justification for the layman attending a maqra-ah.
My Esteemed teacher, Al-Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (may Allah protect him) has discussed this (new trend of maqra-ahs) in his recent book; ‘Ma’alim Irshadiyyah’, pgs.188-194.
See an explanatory translation of that section of the book here
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.