There follows a brief biography of these two great imams.
1 – Imam al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him)
He is the great imam, scholar, leader of the believers in hadeeth, Abu ‘Abd-Allaah Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel ibn Ibraaheem al-Bukhaari. He was born in Bukhaara in Shawwaal of 194 AH, and grew up as orphan. He lost his sight as a child, then Allaah restored to him his sight. He memorized hadeeth as a child, and he was a prodigy in that, may Allaah have mercy on him.
The imams attested to his good memory, precision, knowledge, asceticism and worship. Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said of him: Khorasan has never produced anyone like him.
Ibn Khuzaymah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I have never seen anyone beneath the canopy of heaven who has more knowledge of the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and who has memorized more (hadeeth) than al-Bukhaari.
Al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I have never seen in Iraq or in Khorasan anyone with more knowledge of hadeeth criticism, history and isnaads than al-Bukhaari.
Al-Bukhaari had more than one thousand shaykhs whom he met in the countries and cities to which he travelled. Among them were: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Hammaad ibn Shaakir, Makki ibn Ibraaheem and Abu ‘Aasim al-Nabeel.
Among those who narrated from al-Bukhaari were:
Muslim ibn al-Hajjaaj the author of al-Saheeh; al-Tirmidhi; al-Nasaa’i; Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazi; and many others.
Al-Bukhari wrote many books, the most famous of which are: al-Jaami’ al-Saheeh; al-Tareekh al-Kabeer; al-Adab al-Mufrad; Khalq Af’aal al-‘Ibaad.
He died, may Allaah have mercy on him, on the night of Eid al-Fitr, 256 AH.
2 – Imam Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him)
He is the great imam, hafiz and scholar, Abu’l-Husayn, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaaj ibn Muslim al-Nisaboori. He was born in 204 AH, or it was said in 206 AH.
He devoted his time to hadeeth, and he travelled in search of hadeeth and strove hard in that field, until he became very prominent. His contemporaries attested to his virtues. His shaykh Muhammad ibn Bashshaar (Bandaar) said: The haafiz of this world are four: Abu Zar’ah in al-Ray, Muslim in Nisapur, ‘Abd-Allaah al-Daarimi in Samarqand, and Muhammad ibn Ismaa’eel in Bukhaara.
Ahmad ibn Salamah al-Nisaboori said: I saw Abu Zar’ah and Abu Haatim giving precedence to Muslim ibn al-Hajjaaj in knowledge of saheeh over the shaykhs of their time.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said of him: They were unanimously agreed on his eminence, leadership and high status. The greatest evidence of that is his book al-Saheeh; no book before it or after is as well organized or precise in the isnaads of its hadeeth.
His shaykhs included: Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Bukhaari, Yahya ibn Yahya al-Teemi, Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Yahya ibn Ma’een, Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah and many others.
His students included: Abu Haatim al-Raazi, Abu ‘Eesa al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu ‘Awaanah al-Isfaraayeeni and Makki ibn ‘Abdaan.
His well known books include: al-Jaami’ al-Saheeh; al-Kuna wa’l-Asma’; al-Tabaqaat; al-Tamyeez; and al-Munfaridaat wa’l-Wahdaan.
He died, may Allaah have mercy on him, in Rajab 261 AH.
For more information on the lives of these two imams, see their biographies in Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 12/391-471; 557-580.
See also question no. 21523.