In his later years, Imam Al-Bukhari was decided to move to Nishapur because of animosity of some people of the ruling elite of Bukhara against him. Nishapur was a learning place with some great Muhadditheen including Imam Muslim.
When people of Nishapur heard that Imam Bukhari was coming, they came out to welcome him in huge numbers. It is said he was welcomed by 4000 horse-riders, along with a huge number of people on camels, donkeys and on foot. Even the kings would envy such a welcome.
Some even setup tents outside Nishapur to be able to greet and welcome Imam Al-Bukhari, one of those including al-Dhuhli, who encouraged his students and everyone to give him a good welcome.
Imam Al-Bukhari was well received and started giving lectures on hadith which were attended by a large number of people. Which reduced the popularity of al-Dhuhli and other scholars. And things soon started to change.
So they soon started conspiring against al-Bukhari by claiming that he believed that a persons wording of the Quran is created.
They sent people to confront him, he declined to answer but when the people insisted, al-Bukhari answered by saying, “The Qur’an is the speech of
Allah and is not created. But the actions of the slaves are created. And to test someone is an innovation”
This gave people the opportunity to misinterpret Imam Al-Bukhari’s words. Al-Dhuhli, who was the most influential scholar in Nishapur, declared Imam Al-Bukhari to be an innovator, a person of defective aqidah and said that no one should sit with him or listen to him.
And soon, everyone turned their backs on Imam Al-Bukhari and abandoned him. Only two people stood by him, who attended his lectures and sat with him, Imam Muslim and Ahmad ibn Salama.
Imam Muslim even took a step further and sent back all of Al-Dhuhli’s books that he had, and stopped recording any hadiths that he had heard from him, effectively suggesting that he was not a reliable narrator of hadith.
But Imam Al-Bukhari advised both scholars to not cut ties and alienate their peers within their own city. He suggested that since he was an outsider and people of the city no longer feel that he can benefit them, the more appropriate thing for him would be to leave the city.
Thus, the great Muhadith, who was welcomed by thousands of people on his arrival left alone and at night.
He had decided to go back to Bukhara and spend the rest of his days there but his trials hadn’t yet ended. On his return to Bukhara, the governor, Khalid ibn Ahmad al-Dhuhli sent a messenger and invited him to come to his palace and privately tutor his children.
Imam Bukhari replied that he wanted to benefit maximum number of people with his knowledge and cannot limit his knowledge and himself to a selective few, so it’d be more appropriate if the children of governor come to Masjid or his house and study with the rest of the people.
The governor was deeply offended by his response and took it upon himself to expel Al-Bukhari from the city, a task in which he soon succeeded. After being expelled from Bukhara, Al-Bukhari decided to go to Samarkand.
However, when the scholars of Samarkand heard of his imminent arrival, they sent him a message imploring him not to come and that they feared the situation of the city will get bad if he comes.
Upon hearing this, Imam Al-Bukhari prayed to Allah to take his soul as the world has become restricted for him despite all its expansion.
Allah accepted his dua and he spent his last days in the village of his aunt, by the town of Khartank, near Samarkand. He passed away on the last Friday of Ramadan, after Friday prayers.
These were the last days of the greatest scholar of hadith, compiler of the most correct book after Quran. Allah preserved his legacy and honoured him by making his work one of the foundational documents of Ahle-Sunnah’s corpus of knowledge.
People turned their back on him and abandoned him. They didn’t even award him the courtesy of being able to explain himself which would have cleared the misunderstanding in a few short sentences but he endured and passed that test and Allah honoured him.
That’s what I have learned from life too. People will abandon you and turn their backs on you in an instance. Often those claiming to love you and promising to stand by you wouldn’t even grant you the courtesy of asking an explanation or respect of listening to one.
Which is why in Allah alone we should place our trust and on Allah alone we should rely upon.