Imam Tirmidhi was a man of strong memory. James Robson mentions an interesting story which illustrates his power of committing traditions to memory. Once on the way to Makka, Imam Tirmidhi met a traditionist from whose traditions he had previously copied out two parts. Thinking he had these notes with him, he questioned the traditionist about the traditions, which he had noted, but discovered that instead of his notes, he had brought some blank sheets of paper. Nonetheless he continued his questions with these sheets in his hand, and after a while the traditionist noticed that they were blank and rebuked him, whereupon Imam Tirmidhi assured him that he knew the traditions by heart.
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Imam Tirmidhi died in Bugh on the 13 Rajab 279 A.H. at the age of seventy (To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return). Imam Tirmidhi was considered by the scholars to be Imam Bukhari's successor is distinct in the words of the traditionist 'Umar b. 'Alaq, "When Bukhari died he left no one in Khurasan who compared with Tirmidhi in knowledge, memory, piety and asceticism".