Bukhari first started listening and learning ahadith in 205 A.H., and after profiting from the Ulamaa of his town he started his travels in 210 A.H. There are a great number of teachers from whom Bukhari actually gained his much respected knowledge. It has been known to be said by Imam Bukhari himself that, “I have written ahaidth from 1080 different people all of whom were scholars.” However, he profited most from Ishaq Ibn Rahway and Ali Ibn Madeeni. Bukhari has narrated ahadith from Ulamaa of five different categories. He has also narrated ahadith from his students believing in the fact that no person shall be titled a scholar of ahadith until he has narrated from his elders, youngsters and contemporaries.
Bukhari also had a vast amount of students. It has been stated that thousands were privileged to sit in his lessons where he taught his book Shahi Bukhari. There were travelers amongst these from all corners of the world in order to join these pious sittings and to be honoured with a glimpse of the knowledge that he held and which never failed to astonish anybody.
Bukhari’s memory was considered to be inhuman, for as soon as the praying of a hadith would finish Bukhari would repeat it orally. It has been known that in his childhood he had memorized many ahadiths.
There is one spectacular incident which took place in Baghdad when Bukhari took up temporary residence there. The people having heard of his many accomplishments, and the attributes which were issued to him, decided to test him so as to make him prove himself to them. In order to do that they chose one hundred different ahaadeeth and changing the testimonials and the text of the ahaadeeth they were then recited by ten people to Bukhari.
There was a crowd of gathered people from within and outside the city to witness the outcome of such a test. When the ahaadeeth were recited Bukhari replied to all in one manner, “Not to my knowledge.” However, after the completion of all the ahaadeeth Imam Bukhari (R.A) repeated each text and testimonial which had been changed followed by the correct text and testimonial, such was the memory of Bukhari.