Al-‘Ajlooni related that Imam Bukhari- may Allah have mercy on him- once traveled by boat on a journey to seek out knowledge and that he had taken with him 1,000 dinars. One of his fellow travelers ingratiated himself with Imam Bukhari, outwardly showing him love and admiration. During the sea-voyage the man often made a point to sit in his company. On long journeys, friendships develop faster than normal, and during the course of the time they spent together, Imam Bukhari informed the man that he had 1,000 dinars with him.
The morning after Imam Bukhari spoke about the money, the man woke up and began to cry, scream, rip his clothing apart, and slap his own face as if he had just been afflicted with a great loss. His fellow shipmates asked him what was wrong, and he refused to answer at first, as if he was still in a state of shock and could not bring himself to speak about his situation. After they continually insisted that he tell them what the matter was with him, he finally said “I had a bag that contained 1,000 dinars and I lost it”.
The crewmen who were in charge of the ship began to search the passengers. One by one everyone was being searched, and upon realising what was happening, Imam Bukhari, making sure that no one was looking, threw his bag of money over the side of the ship . When the entire ship and all of its passengers were searched and when no bag of money was found, those in authority on the ship went back to the man who had made up the story and chastised him for making a false claim and or putting them through so much trouble.
As soon as the ship finally reached the shore, the passengers began to disembark; meanwhile Imam Bukhari’s old friend went to him and asked him what he had done with the bag of money?
“I threw it into the sea,” Imam Bukhari matter-of-factly replied.
“And you are patiently accepting the fact that you have just lost such a huge sum of money? The man asked in bewilderment.
“O Ignorant one,” Imam Bukhari said, “do you not know that I have spent my entire life gathering the Ahadeeth of the Messenger salallahualayhiwasalam and that the world now acknowledges my trustworthiness. Would it then have been befitting for me to subject myself to the accusation of theft? And shall I lose the precious pearl (ie: My knowledge and achievements as a scholar) that I have earned over a lifetime over a limited number of dinars?
Excerpt taken from “The biography of Imam Bukhaaree Allah have mercy on him by Salajideen ibn ‘Alee ibn ‘Abdul Maujood. Translated
by Faisal Shafeeq.”