The Imam Abu Isa at –Tirmizi Mausoleum

The Mausoleum of  Imam Abu Isa at –Tirmizi  is located in the Sherabad district (6 kilometers from the district center) of Surkhandarya region (11th – 12th cc.). today, the mausoleum is a part of a single complex and consists of four adjacent rooms (their size is: 4,3×4,5 m). its north-eastern part was closed because of constriction of a terrace (ayvan) there. The southern room is a burial chamber in which there is a three – step over-grave structure. It is adorned with tracery and belts of stalactites and inscriptions. The tombstone, its texts, wall facing, fences and other details of the architectural décor are the result of the renovation in 2000 – 2001.

From the burial chamber there is a passage to the hall (khanaqa) of the adjacent facility which is a mosque. The floor in the mosque is below the floor level in the burial chamber.  The mihrab is in the hall of the mosque, here the overhead cover is domed like those in the adjoining rooms.

The full name of the imam is Muhammad ibn Isa ibn Saura ibn Mussa ibn Zahhak as-Sulami al-Bughi At-Tirmizi (824-892). He is known as a famous collector of traditions from the Prophet (muhaddis). Toward the end of his life, the imam went blind “az-Zarir” (Blind man). Abu Isa At-Tirmizi spent his youthful days in Termez where he received his primary education. In his childhood, he stood out from other children of his age due to his extraordinary abilities and superb memory. He advanced in the study of secular and religious sciences. However, the most interest he took in hadiths and, for the purpose of their collecting and study, he visited many cities of the East. For a long time he lived in Iraq, Isfahan, Khurasan, Mecca and Medina. There, under renowned scholars of that time, he studied the science of reciting the Koran (qira’ah), the art of exposition (bayan), Muslim jurisprudence (fikh), history and especially a subject of his particular interest, hadiths. Amjng celebrated muhaddises under whom he studied, we can mention such as Imam al-Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam  Abu Daud, Kutaiba ibn Sa’id, Iskhak ibn Mussa, Mahmud ibn Gailan and others.

At-Tirmizi met Imam al-Bukhari in Nishapur (they both lived there at the same period for five years). Later he admitted that it was under the influence of this meeting that he was able to grasp the philosophy and wisdom of hadiths. Imam al-Bukhari would speak highly of his pupil and say: “I received more benefit from my meetings with you than you from me”. It was a high opinion of At-Tirmizi’s merits.

After returning to his native Termez in 868, At-Tirmizi engaged in creative work, teaching, and it was then that he became famous as an outstanding muhaddis. He adhered to asceticism, sought not to demean his authority of the scholar, and was indifferent to wealth. All these became his life standards. Pupils of At-Tirmizi continued his cause.

The majority of writings by Imam At-Tirmizi came up to us. Of course, the most famous of them is “Al-Jami’ as-sahih” (The collection of authentic [hadiths]) which is considered to be the most reliable of six collections of hadiths. This work has various titles: “Sahihi Tirmizi” ([The collection of] authentic [hadiths] by Tirmizi), “Sunnani Tirmizi” ([The collection] of Sunnahs by Tirmizi). One more work by Imam At-Tirmizi is “ash-Shama’il an-Nabaviya” which contains about 408 hadiths dedicated to the life of the Prophet and his qualities. This book has at all times attracted attention of specialists in Islamic studies. There are several commentaries on this work written in Arabic. One of the books copies in the 16th century in now reposited in the Religious Board of Muslims of Uzbekistan.

In 1990, the 1,200th anniversary of Imam At-Tirmizi was widely `celebrated in the country. In the years of independence, the monument was restored again and turned into a shrine of pilgrimage.