Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Tag: al-iraaqi

Shaikh ’Abdul-Kareem al-Khudair on Al-Albaani Being One of the Major Scholars of the Ummah


 

Shaikh ’Abdul-Kareem al-Khudair, may Allaah protect him, said, “And for that reason Al-Dhahabi came, Ibn Hajar came, Al-Haafidh al-’Iraaqi came, Abu Zur’ah ibn al-Haafidh al-’Iraaqi came, major scholars who graded hadith to be authentic and weak, good was placed at their hands [continuing] up to this era of ours—until the [line of] Huffaadh and Imaams was completed with al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him.”

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Shaikhul-Islaam wa Imaamu Ahlis-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah fi ’Uyoon A’laam al-’Ulamaa wa Fuhool al-Udabaa, p. 234.

Shaikh al-Albaani on blind following


The First Question

Is it permissible for the student of knowledge to suffice with the declarations of the scholars of the past as to whether a saying of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, is weak or authentic? For example, he reads the checking of Haafidh al-Iraaqi where he says, “This hadith is authentic.” So is it permissible for him to suffice with that and the same with Imaam Ahmad or other than him?


Shaikh al-Albaani: “This matter resembles blind following in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). It is sufficient for the student of knowledge to listen to and act upon an opinion of one of the Imaams who are followed, and by that I do not only mean the four [famous ones], since there are more, by the Grace of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

We say: [This is so] since it is not possible for all students of knowledge to be on the same level of ability in discerning the truth in those matters where the people have differed. So it is enough for the student of knowledge to implement the aayah, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” [Surah an-Nahl (16): 43]

So if there are people of knowledge who are alive then he should ask them and embrace their answer, and if there is not a scholar who is alive for him to question, and he knows that a certain scholar from those who are followed has a certain opinion then he can follow him. And in this he is safe from any reproach or blame even if in reality the opinion that he followed is a mistake because he has implemented what was mentioned in the aayah as being obligatory upon him, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.”

But this is based upon certain premises–there is one condition to this, which is that it is not evident to him that the opinion he is following is a mistake. And knowing whether the opinion he is following is incorrect or not can be done by the student doing some personal research if he has the capability of doing so, or it can become known by the direction of another scholar whom he trusts and in whose knowledge he trusts. What is important is that it is permissible for the student of knowledge to blindly follow a scholar if the mistake [in that opinion] is not clear to him and he himself is not capable of clarifying whether [the chosen opinion] is correct or incorrect …” [1]

[[1] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim the one who compiled and explained the book the question is taken from, he said, “In other words, that he should not take this blind following to be religion. Rather whenever the mistake of the scholar or the Imaam becomes clear to him, it is obligatory for him to shun the opinion in which he is mistaken, whether it is with regard to matters of rulings or the creed, or that which is particular to declaring hadiths to be authentic or weak. And Shaikh al-Albaani has another very important religious verdict [fatwaa] concerning this topic in the book, Fataawaa Madinah, no., 32 on pages 42-43 …”] [it has been translated and can be read below after this answer].

Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “Likewise, totally, is the answer regarding the student of knowledge, he finds an Imaam from the Imaams of the Muslims or a preserver of hadith who authenticates hadith and declares others to be weak, then it is sufficient for this student of knowledge to follow this verifier [who declares hadiths to be authentic or weak] as long as two conditions are met, just as we have mentioned regarding the issue of [blind following] in fiqh:

1) The first condition: That he does not know it to be a mistake, since what is intended by this condition–whether it is hadith or fiqh–is that he does not follow his desires and thus say, “So and so gave me this religious verdict and the matter is closed …” [even though while saying this in reality] he feels some uneasiness in his soul, and the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, “Question your heart even if the mufti gives you his fatwa.” [2]

[[2] Footnote of Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim, “Reported through different paths of narration the most authentic of which is the one reported by Imaam Ahmad (17922) with an authentic chain of narration from the hadith of Waabisah ibn Ma’bad, may Allaah be pleased with him, and the relevant part of that hadith is, “Righteousness is that which gives delight to your heart and sin is that which wavers in your heart, even if the people give you religious verdicts [fatwaas] concerning it.” ]

Shaikh al-Albaani continues, “This is the first condition, i.e., that he does not know that the opinion is a mistake–whether it is regarding the declaration of a hadith to be authentic or weak, or whether it is regarding the permissibility of something or its forbiddance.

2) the second condition: That he himself is not capable of verifying the authenticity or inauthenticity of the particular hadith in question, so this is something permissible–since we cannot burden all of the people [by saying that they must] become capable of reaching the level of ijtihaad or that they become scholars.” [3]

[[3] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim who said, “That is because if someone reaches the level of being capable of making ijtihaad and he acquires the tools of this knowledge, then it is not permissible for him to blindly follow anyone rather it is then obligatory upon him to make ijtihaad in the declaring of hadiths to be authentic or weak, but it is permissible for him to look at the rulings of the Imaams and the criticisers of hadith to pick from them that which is in accordance with the truth, so that he does not isolate himself with his opinion from their opinion.”]

 

The Second Question

“What is the proof concerning the forbiddance of blind following?”


Shaikh al-Albaani said, “I do not know of any proof that states that blind following is haraam, rather blind following is a necessity for the one who has no knowledge. And Allaah, the one free from all defects and the Most High, said, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” Therefore, this aayah placed the Muslims into two categories as regards knowledge:

i) the scholar and it made obligatory upon him to answer the questioner
ii) those who do not know, and it made asking the scholars obligatory upon them.

So if a person from the common folk came to a scholar and asked him about something and the scholar answered him, then this man has implemented the aayah.

And maybe what is intended is something other than what was mentioned in the question [directed to me] and that is the forbiddance of actively splitting into sects and groups; i.e., that a person take his religion from one of schools of thought that are followed and then he totally [refuses] to look at what the other schools of thought might say or at what the sayings of other scholars are–so it is this blind following of schools of thought which is then taken as religion that is not permitted because it opposes the proofs from the Book and the Sunnah.

And the people of knowledge place the people into three categories:

1) the mujtahid
2) the follower on clear proof and insight and
3) the blind follower, and it is this category that most of the people fall into.

As such we cannot say that, “Blind following is haraam,” [that] is only when blind following is taken as religion, as for blind following in general then it is not permissible to declare it to be forbidden.” [1]

[[1] Footnote here by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Salim who said, “And what has been said here is also said concerning taking the opinion of a scholar concerning the declaration of a hadith to be weak or authentic, with the condition that the status/rank of that scholar in relation to that knowledge be borne in mind. So such declarations of whether a hadith is authentic or weak are not taken from a scholar of fiqh who does not know [the science of] hadith criticism. Just as the declaration of whether a hadith is authentic cannot be relied upon when it comes from someone among the scholars of hadith or the hadith preservers who is known as being lenient; just as it is not possible to take the declaration that a hadith is weak from someone is known as being overly-strict. In fact this is a correct rule [established] by those known for their moderation and justice along with their knowledge of the principles of this profession and who are known for their practise of it which established their ability to exercise their judgement in arriving at a religious ruling [ijtihaad] concerning the criticism and chains of narration and their texts.”]

Taken from Al-Fataawaa al-Kuwaitiyyah, compiled by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Saleem, pp. 81-83.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 2


The Beginning of his Quest for Knowledge

“The first thing that I had a passion to read were Arabic stories, like those of Dhaahir [Baybars] and Antara [ibn Shaddaad a famous Arab poet], King Saif [ibn Dhi Yazan] and their like, then translated crime or detective novels like Arséne Luprin and others.  After which I found an inclination towards reading books about history.

Then one day at one of the booksellers, I noticed an issue from a magazine called Al-Manaar amongst the books for sale so I bought it.  In it I came across a piece of research written by as-Sayyid Rasheed [Rida] in which he was describing the book Al-Ihyaa by al-Ghazaali, pointing out its strengths and weaknesses.

So for the first time I across this type of knowledge-based critique and that drew me to reading the entire issue.  I continued following the subject of Al-Ihyaa in the [book] Al-Ihyaa itself, with the version which contained the hadith verification of al-Haafidh al-Iraaqi, and I found myself having to borrow it since I did not have the money to purchase it.

As a result I started to read [the entire] book since that detailed verification fascinated me such that I resolved to copy out the book or summarise it after I had laid down a mental picture of copying out the [hadith] verification which was printed in the footnotes of Al-Ihyaa.  I started to write out the hadith, “Indeed praise for a servant can spread as far and as wide as that which is between the east and the west and yet he is not equal to the weight of a mosquito before Allaah …” this is how it was written in Al-Ihyaa.

Al-Haafidh al-Iraaqi said, “And I have quoted it from him but have not been able to find it with such wording.  In the two Sahihs from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah there occurs, “Indeed a huge fat man will come on the Day of Resurrection and he will not weigh the weight of the wing of a mosquito in Allaah’s Sight.”

But what did I do?  I wrote down a hyphen and completed the hadith as it is found in the two Sahihs and I continued upon this so as not to attribute to Al-Haafidh al-Iraaqi something that he did not say, and I also placed the addition which I was writing from the original and to which he attributed the hadith, between two hyphens [=].  In those days I was new to researching and if I knew then what I know now I would have used brackets like the ones I used in my books thereafter instead of the two hyphens.

I started to copy and then got half way through the first volume, when an idea occurred to me which was that during my work on the hadiths parts of them would come by me whose words I did not understand and as a result the intending meaning of the hadith would not be clear to me.  So I said to myself, ‘Why don’t I explain all of these words in the margins which would be a revision for me and an aid to understanding the hadith?” So after I had gotten half way through the first volume I left it and started copying all over again based upon this new idea.

Every time I came across a hadith which had a word I couldn’t fathom I would use Ibn al-Athir’s book Ghareeb al-Hadith [a book explaining rare and difficult words found in hadiths] and dictionaries and then I would write the meaning in the margin, until the notes that I would write for myself turned out to be more than the actual text, and I carried on like this until I finished the book.  I strived like this until a good method was established which helped to make concrete all those new points.

And I think this effort which I put into that study is what encouraged me and endeared to me the desire to continue upon this path, since I found myself seeking the aid of many different works on the Arabic language, figurative speech [بلاغة], and works explaining the rare and difficult words found in hadiths so that the text could be understood alongside its verification.

And this is what benefitted me greatly, and in reality I say: I am amazed at Allaah’s Kindness to His servants, and I feel that Allaah was moving me from one step to the next.  Now I reap the benefits of what I used to write and make copies of, [at that time] I did not know what was behind that writing or that copying, now I reap the benefits of some of that work.  I will find writings from my early knowledge-based research that is profuse and abundant and that was due to the persistent desire to follow such research and because I found the narrations of hadith to be something beautiful.  And I still  continue, and all praise is for Allaah, to have the vigour and desire to research, but old age has its rights.”

 

His Children

“Indeed from the blessings of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, upon me is that he inspired me to name all of my sons as servants of His, and they are: Abdur-Rahmaan, Abdul-Lateef, Abdur-Razzaaq from my first wife, may Allaah have mercy on her; and Abdul-Musowwir, Abdul-Muhaimin and Abdul-A’laa from my other wife, and I don’t think anyone has beaten me to naming their son Abdul-Musowwir since with all of the names of narrators that I have come across in the books of the men of hadith and its conveyors [I never found this name].  And I ask Allaah, the Most High, to increase me in success and that He bless me in my family, “”Our Lord!  Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring those who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the pious.” [Furqaan 25:74]

Then in 1383AH [1963CE] while I was in Medina, Allaah blessed me with a son whom I named Muhammad, as a reminder of his, صلى الله عليه وسلم, city and in fulfilment of his saying, “Name yourselves with my name, but do not use my kunyaa.”
[Bukhaari and Muslim]

 

Giving Precedence to the Truth over the Heritage of the Forefathers

“I continued to follow in the footsteps of my father in this direction, until Allaah guided me to the Sunnah, so I left much of what I had studied with him which he regarded as being a means of getting closer to Allaah and worship.”

 

Al-Albaani and His Father

“I had proceeded to study the Sunnah with great longing and adoration, and so when my father saw that in me he began to warn me and said, “The science of hadith is the profession of the bankrupt!”  But despite what that differing put between us in terms of ideological outlook, near the end of his life we become very close, as he used to say at the end of every debate, ‘I do not deny that you brought me some knowledge based benefits concerning matters about which I was not on clear proof beforehand, like it not being legislated to intend to go to pray salaah at the graves of the righteous.’”

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 5-10.

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