Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Tag: blind following

Al-Albaani: “Don’t Be Bigoted or Fanatical Towards Me.”


 

Shaikh Saalih as-Suhaimi, may Allaah protect him, said, “So it is not allowed to be bigoted for personalities nor to consecrate them—men are known by the truth, it is not the truth which is known by men.

And there is a situation that occurred which I will relate about our Shaikh, Shaikh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, when I visited him just before his death by about a month and a half.

After I gave him salaam some of the brothers introduced me to him, so he said, ‘You’re introducing him to me, the disputant concerning fasting on Saturday and praying more than one Jamaa’ah [in a mosque]?’

So I said to him, ‘O Shaikh of ours! I still hold that opinion, I hold it to be permissible to repeat the congregational prayer more than one time and I still hold the legitimacy of fasting on Saturday as long as a person doesn’t single it out alone as the day to be fasted on, in opposition to you—and you are the one who taught us this, O Shaikh of ours.

So he tightened his grip on my hand, may Allaah have mercy on him, and I have never forgotten the pull of his hand at that moment, and said, ‘This is how we want the students of knowledge to be—not being bigoted towards me nor others—so may Allaah reward you with good.’

And I attended a debate between him and our Shaikh, Shaikh ’Abdul-Muhsin al-’Abbaad al-Badr where each one of them revered the other, [the debate being] about cutting off more than a fistful of the beard which was the opinion Shaikh al-Albaani held based upon the narration of ’Abdullah ibn ’Umar, so we enjoyed this debate for about two hours, with each of them, both our Shaikh, Shaikh ’Abdul-Muhsin al-’Abbaad al-Badr and our Shaikh, Shaikh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, respecting each other [throughout].

And when Shaikh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani met our Shaikh, Shaikh Humood at-Tuwaijiri, may Allaaah have mercy on him, [prior to which] there had been strong rebuttals [between them] concerning the issue of the hijaab, when they met they honoured one another and when a question was put forth each one of them would refer it to the other.

‘These are my forefathers so bring me their likes
When, O Jarir, the places of assembly bring us together.’

These are the peerless scholars who left, and a huge breach was created because of their departure.”

“Following a Scholar as Though he is the Lord of the Worlds who has the Right to Legislate.”


 

The Imaam said, “So a Muslim individual’s following a scholar, not going to anyone else except him, as though he is the Lord of the Worlds who has the right to legislate—no one from mankind has this right whatsoever, even the Prophet  would relate what was revealed to him from his Lord.”

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 101.

We Are not Shee’ah: “It is Not Allowed for us to Take a Specific Person to be an Imaam and not Benefit from the Knowledge of Others …”


 

 

The Imaam said, “It is not allowed for us to take a specific person to be an Imaam and not benefit from the knowledge of others because the truth which Allaah تبارك وتعالى revealed to His Prophet is not restricted to being found in one man after him .

We do not believe about the Companions who succeeded him what the Shee’ah believe about ’Ali ibn Abi Taalib, [i.e.,] that all of the knowledge which the Prophet had in his chest was transferred to ’Ali, we do not believe this, for this reason they believed him to be infallible and held him to be like the Prophet in terms of infallibility.

We say: the knowledge which was in the Prophet’s chest  was transferred to the Companions—not just one Companion—for this reason, whoever wants to gain knowledge or gain an abundant portion of it cannot do so from only one person, rather he must benefit from all of them, for if not, he will have forfeited a great deal of it.”

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 101.

Shaikh Muqbil About Imaams Badee’ud-Deen ar-Raashidi, Al-Albaani, Ibn Baaz, al-Mu’allimi, Ehsan Elahi Zaheer and Blind-Following Them | Shaikh Muqbil’s Humility


Shaikh Muqbil, may Allaah have mercy on him, said about the following when most of them were alive, “As for Shaikh Badee’ud-Deen ar-Raashidi [d. 1996] then he is from our Shaikhs and I attended a dars or two or three of his, may Allaah the Most High protect him—and he is regarded as an Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah, may Allaah reward him with good, and he hates blind-following and blind-followers and repels them.

And also likewise is the Shaikh Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, may Allaah the Most High protect him, he is regarded as an Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah, and we advise all of our brothers to obtain his books and benefit from them.

And likewise also is the Shaikh ’Abdul-’Aziz ibn Baaz, may Allaah the Most High protect him, he is regarded as one of the Imaams of Ahlus-Sunnah and a champion of the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم …

… as for ’Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Yahyaa al-Mu’allimi [d. 1966] then the likes of him are few in this time, and his books, if you read his book, ‘At-Tankeel bimaa fee Ta’neeb al-Kawthari minal-Abaateel,’ you will see a wonder of wonders as regards his patience and tolerance in his refutation of al-Kawthari, and some people have called him the Dhahabi of his time, so alhamdulillaah his books are beneficial and his style is easy.

Ehsan Elahi Zaheer [d. 1987] also, Allaah unleashed him on the Raafidah and on the Shee’ah and so he exposed them—and he is regarded as a champion of the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم … and … it is proper that these people should be asked about me and not me of them—because they are the Imaams of this time, may Allaah reward them with good.

And when we say so and so and so and so from these people [mentioned above], I do not mean that you blindly follow [taqleed] them—so do not blindly follow Badee’ud-Deen nor al-Albaani and nor Ibn Baaz and nor so and so and nor so and so, these people are our Imaams, but if we were going to blind follow them, then we would have blindly followed Abu Bakr and ’Umar and ’Uthmaan and whoever traversed upon their way …

Ijaabatus-Saa‘il ’alaa Ahammil-Masaa‘il, p. 494.

Al-Albaani on Blind-Following the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him


 

“We are not ‘Taymeeyoon.’

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 164.

Dealing with Differences: Two Scholars Give Different Fatwas, How Does One Handle It?


 

 

Host: A questioner says, ‘These days, alhamdulillaah, we see a good resurgence in knowledge, especially among the upcoming youth, but it faces a number of problems, the most important of which is the differing of the people of knowledge in their fatwas which leads to some people becoming confused and mixed up. What should the stance of the Muslim youth be towards this? Provide us [with an answer], may Allaah bless you.

Al-Albaani: Without doubt this [now] is a spontaneous question [but in fact] we heard it on our previous trip time and time again, and in reality this problem only occurs with the youth in whom the correct, knowledge-based methodology is not firmly established. What I mean [by methodology] is that which has been reported from some of the Salaf like Ibn ’Abbaas and the Imaams who followed him like Mujaahid, Maalik and others, “There is no-one except that his statements are accepted and rejected, apart from the occupant of this grave,” and he pointed to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. This is a reality which the Muslim youth, the student of correct knowledge must bring to mind—it being nothing except, “Allaah said and Allaah’s Messenger said,” in addition to what we say over and over again, “… on the methodology of the Pious Predecessors.”

And they must also call to mind another reality, a Quranic reality, Allaah تبارك وتعالى said, “And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one Ummah, but they will not cease to disagree, except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy and for that did He create them,” [Huud 11:118-119]. So there is no escape or salvation from differing, this is the way of Allaah عز وجل with His creation, and you will not find any change to Allaah’s Way.

But there is [that type of] differing which people have an excuse for and [another which they] do not have an excuse for. They have an excuse for that differing which is inescapable, the one indicated in the aforementioned aayah, “And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one Ummah …” so our Lord did not will for mankind to be on one manhaj, upon one understanding, and if it were to have been like that then the Companions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would have been the most worthy of the people to have been as such, those who were the best of mankind as is openly mentioned in the well-known, mutawaatir hadith, but Allaah عز وجل willed, out of His Perfect Wisdom, [Wisdom] which some people who understand it may perceive whilst most of man does not, but that does not harm us … so differing is a natural thing as we have mentioned … as for differing and arguing due to misunderstanding one issue, this is what has been banned and this is what is not allowed and this is what the Salaf were saved from and the Khalaf fell into.

When the youth bear this reality in mind, they should not then find it strange that some scholars differ, especially when they are those who embrace the one methodology, and it is the true methodology: [that of] the Book, the Sunnah and what the Pious Predecessors were upon. They should not condemn it and find it strange because it is the Way of Allaah عز وجل with His Creation, and if they want to be delivered from it then they must tread the path of the people of knowledge, and it is what has been laid down in the Noble Quran, “Say, ‘Produce your proof if you are truthful.’” [Baqarah 2:111]

So when two or more different statements come to a student of knowledge from two venerable scholars, and it is believed that both are equal in knowledge and excellence and he thus becomes confused—and he may be entitled to be confused initially but it is not allowed for him to continue in that [state of confusion]: [so then] he must ask for proof, [he must] seek the proof from both of the scholars, whether he is speaking to them directly or through correspondence or on the phone or through other methods of communication of that sort which are used nowadays.

So after he listens to the proof from all of them, he is not then charged with having to prefer Zaid [for example] over ’Amr or ’Amr over Zaid—rather he follows the one who has the proof which his soul finds ease in, and his breast opens up to, and maybe this … and the answer will end with this … is one of the meanings of his statement عليه الصلاة والسلام, “Consult your heart even if you are given fatwas by those who deliver religious verdicts.”

Two statements come to you from two great scholars: consult your heart—after you have asked for a clarification of the proofs—then whichever of the two your heart leans towards and is the one you take then you will have an excuse before Allaah تبارك وتعالى.

But as for you becoming bigoted for one [scholar] over the other, then this is the way of the blind-followers who Allaah عز وجل has saved us [from being] and whose way He took us out of and [Who then led us] to the Straight Path.

Wal-Hamdulillaahi rabbil-’Aalameen.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 375, [2/5/440].

None of the Companions said, ‘I’m a Bakri … I’m an Umari …’


 

“When the Companions came across an issue for which they didn’t know the ruling, they would ask Abu Bakr [about it] when they met him, they would ask Umar, they would ask Ibn Mas’ood and so on. There wasn’t anyone among them who would say, ‘I’m a Bakri,’ i.e., I don’t believe in anything except Abu Bakr’s knowledge, or, ‘I’m an Umari! I don’t believe in anything except Umar’s knowledge!’

Rather, they would ask whoever amongst them was from the people of the message [Ahlul-dhikr]—and this is how it is fitting that the course of action should be, for all good is in following the Salaf and all evil is in the innovations of those who came later [the khalaf].

When the affair became one of partisanship [hizbiyyah] to a school of thought, each person became partisan to an Imaam and fanatical towards him.”

Silsilatul-Hudaa wan-Noor, 1/219.

Use Your Brain


 

 

Questioner: A questioner says, ‘When some scholars give a religious verdict [fatwaa] in a certain issue and another group of scholars give a verdict which is the opposite of the first, which one should the common Muslim follow?’

Al-Albaani: The common Muslims must have a general education … the common masses must have a general, Islamic education; by ‘general education’ I mean the one which it is obligatory on every Muslim to know even if he is from the common masses, that he know the truth is not pluralistic.

So when, as occurs in the question, there are two contradictory statements, this common Muslim must call to mind that one of them is correct and the other is a mistake, due to His Saying, the Mighty and Majestic, “So after the truth, what else can there be, save error?” [Yunus 10:32]

So when he brings this principle to mind it will motivate him to ask the people of knowledge, ‘You say it’s permissible … and you say it’s not … what’s your proof? And what’s your proof?’ This will open up a path to understanding and awareness and then he can choose what he feels at ease with and what his heart opens up to, and he will be rewarded.

As for him going against this legislated principle and saying as many of the people today do that, ‘Whoever blindly follows a scholar will meet Allaah safe and sound,’ [then] where has this sentence come from? It is not in the Book of Allaah and nor in a hadith from Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, it’s only a sentence [prevalent] on the tongues of the common folk, ‘Whoever blindly follows a scholar will meet Allaah safe and sound …’ no.

Rather whoever follows Allaah’s Guidance is the one who is rightly guided, and whoever goes astray then it goes against himself, I just said to you now that Allaah said, “So ask the people of the message if you do not know,” [Nahl 16:43] He said, “… the people of the message [dhikr] …” hereby the word ‘message’ [dhikr] what is not intended is the dhikr which some of the ignorant Sufis are familiar with, dancing while doing dhikr and going crazy in it, and they call it, as he عليه السلام said regarding something else [but which still applies here], “… they will name it with other than its [real] name …” they call dancing and ecstasy [tawaajud] the remembrance of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, but on the contrary it is play and amusement, in addition to another sin, which is to call things by names other than their legislated ones.

So the dhikr mentioned in the verse is the Quraan, as He the Mighty and Majestic said, “And We revealed to you the message [i.e., the Quraan] that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them …” [Nahl 16:44] so the dhikr here is the Quraan, “So ask the people of the message if you do not know.”

And there is another caveat for this questioner [to bear in mind] here: this person says [the thing being discussed is] permissible and that one says it’s not permissible, Yaa akhi, are these people really scholars? Are they scholars of the Book of Allaah and the hadith of His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم? Or do they differ most greatly? This one giving a fatwa according to the Book of Allaah and the hadith of His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and that [other] one maybe walking on all fours, i.e., not walking according to the Book or the Sunnah but only according to the four madhhabs, taking whatever he fancies from them.

What a difference there is between these two.

For this reason, it is fitting that the common Muslim—and [when] I say, ‘The common Muslim,’ [it] doesn’t mean that he doesn’t understand … no, if he couldn’t understand it would mean he is mad, and if he was mad then he would not be accountable—but [on the contrary] he can understand, it’s only that he is not a scholar—thus, he must use his intellect, so when two statements come to him, one of them will have come from someone who is not a scholar, and so such a statement has no weight, and thus the first opinion stands.

And it may happen and we do not deny it: that both of them may be scholars of the Book and the Sunnah but the issue may be a disputed or controversial one, and this happens as it did in the past, and it can happen today, here the common Muslim must use his brain and strip away his desires and not follow them which would be something that would lead him away from Allaah’s Path, and he عليه السلام, “The mujaahid is the one who strives against his desires for the Sake of Allaah.”

But most regretfully, when the elite, the elite of the people today seek out the fatwa which suits them … he will say to you—Yaa akhi, and all of them say that they go back to the sayings of Allaah’s Messenger—[but then] he takes whatever suits him from these madhhabs, [if this is the case with the elite] what are we to say about the common folk then? And as was said:

If the man of the house is beating the daff, those living in it will dance along.

So if this is the case with the elite, except for those whom Allaah has had mercy on, and how few they are, then what will the state of the general folk be?

I remind the elite and the general masses that the religion is not desires but rather knowledge, and it is upon the general folk to learn how to ask questions.

And maybe in some of these blessed, inshaa Allaah, gatherings I have on more than one occasion mentioned that hadith narrated by Abu Dawud in his Sunan that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم sent a detachment to fight in the Way of Allaah, whereupon one of them received wounds to his body, when he awoke in the morning, he found that he needed to take a ghusl, and so he asked those around him whether they knew of an excuse for him not to have to bathe, they said no, that he must take a ghusl, so he did and died because when the water got on his wounds they festered … and so on and his temperature rose and he died.

When news about what happened to him reached the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم he became extremely angry عليه الصلاة والسلام and said, “They killed him, may Allaah kill them,” i.e., the ones who gave the fatwa that he had to take a ghusl were the reason for his death, “They killed him, may Allaah kill them, should they not have asked if they didn’t know?!  Verily the cure for ignorance is to question! It would have been enough for him had he performed tayammum.”

So, those [Companions] gave him a fatwa without knowledge, so we take a lesson from this hadith, that it is not fitting for the common folk to ask [just] anyone who claims knowledge, or who it is claimed has knowledge, but rather, O Muslim, the person who you know does not give fatwas except based upon, ‘Allaah said … Allaah’s Messenger said,’ such a person is the one you should direct your question to, as for those people who say what they do not do, and who give fatwas that aren’t based upon the Book and the Sunnah, then such people are not scholars.

And these are the people the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم foretold [us] about when he said, as occurs in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim from the hadith of Abdullaah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with them both, that, ‘Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Verily, Allaah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the breasts of the scholars, but He takes it away by taking away the scholars such that when no scholar remains the people take the ignorant ones as leaders and so they are asked and give religious verdicts without knowledge and [thus] are misguided and lead others astray [too].”

This is the state of affairs of many of those in places of responsibility today who it is thought are from the people of knowledge [but who really aren’t], and so the commoner who asks [them] a question becomes confused: ‘This one says haraam and that one says halaal, or this one says obligatory and that one says sunnah,’ or other such things from the issues which are disputed.

A process of purification must be carried out in the minds of all the common folk: the scholar of the Book and the Sunnah must be filtered from the one who, as some of the witty people in our country Syria say, ‘The scholars are of two types. One is a scholar-doer, the other is the doer-scholar!’ The ‘scholar-doer’ i.e., is a scholar who acts upon his knowledge, and the ‘doer-scholar’ is the one who does things and whose status is that of a scholar but who has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge.

And unfortunately this is present, and whoever doesn’t know, let him go and try [and he’ll see how true what I am saying is].

Ask whoever you want from those who you think are from the people of knowledge well-known amongst the people, and I will not name them even if only by title, ask whoever you want, even though it [i.e., a certain situation] may be a fiqh issue in which there is difference of opinion, he will answer you according to the madhhab he grew up on, was nurtured on, and became old on, he will give you a fatwa according to it, and then you will say, ‘What’s the proof?’ And he will say [rhetorically], ‘We are people of proof? How can we understand the proof?’ This is if he is forthright [admitting that he doesn’t know the proof], but if he is someone who hides things, he will say, ‘How are you going to perceive the proof?’ So he covers his own ignorance by declaring others to be ignorant.

This, unfortunately, is the reality of many people today, and the One whose Aid is sought is Allaah.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 455.

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 3


Learning from his Father

Al-Huwaini: I asked Shaikh Shu’aib al-Arnaa’oot about some things and then he ended up saying, “I used to go to Shaikh Nooh (i.e., Shaikh al-Albaani’s father) but Shaikh Naasir would not be present at our sittings.”

Al-Albaani: I never used to attend those lessons which he is referring to. But we used to have a private lesson with my father with two other Arnaa’ooti youths one of whose names was Abdur-Raheem Zainul-Aabideen and he is still alive, the other has passed away and we used to read Al-Qadoori in hanafi fiqh to him, likewise we read Al-Maraah in morphology to him and we finished reciting the Quraan to him.

So this does not mean that we did not read to him, for I would not attend at the time he was attending just as the opposite [conclusion] is not binding–for he never used to attend these particular lessons of ours with my father, [but this does not mean] that he never sat with my father, this is not binding.

Al-Albaani Leaving the Hanafi Madhhab to Study Hadith
and the time he was too poor to buy a Book

Al-Huwaini: There is a matter here which draws one’s attention: how did you turn to hadith and such, bearing in mind that some of what you have said and what Shaikh Shu’aib said [shows] that your father was a Hanafi, he would revere the Hanafi school of thought greatly?

Al-Albaani: That is from the blessings of Allaah. But as for the reason then it is as is said, “When Allaah intends a matter He facilitates the means for it.” So I truly was living in an atmosphere of bigoted Hanafism. My father, especially among the Arnaa’oots, was regarded as the most knowledgeable of them in Hanafi fiqh, he was the one they would recourse and refer back to.

When I finished elementary school and studied as I have previously detailed with some of the Shaikhs, I would have a very great desire to want to read as a hobby. But reading [those things]–as would seem to one looking in on it–that contained no benefit, indeed which could even have an adverse effect. But later on the effect of this reading became clear in my language for it had strengthened my oral skills. What is peculiar is that I was infatuated with reading modern day fiction works which were known as hiwaayaat [leisure reading/books that are read as a hobby], especially the stories of the American thief famous as Arsene Lupin. So I was truly infatuated with reading this type of story and narrative.

Then I found myself moving to the second stage which perhaps was better than the first, and it was studying Arabic stories, even though [most of them] were fiction. So for example I read A Thousand Arabian Nights, I read the story of Antar ibn Shaddaad, the story of Salaah ad-Deen al-Ayyoobi, a story of resoluteness and valiant champions, and so on. I was extremely captivated by such types of perusal and reading, and then from the perfectness of Allaah’s Plan and His Kindness to me was that when I changed my profession and accompanied my father I came across a lot of free time.

We would split the time [we’d sit] in the shop. So he would go [to it] in the morning and I would go with him [and he would stay there] until he prayed dhuhr, then after he had prayed it he would go home to relax and I would remain in the shop until he returned [which would be] after asr. We were both workers and sometimes I would come across a lot of spare time, there would be hours and I would not [have to] repair any watches, so I would ask his permission to go out … and to where? This was also from Allaah’s granting of success to me [that] I would go to the Amawi masjid and would give the people some general lessons, and I was influenced as regards ideology: some of it was correct, in what became apparent to me later, and some of it was incorrect.

That which was incorrect was connected to two points: blind following and Sufism. Then in this free time during which I would leave my father’s shop, Allaah ordained [that I meet] an Egyptian man who would buy books left by people who had passed away and then [sell them and] put them on display in front of a shop of his [which was] in the direction of the western door of the Amawi mosque. So I would pass by the stack of books which he would pile up outside his small shop, turning over the pages, and I would find whatever I wanted from those narrations, and I would loan the book from him for some money, read it and then return it and so on.

One day I found some issues of the magazine ‘Al-Mannar’ with him, and I remember very well that I read a chapter in it by as-Sayyid Rashid Rida, may Allaah have mercy upon him, speaking about the merits of al-Ghazaali’s book Al-Ihyaa and he [also] criticised it from some angles, likes its Sufism, for example, and the weak and baseless hadiths that were in it. In this regard he mentioned that Abul-Fadl Zainul-Aabidin al-Iraaqi had a book which he authored about Al-Ihyaa in which he checked its hadiths, distinguishing between its authentic and weak ones and he called it, Al-Mughni an Hamlil-Asfaar fil-Asfaar fee Takhrij maa fil-Ihyaa minal-Akhbaar.

So I began to greatly yearn for this book, I went to the market asking after it like someone infatuated and madly in love [aashiq] [saying], “Where is this book?” Until I found it with one of them and it was in four volumes, the print of al-Baabi al-Halabi, on soft, yellow paper.

But I was poor like my father and could not afford to buy a book such as it, so I came to an agreement with its owner that I would loan it from him, I don’t recall now [whether it was] for a year or less or more, so I did, I took the book and was almost about to fly out of joy. I went to the shop and I would take advantage of the time when my father was away so I could be alone with my book.  I made a plan to copy it out and so I started to do so. I bought some paper and got a ‘mistarah’–and this refers to cardboard that had parallel lines on it.

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 10-12.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 15


 

His Following the Book and the Sunnah and Abandoning Blind Following

“When I laid down this methodology for myself, i.e., holding fast to the authentic Sunnah, and implemented it in this and other books which will soon spread among the people, if Allaah so wills, I was upon certain knowledge that it would not please all groups and sects.  Rather that some if not most of them would direct their verbal attacks at me along with their written reproach.  And there is no problem in that, since I know that pleasing the people is an unattainable goal, and that, “Whoever pleases the people through the displeasure of Allaah will be left by Allaah in the trust of the people,” as the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said.  How excellent was the saying of the one who said, “And I will never be safe from the abusive saying, even if I were in a cave on a rugged mountain; and who is it that can escape from the people safe and sound, even if he disappeared between the wings of an eagle.”

So it is sufficient for me that I hold this to be the most upright path which Allaah, the Most High, ordered the believers with and which Muhammad, the Chief of the Prophets clarified, and which the Pious Predecessors from the Companions, their students and those who followed them, traversed upon.  Included among them are the four Imaams to whose schools of thought the majority of Muslims associate themselves today.  All of them were in agreement concerning the obligation of sticking to the Sunnah and returning to it and abandoning every statement that opposed it, no matter how great the one who made it was since his, صلى الله عليه وسلم. stature is greater, his path more upright.  Thus, I followed their guidance and their footsteps, implementing their orders to stick to the sayings of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم. even if the hadith opposed what they [themselves] said.  These orders had the greatest impact in my perusal of this straight way and my turning away from blind following.  So may Allaah, the Most High, reward them with good on my behalf [for the benefit I received from them].

His taking books as his company and companions

So I say: Never!  These judgements are not off-handed, but are the fruits of devoting myself to this noble branch of knowledge and specialising in it for more than half a century for the sake of Allaah, the Blessed and Most High–full of interest and desire and painstaking effort to acquire it, made successful by His permission, the Mighty and Majestic.  Toiling day and night, with a broad ranging, precise and rare pursuance of the texts of hadiths, their wordings and paths from numerous books where those hadiths are mentioned with their chains of narrations; such as books of Quranic exegesis [tafsir], biographies, history, heart softening narrations and abstinence from the world, not to mention the books which are specific to hadiths, whether manuscripts or in other forms.  And nothing proves this more than ‘the story of the lost paper’ which I mentioned in the introduction to my book, ‘The Index of Manuscripts of the Dhaahiriyyah Library,’ which the Arabic Academy of Damascus printed, so refer to it [for this story] (pp. 4-7), for in it is a testimony and a lesson for one who will take heed. [Translators note: this story will follow in the next post, inshaa Allaah].

Part of this is that Allaah gave me the opportunity, through His Grace and Bounty, to accompany hundreds, rather thousands of the people of knowledge and excellence in different fields; enjoying their company all those blessed years, such gatherings whose worth and pleasure none can know except those who have experienced it themselves.  And the one who said the following [lines of poetry] about them has spoken the truth:

“We have sitting companions whose speech we never tire of; wise, trustworthy whether they are present or not; benefitting us with their knowledge, knowledge of what has passed by; intellectual, disciplined and of sound opinion; without fear of any commotion  or evil companionship; not fearing from them an [evil] tongue or a [striking] hand; so if you said, ‘[They are] dead!’  You would not have lied; and if you said, ‘[They are] alive!’ You would not be disproved.”

I have not ceased to take from their knowledge and pick from their fruits–especially the people of hadith and narrations [Ahlul-Hadith wal-athar] from them such that, with Allaah’s Bounty and granting of success, I was able to gather thousands of hadith and narrations, [along with their] paths and chains of narration, weak and very weak chains, [and this was] something which was a great help in recognising their defects and differentiating between the authentic and the weak from them.  So the result of all this were those books I authored which I spent numerous years upon.”

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 31-34.

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.

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