Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Tag: mufti

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 12


 

The following post is from the same book we are going through but occurs later and is not part of the questions and answers section but is connected to the previous post about the Shaikh’s time at Medinah, so I thought I would add it here.

 

“In their biographies of Shaikh al-Albaani, the two Shaikhs, Eed Abbaasi and Ali Khashaan said, ‘Due to that continued effort and the tawfiq that Allaah, the Most High, gave him, many beneficial works [authored by the Shaikh] in the fields of hadith, fiqh, creed and others came to light which show the people of knowledge and excellence what Allaah had bestowed upon him from correct understanding, abundant knowledge, exceptional expertise in the field of hadith and its sciences and narrators, along with a sound knowledge-based methodology making the Book and the Sunnah the judge and scale for everything, taking guidance from the understanding of the Pious Predecessors and their way in understanding and deriving rulings.

That [same] methodology which many researchers and verifiers from the people of knowledge [before him] tread upon, especially the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, his students, and whoever followed them in that.

All of this made the Shaikh a distinguished and renowned authority that the people of knowledge would refer back to. People supervising institutes of knowledge appreciated his worth, something which made those in charge of the Islamic University in Medinah al-Munawwarah when it was established–and at the head of them the Shaikh, the Allaamah, Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Aali-Shaikh, the Principal of the Islamic University and the Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at that time–choose Shaikh al-Albaani to take up the teaching of hadith and it sciences, during which he was an example of earnestness and hard work, to the extent that he would sit with the students on the sand during the breaks between lectures and some teachers would pass by him while he was sitting on the sand and would say, “This is the real lesson–not the one you just came of it or the one you will go back to [inside].”

The Shaikh would do that whereas the other teachers would head to the staff room and have some dates or tea and coffee, and this is from the Grace of Allaah which He gives to whoever He pleases.

And maybe this habit of his and his sincerity was something which led some people to become jealous of him, amongst whom were some of the people of knowledge, due to the affection and love the students had for him and how they would present themselves to him at the university and outside it during the trips which the university would supervise.

The Shaikh’s relationship with the students was that of friend with a friend, without formality, and not like [the relationship] between a teacher and his student, for he wiped out formality which would [normally] prolong matters and replaced it with trust and brotherhood.

He said, “In my car I would take with me whichever students I happened to meet on the way to the university and also back to Medinah.  So at all times, my car would be full of them, going and coming.”

The desire of the students to be with the Shaikh and their love for him and the fact that they felt as though there was no difference between them and their teacher reached such an extent that one day after having given his lectures the Shaikh went to the [university’s] administration and left his car outside the building and entered. Then it so happened that Ustaadh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab al-Bannaa wanted to go to the city, so he came out [of the building] with Shaikh Al-Albaani heading to Shaikh Al-Albaani’s car so that he could take him with him–only to find that Shaikh al-Albaani’s car was [already] full of students! So when the students saw Shaikh al-Bannaa, one of them was compelled to get out for him, and this is how it was.

And when he would enter the university in the morning you would hardly be able to see his car due to the multitude of students gathered around it, giving the Shaikh salaam, asking him questions and benefitting from him.

The Plans of the Malicious and Spiteful Ones

All of these things which we just mentioned when put together stirred up those teachers at the university who were malicious and spiteful, so they plotted against him and reported him to the university administration fabricating false accusations against him, bearing false witness against him and slander, conspiring and machinating against him. And they forgot Allaah, the Most High, and the [fact that all will have to] stand before Him, on the Day when nothing will be hidden from Him, the Most High.

So the administration terminated his contract.

The Shaikh bore the accusations and slander against him, saying, “Sufficient for us is Allaah, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs,” and Allaah wills and chooses, and none can repel His Will, the One free and far removed from all defects.

So the Shaikh was satisfied with Allaah’s Decree with a believing and truthful soul, in fact he was happy because Allaah had blessed him to be able to understand complex issues and Islamic problems such that he returned [to Syria] with an even greater fervour to research and investigate those things which would be of benefit to the Muslims in many different fields of knowledge from the pure Sharee’ah, which he had been kept away from while he had to teach at the university.

[When all of this happened] Shaikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz said some important words to Shaikh al-Albaani, consoling him, he said, “Wherever you are, you will fulfil the obligatory duties of calling to Allaah, there is no difference to you [whether you are here or there].” And that is because he knew of the strength of Shaikh al-Albaani’s faith in Allaah, the Most Great, his vast knowledge and his patience in the face of calamities.

And maybe this explains why Shaikh al-Albaani would so often repeat the supplication of Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, may Allaah be pleased with him, “O Allaah! Do not hold me to account for what they say, and make me better than what they think, and forgive me concerning those things they do not know about.”

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 115-117.

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 11


 

How was Al-Albaani chosen to teach at Medinah University?

Al-Huwaini: How were you chosen to teach at the Islamic University of Medinah? Because the norm is that one needs a doctorate to teach academic study [at university]?

Al-Albaani: This is the first time that I’ve been asked this question. What I recall now are two things. The first is that the university was new to university level teaching [only recently having been established], especially in Saudi, this is the first reason.

The second is the reputation of some of the books [that I authored] and the satisfaction of the people [i.e., scholars etc.,] with them, and [also], from what seems apparent to me, their appreciation of the books as they deserved to be appreciated–this is what caused them to send for me.

I didn’t ask and I wouldn’t ask–and I [have] Iived like this, and all praise is due to Allaah, not requesting any job, for since childhood I would earn my daily sustenance through the labour of my own hands and the sweat of my own forehead.

At this time a request came to me from Shaikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim who was then the Mufti of the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia, i.e.,the Mufti before Ibn Baaz], and he was the Principal of the university, asking me to agree to teach hadith sciences at Medinah University which would soon open its doors.

I took the counsel of some of my brothers there whose understanding and knowledge I trusted, so one of them said to me, “Try it for a year, if you enjoy teaching [there] you can carry on with them for as long as it’s written for you.” And the reality was that when I went there I found a truly wonderful climate, that was ready and willing to, firstly, accept the call and, secondly, the academic methodology which I was naturally predisposed to and continued upon.

How would Al-Albaani interact with his Students at
Medinah University?

My story at the university, in my opinion, was something that happened rarely with someone who was a teacher of a subject there–for I was with the students as though I was one of them, and there are [different] situations which may make this reality clearer for you.

For example, when my class would finish and it was break time, the [normal] habit of the lecturers was to go to the staff room and sit there for the length of the break, drinking tea or coffee and talking about different things.

As for me, I would turn away from all of that, and would leave the lesson [heading to] to the courtyard and I would sit there on the sand–and the students who I had been teaching only a few minutes earlier would gather [around me], and students from all [other] years [too], because this sitting was in the open.

I would give them some guidance and advice and answer some questions. This was how I spent all of the years I taught at the university.

And I recall very well that someone who in university language was called an assistant professor, passed by me [while I was sitting outside] one day and said, “As-Salaamu alaikum.” So I replied, “Wa alaikum salaam.”

He then said, “You know, O Shaikh, the real lesson–this is it.”

Because the students were free [and open] in this sitting, as for the official lesson [in class], even though it is true that I was very liberal with them, yet even then there have to be limits and restrictions. This was a way that was unique to Al-Albaani from amongst all of the other teachers at the university.

There were other good results too, for example, when Al-Albaani would enter the university a few minutes before the lesson, the students would gather round the car, until it would be lost among them and couldn’t be seen, every one of them would try to beat his brother in order to direct a question to me. And when I would leave [at the end of the day], they would again compete to sit in the car with me in order to seize the opportunity.

This was my habit when coming or going–I would never stop anyone from sitting in my car, so it was always full of students, coming and going.

This situation produced an amazing and great deal of love in the hearts of the students for Al-Albaani, add to that the fact that something came to them which they had not heard before: a teacher of tafseer, fiqh, usool relating hadith to them which was relevant to their lessons so the [other] teachers themselves started to hear a new language, “O teacher, who narrated this hadith? Is its chain of narration authentic?”

And I remember an event that occurred very well, the teacher of usool, i.e., usool al-fiqh, quoted the hadith of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, “O Muaadh! With what will you judge …” he brought this hadith to the students using it as a proof for qiyaas, this occurred in the lesson of our brother Abdur-Rahmaan Abdul-Khaaliq, he was in the third year, so he said to him, “O teacher, is this hadith authentic?” He replied, “Yes.” He said, “We heard Shaikh al-Albaani say that it is a munkar hadith.” I do not know what his answer was but he was not pleased with what this student had said.

After a few days this Shaikh, the teacher of usoolal-fiqh, came to my house and said to me, “It has reached me that you say that this hadith is munkar [i.e., not authentic]?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “Have you written anything about this hadith?” I said, “Yes, in ‘Silsilah al-Ahadith ad-Da’eefah,’ in the second volume,” and it had not been printed in those days. He said, “Can I have a look at it?” So I showed it to him, and [in it] I had mentioned all of its paths of narration and had clarified its baseless defects.

Then lo and behold in another lesson [of his] he reconfirmed [what he had first said] to the students that the hadith was authentic and that Shaikh al-Albaani himself had brought different paths of narration for it which strengthened it–whereas those paths of narration did nothing except add invalidity to invalidity.

So situations like this, and this very uncommon display at the university where the students would gather around me stirred up the wrath of the teachers so they wrote directly to the Mufti, and Allaah knows best, or to the King, and made it seem to them that I was setting up a faction or group and that it was feared that I might do something.

The third year ended and so I returned to Damascus to spend the summer vacation there. In those days Shaikh Ibn Baaz, may Allaah reward him with good, was the Assistant Principal. A week or two before I returned to Medinah he wrote to me, and I remember very well that one of my children, Abdul-Lateef, had to complete one of his courses so I sent him ahead of me so that he could take his exam. And he was then shocked by the letter from Shaikh Ibn Baaz which stated that he [i.e., Ibn Baaz] had received a letter from the Mufti that there was no need to renew the contract with Shaikh al-Albaani this year.

For this reason my connection with the university ended, and Shaikh Ibn Baaz, may Allaah reward with him good, wrote a good word to me, saying, “The likes of you, whichever situation he is in, will fulfil what is obligatory upon him.”

In summary, I was requested to teach there, it seems as though this was because they were not strictly applying the rules of universities and because they needed a person whose knowledge and creed they could trust at one and the same time. So for this [reason] and that, they appointed me to teach …

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 30-33.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 5


 

Some of the Contention Faced by the Shaikh

“The first of these was when a group of Shaikhs, among them one whom it was thought would have been a help to the Salafi da’wah, set up a petition claiming therein that I was spreading a Wahhaabi da’wah to cause trouble amongst the Muslims.  So they started collecting signatures for the petition from the people and then submitted it to the Mufti of Syria.  He, in turn, passed it on to the chief of police who summoned me in and questioned me about the affair, until in the end it came to nothing.

One day a friend of mine who I used to study with asked me about a certain hadith concerning the reward of fasting, so I explained to him that [this particular] hadith was weak.  This friend had heard the hadith from the Imaam giving the Jumu’ah sermon quoting it as a proof on the pulpit and he could not help but go back to this Shaikh who had given the sermon to mention what he had come to know about the weakness of the hadith and the reference where that could be checked.  So as a result, the next Jumu’ah sermon of this Imaam was an attack on the way of the Salaf and he started to accuse those who followed it as being Wahhaabis, characterising this way as misguidance, warning the people from approaching them and calling on them to protect their children from its callers.  The people listening to this [second] sermon were not all equal in accepting or rejecting what he said, and as a result there was a lot of disorder and confusion.

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 13-14.

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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