Al-Albaani and his father
Al-Huwaini: Did you secretly confide in your father?
Al-Albaani: No, [I confided] in al-Burhaani. [So] he said, “Write down the things that you have come across.” So I wrote them down and presented them to him, they came to about three or four pages. The time then, as far as I can remember, was the month of Ramadaan, so when I gave him the papers he said to me, “Inshaa Allaah, I’ll give you the answer after Eed.”
Then [when the time came] after Eed, he said to me, “All of this that you have written and gathered has no value.” Astonished, I replied, “Why?” He said, “Because these books which you quoted from are books which are not reliable in our view. The books which are reliable with us are Maraaqi al-Falaah and Haashiyah Ibn Aabideen only.”
I had quoted to him from Mubaarik al-Azhaar Sharh Mashaariq al-Anwaar of Ibn Malik and he was a Hanafi, and from Mirqaah al-Mafaatih Sharh Mishkaah al-Masaabih of Mulla Ali al-Qaari, and he [too] was a Hanafi, and other texts along with them, but he cast them aside as you would a date-stone, and said, “These have no value.” Even though I had gathered hadiths for him but he didn’t bother with them and paid them no mind, and said, “Our reference in the religion are only the books of fiqh and not the books of hadith,” and my father’s stance was the same and so that was the nucleus which led [me to write] my book Warning the One who Prostrates from Taking the Graves as Mosques. [This is the book we are going through on the blog]
And I do not want my actions to oppose what I say, so as long as it had become clear to me that prayer in mosques built upon graves was not correct, then for sure I would not go with my father to the Bani Umayyah mosque again, and this, naturally, irritated and angered him, but he kept it to himself.
The Issue of the Second Congregational Prayer in the Mosque
Another issue came up in which I opposed the people and it was concerning performing a second congregational prayer in the mosque. The mosque which my father lived next to was called Jaami at-Tawbah and Shaikh Burhaani was the Imaam there. Since my father lived next to it, whenever Shaikh Sa’eed [i.e., Burhaani] would be absent he would appoint my father to lead [the prayer] on his behalf. There were two prayer niches [mihraabs] and two Imaams [in this mosque], a Hanafi Imaam who was Burhaani, and a Shaafi’ee Imaam who would [often] be absent.
Al-Huwaini: Two congregational prayers at the same time?
Al-Albaani: No. I wanted to say to you that during the [time of the] Ottoman Empire, the Hanafi Imaam would lead the prayer before the Shaafi’ee Imaam whether it was in the biggest mosque, i.e., the Amawi Mosque, or in any other mosque, like the Tawbah mosque and other than it.
Then when Shaikh Taajud-Deen took leadership of the [religious affairs of the] Syrian Republic, and he was the son of Shaikh Badrud-Deen al-Husaini who was well-known for being a scholar of hadith, he–since he followed the Shaafi’ee school of thought–issued an order that the Shaafi’ee Imaam should pray before the Hanafi Imaam. And so this order was executed, as is the natural course of events, by the ruler as they say, he executed it in every mosque, included amongst them was Masjid at-Tawbah, and so the Shaafi’ee Imaam would pray before Burhaani, who was Hanafi.
So when I had gained some understanding and had come to know that the second congregational prayer has no basis in the Sunnah, I began to pray behind the Shaafi’ee Imaam, [who was] the first Imaam, and this opposition caused the most severe tension on the part of my father. Firstly, because it opposed his school of thought [madhhab] and secondly, because it opposed his actions, because he would delay his prayer so that he could pray with the Hanafi Imaam, Burhaani. But he was going his way, and I was going mine.
Then Burhaani travelled for Hajj or Umrah, I don’t recall exactly, and so appointed my father to pray in his place–but I would not pray behind him, because there was no difference in my eyes between Burhaani and my father since both of them would delay [the time of] the first congregational prayer [jamaa’ah]. So I would leave my father to pray the second prayer, and I would pray with the first Imaam.
Al-Albaani’s Father Giving Him the Choice to Stay or Leave
Then later the time came where [there was], as they say, calamity upon calamity. It so happened that my father had to be away for a day or two and so he requested that I [lead] the prayer on his behalf, i.e., the second congregational prayer, so I refused and said to him, “You know my opinion in the matter, and it is very difficult for me to change my opinion.” A number of issues came up which ignited his fury against me.
So one day while we were having dinner he said to me in a clear Arabic tongue, after he spoke about the situation that he and I were living in as regards my opposition to him, he said, “Either there is agreement or separation.” So I said to him, “Give me three days to think about the situation.” He replied, “You have that.”
So I came with the answer, i.e., that since you have given me the choice, then I choose to live far from you so that I do not trouble or upset you because of my opposition to your school of thought.
And so it was.
I left him and I did not own a single dinar or dirham [i.e., not a penny]. And I remember very well that he gave me twenty-five Syrian liras only when I left his house.
But during all this time I had established a nucleus of Salafi brothers. One of them had a store where he would sell grain, wheat, barley and beans and so on, and it was in the same place where I had rented my shop, so he borrowed me two hundred Syrian liras so that I could rent it.
My father used to have some old [watch repairing] equipment which he would not use and had no need of so he gave it to me. So I started to work independently and from the Favours of Allaah upon me was that I was very precise in my work and honest in it and so the number of customers increased, and, as they say in Syria, “And the Generous One said, ‘Take.’”
Al-Huwaini: So our Shaikh, you were about twenty-three years old when this happened?
Al-Albaani: Yes, I was over twenty, because I have a book with me which I refer to sometimes called, Ar-Rawd an-Nadeer fee Tarteeb wa Takhrij Mu’jam at-Tabaraani as-Saghir, my age when I finished it was about twenty-one or twenty-two.
So what is meant is that I became independent in my work and thinking there, and we would hold lessons in the night with some of the brothers. Later, when the scope of da’wah increased we rented out a place, and would give lessons in hadith there: about the understanding [fiqh] of hadith, hadith terminology, and so on.
Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 16-19.