His Migration to Jordan and the Secret Service
Al-Huwaini: In some of your books you mentioned in general terms your entrance into Amman, Jordan and then your return to Syria once again due to some powerful circumstances. We’d like to know about this situation.
Al-Albaani: I used to live there in a small, modest house, and was searching for [a piece of] land upon which to build a house, so I chose this piece and started to build. Our brothers were very eager for me to start giving them a lesson, as had been the case before I had settled here. I used to come [to Jordan from Syria] every month, or every other month or every third month–depending on my circumstances, and would give them lessons in the house of Shaikh Ahmad Atiyyah. I would also visit Zarqa and give some lessons there. This was my habit before I settled here.
When I [actually] moved there I became busy with building a house … we [finally] did finish building it and moved in, and all praise is due to Allaah. We used to hold the lesson on the roof of Shaikh Ahmad’s house here not the previous one in which I would give the lesson. The roof filled up with people even though it was large, and the lessons were on Riyaad as-Saaliheen [and would last] for about three quarters of an hour and then questions and answers.
The third lesson had hardly come when the secret service turned up behind me. I had prayed dhuhr in Noor Mosque along with my older brother whose name is Muhammad Naaji Abu Ahmad and that day my son, Abdul-Musowwir, was also with me. I was going up the stairs and my brother was behind me and then my son when someone said to my brother, “Are you so and so?” So I turned around and said, “I am so and so.” So he said, “We need you for a while.”
They took me to the secret service and asked me for my ID and asked me about my work and so on. Then someone else came in and it seemed as though he was senior in rank and said to me, “O Shaikh, your presence in this city here is not wanted.”
So I said to him, “Why? For I have been living here for one year now, and not only this, but in fact I bought a piece of land with the permission of the state, and not only this, but I built a home on it with the permission of the state, and not only this, but I got married to one of its women [too].”
So the senior one among them consulted with another and then left.
They then transferred me to another room and questioned me again. After which they took me downstairs with a soldier and put me in a military car and started to take me from place to place until they took me somewhere where there was a group of people, and judging by their faces most of them were base people, i.e., criminals, and they had their belongings with them. Close to them was an army vehicle so I realised that they were about to be transported, and in one of the centres which they had taken me to, one of the people there had said, “They now want to expel you to Syria.”
Then the sergeant came and said, “Come on them, O Youth, get on.” I was the last of them and refused to get on saying to the sergeant, “I do not want to go to Syria,” even though my exit from Syria was totally normal [i.e. the Shaikh had not fled Syria for doing something wrong etc.], and this is a point which many people are ignorant of, because a few months after I had left, the Syrian Revolution had taken place. After I had settled here [i.e., in Jordan] I didn’t think it a good idea to go back to Syria.
So the sergeant lied to me and said, “We will not take you to Syria, we’re taking you to Erbil instead.” Then they took us in the car to the Jordanian-Syrian border and handed me over to a Jordanian officer, who then permitted me to go to the Syrian border and [once] in Syria they questioned me and so I mentioned the story to them. They gave me a piece of paper which had a note [written] on it, saying, “You must report to the Syrian Secret Service after three days.”
When I went to my brother’s house there and stayed there for two nights I consulted with my brothers: should I go to the Syrian Secret Service or should I leave Syria? So all opinions were unanimous in that I should not go to the Secret Service. They said, “Because you do not know what they [might] do to you.” So based upon this I made my decision and travelled to Lebanon.
I remained there for six months approximately and then one of our brothers from the Emirates came and he had a pass to allow me entry into the Emirates and [so] I spent a few months there.
Then one of our brothers here like Abu Maalik [Muhammad Ibrahim Shaqrah] and others made an effort and got in touch with those in authority [in Jordan] until they were able to take the matter to the King [telling him] that the Shaikh is not a revolutionary and nor is he a political person–he is only a person of knowledge. And they presented two boxes full of [my] books to the Chief Minister and said to him, “This is the Shaikh.” And so those in authority allowed me to enter.
So this is how it was, this is the story you asked about.
Al-Huwaini asked the Shaikh about his reason for leaving Syria [to go to Jordan in the first place] and how it happened?
Al-Albaani: Leaving Syria was a natural matter, a plan for the future, i.e., I had made a plan for myself, saying, “I must withdraw myself from the people in whatever remains from my life, and dedicate what remains from it to complete my projects,” or some of my projects at least. Because as you know in Syria I used to travel widely: from Damascus to Homs, to Hama, to Aleppo, to Idlib, to Latakia. So I didn’t want to become busy with the people such that I would not be able to complete my knowledge-based projects.
So I said [to myself], “I will go to a country where I am not well-known.” But the reality turned out to be the total opposite, and this is as it is said in some of the Israaeeliyyat narrations [i.e., narrations from the People of the Book], “My servant wants [something], and I want something, and nothing will happen except that which I want,” and this is true without doubt.
So I came for this purpose so that I could live far away from being referred back to and [from being asked] questions and so on, and to devote myself to knowledge, so my departure [from Syria] was totally normal.
Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 23-25.