I’d be interested to know if there are any topics that you’d like to see Shaikh al-Albaani’s opinion on. If there’s a particular question you may have been wondering about or just a subject that you might want to see covered, please post it below and I’ll try to see if anything from the Shaikh is available on it.
I’ll leave this post open and slowly try to work through any suggestions, so that this could possibly be an ongoing, slow grind, with the obvious caveat that this all depends on relevant material on proposed topics/questions being available and time constraint permitting, bi ithnillah, wallaahu yuʿeen.
Al-Albaani: As has been reported in the paths of the ḥadīth about it, Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ is like the other prayers, it differs only in that in each rakʿah there are seventy-five tasbīḥs to be said, so the total would be three hundred.
So in the first rakʿah, before the bowing [rukūʿ], he says the tasbīḥ fifteen times, [so he says]:
And then he bows, when he has finished [saying what he says in] the regular bowing he [then] says this tasbīḥ ten times [while in rukūʿ], so that makes it twenty-five.
Then he raises his head from the rukūʿ [i.e., stands up] and says: Samiʿallāhu liman-ḥamidah, Rabbanā walakal-ḥamd, and then says it ten times.
And likewise with every pillar, ten tasbīḥs—when he prostrates, after he has said the [normal] tasbīḥs for the sajdah he then says ten of the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ ones … when he rests between the two sajdahs, ten tasbīḥs, when he raises his head from the second sajdah [ten tasbīḥs], when he sits to rest after the second sajdah [before standing up for the next rakʿah], ten tasbīḥs, in total these come to seventy-five.
So he does that in every rakʿah which makes the total three hundred tasbīḥs.
This is how it is performed and he doesn’t add anything else to the sunnah prayers except these tasbīḥs and in the order I just mentioned now.
[So you stand to pray:
—after having read Fātiḥah and some of the Qurʾān you say the tasbīḥ fifteen times. —then when in rukūʿ after having said the normal praise said in it, you say this tasbīḥ ten times. —then after rising from rukūʿ ten times. —in sajdah, after having said the normal praise said in it, ten times. —between the two sajdahs ten times. —in the second sajdah ten times. —after the second sajdah while sitting before getting up for the next rakʿah, ten times.
And then you stand up for the next rakʿah. That makes seventy-five, repeated over four rakʿahs, three-hundred tasbīḥs. Also see here.]
Questioner: In relation to Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ … we know that the Prophet ﷺ taught [his uncle] ʿAbbās this prayer but that he ﷺ didn’t pray it [himself], and it has been said that it has not been reported that the Companions prayed it in congregation … how do we pray it in congregation and call the people to that?
Al-Albaani: I didn’t know that you pray it in jamāʿah—you pray it in jamāʿah?
Questioner: Yes, we have prayed it in congregation on more than one occasion Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: That’s on you … Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ is legislated to be prayed like the Sunnahs, on its own.
Questioner: Everyone [praying it] individually?
Al-Albaani: … or at home.
Questioner: You mean you didn’t pray it with us?
Questioner: A personal question, have you ever prayed it?
Questioner: You did. So praying it in congregation is an innovation?
Questioner:Wallaahi, we reported from you that you prayed it with us, O Shaikh.
Questioner: There is another issue, some of the youth were saying that Shaikh al-Albaani sometimes will declare ḥadīths to be authentic but not act on them [himself], like the ḥadīth about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ … that even though al-Albaani said the ḥadīth was authentic he didn’t do it, [or that] maybe he didn’t do it, and that is only because it is possible that he feels something about it. What do you think about that?
Al-Albaani: How do they know that he doesn’t act on it?
Questioner: Their brains told them.
Al-Albaani: No. If you had said their desires and not their brains you would have been correct—because the one who has a brain does not guess blindly.
The ḥadīth says that the Prophet ﷺ said to his uncle ʿAbbās about praying it even if only once in his lifetime, so how do they know that I haven’t prayed it in my lifetime when I am now sixty-seven years old? This is from the misguidance of the youth of today and their guessing at the unknown.
Questioner: [Is the ḥadīth] about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ authentic or not?
Al-Albaani: The scholars have differed greatly over the ḥadīth about it, it has been said that it is authentic and that it is fabricated, and in between these two [opinions] are different levels. What I hold to be the stronger opinion, following on from some of the Ḥuffāẓ well-known for their precision in their checking of the Prophet’s ḥadīths ﷺ, like al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Nāṣir ad-Dimashqī who was a contemporary of al-Ḥāfiẓ aḏ-Ḏhahabī ad-Dimashqī, [so al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Nāṣir ad-Dimashqī] has a book in which he gathered the different paths of the ḥadīths about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ. And it will become clear to whoever studies it and studies the paths of this prayer or the paths of the ḥadīth of Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ that the ḥadīth is authentic based upon all of its chains of narration. As for the individual chains of narration then there isn’t a ḥadīth among them about which it can be said that it is authentic [ṣaḥīḥ], indeed [there isn’t a ḥadīth among them about which it can be said that it is] ḥasan li-ḏhātihī.
The authenticity came about through all of the chains of narration taken into account together. And this is the reason why the scholars have differed so greatly over it.
So you have Ibn al-Jawzī and with him Ibn Taymiyyah and others who held that this ḥadīth was fabricated, not meaning by that that the chain of narration itself was fabricated, because some of its isnāds are in Sunan Abū Dāwūd and other collections and they don’t include anyone who has been accused as such, nor do they have anyone who was a [confirmed] fabricating liar, in fact the isnād does not even have anyone who was [even simply] accused of lying or fabricating, what they do have are those whose memorisation has been criticised.
But Ibn al-Jawzī and Ibn Taymiyyah looked at the wording of the ḥadīth and found that it was strange [gharīb] in its wording and also strange in the excellence given to this prayer even if only performed once a year, so they said that a ṣalāh like this has no resemblance to the well-known prayers mentioned in the authentic ḥadīths, and so for this reason they inclined towards it being fabricated.
And those who didn’t go as far as to say that it was fabricated [yet who still didn’t agree with it] looked at the apparent paths of narration and the isnāds—that is if they had collected and come across all of them, [again that is] if they had, because I am doubtful that they did that—because whoever did [actually] do that did not [then go on to] say that it was fabricated or weak. [These others] took a look at a few of its individual chains of narration and then said that the ḥadīth was weak.
As for those who reported it and said that it was authentic, they took into consideration all of its paths of narration and saw that the ḥadīth principle which the ḥadīth scholars laid down in the Science of Ḥadīth—i.e., that a weak ḥadīth is strengthened if it is reported through many paths of narration—they [went and] looked at this numerousness and found a not insignificant amount of isnāds that were [of a level] sound enough to strengthen the ḥadīth based on all such paths. So they held that the ḥadīth was strong, with some saying it was ḥasan and others that it was ṣaḥīḥ.
So therefore the difference between those [scholars] who call the ḥadīth ḥasan and those who say it is ṣaḥīḥ is not a fundamental difference since both of them are of the opinion that the ḥadīth is established, and following on from that that acting on it is legislated.
And this ruling is supported by the fact that ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak may Allaah be pleased with him used to pray it. ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak was one of the Imāms of the Muslims and one of the Shaikhs of the Imām of the Sunnah Imām Aḥmad, may Allaah have mercy on him. So if he didn’t have the opinion that the ḥadīth was established he wouldn’t have worshipped Allaah with this prayer which has that peculiarity in its form and manner. A peculiarity which led Ibn al-Jawzī and Ibn Taymiyyah to say that it was fabricated, but their ruling [that it was fabricated], as we mentioned earlier, was not about the isnāds of this ḥadīth, [they were not saying] that they all consist of fabricating liars, no.
So all of what I have mentioned reassures me in concluding that the ḥadīth is established from the Prophet ﷺ and that based upon that a Muslim should do it once every day, and if he can’t then every week, and if he can’t then once a month, and if he can’t then once a year, and if he can’t then at the very least, once in his lifetime.
This is my opinion about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ.
And it crossed my mind now that I should add something further to clarify what has preceded, so I say: it is true that there is no equivalent to the peculiarity in the manner in which this prayer is performed, but after the ḥadīth has been found to be established based upon what I mentioned earlier, the ḥadīth should not be called defective based upon this peculiarity. Because we know that there is a prayer, authentically established by agreement of the scholars of ḥadīth even though it also differs from the regular prayers: I am referring to the eclipse prayer.
So there was a solar eclipse in the time of the Prophet ﷺ and it so happened to occur on the day when Ibrāhīm, the Prophet’s son ﷺ, passed away. One of the customs of the Age of Ignorance [Jāhiliyyah] was that they would say that an eclipse would occur because a great person had died. So when the solar eclipsed coincided with the death of Ibrāhīm ibn an-Nabiyy ﷺ they said that the eclipse was because he had passed away.
So the Prophet ﷺ gave a sermon among them and said that, ‘O People! Verily the sun and the moon are two of Allaah’s Signs. They do not eclipse due to the death of anyone or his birth, so when you see it then pray and give charity and supplicate,’ then he ﷺ prayed two rakʿahs bowing twice in each rakʿah—and here is the point: in each rakʿah he ﷺ bowed two times.
So this manner [of prayer] opposed all of the regular, known prayers, whether obligatory or optional, because all of them are distinct in having only one bowing and two prostrations … in one rakʿah there is one bowing and two prostrations. As for this [eclipse] prayer it differed from all of the other prayers, because he ﷺ prayed two rakʿahs and in each one there were two rukūs and two sajdahs—so is it thereafter correct to say that this ḥadīth is irregular [shāḏ] or munkar because it goes against the general form of all the [other] prayers?
We say no, as long as the ḥadīth about it is ṣaḥīḥ then it is an act of worship that Allaah ordained for His Slaves during an eclipse, so we should pray as he ﷺ used to pray.
So based upon [all of] this I say: this shows even if by way of comparison that even if Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ differed from the other known, regular prayers, the eclipse prayer also differed in some aspects from those same prayers but that was not seen as a defect in it and it remains an ordained act of worship until the Day of Judgement.
Questioner: How authentically established is Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ?
Al-Albaani: The scholars have differed greatly over the ḥadīths about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ, where you have some saying that it is fabricated and others saying it is authentic, and the reason for such severe differing goes back to two issues:
The first is that this prayer has in fact not been reported with an authentic chain of narration with which it can established. The second is that it differs from all of the legislated prayers in its form, so it is irregular [shāḏ] in this aspect—those who said it was fabricated did so based upon these two realities: that it has no authentic chain through which it can be established and that the wording itself goes against [the form of] all of the established prayers in the the Sunnah.
But those who said it is authentic or at the very least ḥasan said that: [yes], it is true that this ṣalāh, or that this ḥadīth about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ, does not have an independent authentic chain of narration—but it does have many paths of narration, and one of the principles of the scholars of ḥadīth is that a weak [ḍāʿīf] ḥadīth is strengthened when it is reported through many paths of narration, and this ḥadīth does have many such paths, this is from one angle.
And from another angle it has been established that one of the Salaf, i.e., ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak who was one of the major Shaikhs of Imām Aḥmad, used to hold that it should be prayed, and so he would pray it, and it is unlikely for an Imām such as him to act on a ḥadīth which he didn’t regard as being established.
So when we look at all this, that the ḥadīth about the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ has been reported through chains which strengthen one another, in addition to the fact that ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak used to pray it, one feels at ease about the ḥadīth being authentic and as a result the correctness of it being prayed is established.
And because of that the doubt which I mentioned earlier when quoting those who say it is not authentic is answered by saying that it is not a condition that a prayer has to be similar to others—because we know that there is a [another] prayer [which I will now mention] authentically established by agreement of the scholars which differs from all of the prayers at a time where the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ is in agreement with them all in this aspect [which I will now clarify]: when I say a prayer which differs from all of the [other] prayers I am referring to the eclipse prayer. We all know that the eclipse prayer has two rukūʿs in each rakʿah and two sajdahs.
So [simply] by virtue of the fact that bowing is legislated twice in one rakʿah in the eclipse prayer it has opposed all of the well-known prayers in this regard, because there is no other prayer where bowing is legislated twice in one rakʿah, so is this … is the presence of such a point of difference in relation to the five prayers and others a cause for its authenticity to be disputed?
The answer is no.
Because Allaah can ordain whatever He wants for His servants in terms of prayers and how they are to be performed.
So the lesson to be taken is not that a form of worship has to have others that are like it but rather that it is established through [those] paths of narration through which all acts of worship are established.
So when we put aside this aspect of the critique, i.e., the criticism of the actual wording of the [ḥadīth] about Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ, and we turn back to the chains of narration [isnād] and we understand that they strengthen each other, in addition to the fact that one of the Salaf acted on it, [when we consider all of this] no valid argument criticising the manner in which this prayer is performed holds weight.
And thus the statements of those who say that the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ is established rise up, which in turn establishes [the Sunnah of] praying it at the very least once in your lifetime as mentioned in the ḥadīth and at the most once every day.
This is my answer to this question. Fatāwā Rābigh, 5.
Questioner: Is the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ a mustaḥab prayer? And is it established that the Prophet ﷺ used to pray it all the time? Ibn al-Mubārak said it is encouraged to pray it and that a person should become used to praying it all the time and not neglect it, if that is the case then what is the proof for it?
Al-Albaani: It has not been reported that the Prophet ﷺ prayed it himself but many ḥadīths have been reported from him ﷺ encouraging one to do so, like the ḥadīth of Ibn ʿAbbās that the Prophet ﷺ said to his uncle ʿAbbās, “O ʿAbbās! Shall I not give you a gift? Shall I not give you something? Pray four rakʿahs …” then he ﷺ mentioned this well-known prayer, in every rakʿah there being seventy-five tasbīhs, saying, “If you can observe it once daily, do so; if not, then once weekly; if not, then once a month; if not, then once a year; if not, then once in your lifetime,” then he ﷺ mentioned something else which I don’t recall right now.
There is a long, ongoing dispute about this ḥadīth among the scholars of ḥadīth and what I hold to be the stronger opinion is that the ḥadīth is established through all of its paths of narration, and it is reported in Mishkāh al-Maṣābīh and I have checked it there and also in my book, ‘Ṣaḥīḥ al-Kalimaṭ-Ṭayyib,’ sorry I meant, ‘Ṣaḥīḥ at-Targhīb wat-Tarhīb.’
So in summary the ḥadīth is established based upon all of its paths of narration.
Questioner: We were going over and studying the ḥadīth about the Ṣalātut-Tasbīḥ and then some of the students of knowledge, it was as though they were saying that there is something wrong with this ḥadīth, when we were going over its chain of narration [isnād] they were saying there is something wrong with the actual text of the ḥadīth [matn], saying that the wording has been criticised because this prayer has not come in a recognised or correct form, so my question is: has anyone [actually] criticised the wording?
Al-Albaani: … some of them have spoken about it … they said that this prayer differs in form from the well-known, established prayer, this is what they said.
Questioner: From those well-known in this field?
Al-Albaani: Our Imām, Ibn Taymiyyah said it.
Al-Albaani: And Ibn al-Jawzī before him.
Questioner: Yes, in [his book] al-Mowḍūʿāt.
Al-Albaani: Yes, but their statements are rebutted because this defect [that they mention] is an intellectual, logical one which has no value when it comes to looking at the criticism of the wordings of ḥadīths. Maybe you recall the form of the Eclipse prayer?
Al-Albaani: That it is two rakʿahs, and that in each rakʿah you bow twice, this prayer stands out against the regular prayers—so how does that harm it after it has been established in a ḥadīth from the Prophet ﷺ, even though the Ḥanafīs oppose the way it is performed like this? This criticism doesn’t harm it in the slightest.
The critique of every person working on ḥadīth and who takes up critically commenting on ḥadīth must be based on the chain of narration [isnād] not the actually wording [matn] itself.
But if the ḥadīth is not authentically established in its chain of narration, it is then that the scholar, if he has something logical to say, turns to critiquing the wording too. And in such a case the ḥadīth would be weak [ḍaʿīf] in both its chain of narration and the textual wording itself.
And beware of being fooled, you or anyone else, with what is mentioned in Muqaddimah Ibn aṣ-Ṣalāḥ and other books of ḥadīth terminology, which say that a ḥadīth might have an authentic chain of narration but have wording which is not.
Beware [and I’ll say it again], beware of that—because in fact this unrestricted statement is not correct, and it must be patched up by interpreting it so that it becomes sound. And it is made sound by saying that it refers to someone who says that a [certain] chain of narration is authentic but who never took into account some of the conditions [required] of an authentic isnād, like the fact that it should not be irregular [shāḏ] or have any hidden defects [i.e., the scholar missed the fact that the isnād had some defects in it, in such a case Ibn aṣ-Ṣalāh’s statement that a ḥadīth might have an authentic chain of narration but have wording which is not would be sound], [and if a scholar did do that concerning a ḥadīth] then he is excused because maybe the hidden defect [ʿillah] was not clear to him. Hidden defects in ḥadīths are of two types: apparent and unclear, this second type is the one which evades many scholars let alone those less than them, so when one of them makes the statement that the isnād of a ḥadīth might be authentic [but its textual wording is not] it is explained in this way.
As for there being an authentic chain of narration which is free of any hidden defect [ʿillah] but then [saying] the text in the ḥadīth itself is weak and contradicts something more authentic [munkar]: such a thing does not exist in the dunyā.
When you understand this reality, then the ḥadīth criticiser should, as I just said, turn to critiquing the ḥadīth’sisnād, such that if the isnād is found to be sound then so is the wording itself. Because if not then we will have opened the door for those people who claim that Islām is only [what is in] the Qurʾān and that is it, [just] because they came across a lot of weak ḥadīths.
Especially when they open the door to critiquing the wording of ḥadīths which some of those who blindly-imitate the orientalists call, ‘Inner/internal-critique,’ they call the critiquing of the actual wording of the ḥadīths, ‘Inner/internal-critique.’
So when they went on and extended this criticism [to include more and more texts of ḥadīths] only a tiny amount of ḥadīths were safe from it, such that they even turned away from those too and just stuck with the Qurʾān—and thus left Islām in the name of the Qurʾān.
In summary, the ḥadīth about the Prayer of Tasbīḥ does not fall below the level of being ḥasan, and in my opinion, when all of its paths of narration are taken into account, it is authentic [ṣaḥīḥ].
And it is enough for the student of knowledge to know that one of the Imāms of the Salaf, ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak who was the Shaikh of the Imām of the Sunnah, i.e., Imām Aḥmad, used to pray this prayer which these people who criticise its wording want to call a shāḏ or munkar ḥadīth. [A shāḏḥadīth is one which is reported by a reliable narrator in contradiction to someone more reliable. A munkarḥadīth is one which is reported by a weak narrator which goes against another authentic ḥadīth.]
A ḥadīth like this which has been reported through many paths of narration, some of which are only slightly weak and [fall into that category of ḥadīth] which can be used to give strength to chains of narration in addition to the fact that that Imām acted on it—[after all of this] don’t be deceived by what is reported in some statements of some of the Imāms in Islām that its chain of narration is weak or munkar.
Questioner: Is it true that the ḥadīth about the Prayer of Tasbīḥ is weak?
Al-Albaani: In reality the scholars of ḥadīth have differed greatly over it, with some of them saying it is fabricated [mowḍūʿ] and others that it is weak [ḍaʿīf], or ḥasan and yet others that it is authentic [ṣaḥīḥ].
I don’t want to prolong the discussion by discussing what the difference between ḥasan and ṣaḥīḥ is and that each of them can be further broken down into being ḥasan li-dhātihī and ḥasan li-ghairihī or ṣaḥīḥ li-dhātihī and ṣaḥīḥ li-ghairihī—what is important is for me to say that whoever said it is fabricated has gone too far and has digressed greatly from what is correct, and that whoever said it is weak is close to them too.
The correct stance is that the ḥadīth falls into place somewhere between the people who say it is ḥasan and those who say that it is authentic, this is what I hold to be the stronger opinion.
And its authenticity comes about in two ways:
The first is that the ḥadīth about the Prayer of Tasbīḥ has been reported through a number of paths in Sunan Abī Dāwūd and other books of the Sunnah, [the kind of paths] which the people of knowledge who are acquainted with ḥadīth say strengthen each other, because no one who is a liar or who has been accused of lying is in them but only those whose memorisation has been criticised, so the mistakes of those narrators whose memorisation has been criticised is not a concern with the presence of another narration which supports them, so what then is the case when more than [just] one supporting narration exists for the Prayer of Tasbīḥ?
The second is that one of the major Imāms of the Salaf who reported this ḥadīth acted upon it, i.e., ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mubārak who was one of the Shaikhs of the Imām of the Sunnah, Aḥmad ibn Hanbal, if he didn’t hold it to be authentic he wouldn’t have acted upon it.
So the correct opinion is what the scholars said about this ḥadīth—that it is authentic and that a Muslim should do it even if only once in their lifetime: i.e., pray four rakʿahs, each one having seventy-five tasbīḥs, each standing part fifteen, and the rest of the pillars tens, which would make the total three-hundred tasbīḥs—for it will be [a cause of] forgiveness for him as the ḥadīth states. Al-Hudā wan-Nūr, 75.
“The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbour goes hungry.’
Al-Albaani said, ‘The ḥadīth contains clear proof showing that it is ḥarām for a rich neighbour to leave his neighbours hungry, he must give them something they can repel their hunger with and similarly what they can cover themselves with if they were naked and likewise with other such necessities.’” Jāmiʿ Turāth al-ʿAllāmah al-Albaani fil-Fiqh, vol. 10, p. 569.
ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: [These] two hours [we spent with you] feel like one! Al-Albaani: Okay we can take a little break. ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: Forgive us, we’re a burden on you, O Shaikh, but our opportunity to sit with you is limited … Al-Albaani: [No] sorry [that is not the case] someone like you is not an inconvenience to me in the slightest … ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: … Jazākallāhu khair … Al-Albaani: … [you] as someone who is a strong student of knowledge inshā Allāh … ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: I ask Allāh to make me one … Al-Albaani: … and who wants to gain understanding of his religion … ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: may Allāh grant me success in that … Al-Albaani: … that is my good fortune … ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: No it is ours, O Shaikh. Al-Albaani: May Allāh bless you. ʾAbdur-Razzāq al-Badr: May Allāh honour you.
A teacher from Medinah University wrote a letter to Shaikh Ali and in it he penned some poetry praising Shaikh Al-Albaani and called him the Bukhārī of our time. Shaikh Ali then read the letter with all the poetry out to al-Albaani and when he finished Al-Albaani apologises and amongst other things says, “Allāhu-Akbar.
بِئْسَ الْعَصْرُ إِذَا كُنْتُ أَنَاْ بُخَاْرِيَّهُ How wretched a time it is if I am its Bukhārī. Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illa billāh.”
The English is forever lacking as compared to the Arabic and the translation doesn’t do it justice and falls short as always, so if anyone wants to hear the clip, which is called ‘Imaam al-Albaani Crying when Praised,’ here it is linked to where the reading of the letter and its poetry has only a few seconds left and al-Albaani goes silent and then reacts.
And for more on Al-Albaani’s humility see here, raḥimahullah.
When the Shaikh of the Shaikhs of Islaam, Ibn Taymiyyah, passed away, “The Muʾaḍhin of the Fortress [in which the prison was] cried out from atop the minaret of its mosque [about it], and the guards spoke about it, and the people gathered, the markets that would normally open early remained shut, people gathered, crying and speaking well of him. And his brother, Zainud-Deen ʿAbdur-Raḥmān, told them that in prison they had both finished reading the Quran eighty times, and when reading for the eighty-first time they had stopped at the Most High’s Saying: ‘Indeed, the righteous will be amid Gardens and rivers, at the Seat of Honour in the presence of the Most Powerful Sovereign.’” [Al-Qamar: 54:54-55] Al-Maqṣad al-Arshad, 1/138.
This is that prison:
And then centuries later, the Mujaddid, al-Albaani, was imprisoned in that very same place, raḥimahumallāh.
“The Imaam said, ‘When there is a large gathering, a blessed one, but the people are dispersed and sitting at a distance from the so-called Shaikh [الشيخ المزعوم]—who might [really] be a Shaikh or who might be a fake—…’
Ed. note: ‘Al-Albaani used to frequently refer to himself with this phrase, ‘The so-called Shaikh,’ so think about it, no further explanation needed!’”
Mowsūʿatul-ʿAllāmah, al-Imām, Mujaddidul-ʿAsr Muḥammad Nāṣirud-Dīn al-Albānī, vol. 4, p. 63.
ʾAbdullah ibn ʾAmr said, “A man passed away in Madinah and he was someone who was [actually] born there. The Prophet ﷺ performed the funeral prayer over him and then said, ‘Would that he had died somewhere else apart from his birthplace.’ So a man said, ‘Why, O Messenger of Allaah?’ He replied, ‘When a person dies somewhere which isn’t his birthplace a space is measured for him in Paradise [equal to the distance] from his birthplace to the place where he died.’”
Shaikh Abū Islām Ṣāliḥ Ṭāhā, may Allāh have mercy on him said, “One day I prayed Fajr in my mosque and then went to Shaikh al-Albaani’s house, may Allāh have mercy on him, where I found him in his library as usual. After he finished answering questions I had put to him, I asked, ‘Shaikh, I want you to give me some advice specifically for me.’
So he said, ‘I advise you with the same thing I have advised myself with—I have taken three things upon myself:
That I act upon what I know as much as I am able to. That I don’t look at what other people have. And that I don’t say something I will have to make an excuse for tomorrow.’”
Shaikh Abdul-Latif bin Ali as-Sultaani said, “In the Spring of 1977 I met a distinguished scholar who was serving Islam and freeing the Sunnah from things falsely attributed to it, uncovering the authentic hadith from the weak and false.
I asked him, ‘Noble Shaikh, do you give any lectures where you direct and advise and counsel the people?’ So he responded saying that the Ministry of Religious Affairs in their city had prevented him from teaching in the mosques unless he produced a permit from the [main] Ministry of Religious Affairs allowing him to do so. He said so when I applied for said permit the Ministry refused it.
I said to him that this is something common in Arab countries in general and that I didn’t know if it was the same in non-Arab countries. So I asked him, what then will you do?
He said, ‘I’ve gone back to writing and publishing and printing books and in this is service to this pure religion and I hope that Allaah grants me success in that and accepts it.’
That Shaikh was Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, may Allaah protect him.” Sihaamul-Islaam, p. 144.
Shaikh Al-Albaani was asked about wearing sunglasses, so he said, “Actions are judged by their intentions. They are permissible if someone wears them to protect himself from the sun. But if by wearing them he wants to hunt pretty girls in order to satisfy his animalistic impulses, then it is haram!” Al-Hudā wan-Nūr, no. 1256.
Al-Albaani: The sunnah in the takbīr [of ʿEīd] differs from the prevailing sunnah in matters of adhkār, the general sunnah in matters of adhkār is for the dhikr to be done quietly and not out loud, but there are times where this sunnah is not the case and where saying it out loud is what is legislated: the takbīrs of ʿEīd are of this type … the takbirs of ʿEīd al-Aḍḥā are said out loud and not quietly.
Al-Albaani: Who did you say is with you? I can hear him, tafaddal, … [doing dhikr] Lā ilāha illallāh, Lā ilāha illallāh …
Questioner: I was talking about how the problem in what a person is told is actually from the people telling him about it [a phrase taken from a line of poetry showing how people can relay things contrary to reality], so we’d heard about many scholars, many students of knowledge, but when we met them, and sat with them, they turned out to be less than what we’d heard—except for you, O Shaikh.
Al-Albaani: [trying to deny what he’s saying] ʿAfwan …
Questioner: When we met you, and Allaah is a witness to what I am saying …
Al-Albaani:Allaahu Akbar …
Questioner: … you turned out to be way above what we expected, and …
Al-Albaani: O Allaah forgive what they don’t know about me!
Questioner: … and that is Allaah’s Grace on you.
Al-Albaani: I swear an oath that you are mistaken!
Questioner:Allāhul-Mustaʿān. You taught us to say, O Shaikh, ‘O Allaah make me …
Questioner: … better than what they think of me, and forgive what they don’t know about me.’
Al-Albaani: … and forgive what they don’t know about me. That is what I always say. Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāh. You know some of the narrations from some of the Salaf, maybe you know them better than me, but maybe I can relate the meaning to you—if you knew what I was really like you wouldn’t go along with me, Allāhul-Mustaʿān, Allāhul-Mustaʿān.
Before he passed away, Shaikh al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, wrote in his will that he wanted to bequeath his entire library to the Islamic University of Madīnah, here is a video showing his section at the library there. At the entrance they show his handwritten will. The narrator, who is in charge of the library, says the university has a team which indexed it all, made copies of the manuscripts and organised them, they also copied all of his books which have his annotations, notes and explanations written on them to make available for viewing.
A link to his will here, at the bottom is a link to a translation.
Al-Albaani: … so as you saw with me the reality is that the entire ḥadīth [we were talking about] is knowledge, from the start to the end, it is all fiqh, and this is what is meant by his ﷺ well-known saying, “Whoever Allaah wishes to grant good, He gives him understanding of the religion.” Understanding in the religion is understanding Allaah’s Book and His Messenger’s Sunnahﷺ. So he ﷺ said to Muʿāwiyah, “Bring her,” so when she came he ﷺ asked her, “Where is Allaah?”
Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ is the one who established this Sunnah for us to ask, “Where is Allaah?” We did not innovate this question of our own accord, we are following Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ when we ask someone, “Where is Allaah?”
“So the slave-girl replied, ‘Above the Heavens.’”
“Where is Allaah?” the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ is the questioner.
“Where is Allaah?” She replied, “Above the Heavens.” He ﷺ said to her, “Who am I?” She said, “You are Allaah’s Messenger.” So then he ﷺ said to her owner, “Free her for she is a believer,” “Free her for she is a believer.”
There ends the ḥadīth of Muʿāwiyah ibn al-Ḥakam as-Sulamī which the Imāms, the Imāms of ḥadīth reported: Imām Muslim in his Ṣaḥīḥ, Imām Mālik in his Muwaṭṭaʾ, Imām Aḥmad in his Musnad, Imām Abū Dāwūd, his student, in his Sunan—count whichever books of the Sunnah you want, all of them reported this story, this authentic ḥadīth, and Imām ash-Shāfiʿī may Allaah be pleased with him used it as proof as did others and all the Ummah accepted it, some rulings were derived from it which we alluded to earlier when commenting on this authentic ḥadīth …
Al-Albaani: I wanted to remind you of a ḥadīth in connection to what you said but then my mind went to another one connected to what my friend here said …
He ﷺ said, “… if you did not sin, Allaah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek forgiveness from Allaah and He would forgive them,” what does this ḥadīth mean?
Its meaning is that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said in the Noble Quraan that He created mankind in the best form, He didn’t make man like an infallible angel, “… who disobey Him not and do whatever Allaah has commanded them,” He made him a human being who has intellect, a soul, desires and volition, so he lives with these characteristics which Allaah gave him so that he can obey Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, not in an infallible manner, because there is no infallibility according to the hadith—yaʿnī, our Lord doesn’t intend for us to be infallible, and there is no-one who can repel His Decree and Will—but He wants them to repent when they sin, “… if you did not sin, Allaah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek forgiveness from Allaah and He would forgive them.”
And naturally this hadith is not an encouragement to commit sins inasmuch as it is an encouragement to seek forgiveness when one does.
Questioner: Does this include all sins?
Al-Albaani: What’s that?
Questioner: Does this include all sins or just minor lapses?
Al-Albaani: Whatever sin it is, yes.
Questioner: Even the major sins, yaʿni?
Al-Albaani: Whatever sin it is, whatever sin it is. I’ve forgotten the hadith that had occurred to me about what you said, what did you say?
Questioner: Not praying and then committing … [unclear] … better that he prays …
Al-Albaani: Ah, the hadith that I was thinking about was when a man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I went in a garden,” yaʿnī an enclosed garden, “and found a woman there and did what a man would do with his wife except intercourse,” so he ﷺ said:
“Did you pray ṣalāh with us?”
He replied, “Yes.”
So he said, “Verily good deeds wipe out the bad.”
For this reason when you say to a man [trying to encourage him] that, “You’re drinking so pray ṣalāh along with it Yaa Akhi, good deeds wipe out the bad,” this is a Legislated method of giving daʿwah, and is not an innovated one as you indicated that some say [earlier].
In relation to this I’ll mention that hadith of the young man who came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, give me permission to fornicate.” So he ﷺ said, “Would you like that for your mother?” The man said, “No …” He said, “Neither would people like it for their mothers. Would you like that for your sister?” The man said, “No,” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Neither would people like it for their sisters.” Then he ﷺ placed his hand on his chest and said, “O Allaah guard his chastity and purify his heart.”
Questioner: Now, should a person supplicate to the Lord of the Worlds to totally protect him from mistakes and slip-ups, yaʿnī, it’s as though it’s not recommended?
Al-Albaani: He, yaʿnī, the hadith in Bukhaari, “And the one who is truly protected is the one who is protected by Allah,” so he does ask [Allaah].
Questioner: This is recommended?
Al-Albaani: Yes … …
Questioner: May Allah reward you with good, by Allaah there’s no doubt that what caused this spiritual state in you was the Mercy of the Lord of the Worlds in that how can this person who does such a huge thing …
Questioner: [and then] one ṣalāh …
Questioner: … and that thing is gone, this is from the Lord of the World’s Mercy on His Slaves, for if not people would despair …
Questioner: Esteemed Shaikh, I have a question. There is a fatwā of Dr. [Yūsuf] al-Qarḍāwī about the ḥadīth concerning the splitting of the Ummah [wherein he states] that the last part of the ḥadīth, i.e., “‘… all of them are in the Fire except one …’ is fabricated,” and is not part of the original ḥadīth?
Al-Albaani: Not everyone who speaks about a particular topic is listened to.
Have you ever known Shaikh al-Qarḍāwī to have written a small piece on the Science of Ḥadīth, let alone a book, let alone books, let alone volumes?
This is the calamity of this day and age.
People like al-Qarḍāwī and the Egyptian, al-Ghazālī, they castigate some of the upcoming youth who are on the methodology of the Book and the Sunnah with the understanding of the Salaf as-Sāliḥ—[whereby] if one of them gives a fatwā and they [i.e., the youth] ask them what the proof is they savage them, [saying], ‘Who are you to ask what the proof is? You have to ask the scholars of fiqh and those who have knowledge and whose specialty this is!’—and then they go and fall into the same thing they were denouncing the youth for, and they are Shaikhs, because they [themselves] never took the opinions of the experts in the field of ḥadīth.
Al-Albaani: Qarḍāwī himself, I know him personally and we were together for a few days in Qatar, we met at a gathering of the Higher Council of the Islamic University many times and he trusts my knowledge and knows my firm grasp of it, yet now in order to justify some of the bad circumstances in the Islamic world you see him authenticating what is weak and declaring weak the part in this ḥadīth [that you asked about] which is [actually] authentic.
That is why our Muslim brothers, [Muslims] whether they are men or women, should know, as is said in the old Arabic proverb, “How to eat the shoulder …” [a literal translation, it is used to refer to someone astute, insightful, who knows how to handle things].
Yaʿnī, as you know, today you will have a field of science that has categories of specialisation, for example, a person who has pain in his ear won’t go to a doctor who specialises in internal medicine, a gastroenterologist and so on, he will go to an ENT specialist.
This specialisation is very important and is one of the meanings of the Most High’s Statement, ‘And ask the people of knowledge if you do not know,’ so al-Qarḍāwī and al-Ghazālī like him and [yet] others are not people of knowledge in the science of ḥadīth, in declaring them to be authentic or weak, if they do have any knowledge then it is the blind-imitation fiqh [type] and not the fiqh derived from the Book and the Sunnah.
Al-Albaani: We will end it here so as to give an opportunity to the other questioners waiting for this call to end. Was-salāmu alaikum.
Questioner:Wa ʿalaikum as-salām wa raḥmatullāh wa barakātuh, may Allāh reward you with good.
Shaikh Mashoor was asked whether there was an incident that left an impression on him with Shaikh al-Albaani?
He replied, “There are lots, loads, the one that had a great impact on me was the first time I met him, the first time I met him was when I was in secondary school, and the Shaikh used to go to this house … where the top floor was a library, so subhānallah, I saw that there was some bedding on the floor, it was the Shaikh’s, he would work until he got tired, and when he would get tired he would sleep there, amongst the books—seeing that affected me greatly, it had a very deep effect on me …”
Maimūn ibn Mahrān said that Muʿāwiyah رضي الله عنه proposed marriage to Umm ad-Dardā so she refused to marry him and said, “I heard Abud-Dardā say, ‘Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘A woman will be with the last of her husbands,’’—and I want no one in Abud-Dardā’s place.”