Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
The Special Room that Al-Albaani was Given at
the Dhaahiriyyah Library
Al-Huwaini: One of the things that I read about you in your books is that you were allocated a special room in the Dhaahiriyyah Library. How did you get to that level, bearing in mind that such a thing can be quite difficult [to obtain] in Islamic countries?
Al-Albaani: I don’t recall very well now [the reason], it was either because the administration at the Dhaahiriyyah Library felt that I was a person in love with knowledge for I used to sit in the general [reading] area and say to Abu Mahdi, “Give me, and of course he would, such and such book,” i.e., the manuscript, and I would hardly have finished with it when I would request a second book and a third and a fourth …
At times I would have a [whole] pile of manuscripts on the table. This table was for four people, two [to sit] on one side and two on the other. Due to this, no student would be able to sit down at the table along with me. And without doubt there was some objection from the students [due to this], especially at exam times.
So it was as though the administration found a solution to the problem. They had a dark room [there] which was not good enough to place firewood in, so they suggested it to me … and put me in this room, placing in it whatever books I needed for reference so that I would not overburden the employees there [by saying], “Bring such and such book … take this book [back] …” They even left some manuscripts with me [in the room].
This is the first possibility [as to why they gave me the room], and it is the most likely in my opinion, since this was a long time ago.
Al-Albaani Alone Being Allowed to enter the Dhaahiriyyah Library at any time of the Day or Night
The second possibility was that the College of Sharee’ah at the Syrian University held a number of meetings in which they decided to establish the core for a hadith encyclopaedia. And with sadness I say: they couldn’t find anyone amongst their doctors who could undertake this task. So they sent for me to confer on the topic. I met with them at the university and they presented their idea to me and requested that I work on this curriculum that they had drawn up.
After exchanging views on the topic I agreed with them that I would work four hours a day for them and the remaining hours would be for my personal work–on the condition that I be given permission to enter the Dhaahiriyyah Library at whatever time of day or night I wanted. So I said to them, “If the administration at the library agrees to that, I will give you four hours every day.” They replied saying that they would speak to the person in charge there.
So one day Mustafaa as-Subaa’ee or Muhammad al-Mubaarak came, I don’t recall exactly, and they went up to see the manager and spoke to him about the topic and then sent for me and said, “We have come to an agreement with the manager and he will order the caretaker that every time you come he will open the gate for you.”
In this way I gave them four hours a day, so I would work on a project on the hadiths of trading.
The point is that at this time I cannot be totally sure either way, as to whether they made this room available to me for this reason or before that … what I think is more probable is that they gave me the special permission to enter whenever I wanted, at any time of day or night …
So this is the story of the room which I alone was given to the exclusion of all the other people who would come there.
Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 26-29.