The Albaani Site

Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

Tag: arabic

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 1

There is a book entitled, Imaam al-Albaani, His Life, His Call, and His Efforts in the Service of the Sunnah by Muhammad Bayyoomi.  In it he has transcribed five cassette recordings of questions that were put to Shaikh al-Albaani concerning his life.  Yes, you’ve guessed it, it was a bit too tempting not to go for translating this even though we finished the other ‘Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words.’  Bi idhnillaah wa
I’ll try to post some translations from this book here along with the other ongoing project, Taking Graves as Mosques.  Here’s the first post.


His Birth and Migration


Al-Huwaini: O Shaikh, what is your date of birth?

Al-Albaani: I do not have in my possession that which can be relied upon as regards the date except what is known as a birth certificate, or ID or the passport–in it the year 1914ce is recorded.

Al-Huwaini: Were you born in Damascus or Albania?

Al-Albaani: I was born in Ashkodera [Shkodër] which in those days was the capital of Albania, [then] in the days of that revolutionary Ahmed Zogu the capital was moved to Tirana. I was born in Ashkodera, Albania.

Al-Huwaini: The story of your entry into Damascus, Syria with your father, was it because of some persecution, for example, or something else?

Al-Albaani: It was not because of any persecution but in al-Jawndhar there was the control of that Ahmed Zogu, [who was intent] on ruling the country. For no sooner had he settled into position than he started to impose European legislative laws on the populace. So he started to make things difficult on those women wearing the hijab, and made it obligatory for the police and the army to wear the hat–the thing which forebode evil in the opinion of my father, may Allaah have mercy on him. For this reason he decided to migrate with his family [in the general direction of] Syria, and Damascus specifically, because he had read many hadiths concerning the excellence of Syria in general and Damascus in particular. Even though it is known, or we came to know later, that the hadiths regarding the merits of Syria range from being authentic, hasan, weak and fabricated–but the general idea is true and had taken hold of him, may Allaah have mercy on him, and for this reason he decided to migrate when he came to that opinion . This was the reason for the migration, so there was no immediate pressure [which made us leave].

Al-Huwaini: How old were you when you migrated?

Al-Albaani: What I recall is that when I settled in Damascus I was nine years old.


Learning Arabic as a Child

Al-Huwaini: Did you speak Arabic at the time?

Al-Albaani: I never knew anything from the Arabic language, in fact I never even knew any of the letters of the Arabic alphabet since there was not much attention on the part of my father, may Allaah have mercy on him, to teach us [that], despite the fact that he was the Imaam of a mosque, and even the Shaikh of a madrassah.

When we came to Damascus, we didn’t know anything about reading or writing and as they say here in Syria, “We couldn’t tell the difference between the letter alif and the naftiyyah [even though both are straight].” The naftiyyah is a long stick which the Shaikh in the madrassah would reach out with and use if he wanted to hit the last boy who [was sitting at the end and] was playing around.

The madrassah there was a private one owned by a charitable organisation called the Charitable Relief Organisation and it was there that I started my education. And naturally, because I was mixing with the students there, my acquisition of the Arabic language or to be exact, the Syrian dialect, was stronger than those who were not students at the madrassah. And I remember well that, apparently, because I was older than the other elementary students in the madrassah I completed the first and second years in one year, and so [at the end] I obtained my elementary certificate in four years. And it seems as though Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, had instilled in me a natural love for the Arabic language. And it was this love that was the real reason, after the Grace of Allaah, that I was [a] distinguished [student] and that I surpassed my Syrian classmates in the Arabic language and such.

I also remember very well that when the grammar teacher would write a sentence or a line of poetry on the slate and would ask the students to grammatically parse the syntax [i’raab] of a sentence or line of poetry–the last person he would ask would be al-Albaani. In those days I was known as ‘al-Arnaa’oot.’ As for the word ‘al-Albaani’ then [I started to use it] when I graduated from the madrassah and began to author. For the word ‘al-Arnaa’oot’ is similar to the term ‘Arab,’ in that just as the Arabs are divided into tribes, there being among them the Egyptian, the Syrian, the Hijaazi … and so on, then in the same way the ‘al-Arnaa’oot’ are also divided into Albanians, Serbians from Yugoslavia, Bosniaks [Bosnians]. Thus, the words ‘al-Arnaa’oot’ and al-Albaani have generalities and specifics in meaning–al-Albaani is more specific than [the general term] al-Arnaa’oot.

So the grammar teacher would make me the very last student he would ask when all other students had failed to parse the sentence, he would call me [saying], “Yes, O Arnaa’oot, what do you say?” And I would hit the target with one word [or sentence] and so he would then start to shame the Syrians because of me saying, “Isn’t it a shame on you? This is an Arnaa’ootee [i.e, you are Arab speakers and he isn’t].”

So this was from Allaah’s Grace upon me.”

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 7-9.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 2

The Beginning of his Quest for Knowledge

“The first thing that I had a passion to read were Arabic stories, like those of Dhaahir [Baybars] and Antara [ibn Shaddaad a famous Arab poet], King Saif [ibn Dhi Yazan] and their like, then translated crime or detective novels like Arséne Luprin and others.  After which I found an inclination towards reading books about history.

Then one day at one of the booksellers, I noticed an issue from a magazine called Al-Manaar amongst the books for sale so I bought it.  In it I came across a piece of research written by as-Sayyid Rasheed [Rida] in which he was describing the book Al-Ihyaa by al-Ghazaali, pointing out its strengths and weaknesses.

So for the first time I across this type of knowledge-based critique and that drew me to reading the entire issue.  I continued following the subject of Al-Ihyaa in the [book] Al-Ihyaa itself, with the version which contained the hadith verification of al-Haafidh al-Iraaqi, and I found myself having to borrow it since I did not have the money to purchase it.

As a result I started to read [the entire] book since that detailed verification fascinated me such that I resolved to copy out the book or summarise it after I had laid down a mental picture of copying out the [hadith] verification which was printed in the footnotes of Al-Ihyaa.  I started to write out the hadith, “Indeed praise for a servant can spread as far and as wide as that which is between the east and the west and yet he is not equal to the weight of a mosquito before Allaah …” this is how it was written in Al-Ihyaa.

Al-Haafidh al-Iraaqi said, “And I have quoted it from him but have not been able to find it with such wording.  In the two Sahihs from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah there occurs, “Indeed a huge fat man will come on the Day of Resurrection and he will not weigh the weight of the wing of a mosquito in Allaah’s Sight.”

But what did I do?  I wrote down a hyphen and completed the hadith as it is found in the two Sahihs and I continued upon this so as not to attribute to Al-Haafidh al-Iraaqi something that he did not say, and I also placed the addition which I was writing from the original and to which he attributed the hadith, between two hyphens [=].  In those days I was new to researching and if I knew then what I know now I would have used brackets like the ones I used in my books thereafter instead of the two hyphens.

I started to copy and then got half way through the first volume, when an idea occurred to me which was that during my work on the hadiths parts of them would come by me whose words I did not understand and as a result the intending meaning of the hadith would not be clear to me.  So I said to myself, ‘Why don’t I explain all of these words in the margins which would be a revision for me and an aid to understanding the hadith?” So after I had gotten half way through the first volume I left it and started copying all over again based upon this new idea.

Every time I came across a hadith which had a word I couldn’t fathom I would use Ibn al-Athir’s book Ghareeb al-Hadith [a book explaining rare and difficult words found in hadiths] and dictionaries and then I would write the meaning in the margin, until the notes that I would write for myself turned out to be more than the actual text, and I carried on like this until I finished the book.  I strived like this until a good method was established which helped to make concrete all those new points.

And I think this effort which I put into that study is what encouraged me and endeared to me the desire to continue upon this path, since I found myself seeking the aid of many different works on the Arabic language, figurative speech [بلاغة], and works explaining the rare and difficult words found in hadiths so that the text could be understood alongside its verification.

And this is what benefitted me greatly, and in reality I say: I am amazed at Allaah’s Kindness to His servants, and I feel that Allaah was moving me from one step to the next.  Now I reap the benefits of what I used to write and make copies of, [at that time] I did not know what was behind that writing or that copying, now I reap the benefits of some of that work.  I will find writings from my early knowledge-based research that is profuse and abundant and that was due to the persistent desire to follow such research and because I found the narrations of hadith to be something beautiful.  And I still  continue, and all praise is for Allaah, to have the vigour and desire to research, but old age has its rights.”


His Children

“Indeed from the blessings of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, upon me is that he inspired me to name all of my sons as servants of His, and they are: Abdur-Rahmaan, Abdul-Lateef, Abdur-Razzaaq from my first wife, may Allaah have mercy on her; and Abdul-Musowwir, Abdul-Muhaimin and Abdul-A’laa from my other wife, and I don’t think anyone has beaten me to naming their son Abdul-Musowwir since with all of the names of narrators that I have come across in the books of the men of hadith and its conveyors [I never found this name].  And I ask Allaah, the Most High, to increase me in success and that He bless me in my family, “”Our Lord!  Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring those who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the pious.” [Furqaan 25:74]

Then in 1383AH [1963CE] while I was in Medina, Allaah blessed me with a son whom I named Muhammad, as a reminder of his, صلى الله عليه وسلم, city and in fulfilment of his saying, “Name yourselves with my name, but do not use my kunyaa.”
[Bukhaari and Muslim]


Giving Precedence to the Truth over the Heritage of the Forefathers

“I continued to follow in the footsteps of my father in this direction, until Allaah guided me to the Sunnah, so I left much of what I had studied with him which he regarded as being a means of getting closer to Allaah and worship.”


Al-Albaani and His Father

“I had proceeded to study the Sunnah with great longing and adoration, and so when my father saw that in me he began to warn me and said, “The science of hadith is the profession of the bankrupt!”  But despite what that differing put between us in terms of ideological outlook, near the end of his life we become very close, as he used to say at the end of every debate, ‘I do not deny that you brought me some knowledge based benefits concerning matters about which I was not on clear proof beforehand, like it not being legislated to intend to go to pray salaah at the graves of the righteous.’”

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 5-10.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 1

There’s a small book written by a person called Isaam Moosaa Haadi, entitled, “The Life of Allaamah al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy upon him, in His Own Words.” I thought it would be a good idea to go through the book, a little at a time, so we could get a picture of the Shaikh’s life as he narrated it himself.  Isaam Haadi basically went through the Shaikh’s works and gathered sections where the Shaikh spoke about himself and the result was this small but lovely work.  Here’s the first post …


Migrating to Syria

Shaikh al-Albaani said, “Indeed the blessings of Allaah upon me are numerous and I cannot enumerate how many there are.  And perhaps from the most important of them are the following two: the migration of my father to Syria and that he taught me his profession as a watch repairer [horologist].

The first [blessing] made learning arabic easy for me and if we had remained in Albania I do not believe that I would have learnt a letter from it, and there is no path to the Book of Allaah or the Sunnah of his Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, except by way of arabic.

The second [blessing], learning how to repair watches, gave me spare time which I filled with seeking knowledge.  And it provided me with the opportunity to visit the Dhaahiriyyah library and other than it for many hours every day.

And if I had continued to stick to carpentry, which I had initially tried to learn, it would have devoured all of my time, and as a result the paths of knowledge would have been closed in my face, [paths] whose students must have free time.”

%d bloggers like this: