Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
Al-Huwaini: You mentioned before that that you rented a house in Damascus to give lessons in. What was the methodology that you followed at that time? Would you read through a book or were they general lessons?
Al-Albaani: I remember that the first thing that I taught the students was from Ibn al-Qayyim’s Zaad al-Ma’aad fee Hadyi Khairil-Ibaad. I would read a part of the book to them and then comment on it [from memory] based upon some previous knowledge that I had [concerning it] or from notes that I would prepare before I would give the lesson. In those days the lesson was from three quarters of an hour to an hour long, then after that there would be half an hour to answer questions.
After I finished the first volume of Zaad al-Ma’aad, I think, and Allaah knows best, if I have not forgotten, they requested that I teach them the book Ar-Rawdah an-Nadiyyah Sharh Ad-Durar al-Bahiyyah, because the reality is that [Ibn al-Qayyim’s book] Zaad al-Ma’aad is a knowledge-based book–not all students can handle it, whereas Ar-Rawdah an-Nadiyyah’s subject matter is condensed. So I did teach them the entire book, from its start to its end.
Later, I think, came the turn of At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, and there was an academic exertion behind these lessons: the principle regarding them would be preparation, from the results of which was [the commentary on Zaad al-Ma’aaad called] At-Ta’leeqaat al-Jiyaad alaa Zaad al-Ma’aad, the first volume, and At-Ta’leeq ar-Ragheeb ’alat-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb. For it was from my nature not to teach them a hadith until I had ascertained its authenticity and made sure of the understanding [fiqh] or meaning intended by it. This is how I would give lessons there …
Someone at the gathering asked: O Shaikh! Through your constant visits to the Dhaahiriyyah Library, who do you know from the students of knowledge at that time who were serious and striving from your contemporaries?
Shaikh al-Albaani: I, unfortunately, never used to see anyone constantly visiting the Dhaahiriyyah Library, not from the students, neither from the Shaikhs, nor any doctors [i.e., those holding PhDs]. But Shaikh Abdul-Qaadir al-Arnaa’oot would be there, he was ok …
Al-Huwaini: Regarding [Ibn Taymiyyah’s] book, Iqtidaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, did you teach it?
Al-Albaani: I taught parts of it, not all of it.
Al-Huwaini asked Shaikh al-Albaani about Shaikh Muhammad Bahjatul-Baitaar: was he from your ranks or from those who came before you?
Al-Albaani: He was from those who came before [me].
Al-Huwaini: Did you take any knowledge from him?
Al-Albaani: No, but there used to be lessons on literature which the great and well-known authors of that time in Damascus would attend, members of the Arabic Scientific Academy in Damascus, from them for example was Ustaadh Izzud-Deen at-Tanookhi, may Allaah have mercy on him, and others like Mustafaa ash-Shihaab.
They would gather and study the book al-Himaasah of Abu Tamaam. The specialist among them, like at-Tanookhi, was the one who would give the commentary, explanation and clarification. So I and a friend of mine who has passed away to the Mercy of Allaah, his name was Munir Abu Abdullaah, we would go to this sitting successively in order to strengthen [our] Arabic, and to learn something of its ethics.
From the members of this sitting was Shaikh Bahjatul-Baitaar, but I did not [sit with him specifically and] learn anything from him..
Al-Huwaini: Did you meet al-Kawthari?
Al-Albaani: No. I do not know him except from what he left behind.
Al-Huwaini: He was a contemporary of yours?
Al-Albaani: Yes but he was in Egypt and I was in Damascus. I did go to Egypt and he was alive …
Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 28-30.