The Albaani Site

Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

Tag: dhaahiriyyah

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 10

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.

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 9

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.

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 8


The Story of the Lost Paper

Al-Huwaini asked the Shaikh about the Story of the Lost Paper?

Al-Albaani: The reality is that I got an ailment in my eyes, when I would look at a white wall it would be as though I could see flies moving. When I took myself to the optician he said, “This is what we call the flying fly,” and this was an expression he used referring to a very fine blood vessel which had deteriorated and from which an extremely fine drop of blood had come out onto the eye–and that was what I could see coming and going.

The doctor asked me, “What work do you do?”

I told him, “I’m a watch repairer.”

He said, “This is due to exhausting [yourself].”

I explained my situation to him, that I was a watch repairer and that I would [also] research a lot, so he asked me to take a six month break. I went back to my shop and started to sit there: not doing anything, not in my job, nor reading or researching.

A week or two passed by and boredom started to set in, so I started to entice myself and justify to myself using many different reasons [as to what I could do]. Then an idea came to mind which was that there were a group of different treatises in the Dhaahiriyyah Library, one of which was The Dispraise of Idle Amusement [Dhamm al-Malaahi] by Ibn Abid-Dunyaa, so I thought to myself that I could ask the transcribers there to copy out this manuscript, and that by the time they finish copying, I, maybe, would have gathered up and regained some of the health of my eyes and the rest [they required].

So I went to the Dhaahiriyyah Library and requested the copyist transcribe the treatise, and so he started. When he got half way through he came to me saying that there was a gap in the manuscript, that there was something lacking.  I went to the library and had a look at the manuscript and there was indeed something missing, so I told him, “Carry on as you are doing … and Allaah creates that which you do not know.” He finished copying out the manuscript, and it was as they say … my unconscious mind was working day and night [trying to figure out] where this missing part could be. So I hypothesised that when [all the different individual] manuscript treatises were gathered together to be put into this volume, maybe a page or two from this [particular] treatise fell out and were then later added to a different volume [of manuscript treatises].

And so there would be no path [to find it] except by searching through the collection present in the Dhaahiriyyah Library.

The manuscripts in the Dhaahiriyyah Library were arranged according to subject as is the general [classification] system [used in libraries] … except that there were about one hundred and fifty volumes entitled Majaamee [collections], and it was a befitting title, because every volume contained a number of [different] books, differing in the way they had been arranged and in their classification and topic, for this reason they had been put under the title majaamee [collections].

So I said to myself that I would start with these majaamee, and so I did.

One of the things which made the search easier was that just as these volumes differed in their topics and authors they also differed in the type of paper [they were written on]. So you would find some large [pieces] and some small, some white and others gray, and at times [you would find some that were] blue, and so on. All of this made the way to search easier for me, so I started with the first volume, then the second and third, I don’t remember exactly. Then all of a sudden I came across the title of the book [that I was looking for, The Dispraise of Idle Amusement]—and by Allaah, it is an important book—but it was the second part that I found, if it had been the first the matter would have been over. So when I would find the second or third parts I would leave them and carry on, after [going through] a number of volumes I came across the first part of one of those [other] treatises [that I had come across in earlier volumes], so I lamented myself and was regretful, saying, “Would that I had written down the title and number [showing exactly where I had found] the second part and this first part.” I learnt a lesson and began to record anything that interested me, even if it was not complete.

And you will note here that I was [initially] doing one thing when I began to do something else: I was searching for the lost paper whereas now I had started to record the titles of what can be regarded as treasures, even if they [i.e., the manuscripts] were incomplete. What is important is that I finished going through the one hundred and fifty volumes but I did not come across the lost paper in the volumes [of the books of] hadith, but I left with huge benefit in terms of knowledge. So I said to myself, “You must complete this journey you are upon and that search for the lost paper.”

The number of volumes of hadith books with us in the Dhaahiriyyah Library are more than five hundred so I began to search, and here the search for the lost paper was much easier, because the majaamee were small in size as for the [books of] hadith they were bigger, and the lost paper was small [so it would be easier to find], but [in reality] I had [now] entered into searching for something different, which was the acquisition of the important topics from these priceless books.

So I started to take down the titles, even if the book was a large volume, recording it on my scratch paper—and I finished going through five hundred volumes without coming across the lost paper.

And as they say here in Syria, “Without [giving you] a long biography …” i.e., in short I went through every single manuscript in the Dhaahiriyyah Library, and I was hoping that it might be in [the section of books on] such and such topics, maybe, since it was a mistake that had occurred in a volume [somewhere in the library], so I started to look through the books of biographies [seerah], the books of history, literature, books on Sufism, i.e., every branch of knowledge that had manuscripts [I looked through]. And Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, facilitated this search for me, [whereas it would] normally not have been easy except for someone officially employed [by the library] and specially assigned to the task.

He facilitated it to such an extent that I would put a ladder up to the treasures, because there were shelves there that were high and could not be reached by hand, so I would stand on the ladder. The shelf was about a metre in width, I would take a book from here [i.e., this end] and finish there [at the other end], all while I was on the ladder. When I would find something precious I would come down and record it, and then continue on my journey. In this way I went through the entire library without finding the lost paper. But I felt that it was I who was the winner: I gained hundreds of names and book titles from those priceless works. In the end, I knew that they had something that was called ‘Disht’, and that was a term for stacked up papers which no one [ever] went to or stretched their hands toward. So I said to the specialist librarian—and he was someone whom Allaah had facilitated to help me in my knowledge-based matters and was someone who would respond positively to me—“O Abu Mahdi! Where can the ‘disht’ [collections] be found?” So he showed me the two or three collections. So I started to search through these jumbled up papers and did not find anything, but I did find treasures: among them [the fact that] with us in the Dhaahiriyyah Library are two copies of the Musnad of ash-Shihaab of al-Qudaa’ee, both of which had parts missing. One of these copies was the eastern one and the other the western copy. The script in the western copy was very beautiful and had been given careful attention by some of the preservers of hadith [huffaadh], the people of hadith, and written next to many of these hadiths if not all were [things like: a] weak [hadith], [a] fabricated [hadith] and so on, but the first fascicle of it was missing. All of a sudden, while going through this disht I was taken aback to find the missing part of the western copy [of the Musnad of ash-Shihaab], and with that a priceless manuscript was completed. So I took it with great delight and exhilaration and went to the manager responsible for the manuscripts and said to him, “This part is from the disht and this is the book which you have written down with you in the index as being from an unknown source, its author is unknown and nor is it known what the book is about. [Now] here is the book and this is the author …” but he paid no attention to that, because he, as they say here in Syria, “Everyone sings about his own Layla …” [i.e., each to his own]: this research was of importance to me but not him. Then days and years went by and our brother Abdul-Majid as-Salafi printed the book from this self-same manuscript. And so that you know the [differing] nature of people … the Musnad of ash-Shihaab by al-Qudaa’ee was published by the printers in which Shu’ayb [al-Arnaa’oot] worked, i.e., Mu’assasah ar-Risaalah and on this manuscript for history I had written, “Drawn out from the disht collection by Naasir,” [i.e., Al-Albaani himself] I only wrote ‘Naasir,’ but what did he do? He put a piece of paper on it and covered this fact and now you can find a copy of this main title page from this book in the manuscript copy of the Musnad of ash-Shihaab which our brother Hamdi checked but this knowledge-based reality is wiped out [i.e., that Shaikh al-Albaani was the one who found it after all that hard work]. What makes him do that? You know the answer.

The point is that these are the priceless things that I gained through this research, in the end I gave up hope of finding the lost paper, but I never regretted it, since what I acquired was more than I could have imagined. What is important is that later I went back to the names that I had written down of those works and their authors and so wrote them out again on cards, arranging them in order of the names of the authors, listing every work that the author had written.

Then after I finished listing the names of the authors I arranged the works in alphabetical order, and from that came the index of the chosen manuscripts from the Dhaahiriyyah Library.

Then the final stage came and it was the blessed fruition of that initial effort: I started to read these manuscripts, extracting the hadith benefits from them with their chains of narration [something] which I have with me now, and it is what helps to provide me with [what I need] for my knowledge-based projects in about forty volumes, in it are the hadiths which I took from these manuscripts with their chains of narrations, arranged in alphabetical order to make them easier to refer back to. So this is a summary of the story of the lost paper.

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 22-26.

Here is the other version of the same story translated in an earlier post:

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 7


Shaikh al-Albaani when he got Married

Someone at the gathering asked the Shaikh whether his father gave him any financial assistance after that or any other type of assistance?

So Shaikh Al-Albaani replied: I got married through my own efforts, I got married and my father did not get involved, nor did he visit me, nor congratulate me, nor ask Allaah to bless me. He would only come to the shop sometimes—but he would not enter.

But maybe he said something later which may be an expiation for the madhhab-based enmity which he showed to me. He said to me one time, “I do not deny that I have benefited from you,” and I was his youngest son, and I know this very well about him, that he did [indeed] benefit. Because he, like the other Shaikhs, used to go to the mosques in which there were graves and I used to say to him, “This, O my father, is not allowed, and in this is such and such …” Likewise [he benefitted] as regards which hadiths were authentic and weak. So he did indeed benefit but his age and his social standing in the Arnaa’ooti community … it didn’t give him the chance to be pleased with his son who was regarded as a deviant in front of the masses. So this is something from the story of the beginning of my seeking knowledge, and then my independence in it.

The point is that the Al-Manaar magazine was the thing that opened the path for me to become engaged in the science of hadith.

Al-Huwaini: But the first thing you actually authored was Ar-Rawd an-Nadeer?

Al-Albaani: Yes, that was the first thing I authored, because what I had copied from al-Mughnee and the commentary I wrote on it is not something which can be called the first thing I authored.

Then al-Huwaini asked the Shaikh about his method in compiling Ar-Rawd an-Nadeer?

So Shaikh Al-Albaani replied: My method was that I gathered the hadiths of every Companion under his name, just like [the way it is done] in musnads. But I increased in that which is common in the musnad collections by arranging the hadiths of every Companion in alphabetical order and so here it took on a new quality. Then after I finished, I added all of the hadiths together and made a general index in alphabetical order. This is how I arranged it.

Was al-Albaani disobedient to his Father?

Al-Huwaini: As regards your father, did he carry on with this alienation towards you until the end of his life?

Al-Albaani: I said to you: he would come to me in the shop and give salaam but would not enter it.

Al-Huwaini: But, our Shaikh, isn’t this regarded as disobedience [towards the parents]?

Shaikh al-Albaani started to laugh and then said: Some prejudiced people may think that, in fact, they openly say it, but, without doubt, it is not possible for a scholar in the world to say, “Preferring the Sunnah in opposition to the school of thought of the father is regarded as disobedience of the parents.” Because in the eyes of the scholars disobedience of the parents is opposing the father … opposing his orders and rebelling against him without there being any ijtihaad behind that opposition, without the ijtihaad being the incentive to follow the Book and the Sunnah. So I do not think that any fair individual will regard this has disobedience [of the parents] for if not, then Ibrahim, عليه السلام, would be [regarded] as having been disobedient to his father. Of course, someone may say: that was [an issue] of disbelief and monotheism [tawhid]. So I say: yes, but this too was [a matter] of the Sunnah or blind-following, so it is not permissible.

Then al-Huwaini asked the Shaikh how he would gather between his job and seeking knowledge?

Al-Albaani: This is something, and all praise is due to Allaah, which Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, granted success in and gave me the ability to do.

As I said: when I would be with my father in the shop I would take advantage of any free time, when there would be no work in his shop, [so] I would go to the market, to that Egyptian to scour through whatever books he had. Later, I became totally free when I got my own shop. And it seems as though our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, instilled in me a natural inclination towards being satisfied [with little/or whatever Allaah gives you], especially when I set up my own shop and built my own house, and so I was free from having to pay the rent for the shop and house.

And I said to you just now: that when I left my father[’s house] and became independent in my own shop and work, ‘And the Generous One [i.e., Allaah, al-Kareem] said, ‘Take …’” my customers increased in number, and so due to that [such funds became available that] I was able to buy a piece of land … a modest house so I became free from having to pay rent. Then some more [finance] became available and some of them borrowed me a goodly loan and so I bought a piece of land … and was content and nothing remained except that with which I could support/feed myself, my wife and then my children.

How many a hours a day would he work in his Shop?

For this reason when I got this independence, I would work in the shop for one or two hours, up to eight or nine o’clock [in the morning] when the Dhaahiriyyah Library would open its doors. So I would close the door [to my shop] and make my way to the Library, [and spend] three hours at the very least [there] before Dhuhr. Then I would pray dhuhr in it in congregation with some of the other people who would visit the library. So when it would close its doors, I would go to my shop and work there for about half an hour or an hour until it was lunch time and then I would go home.

I had bought a bicycle and would ride it [home], and for history I say: it was the first time that the people of Damascus saw a Shaikh in a white turban riding a bicycle …

In those days I used to wear a turban based upon the previous line of thinking of the madhhabs, and some of the weak or rather fabricated hadiths such as, “Praying with a turban is seventy times better than praying without one.” I also used to wear a jubba, but with time I came to know that Allaah had not sent down any authority for these customs, so away went the jubba and the turban, and I started to wear what the people would wear.

The point is: I would be content with a little amount of work, spending all of my time in the Dhaahiriyyah Library. Then one time when working in the shop a Palestinian man who had emigrated to Damascus got to know me, and he suggested that his son work with me so that he could learn the profession. So this also aided me … a bit more time became available for me through that. In this manner, I gave a lot of time to study knowledge and to study [whatever was in] the Dhaahiriyyah Library.

Likewise, from the things that Allaah made easy for me were some of the bookshops which would sell books to the public … they would lend me [those books] that I did not have, I would take a book or two or more than that from the[se] bookshops and would keep them with me in the shop, until when the person who had loaned me the book would have no more remaining copies [in his shop] and somebody had come who wanted to buy the copy that I had, he would send news to me and so I would send the book to him.

[At times] a book would remain with me for years, no one would ask for it, especially [the books on] the science of hadith, as you know, it was an abandoned subject. So the Dhaahiriyyah Library, the Al-Qusaybaati Library and the Arabic Haashimi Library, were also from the reasons which Allaah made subservient for me until I benefitted from their books as if I owned them.

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 19-22, with editing.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 16


The Story of the Lost Paper

“I had been suffering from a mild eye ailment for over twelve years so an eye specialist advised me to give them some rest and stop reading, writing and working (repairing watches) for six months.

I heeded his advice initially, leaving all of those things for two weeks approximately–then my soul started to entice me, pushing me to do something during this tedious recess, something which would not, in my opinion, go against what the doctor had advised.  I recalled a manuscript I had seen in the library entitled Dhammul-Malaahee of Ibn Abid-Dunyaa which according to my knowledge had not been printed at that time.  So I said to myself, ‘What harm is there in getting someone to copy it out for me?  And by the time the manuscript would be copied out and the time to check this copy against the original would come round, a reasonable amount of time would have passed for my eyes to have rested.  And this would not demand an amount of effort which would compromise my health situation, and then I could check it at my own pace after that, verifying its hadiths and then we could print it, all in stages so that I would not overburden myself!’

When the person assigned to copy out the manuscript had reached half way he informed me that there was a missing part.  I told him to continue copying it out until he finishes it, and then we would compare it to the original.  [When he had finished] I checked and ascertained that there indeed was a missing part like he had indicated.  I estimated it to be about four pages long.

I began to ponder over it and how I could come by it? This manuscript was kept in one volume amongst many which were stored in the library in the section entitle Majaamee.  Each of these volumes on the whole had numerous treatises and books within it, with differing hand-writing, topics and paper different in both colour and size.  So I said to myself, ‘Maybe the manuscript compiler accidentally bound it in one of these other volumes.’  Thus I flung myself into searching for it in sequence with untold enthusiasm and energy.

And I forgot–or I made myself forget–the ailment in my eyes!  So whenever I remembered it I was never short of justifications to continue, like saying that this research would not adversely affect [the eye rest] since there was no writing or strenuous reading involved!

I had gone through only a few manuscripts when my attention was drawn to the titles of some of the treatises and works by famous scholars and well-known preservers of hadith.  So I would stop at them, search them, study them, wishing that they would be copied out and checked and then printed.  But most times I would find them to be missing parts and chapters, so I would find the second and not the first for example, and would thus not record them in my index.  I continued searching for the lost paper, but in vain, until finally I completed going through all of the volumes that were in the Majaamee section and which totalled 152.

Moreover, during this search I had started to pen down the titles of some of the books that had appealed to me and what encouraged me in that was the fact that during the search I had come across some of the missing parts of manuscripts that I had not recorded before [due to them having been deficient, and now that the missing parts had been found and the manuscript was complete he could record their names].

Since I could not find the lost paper among the aforementioned volumes, I said to myself, ‘Perhaps it was wrongly placed in one of the volumes of the books of hadith collections, stacked in the library under the hadith section!’  Thus I started to go through this section, volume by volume, until I went through them all without finding the lost paper.  Yet I recorded [in my index] as many names of treatises and books as Allaah, the Most High, willed.

In this way I continued to justify and entice myself by saying that I would come across the lost paper.  So in the search for it I would go from looking in the volumes and treatises of one branch of knowledge to the next—until I had gone through all of the manuscripts kept at the library, which numbered approximately ten thousand—but still I never found the lost paper.

Yet I never despaired.

For there was a section in the library where stacks and piles of papers and various scrapbooks were kept, the origins of which were not known–so I started to go through them, carefully and precisely, but [again] without success.

It was then that I began to believe that I may not be able to find the lost paper.

Yet after thinking about this situation I found that because of it Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, had opened a towering gateway of knowledge for me, which I had been ignorant of just as others like me had.  [And this was the fact that] the Dhaahiryyah Library [in Damascus] contains a treasure of books and treatises in various branches of beneficial knowledge which our forefathers, may Allaah, the Most High, have mercy on them, left for us, and that it has rare manuscripts which most likely cannot be found in other libraries across the world and which have still not been printed to this day.

So when this [reality of the value of material in the library] became clear to me and was established in my heart, I resumed the study of all of the library’s manuscripts, from the first to the last.  For the second time.

[This time round I did so] in light of the experience I had gained from my previous search where I had [only] recorded selections [that I had chosen] from the books–now I started to record every single thing that [I came across which] was associated with the knowledge of the science of hadith.  Not coming upon the minutest detail except that I recorded it, even if it came from one [stray] piece of paper from a book or volume whose origin was not known.

It was as though Allaah, the Blessed and Most High, was preparing me through all of this for the third and final stage which was the actual study of these books, a detailed study, [so that I could] pull out from them the Prophetic sayings along with their chains of narration and paths, and [any] other benefits.

This index was the result of individual effort, a personal drive, from someone who was not employed at the library or assigned to it, and as such the necessary aids to review the manuscripts, study them and search the parts of them that were unknown were not available as would have been the case for someone who was employed by the library or assigned to do such a job by the administration.

So it was only natural that I face some hardship during that research–and there were days that came by me where I would have to perch up a ladder, and then climb up it and stay there for hours on end in that very spot to study it [as] quickly [as was possible].  So when I would choose something from it which I would want to study and scrutinise deeply, I would ask the librarian to take it down for me to the desk …”

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 34-37.

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.”

Al-Albaani and The Ladder


Shaikh Baasim Faisal al-Juwaabirah said, “And from that which showed the Shaikh’s patience and fortitude in seeking knowledge was what Dr. Mahmood al-Meerah, may Allaah protect him, told me: that Shaikh Naasir climbed up a ladder in the Dhaahiriyyah library in Damascus to take a book, a manuscript, so he got the book and opened it and then started to read it while standing on the ladder—and stayed there reading for more than six hours.”

Al-Imaam al-Albani, Duroos wa Mawaaqif wa Ibar, p. 63.

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