The Albaani Site

Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

Tag: grammar

Shaikh al-Albaani’s Life | Questions and Answers … 2


Al-Albaani the Carpenter

Al-Huwaini: After you finished your study why didn’t you go on to complete your academic education, i.e., secondary education and so on?

Al-Albaani: I didn’t increase upon my elementary education, and the reason for that goes back to my father. Perhaps this was a shot in the dark on his behalf [but a successful one at that], since what I witnessed later was that if I had continued in that line of education I wouldn’t have been able to do the study that I do. Since it is true that formal education makes it easy for someone who wants to progress in great strides in academic research, yet it is very rare to find this in those who do graduate.

My father, may Allaah have mercy upon him, had a bad opinion about the government schools, and he had a right to, since they would not teach anything from the Sharee’ah except its outline and not its reality [i.e., skim its surface]. For this reason he didn’t send me to a preparatory school, for example, which in those days was known as secondary school in Syria.

Due to that I started to study Hanafi fiqh and morphology [sarf] with my father; and with another Shaikh whose name was Shaikh Sa’eed Burhaani, and it became apparent to me later that he was a Sufi, a follower of a tariqah, I studied some Hanafi fiqh with this Shaikh, specifically [the book] Maraaqi al-Falaah Sharh Nurul-Eedaah. I also studied some books of Arabic grammar and modern day rhetoric with him using some books of contemporary writers.

I finished reading the Quran to my father with tajwid and at the same time I was pursuing work as a carpenter, that which these days is called Arabic carpentry. I finished learning [it] from two carpenters, one of them was my maternal uncle whose name was Ismaa’eel, may Allaah have mercy upon him, I worked with him for two years. The other was a Syrian known as Abu Muhammad who I also worked with for two years. Most of my work with them centred around repairing and restoring old houses, since old houses in Syria were made from wood and bricks. Over time and with rain, snow and such, parts of the floors would collapse and would require someone [specialising] in Arabic carpentry to come and fix them so I would go with them.

Most of the time in winter  we would not be able to do any work whatsoever, so I would pass by my father who was working as a watch repairer.  One day he said to me, when I had returned from my two [carpentry] instructors and he could tell that there was no work because it was an overcast and cloudy day, he said, “It looks as though there’s no work today.”

I replied, “Yes, no work.”

So he said, “What do you think, I feel that this profession [i.e., carpentry] isn’t easy nor is it a profession. What do you think about working with me?”

I said to him, “As you wish.”

He said, “Come on then, climb up!” His shop was raised off the ground since he used to fear that damp would set in, and so from that day I stuck to him until I learnt the profession from him and then opened up my own shop.

Al-Imaam al-Albaani, Hayaatuhu, Da’watuhu, Juhooduhoo fee Khidmatis-Sunnah, of Muhammad Bayyoomi, pp. 9-10.

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.

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