The Albaani Site

Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

Tag: prison

Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Albaani

When the Shaikh of the Shaikhs of Islaam, Ibn Taymiyyah, passed away, “The Muʾaḍhin of the Fortress [in which the prison was] cried out from atop the minaret of its mosque [about it], and the guards spoke about it, and the people gathered, the markets that would normally open early remained shut, people gathered, crying and speaking well of him. And his brother, Zainud-Deen ʿAbdur-Raḥmān, told them that in prison they had both finished reading the Quran eighty times, and when reading for the eighty-first time they had stopped at the Most High’s Saying: ‘Indeed, the righteous will be amid Gardens and rivers, at the Seat of Honour in the presence of the Most Powerful Sovereign.’” [Al-Qamar­: 54:54-55] Al-Maqṣad al-Arshad, 1/138.

This is that prison:

And then centuries later, the Mujaddid, al-Albaani, was imprisoned in that very same place, raḥimahumallāh.

Prisoners in Solitary Confinement Performing Dry-Ablution [Tayammum]

Some prisoners, O Shaikh of ours, are put in special cells, ya’nee, due to their particular circumstances, and these cells are about a metre and a half by a metre and a half. They’re not allowed to leave them at all, ya’nee, they stay in them because they are under suspicion or are dangerous from a political standpoint or other such things, so they eat, drink and urinate—may Allaah honour you—in them, sometimes they are given water [but] only a very little so they can’t perform ablution [wudoo]. So should they perform dry-ablution [tayammum] using the wall, for example, as some people do?

Al-Albaani: Definitely, he must do that since he can’t perform wudoo.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 420.

Performing Dry-Ablution [Tayammum] in Prison

Regarding dry-ablution [tayammum], sometimes a person might, for example, be in prison, is it allowed to perform tayammum on the walls?

Al-Albaani: Of course.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 13.

Al-Albaani asked about Sayyid Qutb | 16 | He was not a Scholar


Questioner: The first question, both questions, are regarding the book, ‘In the Shade of the Quraan.’  Its author [i.e., Qutb] mentioned at the beginning of Surah Taa Haa that the Quraan is a cosmic/universal phenomenon like the phenomena of the heavens and the earth, what is your opinion about this statement, bearing in mind that he uses the particle of comparison [i.e., the word ‘like’], O Shaikh?

Al-Albaani: We, my brother, have said more than one time: that Sayyid Qutb, may Allaah have mercy on him, was not a scholar. He was just an author, a writer and he didn’t know how to express the legislated Islamic creed, especially the Salafi beliefs from it.

For this reason, it is not fitting that we drone on about his statements too much, because he was not a scholar with the meaning of the word that we want, [i.e.,] a scholar of the Book and the Sunnah upon the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih. Many times his expressions are stylistic rhetoric and are not scholarly/knowledge-based ones, and are especially not Salafi expressions, not being from this type at all, and we do not hesitate to condemn expressions such as those nor such tahsbeeh.

The least that can be said about it [i.e., the expression you asked about] is that he did not mean that the Quraan is literally Allaah’s Speech as is the creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah and nor does he mean that Allaah’s Speech is metaphorical, as is the creed of the Mu’tazilah. [His statements are] rhetorical, poetic speech.

But I do not hold that we should stop too much at such statements, except to clarify that it is speech which is not permissible in the sharee’ah, and that [at the same time] it is not expressing the creed of the author regarding the Noble Quraan, i.e., is it the actual Speech of Allaah or not?

This is what I believe and this is the answer to the first question.

Questioner: Okay, O Shaikh, the second question which is also about the same book, at the beginning of Surah Naml he said about the Quraan and its words/sentences that they are, ‘musical undulations?’ [tamowwujaat musiqiyyah]

Al-Albaani: Same answer.

Questioner: Same answer?

Al-Albaani: Same answer.

Questioner: Okay, this leads us, O Shaikh, to some questions, we see in many of the writings of some authors or those associated to knowledge …

Al-Albaani: Sorry, before you carry on, what did you understand when he said, ‘undulations [tamowwujaat]?’ Does he mean the Speech that emanated from the Lord of the Worlds? Or from Jibreel عليه السلام? Or from our noble Prophet عليه السلام? You will not understand that or that or this [i.e., neither one of the three from that statement of his].

For this reason I say that it is rhetorical, poetic speech, which does not tell us much about the author’s opinion or what he means.

This is the reality; when many authors do write, they pen down expressions of stylistic rhetoric which do not give [us] solid/realistic information [lit: ‘existential answers’ [about what exactly it is they mean]].

Okay, carry on.

Questioner: Even though you say that, O Shaikh, may Allaah bless you, we still find many writers or even [people] from students of knowledge who are influenced by the methodology of the scholars of hadith or who [have some knowledge], for example, in the science of hadith or have knowledge in some issues, [we find that even such people] have been influenced by his [i.e., Qutb’s] methodology.

Al-Albaani: And what is his methodology? Does he have a methodology?

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: What is it?

Questioner: It’s [his] being influenced in his statements, in many statements, by the writings of Abul-A’laa al-Maududi, like in his book, ‘Social Justice [in Islaam],’ and his book, ‘At-Tasweer al-Fanni fil-Quraan …’

Al-Albaani: This is a literary style/way [of writing] it is not a scholarly/knowledge-based method/manner [of writing].

Questioner: There is a specific methodology regarding declaring people to be disbelievers [takfir], like slandering the Ummah and declaring [the Muslims in] it to be disbelievers, especially in the book, ‘Social Justice in Islaam.’ The author of the book, ‘Al-I’laam,’ mentioned this about him, az-Zarkashi …

Al-Albaani: Az-Zirikli.

Questioner: Az-Zarkashi or Az-Zirikli.

Al-Albaani: Az-Zirikli …

Questioner: Yes.

Al-Albaani: Yes.

Questioner: He [i.e., Az-Zirikli in his book Al-I’laam] mentioned this about him [i.e., Qutb], that he used to take up this methodology of slandering the entire Ummah, declaring all those around him to be ignorant. So many of the youth have now been influenced by this methodology and they have started calling to his books and his opinions and everything that he has written, so what is your opinion, O Shaikh?

Al-Albaani: Our opinion is that the man was not a scholar, I said that to you already. What more do you want from me? If you wish for me to call him a kaafir then I am not from those who declare people to be kaafirs, and you are not either?

Questioner: … O Shaikh, I …

Al-Albaani: Listen, I testify along with you, but what do you want?

It is enough for the just, impartial Muslim that he gives every person his right, and as He, the Most High, said, “… and do not deprive the people of their due and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” [Hud 11:85]

The man is a writer, passionate for the Islaam that he understood, but he is not a scholar, and his book, ‘Social Justice,’ is from the first things he wrote, and when he did so he was nothing but an author and not a scholar.

But the reality is that in prison he progressed a lot and wrote some pieces which are as though they are written by the pen of a Salafi and not from him. I believe that prison nurtures some souls and awakens some conscience [in people]. So he wrote some words whose title is enough [to show what I just said], i.e., ‘Laa ilaaha Illallaah A Way of Life.’

But if he doesn’t distinguish between Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah and Tawhid ar-Rububiyyah then this does not mean that he doesn’t understand Tawhid ar-Rububiyyah and Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah and that he considers them to be one thing. It means that he is not a faqih, and that he is not a scholar and that he is not able to express the legislated meanings which have come in the Book and the Sunnah.

Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good.

Al-Albaani: And you, inshaa Allaah.

Questioner: Don’t you see … ya’ni, this affect and these things that he wrote, ya’ni, that he should be answered/refuted, for example?

Al-Albaani: Yes he should be answered/refuted, this is obligatory, but answering a person who has made a mistake is not limited to a person or people: everyone who makes a mistake in understanding Islaam, understanding it with innovated and newly-invented meanings which have no basis in the Book, nor in the Sunnah nor from our Salaf as-Saalih and the four Imaams who are followed–then it is fitting that such a person is answered/refuted.

But this does not mean that we treat him as an enemy or that we forget that he has some good deeds, it is enough that he is a Muslim, and that he was an Islamic author [writing] according to his understanding of Islaam as I said initially, and that he was killed in the way of his call to Islaam and that the ones who killed him, they are the enemies of Islaam.

As for [the fact that] he had deviated in many or a few issues in Islaam, then it was my belief before this revolution against him was fomented–I was the one who was boycotted here by the Muslim Brotherhood [Ikhwaan al-Muslimoon] under the assumption that I had declared Sayyid Qutb to be a disbeliever, and I was the one who showed some people that he used to agree with the [belief of] Wahdatul-Wujood in some of what he wrote in the same tafsir [mentioned in the question], but at the same time, I do not deny that he was a Muslim and that he was zealous for Islaam and for the Muslim youth and that he wanted to establish Islaam and an Islamic state. But the reality is:

Sa’d led the camels to water while being completely wrapped up
[with only his hands sticking out].

This is not how, O Sa’d, the camels are taken to water.

Questioner: Are his books to be warned against?

Al-Albaani: Those who do not have correct Islamic education are warned against his books.

Questioner: May Allaah reward you with good and bless you.

Al-Albaani: And you, inshaa Allaah.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 814.

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

His Imprisonment

Then al-Huwaini asked the Shaikh about the circumstances surrounding his imprisonment in Damascus two times?

Al-Albaani: One of those times was when Jewish planes struck Damascus, so what seems apparent is that the state feared that the Shaikhs might start a revolution, so as a precautionary measure they arrested all the Shaikhs.

Then Shaikh al-Albaani said while he was laughing, “And I don’t know how they regarded me to be from among the Shaikhs this time.”

The second time was when the secret service called me in and said, “What is your opinion about the rulers of today?” So I said to them, “I don’t know them.” They said, “What is your opinion about the system of the ruler, do you support it?” I said, “No.” They said, “Why?” I said, “Because it is against Islaam.”

They took me in a car transferring me from place to place and then put me in police headquarters in order to transfer me–to where, I did not know. A person from my people, an Arnaa’ooti, passed by me and asked why I was present there so I told him about the situation, and he left. He went and asked about the place to which I was about to be transferred and then came back to me and said, “They have decided to expel you to al-Hasakah,” i.e., [an area in the] north-east [corner of] Syria.

So I asked him to go to my son in the shop and tell him to bring my bag to me in which he should place a copy of Sahih Muslim, a sharpener, a pencil, an eraser etc., and that he should meet me here, and that if he does not, then he should meet me at the place where the cars leave for Aleppo.

So the man went to my son who then hurriedly came and brought everything that I had asked for and met me at the place where the vehicles depart just as it was reversing getting ready to go. He climbed on heading towards me and gave me salaam, hugged me and bid me farewell, and then it left with us for Aleppo, and from Aleppo to al-Hasakah.

There is a new, very large and towering prison in al-Hasakah. They placed me in an area which was very long and full of Muslims from Hizb at-Tahrir, the head of them used to attend my lessons in Aleppo, i.e., he was a Salafi and then he turned towards Hizb at-Tahrir. I said to myself, “Many a calamity is beneficial,” [for] I was in constant debate with this group, day and night–but I had brought my provisions with me and wanted to start work but the lamp [where I was] was attached to the ceiling which was very high, so I did not benefit from its light whatsoever.

So I spoke to this companion of ours who used to be a Salafi, his name was Shaikh Mustafaa, and, unfortunately, he had spent about two years in the prison. Due to him having spent such a long time there, some companionship had developed between him and the warden, and it seemed as though the prison warden had some [positive] natural disposition [in character], even though he was a Ba’athist. He indeed used to respond positively to Shaikh Mustafaa and with this group of Muslims and would help them as much as he was able to. They would eat together, sharing their food, and I did so with them too.

The point is that I needed some electricity [i.e., a way of getting more light to be able to read], so Shaikh Mustafaa spoke to the prison warden saying to him, “Shaikh al-Albaani is a student of knowledge and wants to study, because he brought his books with him.” So the warden said to him, “We will bring him what he needs but on his account.” So I told them this was fine and good, he would bring what I needed and I would pay.

So [as a result] the lamp was brought down from the top of the ceiling to the top of my head, totally above it–so I never felt any loneliness in the prison whatsoever, just as Ibn Taymiyyah said, “My imprisonment is my solitude.”

Then al-Huwaini asked the Shaikh about his works which he had finished and those he was still working on and about his methodology in authoring some of those works and he finally asked him to give him some knowledge-based advice so the Shaikh gave him some and encouraged him to fear Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and finished off by saying:

“I hope that you are given even more tawfeeq [from Allaah].”

The End

Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did.

And the translation was finished after Ishaa on the 11th of Jumaada 1 which corresponds to the 15th April, 2011. And all praise is due to Allaah through whose Blessing righteous actions are completed.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 6


The Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and al-Albaani
in the same prison

“It was decreed that I was imprisoned in 1389 Hijri, which corresponds to 1969, along with a number of scholars for no other crime than calling to Islaam and teaching it to the people.  So I was taken to the fort prison[1] and others in Damascus, and then I was freed after a while, only to be taken back a second time and then exiled to the Island to spend a number of months in the prison there, something which I regard to be in the Way of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

Allaah so decreed it that there was nothing with me [when I was put in prison] except my treasured book, Sahih Muslim, a pencil and an eraser.  It was there that I engrossed myself in fulfilling my dream of summarising and abridging it [i.e., Sahih Muslim], something which I completed in three months, toiling day and night, without feeling any weariness or boredom.  And so as a result that which the enemies of the Ummah had intended to be a punishment for me was turned on its head and became a blessing for us, with students of knowledge from the Muslims benefitting from it all round the world.

So all praise is for Allaah through whose blessings righteous actions are completed.

House Arrest

Allaah, the Most High, facilitated the completion of many knowledge based works for me.  I would not have had the opportunity to have given them the required time if my life had continued on the path it was on.  [And this was] because some of the successive governments had prevented me from going out to the cities of Syria for my monthly lectures where I would call to the Quraan and the Sunnah, and this is what is more commonly known as ‘house arrest.’

Likewise during these successive periods I had also been prevented from giving any of the many knowledge based lectures that I used to deliver, the preparation for which used to consume a large portion of my time.  This took away a lot of the work that I was doing and came between myself and meeting lots of people who used to take a great amount of my time.”[2]

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 14-15.

[1] [Transl. note] And this is the same prison that the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah was imprisoned in many hundreds of years earlier!  See the Arabic article here:

[2]  i.e., all of this gave the Shaikh extra time to get busy with his research and writings, may Allaah have mercy upon him.

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