His Perseverance and Fortitude in Seeking Knowledge
Indeed from the blessings of Allaah upon me is that since more than ten years ago I had gathered thousands of hadiths in more than forty volumes, all referenced to their numerous sources. I wrote them down in my own handwriting from hundreds of preserved manuscripts in a number of different well-known libraries, such as the Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah in Damascus, the Al-Awqaaf al-Islaamiyyah library in Aleppo, the Maktabah al-Mahmoodiyyah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medinah, Aarif Hikmah’s library in Medinah al-Munawwarah, and other libraries which contained priceless books on hadith, on benefits, seerah, history, and biographies–things which have still not been printed to this day. So every time that I would have to research the chain of narration of a hadith in the book Al-Jaami as-Sagheer or its additions, I would return to these volumes, which were organised alphabetically, and I would find the hadith in them with its chain of narration referenced back to the same source that Suyooti himself and other than him had sourced it to.
And it is from this that the secret becomes apparent to whoever among the scholars comes across some of my books in the various knowledge-based subjects–when they see that despite its size, just one work such as the Prophet’s Prayer Described, صلى الله عليه وسلم, used scores of manuscripts of books that most people have not even been able to discover the names of, let alone read and become acquainted with the hadiths, the chains of narrations, wording, and supporting narrations that they contain!
In the same way Allaah made it easy for me to compile a detailed index, composed of everything that is in this well-established library, from the books of hadith in their varying forms, like the Musnads, the collections, selections, benefits, treatises of hadith collected by a specific scholar, biographies and others.
Pointing out therein that which has not been mentioned in the [official] index of the library to this day, and I arranged this index based upon the names of the authors, in alphabetical order. I did the same with their actual works, arranging them in this order under the name of each author, writing a very brief biography mentioning in it the date of birth, death and whether he was trustworthy or weak as a narrator and so on. Finally at the end I placed a general index including all of the books also arranged in alphabetical order.
The most important of the knowledge-based projects that I have is what I have called, ‘Bringing the Sunnah to the Ummah.’ I intended therein to gather all that I could that was authentic form the sayings of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, in one book, upon the methodology of the scholars of hadith and their knowledge-based principles in differentiating between those narrations that are authentic and weak. I ask Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, that he makes its realisation easy for me.
For verily I spent my youth on it, as I did my middle years, and I am completing it, even now, during my old age, all the while asking Allaah, magnificent in His Loftiness, that I be from among those concerning whom the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, said, ‘The best of you are those who live long and who excel in good deeds,’ hoping from Him, the Majestic in His Glory, that I be granted a good ending, and death upon eemaan.
[Translators note: The following paragraph is a completion of the one above which was not included in the book we are going through: “And in conclusion [to the volume he was writing about[, it has not deluded me that I give my thanks and gratitude to my eldest daughter, Umm Abdullaah, who facilitated the proof reading of this volume, and drew ones attention to matters that any author can overlook, let alone one who has reached eighty years of age; things such as missing out a word or sentence, or drawing ones attention to places where hadith checking has been repeated, or where I did not complete a discussion concerning it and so on, so may Allaah reward her on my behalf with the best of rewards. Likewise the brother Ali [Hasan] al-Halabi, I have benefitted form the notes he wrote on my handwritten original, and some of it he wrote scores of years ago, others he had written on the draft copy that he had had the opportunity to take a look at. So he, and all others who played a part in getting this volume published under the supervision of my brother-in-law, Nidhaam Sakjahaa, the owner of Al-Maktabah al-Islaamiyah in Jordan, have my deepest gratitude and thanks.”]
His Goal in Life
In reality, my entire goal in this life–after [aiming to] fulfil the actions and rights that Allaah has made obligatory upon me–is nothing but trying to acquaint the Muslims by way of study, lectures and books that I write, with the authentic biography of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, [authentic] from every angle as much as I am able to do. And to encourage them to take it as the singular example for them to follow as Allaah [Himself] encouraged them to do in His, the Most High’s, saying, “Indeed in the Messenger of Allaah you have a good example to follow for he who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.”
And therein lies the key to their happiness in this life and the next.”
Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 22-28.