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The Autobiography of

IMAAM MUHAMMAD
NAASIR UD - DEEN AL - ALBAANI
(1322 - 1420 H)
‫رﺣﻤﻪ اﷲ ﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ‬

TAKEN FROM THE BOOK

‫ﺧﺮ ﻣﺎ ﺗﺤﺪث ﻟﻨﺎ ﺷﻴﺨﻨﺎ اﻷﻟﺒﺎﻧﻲ‬Ĥ‫ﻗﻄﻒ اﻟﺜﻤﺎر ﺑ‬
"Reaping The Fruit From The Last of
That Which Our Shaikh al-Albaani Relayed To Us"

Written By
Abu Asmaa’ al-Misree
‘Aathiyah bin Sidqee ‘Alee Saalim
b

Muhammad Naasir ud-Deen
(ibn Nooh ibn Aadam ibn Najjaatee al-Albaani)

His Birth:

Stated the Shaikh: “There is not to be found that which we may rely upon for this
date except that which is known as "identification" or the passport. It is recorded there as
being 1914 of the Christian calendar.” I said: (Abu Asmaa’): This corresponds to 1332
Hijri.
Then he said: “The place of birth is Ashqoodarah, and it was at that time the
capital of Albania. And in the time of ath-Thawrajee Ahmad Zughu, the capital shifted to
Tayraan.”

The Migration To Shaam:

“When Ahmad Zughu took over rule of the country and began to govern it, and
enforced Western laws upon the population, and began to harass women in their Hijaab,
and made incumbent upon the police the wearing of a hat - a matter which was in my
father’s view a forerunner of greater evil to come - he decided to migrate with his family
to Shaam, 1 to Syria generally, and Damascus specifically. My father used to read
narrations which have been reported regarding the excellence of Shaam in general, and
Damascus specifically, and as it is known, or rather as it came to be known to us later,
there are from these narrations those which are authentic, and those which are Hasan, and
those which are Mawdhoo’ (fabricated), however the general idea is correct. He was an
authoritative person, may Allaah’s mercy be upon him, and he made this decision based
on his view. And this was the (only) reason for the migration, and there was no pressure
upon him.”
And he said: “My age at the time was nine. And I didn’t know any Arabic
whatsoever, so when we went to Damascus we didn’t know how to read or write. As it is
said amongst us in Syria, we didn’t know al-Khamsah (the number five) from ath-
Thamsah 2 , or al-Alif from al-Bastheehah (a letter alif from a stick).”

*****
1
That which encompasses Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan.
2
I could not find a reliable definition for this word, which is from the Syrian dialect.
Starting Out In Seeking Knowledge

Stated the Shaikh: “After that I entered the school and it was a national school
named Jam’iyyah al-Is’aaf al-Khairee and there I began my studies. My reason for
applying at that age (of nine years) was my having completed both first and second grade
in one year. I thus gained my elementary school certificate in four years. It seems that
Allaah, the Most Mighty and Sublime, created me with a love of the Arabic language.
This was the reason, after His divine grace, for my being superior to my Syrian
classmates in the Arabic language and it’s grammar. I remember that the grammar
teacher would write a sentence or verse of poetry on the board and ask the students on the
I’raab (stating the grammar rules which apply to each word) of that sentence or that
verse. Were they to fail in correctly stating the I’raab, he would remove me from them
and say to me, “What do you say about this sentence, Arna'oothee 3 ?” And I used to
answer and get it right in one try. So he would then return to the Syrian students and
reproach them on account of my being Arna'oothee and their being 'Arab.”
Then stated the Shaikh: “I did not finish my studies. The reason for that goes back
to my father, and this was perhaps more by hit than by wit (it had a good outcome). For I
think, and as I witnessed in what came later on, were I to have continued with my
academic studies I would not have been able to be where I am today. That is because
classroom study (of common schools) does not produce scholars, rather it only eases the
way for the one who strongly desires to continue progressing towards scholarly studies.
However this is very rare amongst those who graduate from these studies. My father, may
Allaah’s mercy be upon him, opposed regular academic studies, and the truth is with him
in that, for the Sharee’ah is not taught there.
Then continued the Shaikh: “Then after that my father decided that I study under
some shaikhs. So I studied with him Hanafee Fiqh, and the knowledge of Sarf
(morphology), and studied under Shaikh Sa’eed az-Zarhaanee some Hanafee Fiqh, and
read to him in a specified manner the book Muraaqee ul-Fallaah Sharh Noor il-Iydhaah,
as I also read to him some recent books of grammar and Balaaghah (the science of
eloquent language). I finished the Qur’aan with my father, reciting it to him Mujawwad
(conforming to the rules of recitation of the Qur’aan). At the same time I was working in
the carpentry field. I was working with two trainers; one of them was my maternal uncle
Isma’eel whom I worked with for a period of two years, and the other a Syrian known as
Abu Muhammad, for a period of two years as well. My normal work with them was
renovating old and collapsed homes which had fallen apart from the effects of rain and
snow and the passing of time. These houses used to be built of wood and brick.
One rainy day we were not able to work at all. So I went to my father who
repaired watches. He asked me, ‘There’s no work today?’ I said, ‘No.’ He then said,
‘What do you think about working with me? For I feel that your profession is not suitable
for you.’ I replied, ‘As you like.’ So he said, ‘Come up into the shop’, since the shop had
been raised up from the ground in fear of rain and snow.”

3
Arna'oothee: Albanian or from the neighboring countries of the same ethnicity. The term was originally
used by the Turkish Ottoman rulers.
The Albanian Youth Begins Pursuing Knowledge of Hadeeth
Stated the Shaikh: “That is from the bounties of Allaah. As far as what were the
reasons, then it is as it is said, if Allaah wanted for a matter to take place he prepared the
reasons for it.
Yes, I used to live in a Madhhabee (upon strict following of schools of thought)
environment upon the Hanafee Madhhab. My father was the most knowledgeable of
them and the reference point for them in Hanafee Fiqh. So when I graduated from
Elementary school and studied under some shaikhs as I mentioned previously, I had a
hobby of reading which was at the point of being uncanny. This kind of reading, as it
seems to many, has no benefit in it, rather it may have effects which are harmful. But in
that which was to come, the effects of this studying in my language and speech became
apparent.”

The Elderly Egyptian Bookseller
I said (Abu Asmaa’): So this young man went on in his love of reading modern
books of fiction, and especially stories of the Frenchman [Arseen] Lupin, infatuated with
these types of stories and novels…
The Shaikh narrated: “Then I shifted to a new pursuit, which was perhaps better
than those previous ones, and that was reading Arabic fiction such as Alf Laylah wa
Laylah (One Thousand and One Nights) and Antar ibn Shaddaad, and Salaah ud-Deen
al-Ayyoobi (biographies of two famous Arab heroes) and Dhaat al-Himmah wal-Bathal
("Those of Might and Bravery") and was very fond of such literature.
Then from the planning and arrangement of Allaah, the Most Mighty and Exalted,
and His kindness to me, when I changed my profession and remained with my father, I
began to have a lot of free time. So I would seek my father’s permission to go to the
Masjid al-Umawee to attend some lessons. Then Allaah destined for me (to meet) an
elderly Egyptian man who used to purchase collections of books and display them in
front of his shop which faced the west entrance of the Masjid al-Umawee. So I would
pass by these books which he would spread out in front of his small shop and find from
amongst them whatever novels I pleased to rent from him and read, and then repeat, and
so forth…”
Then stated the Shaikh: “Then one day I found at his place some issues of the
magazine al-Minaar. I remember very well that I read in one of them a section by Shaikh
Muhammad Rasheed Ridhaa’ speaking about particularities of the book al-Ihyaa’ of al-
Ghazaalee, critiquing it from several angles, such as his Sufiyyah for example, and his
weak and unsound narrations.
In relation to this topic - Shaikh Muhammad Rasheed Ridhaa’ - there was a book
by Abul-Fadhl Zayn ud-Deen al-‘Iraaqee written on al-Ihyaa in which he extracted the
narrations and differentiated between the sound and the weak ones and it is called al-
Mughni ‘An Haml il-Asfaar Fi al-Asfaar Fi Takhreej Ma Fi al-Ihyaa’ Min al-Akhbaar. I
yearned for a copy of this book and went to the marketplace asking about it like one
infatuated until I found a copy with one of them. But at the time I was poor like my father
and could not afford to buy this book, so I made an agreement with the owner to rent it
from him. Upon the verge of flying in delight upon obtaining the book, I went to the shop
and would thereupon seize every opportunity of my father’s absence to be alone with my
book.
After that I wanted to have a copy of the book al-Mughni ‘An Haml il-Asfaar, so I
bought paper and began to write. Then it occurred to me that I could benefit from the
references of my father in a particular matter, and that was Ghareeb ul-Hadeeth 4 . This
was for my being non-Arab, so some of the words found in hadeeth would be difficult for
me (to understand). I benefited greatly from this work (his copying and studying the book
al-Mughni), and it is now with me as a record of my manuscripts from that time. ”

*****

4
Ghareeb al-Hadeeth: The science dedicated to explaining the difficult terms found in hadeeth.
The First Step In Facing Innovation

Stated the Shaikh: “I was, with the favor of Allaah, of a strong personality (able to
bear hardships). My father’s position - may Allaah’s mercy be upon him - at that time
was negative, based upon his partiality to the Hanafee madhhab. He was middle-aged, or
actually elderly, and would say to me when arguing with me, ‘Knowledge of hadeeth is
the pursuit of the bankrupt.' May Allaah’s mercy and forgiveness be upon us and him.
After enduring in studying ‘Ilm ul-Hadeeth, some of the errors that were
widespread at that time - which were a result of the following of various innovations -
became apparent to me. For example, in the book Haashiyatu ibn ‘Aabideen 5 , in the final
chapter, he (Ibn ‘Aabideen) narrated from Sufyaan ath-Thawree that the prayer in Masjid
Bani Umayyah is equal to seventy thousand prayers. And this athar was allegedly
reported by Ibn Asaakir in his Taareekh. 6 I found this athar, if only with an chain of
narrators (chain of narrators) which was covered in layers of darkness (having a variety
of defects). I said, ‘Glorified be Allaah! How do these fuqahaa’ (scholars of Fiqh) narrate
this athar with its chain of narrators being as it is?!’ And (the least that could be said
about it) is that it was Mu’dhal (lacking two simulateneous narrators in it's chain), as it is
said by scholars of Musthalah (science of hadeeth terminology).
I also looked up the story of the grave of Yahya in Taareekh ibn ‘Asaakir and this
grave was alleged to be found in Masjid Bani Umayyah. This search ended with my
coming to the conclusion that it is not permissible to pray in Masjid Bani Umayyah. I
acted by taking my opinion to some shaikhs such as my father, and Shaikh al-Burhaani.
In these days after Dhuhr prayer I would confide in Shaikh al-Burhaani about praying in
Masjid Bani Umayyah being incorrect. So he said to me, ‘Write down everything that
you have compiled on this subject.’ So I then wrote it within three to four pages and
presented it to him, upon which he said, ‘I will give you my answer after ‘Eid.’ That was
in the month of Ramdaan. When I went to him, he said, ‘All that which you have
recorded has no basis.’ Shocked, I replied, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because all of the books that
you have cited are not references we hold in esteem.’
I don’t know what he meant by this speech, alongside the fact that I had cited
from books which were of Hanafee madhhab such as the book Mabaarik al-Azhaar
Sharh Mashaariq al-Anwaar and that is a Hanafee book. And I had cited from Mirqaat
al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh by Mullah ‘Alee Qaaree who is Hanafee,
and some other texts as well. But he didn’t raise his head to them, and my father’s stance
was similar.”

A Young Man Writes A Book Countering Innovation
Stated the Shaikh: “I then took up writing a book: Tahdheer as-Saajid Min
Ittikhaadh al-Quboor Masaajid (A Warning to the Worshipper About Taking Graves As
Places of Worship), and from then on there was no doubt I had to make a firm decision in
regard to praying in Masjid Bani Umayyah so that my actions did not contradict my
speech. My father learned of that and kept it to himself.

5
The most relied upon book of the Hanafee Madhhab.
6
Taareekh Dimashq: (The History of Damascus), by Imaam Ibn al-‘Asaakir (d. 571 H)
Then there was another matter in which I opposed the people, and that was the
second congregatory prayer. For Masjid Bani Umayyah would have two congregations,
the first Hanafee with a Hanafee imaam, and the second Shaafi’ee with their own imaam.
The first would have Shaikh al-Burhaanee as imaam, and were he to be absent then they
would have my father take his place. So I wouldn’t pray a second congregatory prayer
behind my father as I believed that it is disliked to hold a second congregation in a masjid
where the prayer has already taken place.
After that, some spiteful people began to incite my father against me. Until one
day, just as we had sat down for dinner, he said to me speaking clear Arabic, ‘We will
either have harmony, or we part ways.’ So I requested him to give me three days respite
and after thinking I gave him the answer, saying to him ‘I will leave the house so as not
to be a cause of disturbance to you by my opposition to your madhhab.’ I left not having
a dirham or a dinaar to my name, and I remember he gave me just 25 Lir Syrian, and I
went to one of the brothers and took a hundred Lir from him and rented a shop. Thus I
gained my independence, and by the favor of Allaah upon me I was diligent in my work
and sincere.
In that time I wrote a book called ar-Rawdh an-Nadheer Fi Tarteeb wa Takhreej
ath-Thabaraani as-Sagheer (A Garden of Gold - The Arrangement and Extraction of ath-
Thabaraanee’s as-Sagheer), and my age at that time was twenty two years. I embarked
upon my profession and in my thinking, and we would hold lessons at the homes of some
brothers. When the circle of Da’wah grew with the favor of Allaah, we began to have
classes in Hadeeth and it’s Fiqh. My father would come sometimes and we would speak.
One time he came and said to me, ‘I do not deny that I benefited from you.’ Perhaps this
was to him atonement for that which had come from him.”

The "Funny and Pathetic" Spectacle
I said (Abu Asmaa’): As it is known, for every society there are norms and
traditions which are followed. And were something that disturbs the purity of that to be
seen then it would be deemed strange and be rejected.
Stated the Shaikh: “When I bought a piece of undeveloped land for it’s being
inexpensive and began building a house on it along with a shop, the journey from my
home to al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah 7 became long. Those days, I used to work an
hour or two in the shop before the library would open it’s doors.”
I said (Abu Asmaa’): From here on it became necessary for the Shaikh to have a
means to get from here to there, along with, as we know, his shortage of time. So what
did the Shaikh do?
Stated the Shaikh: “I bought a bicycle to ride, and it was the first time the people
of Damascus had seen a spectacle such as this - a Shaikh wearing a turban riding on a
bicycle - and they were astonished at the sight. There used to be a magazine named al-
Mudhhik al-Mubkiy (near to "Things That Make You Laugh And Cry"), published by a
Christian man, and he mentioned this scene within its jokes.

7
A well-known library in Damascus, and a preserve of many manuscripts.
But I didn’t use to pay any attention to these small matters for all that used to
matter to me was: The time. ”

*****
al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah And The Story of The Lost Paper

Stated the Shaikh: “One day I began to suffer from pain in my eyes, so I showed
myself to a doctor. When he asked me about my work, I said to him: ‘My watches, and I
read books a lot.’ So he requested me to relax for a period of six months along with the
treatment. Then I returned to the shop, and didn’t work or go to seek knowledge for two
weeks. As boredom began to creep upon me, an idea entered my mind: there were at al-
Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah a number of treatises, one of them Dhamm al-Malaahee by
Ibn Abee Dunya. So I then assigned the writer at al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah to copy
this treatise for me.
After that I went to the library and it became apparent that the previously
mentioned treatise was deficient. I advised the copier to continue progressing in his work,
but after checking it became clear that there was a lost paper. There was no way to obtain
the paper without carrying out a search. So I began to search for it, designating for this a
side of the library, known as al-Mujaami’. During this I gained a huge benefit in
acquiring knowledge. My resolve for finding the lost paper increased and I searched
until I completed over five hundred volumes, but the search for the lost paper still
continued. I then took a ladder and began to ascend it to look over the books upon the
higher shelves, recording all that I found of value during this search. I benefitted greatly
from this search, and Allaah, the Exalted, opened the gates of understanding for me in
regards to many important issues as a due course of this task and perseverence upon it.
From there the search shifted to another place, that which is called ad-Dust, or ad-
Dusht, and that is the name for the accumulated papers, which no one ever comes near to.
I asked the employee at the library, Abu Mahdee, to show me where ad-Dusht was and he
obliged, pointing out to me it’s location. I then went and began to search until Allaah, the
Exalted, (blessed) me and I stumbled upon a Moroccan copy of Musnad ash-Shehaab by
al-Qadhaa’ee. And with this bounty from Allaah, I completed the first copy which was
present in al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah of Musnad ash-Shehaab.
I joyfully went to the superintendent of the library, but he didn’t find the issue
worthy of paying any attention. This was due to his lack of knowledge and awareness in
regards to this precious knowledge. After that the days rolled by, and years, and then the
noble Shaikh Hamdee ‘Abdul-Majeed as-Salafee took up the checking of this book and
the publishing of the copy which I had stumbled upon. It was printed by the same
publisher where the Shaikh Shu’ayb al-Arna’oothee used to work called Muassasatu ar-
Risaalah.
I later on returned to the names which I had penned down of the various treatises
and wrote them over again on cards. Then I arranged the shelves according to the names
of the writers in alphabetical order. And that is how the manuscripts of hadeeth remained
at al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah, according to that arrangement.
Then came another adventure, and that was the blessed product of that first effort.
I began to read the manuscripts and extract from them the benefits of the hadeeths, and
arranged them like before in alphabetical order. So that is a summary of the story of the
lost paper.”
It was narrated to me from our brother, Shaikh ‘Alee Hasan al-Halabee, may
Allaah presereve him: “One researcher stumbled upon this paper in one of the libraries in
Turkey, and published it in a magazine. It was read to our Shaikh al-Albaani - may
Allaah’s mercy be upon him - and he became happy (upon this confirmation of) the truth
of that which he had been positive about when the paper had been missing at al-
Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah, and his comprehension of the knowledge-based benefits
that that paper contained. So all praise is due to Allaah, the one whom all good deeds are
brought to completion by His favor.”

The Migration to al-Maktabah adh-Dhaahiriyyah
I said (Abu Asmaa’): Anyone who works at a major library in a Muslim country
along with the reviewers and regulars from the students knows that they have rules within
the library which are never to be violated. So how was it facilitated for the Shaikh to have
a room inside the library to himself? And in addition to that obtaining the key? And
having the ability to enter at any time that he pleased?!!
Stated the Shaikh: “The first prospect: That is up to the employees in the library,
depending on how they feel about my activity in seeking knowledge. I used to sit in the
hall and ask the employee to bring me such and such manuscript until there would
accumulate a large number of manuscripts covering the table which was meant to
accommodate four people. So in reality, no student was able to share this table with me.
And this is something which is a cause of objection especially for the students who come
to the library during the days of their examinations. So what did the librarian do? There
was a dark room under the stairs which they didn’t think to be useful for anything. So
they put all what I required there from references and some manuscripts so that I
wouldn’t bother them.
As for the second prospect: The College of Shari’ah at the University of Syria
decided to compile an encyclopedia on ‘Ilm ul-Hadeeth. So they called for me and put
their idea to me and requested that I work on this curriculum which they had drawn up.
After pondering the subject, I agreed to work with them for four hours a day, being free
for seeking knowledge the rest of the day. Then the agreement was completed with the
condition that I was allowed to enter the library at any time of night or day.”
Then stated the Shaikh: “The work of an employee at a library is no secret. They
go to their work at eight ‘o clock sharp in the morning and at exactly noon their shift
ends. Then at four ‘o clock the evening shift begins and ends at nine. So they actually
spoke to the supervisor and he agreed for me to work as arranged and they gave me the
key and ordered the guard to admit me at any time.”

These are some brief glimpses from the life of the Shaikh at al-Maktabah adh-
Dhaahiriyyah.

*****
The Da’wah of the Shaikh In The Path of Allaah

(Abu Asmaa’): Verily, the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah y had a great role
in directing the Shaikh, both in knowledge and action. He took the way of the correct
methodology despite growing up with the Hanafee madhhab. For he said: “That
(guidance) is a bounty from Allaah, turning to the understanding of the Imaams from the
Salaf as-Saaleh (the pious forefathers) without having ta’assub (fanatical partisanship)
for one of them nor against one of them.
From here on he began to oppose the Hanafee madhhab, and his father - may
Allaah forgive him - would differ with him in many matters related to the madhhab. The
young man would explain to him that it is not permissible for a Muslim to leave off
acting upon the hadeeth of the Messenger y, after it has been confirmed to have come
from him, and act instead in accordance to the speech of one of the people, whomever it
may be. He would mention to him that this was in fact the methodology of Abu Haneefah
and other than him from the noble Imaams - may the mercy of Allaah be upon them.
From this juncture began the journey of the Shaikh in his active and persevering
work of calling to Allaah. While on the other hand, there also began arguments between
him and other shaikhs and imaams of masjids. And he faced strong opposition from the
blind-followers of madhhabs, the Sufis and the heretics and innovators and especially
those from his people who would incite the masses and the rabble of the streets against
him, slandering him and calling him “An astray Wahhaabi”!! And they would turn the
people from him. However, at this time there were also some shaikhs who were
supportive of his da’wah. These were some virtuous scholars well known in Damascus
who urged him on and encouraged him to persevere, such as the distinguished scholar
Bahjah al-Baythaar, Shaikh ‘Abd ul-Fattaah al-Imaam, Shaikh Haamid at-Taqee and
Shaikh Tawfeeq al-Bazrah, may Allaah’s mercy be upon them and other than them from
the people of virtue.
But al-Albaani didn’t let the speech of the people and the opposition of those who
opposed him affect him in any way. Rather, it would spur him on in his perseverence in
holding fast to this methodology of truth. Preparing his soul to be patient and to face the
obstacles ahead, in keeping with the advice of Luqman to his son:
From the speech of Allaah: {{O my son, don’t join in worship others with Allaah.
Verily joining others in worship with Allaah is a great wrong indeed.}} to His
saying: {{O my son, perform the prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil and
bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily these are some of the important
commandments.}} 8
Indeed, the Shaikh was the flagbearer of at-Tawheed and as-Sunnah. He visited
many of the shaikhs of Damascus, and there would continue between them debates in
issues of tawheed and partisanship towards madhhabs, and bida', especially along with
his comrade Shaikh ‘Abd ul-Fattaah al-Imaam, the president of Jami’iyyah ash-Shubaan
al-Muslimeen at that time. And the Shaikh greatly annoyed the ill-wishers and the
ignorant and obstinate as well as the spies and all those who were in opposition to his

8
[Surah Luqman (31):13-17]
methodology. Here is what he related to us from the most important of what he faced
from these disturbances, as he relates:
“We witnessed some of the signs of acceptance that our Da'wah met amongst the
people on a trip that we arranged to visit some different areas of the country, that which
lies between Halab and al-Laadhiqiyyah, such as Idlab, Silmiyyah, Hims and Hamaah,
then ar-Ruqah. We did this despite the specified times being different for every one of
these cities. These trips had a success which could be tangibly felt. All those who were
interested in knowledge of hadeeth were gathered in nearly periodical seminars. There
were readings from the books of Sunnah, and the questions came one after the other and
beneficial debate was stimulated. However, this traveling increased the rancor of others
who in turn increased their evil doings with the authorities. So if we were ever facing
problems, they would be calling each other and checking.”
(Abu Asmaa’): The issue of these enemies of the Shaikh continued until it
reached the point of slander and speaking falsely of him to the rulers, leading to his
imprisonment for about six months. And he was imprisoned one time before that in 1967
as well for the period of one month. Had (those who instigated these arrests) entered into
conversation with him, it would have corrected much of what they thought about the
Shaikh and about as-Salafiyyah.

*****

Translation by Raashid bin Satbaal al-Hindee