Does Shaikh Al Albani have Ijaza?

20 Points Regarding Shaykh al-Albaanee by Abu Hudhayfah

as-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu…

[1] Shaykh AlAlbani has Ijaza in hadith from the late Allamah Shaykh Muhammad Raghib at-Tabaagh with whom he studied hadith sciences, gaining authority to transmit from him. The Shaykh himself refers to this Ijaza in Mukhtasar al-Uluw (p.72) and in Tahdir as-Sajid (p.63). He has a further Ijaza from Shaykh Bahjatul Baitaar(through whom his isnad stretches back to Imam Ahmad). These are mentioned in the book Hayat AlAlbani (the Life of AlAlbani) by Muhammad ash-Shaibaani. This sort of Ijaza is given only to those who have excelled in hadith and can be trusted to accurately convey a hadith. A copy of the Ijaza is in the possession of his student, Ali Hassan al-Halabi. So it is not correct to say that the Shaykh is self-taught from books, without authority and without Ijaza.

Whilst we are on the subject, I think it would not be out of place here to mention a few snippets from Shaykh AlAlbani‘s life and career to further emphasise his great standing in the field of hadith science as well as the respect shown to him by other scholars. One cannot really do the subject justice in one or two brief emails, however, I hope the readers will find this information both encouraging and interesting:

[1] Shaykh AlAlbani was born in 1914 in Ashkodera, the former capital of Albania.

[2] His first shaykh was his father, Al-Haaj Nuh Najjatee, who himself had completed Shariah studies in Istanbul, returning to Albania as one of its Hanafi scholars. Under his father’s guidance, Shaykh AlAlbani studied Qur’an, tajwid, Arabic language as well as Hanafi fiqh.

[3] He further studied Hanafi fiqh and Arabic language under Shaykh Sa’eed al-Burhan.

[4] He would attend the lectures of Imam Abdul-Fattaah and Shaykh Tawfiq al-Barzah.

[5] The Shaykh met the late hadith master, Ahmad Shakir, with whom he participated in knowledge based discussions on hadith and its research.

[6] He met the late Indian hadith scholar, Shaykh Abdul-Samad Sharf ad-Deen, who himself had referenced the hadith to the first volume of An-Nasa’ee’s Sunan al-Kubra as well as Al-Mizzi’s monumental Tuhfatul-Ashraf, and they continued to exchange letters on matters of knowledge. In one such letter, Shaykh Abdul-Samad expressed his belief that Shaykh AlAlbani was the greatest hadith scholar of the time.

[7] In recognition of his knowledge of hadith, he was commissioned as far back as 1955 by the Faculty of Shariah at Damascus University to carry out detailed analysis and research into hadith related to buying and selling and other business related transactions.

[8] Shaykh AlAlbani began his formal work in the field of hadith by transcribing Al-Hafidh al-Iraqi’s monumental Al-Mughni ‘an Hamlil Asfar, being a study of the various hadith and narrations contained in Al-Ghazali’s famous Ihya Ulum ad-Din. This work alone contains some 5000 hadith.

[9] The Shaykh was famous for attending the Zahiriyyah library in Damascus, and was eventually given his own set of keys due to his frequent and lengthy study there. On one such occasion, an important folio was missing from a manuscript in use by the Shaykh and this led Shaykh AlAlbani to painstakingly catalogue all the hadith manuscripts in the library in an endeavour to locate the missing folio. Consequently, he gained in-depth knowledge of 1000s of hadith manuscripts, something that was attested to years later by Dr. Muhammad Mustafa Azami in the introduction to Studies in Early Hadith Literature where he said: ‘I wish to express my gratitude to Shaikh Nasir al-Din alAlbani, who placed his extensive knowledge of rare manuscripts at my disposal.’

[10] Shaykh AlAlbani would sometimes mention his extreme poverty during his early life. He said he would be reduced to picking up scraps of paper from the street, often discarded wedding cards, and use them to write his hadith notes on. Often, he would purchase scrap paper in bulk from the rubbish dump and take it home to use.

[11] He would correspond with numerous scholars, particularly those from India and Pakistan, discussing matters related to hadith and the religion in general, including Shaykh Muhammad Zamzami from Morocco and Ubaydullah Rahman, the author of Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mushkila al-Masabih.

[12] His skill in hadith is attested to by a host of qualified scholars, past and present, including Dr. Amin al-Misri, head of Islamic Studies at Madinah University who considered himself to be one of the Shaykh’s students; also Dr. Subhi as-Salah, former head of Hadith Sciences at the University of Damascus; Dr. Ahmad al-Asaal, head of Islamic Studies at Riyadh University; the late Pakistani hadith scholar, Allamah Badiudeen Shah as-Sindee; Shaykh Muhammad Tayyib Awkeej, former head of Tafsir and Hadith at the University of Ankarah in Turkey; not to mention the likes of Shaykh Ibn Baz, Ibn al-Uthaymeen, Muqbil ibn Hadee and many others in later times.

[13] After a number of his works appeared in print, the Shaykh was chosen to teach hadith at the new Islamic University of Madinah for three years from 1381 to 1383H where he was also a member of University board. After this he returned to his former studies and work in the Zahiriyyah library. His love for Madinah University is evidenced by the fact that he bequeathed his entire personal library to the University.

[14] He would hold study circles twice a week whilst in Damascus which were attended by numerous students and university lecturers. In this way, the Shaykh completed instruction in the following classical and modern works:

Fathul-Majid of Abdur-Rahman ibn Husain ibn Muhamamd ibn Abdul-Wahhab
Rawdah an-Nadiyah of Siddiq Hasan Khan
Minhaj al-Islamiyyah of Muhammad Asad
Usul al-Fiqh of Al-Khallal
Mustalah at-Tarikh of Asad Rustum
Al-Halal wa al-Haram fil-Islam of Yusuf al-Qardawi
Fiqh as-Sunnah of Sayyid Sabiq
Bath al-Hathith of Ahmad Shakir
At-Targhib wa at-Tarhib of Al-Hafidh al-Mundhiri
Riyadh as-Saliheen on Imam an-Nawawi
Al-Imam fi Ahadith al-Ahqam of Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid

[15] After carrying out an analysis of the hadith in Ibn Khuzaymah’s Sahih, the Indian hadith scholar, Muhamamd Mustafa Azami (head of Hadith Science in Makkah), chose Shaykh AlAlbani to verify and re-check his analysis and the work is currently published in 4 volumes containing both their comments. This is an indication of the level of trust placed in Shaykh AlAlbani‘s hadith ability by other scholars.

[16] In their edition of the well known hadith compilation, Mishkat al-Masabih, the Maktaba al-Islamee publishing house requested Shaykh AlAlbani to edit the work before publication.The publisher wrote in the introduction: ‘We requested that the great hadith scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Nasir ad-Deen alAlbani, should help us in the checking of Mishkat and take responsibility for adding footnotes for any ahadith needing them, and researching and reproducing their sources and authenticity where needed, and correcting any deficiences’

[17] The Shaykhs printed works, mainly in the field of hadith and its sciences, number some 112 books. I personally have 17 of these books and these alone run into 45 volumes! He left behind him in manuscript form at least a further 70 works.

[18] It is recorded on one occasion (and this incident is available on two tape cassettes – his students were in the habit of recording his teaching sessions), that a man visited Shaykh AlAlbani in his home in Jordan claiming to be a prophet! How would we have reacted when faced with such a situation? Shaykh AlAlbani sat the man down and discussed his claims at length (as I said, covering two tape cassettes) and in the end the visitor made tawba from his claim and all present, including the Shaykh, were overcome with tears. In fact, how often is Shaykh AlAlbani heard on tape bursting into tears when speaking about Allah, His Messenger and the affairs of the Muslims?

[19] On another occasion (and I was told this by a Shaykh who was present in the gathering) he was visited by three men all claiming that Shaykh AlAlbani was a kafir. When it came time to pray they refused to pray behind him, saying it is not possible for a kafir to lead the prayer. The Shaykh accepted this, saying that in his eyes the three of them were Muslims so one of them should lead the prayer. Afterwards, they discussed their differences at length and when it came time for the following prayer, all three men insisted on praying behind Shaykh AlAlbani!

[20] During the course of his life the Shaykh has researched and commented on over 30,000 individual chains of transmission (isnad) for countless hadith, having spent 60 years in the study of the books of the Sunnah and being in the company of, and in contact with, its scholars.

Abu Hudhayfah

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