Questioner: What is your advice about people who slander Shaikh al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, and warn against him? And what should our stance towards such an individual be?
Al-’Abbaad: That is the strangest thing, the fact that Shaikh al-Albaani is warned against, that a man who served the Sunnah is warned against, someone who spent his [entire] life examining and researching the hadiths of Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ, clarifying the authentic from what is not. What a person should do is supplicate for him, praise him, and benefit from his knowledge.
And the reality is that there are two people who someone working in the [field of] hadith cannot but refer back to, i.e., al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr and Shaikh al-Albaani. The benefit from al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr in those things connected to hadith is colossal, and the benefit from Shaikh al-Albaani in those things connected to hadith is colossal [too].
For this reason it means that the one who warns against Al-Albaani is warning against becoming acquainted with the truth and accessing the Sunnah, because what Al-Albaani did in connection to hadith was a preeminent service and complete diligence in [serving] the Sunnah, facilitating access to it and bringing it closer to comprehension for the students of knowledge.
So he is worthy of being complimented and supplicated for.
“My son, Shaikh Muhammad Zahraan ibn ’Abdullaah ’Aloosh told me that one of his friends, a youth, told him that Shaikh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani wanted to cause fitnah in the Al-Daqqaaq Jaami’ Mosque and that Shaikh ’Abdul-’Aziz al-Rifaa’i was able to stop him in his tracks, according to what this youth’s grandfather said. My son asked me about this incident, so I told him that:
‘I was there when it happened in 1956. We were in a lesson of our Shaikh and Muhaddith, al-Albaani, in Shaikh ’Abdur-Rahmaan al-Baani’s house [not al-Albaani, i.e., Shaikh Al-Albaani was giving a lecture in the house of another Shaikh called ’Abdur-Rahmaan al-Baani] in al-Midan. When he finished from his first dars, we left with the Shaikh to perform ’ishaa prayer in Jaami’ al-Daqqaaq, so the ’iqaamah for the prayer was given.
The Imaam was [a person called] Shaikh ’Abdul-’Aziz al-Rifaa’i, when he turned around to the worshippers to ask them to straighten their rows he caught a glimpse of our Shaikh al-Albaani standing in the first row to the right, about ten metres from him.
So Shaitaan overtook Shaikh al-Rifa’i and made him forget the remembrance of Allah, and he forgot the du’aa that was usually said before the prayer … and he shook as though the Devil had thrown a bucket of hot water on him, or like a thousand watt electrical current had struck him, so he started shouting angrily, ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’ addressing these hard words at our Shaikh al-Albaani, expelling him from the mosque!
But our Shaikh replied to him with complete calm, saying, ‘I am in the House of Allaah, the Most High—I’m not in your house, and when I enter your house, throw me out [then]!’
So Shaikh al-Rifa’i’s rage and anger increased even more, and he shouted out [quoting the hadith], ‘My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Fire—’ and he pointed with his hand at al-Albaani!
Some of the worshippers tried to calm the Shaikh [i.e., the Imaam] and others said, ‘Yaa Jamaa’ah, pray now and delay your fighting for after the prayer!’ So the Imaam prayed and we prayed behind him and it was a prayer like that of the one who performed his prayer badly!
After he gave salaam, the Imaam immediately turned and began shouting and screaming again and saying things. So we calmly left the mosque and left Shaikh Rifa’i to quench his desire.
A number of young guys met us, or Shaikh Rifa’i sent them to us, who wanted to fight us. We were about twenty youth in number and had circled our Shaikh al-Albaani, but then some of the noble people from that area who had intellect got involved and prevented the youth from al-Rifa’i’s group with wisdom and calming words, and it was over.
So who created that fitnah and stoked the fire? It was Shaikh ’Abdul-’Aziz al-Rifaa’i, may Allaah forgive us and him.’”
Questioner: What is your Eminence’s opinion about relying on what al-Albaani has authenticated?
The Imaam of Ahlus-Sunnah, Ibn Baaz: Shaikh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, is from the elite, from the scholars well-known for their integrity, sound ’aqidah, and diligence in authenticating hadiths and clarifying their status. He is a chief support/pillar in this regard, but he is not infallible, he may fall into a mistake in declaring some hadiths authentic or weak, just like any other scholar, every scholar is like that, having some mistakes, from the earliest scholars to those who came later.
The student of knowledge must look at what he has authenticated, or declared hasan or weak, if he is from the people of knowledge, from the people of this field, someone who knows hadiths and can take a look at their paths of narration and their narrators, such that if he finds that what the Shaikh has said is correct, then alhamdulillaah, and if not then he relies on the proofs that are clear to him which the people of knowledge in this field have followed. Because the people of knowledge established principles to authenticate hadiths and declare them weak, as for [… unclear …] the people of knowledge, he [i.e., al-Albaani] is a chief support/pillar in authenticating and declaring hadiths to be weak, because he is from the people of knowledge, he is from those who are [experts] in this field, he has studied for a long time and many years, we ask Allaah to give us and him success and a good ending.
Questioner: Ameen, O Allaah, and may Allaah reward you with good.
See here for a collection of statements that scholars made about Shaikh al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him.
The Imaam said, “So a Muslim individual’s following a scholar, not going to anyone else except him, as though he is the Lord of the Worlds who has the right to legislate—no one from mankind has this right whatsoever, even the Prophet ﷺ would relate what was revealed to him from his Lord.”
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 101.
The Imaam said, “It is not allowed for us to take a specific person to be an Imaam and not benefit from the knowledge of others because the truth which Allaah تبارك وتعالى revealed to His Prophet ﷺ is not restricted to being found in one man after him ﷺ.
We do not believe about the Companions who succeeded him ﷺ what the Shee’ah believe about ’Ali ibn Abi Taalib, [i.e.,] that all of the knowledge which the Prophet ﷺ had in his chest was transferred to ’Ali, we do not believe this, for this reason they believed him to be infallible and held him to be like the Prophet ﷺ in terms of infallibility.
We say: the knowledge which was in the Prophet’s chest ﷺ was transferred to the Companions—not just one Companion—for this reason, whoever wants to gain knowledge or gain an abundant portion of it cannot do so from only one person, rather he must benefit from all of them, for if not, he will have forfeited a great deal of it.”
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 101.
“Shaikh Ibn Baaz interceded for Shaikh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, to remain in Jordan when they wanted to exile him, whereby he wrote a letter to the King of Jordan which contained advice and a mention of the rank of Shaikh Al-Albaani, so the person in authority there agreed to let the Shaikh stay in Jordan.”
Al-Imaam Ibn Baaz, Duroos wa Mawaaqif wa ’Ibar, p. 51.
Questioner: Noble Shaikh, [the questioner was about to ask his question but forgets what he was going to say and so does what is common and sends salutations on the Prophet عليه السلام to help him remember what he has forgotten thinking this to be the Sunnah], Allaahumma salli ’alaa Rasoolillaah … alaihis-salaatu was-salaam …
Al-Albaani: [Quotes the aayah], “And remember your Lord when you forget … and remember your Lord when you forget …” [Kahf 18:24].
Questioner: Laa ilaaha illallaah.
Al-Albaani: … because the hadith about sending salaah on the Prophet عليه السلام to help a person remember what he has forgotten is weak, not authentic, whereas the Quranic aayah is forthright, “And remember your Lord when you forget …”
Questioner: You’ve spoken the truth, just sometimes a person does things which he is used to …
Al-Albaani: I say that you too have spoken the truth [in saying that a person does things that he is used to], but what should you do … [what] you and I should do is go back to the aayah ….
Questioner: Inshaa Allaah, with Allaah’s Permission …
The PDF: The Salafi Dawah in Disarray.
Questioner: What is your Excellency’s opinion about … the Salafi da’wah in general, and specifically in Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi?
Al-Albaani: I say that unfortunately the Salafi Da’wah is now in disarray, and I attribute the cause of that to the hastiness of many of the Muslim youth to claim knowledge: so he will have the audacity to pass fatwas, and to declare things to be haram and halaal before he knows.
Some of them, as I have heard on numerous occasions, can’t even recite an aayah from the Quraan properly—even if the Noble Mushaf were [open] in front of them—let alone the fact that he will make many mistakes when [simply] reading a hadith of the Prophet ﷺ. And so that proverb that is well-known in some countries is applicable to him:
إنه تزبب قبل أن يتحصرم
“He became a raisin before [even becoming] a sour grape.”
You know what الحصرم is, is this word used amongst you? When a grape starts out it becomes a green berry, this is what الحصرم is referring to, and it is very sour, so before he even reaches this stage of being a sour grape, he makes himself out to be a raisin.
Thus for many of these people to prop up their heads and be hasty in [both] claiming knowledge and writing when they haven’t even traversed half the way on the path to knowledge is what now unfortunately makes those who attribute themselves to the Salafi da’wah split into groups and factions.
And so there is no cure for this except for these Muslims to fear their Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, and for them to know that it is not for everyone who starts off seeking knowledge to take the lead in declaring fatwas about things being halaal and haram, or declaring hadiths to be authentic or weak except after a long lifetime, a lifetime in which he practices learning how fatwas are delivered and how [verdicts] are derived from the Book and the Sunnah.
And in this respect these callers or Salafis must comply with that third check which I mentioned before when speaking about beneficial knowledge and righteous actions, saying that beneficial knowledge must be according to the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih.
So nowadays when many of the Islamic callers depart from this check, the third check which Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, indicated in his poetry when he said:
“Knowledge is, ‘Allaah said … His Messenger said …
The Companions said …’ and it is not hidden.”
Not paying heed to what our Salaf as-Saalih were upon makes the people go back, after having been united, to disunity which separates them as it had done with many Muslims before, turning them into groups and factions, each faction pleased with what it has. This is my opinion of the situation.
So if, as we hope, they are sincere they must cling to the correct knowledge-based principles, and that the person who has not reached the level of having correct knowledge does not have the audacity to … that he keeps himself out of sight from [delving into] that and he entrusts knowledge to the one who knows it [i.e., the scholars].
… in this regard [there] is a narration which has been reported in the books of hadith, I think it was ’Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abi Layla, may Allaah have mercy on him, who was one of the major scholars of the Salaf as-Saalih, he said, “In this mosque …” and maybe he was referring to the Prophet’s Mosque, “… I met …” and then he mentioned a [specific] number of Companions, I forget the number now, “… so when one of them would be asked …”
Al-Albaani: Maybe it was. “I met seventy Companions in this mosque, when one of them would be asked a question or asked for a fatwa, he would wish that another one of the scholars from those Companions who were present would shoulder the responsibility for it,” and the reason for that was because they feared that they would make a mistake and thus [as a result] would cause other people to fall into making a mistake. So they would wish to not have to take this responsibility and that someone else would.
As for now, then the situation, most unfortunately, is the polar opposite.
And that is because of one reason, which is something I always mention: that this blooming which we now see for the Book and the Sunnah and the Salafi Da’wah is something new, this blossoming which they call an awakening has not been going on for a long time such that these people can reap the fruits of this awakening or blossoming in themselves, namely, by being nurtured on the foundations of the Book and the Sunnah and for them to then inundate, with this correct nurturing based upon the Book and the Sunnah, others who are around them, [calling] those closest [to them firstly] and then those after them.
So the cause is that the effects of this da’wah have not become apparent because it is new to this time in which we live, for this reason we find the situation to be the opposite of what ’Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Abi Layla reported about those Companions who would be cautious of being asked questions and who would wish that someone else would be asked, and the only reason that would make them answer a question would be because they knew that it was not allowed for them to hide knowledge—but in the depths of their hearts they used to wish that someone else would bear that responsibility.
As for now, in many Salafi gatherings let alone non-Salafi ones, a person who it is assumed has more knowledge than other people present is asked a question, and all of a sudden you will see that so and so has started to speak even though he wasn’t asked, and so and so has started to speak even though he wasn’t asked—what makes these people do that?
It is the love of fame. It is self-centredness, “I am here,” i.e., “I have knowledge. Maa shaa Allaah about me.”
This shows that we have not had a Salafi tarbiyyah. We have grown up with Salafi knowledge, each according to his efforts and striving towards that knowledge, but as for tarbiyyah, then we have not yet acquired it as an Islamic, Salafi community …
… so we are now in an awakening in terms of knowledge but we are not in an awakening of correct upbringing [tarbiyyah]. That is why many times we find individuals, some callers, that can be benefitted from in terms of knowledge but not in manners—because he brought himself up on knowledge but was not in a righteous environment in which he was raised from childhood, and for this reason he lives carrying the manners which he inherited from that society in which he exists and in which he is found, and it is a society which without doubt is not an Islamic one, but he was able to, by himself or with the direction of some of the people of knowledge, follow the path of [obtaining] correct knowledge, but the effects of this knowledge are not seen in his manners, in his behaviour, in his actions.
The cause of this manifestation which we are talking about now is that we have not matured/fully developed in knowledge except a few individuals.
And secondly, individuals, even more so, have not been brought up according to a correct Islamic upbringing and that is why you will find that many of the beginners in seeking knowledge will prop themselves up as a head … the head of a Jamaa’ah or faction, and it is here that an old piece of wisdom which expresses this manifestation applies, it says, “The love of fame will break one’s back,” so the cause of [all of] this goes back to a lack of a correct upbringing on that correct knowledge.
Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 188.
The PDF: The Saplings.
Questioner: Virtuous, kind father, we would like you to explain to us what the correct methodology in the Salafi da’wah is, especially in this time in which tribulations have increased and knowledge has decreased, and what is the difference between organising …? We would like a clarification, may Allaah reward you with good.
Al-Albaani: Concerning da’wah, then none except the people of knowledge who maintain justice are to carry it out. As for what has become widespread in this time where lots of people who have been given an amount of knowledge that can hardly [even] be mentioned call themselves, ‘Callers to Allaah,’ then—and maybe you will find this surprising but I take the responsibility for what I [am about to] say—in my opinion this is one of the innovations of the present age.
It is from the innovations of this day and age that thousands of callers have spread out amongst the people who do not have knowledge of the Book nor the Sunnah or the narrations of the Salaf, in fact, [they do] not [even have knowledge concerning] the existent madhhabs that are blindly-followed today.
All they know are a few simple rulings and maybe some aayahs and some hadiths—which even someone from the people who has the least amount of knowledge can say—and then they prop themselves up as callers.
When they are then asked about a topic they are at a loss and are not able to answer, and they may go and answer based upon manifest ignorance, this is from the blights of the present day and age.
And it doesn’t stop at these sprouting youth, rather we may find old men who have not been given an abundant share of knowledge who have become famous as callers to what? To Islaam, but they [in fact] fight Islaam by fighting the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger ﷺ without which a Muslim cannot understand Allaah’s Book, so how can someone who is ignorant of the knowledge of the Sunnah and who fights some of it, [who] at the very least [fights it] in ’aqeedah, [how can someone like that] be a caller to Islaam?
… likewise today there are callers who have not been given an abundant amount or a lot of knowledge of the Sunnah according to which the Noble Quraan can be explained correctly.
So what is one to say about people like these?
In fact, what are we to say about the present day saplings who have barely finished secondary school let alone obtained a more advanced certificate from … even a professor’s certificate … even in Sharee’ah … what are we to say about these people who have propped themselves up to call to Islaam?
And he ﷺ said as is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and Muslim, from the hadith of ’Abdullaah ibn ’Amr ibn al-’Aas, “Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when no scholar remains, the people turn to the ignorant as their leaders. Then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge—so they go astray [themselves], and lead others astray.”
… before everything, calling to Allaah must be done based upon knowledge:
وَمَنۡ أَحۡسَنُ قَوۡلٗا مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَٰلِحٗا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ
“And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allaah and does righteous deeds and says, ‘I am one of the Muslims.’” [Fussilat 41:33]
If he is not a scholar who acts upon his knowledge then he will not be a righteous scholar, and someone who does not have something, as was said in the past, cannot give it.
So it is obligatory that the caller be a scholar, and this [too] is not enough, he must be a scholar of the Book and the Sunnah and not of some of the fiqh opinions of those who came later …
… this is the first thing, that he be a scholar, and secondly that he be a scholar of the Book and the Sunnah on the methodology of the Salaf as-Saalih. And lastly that he acts upon his knowledge, because even if calling to Allaah were done correctly one hundred per cent but is not coupled with that caller’s actions then it will not have the desired effect on the masses because people pay heed to following the actions of the people of knowledge and excellence more than they do their statements.