Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
Shaikh Muhammad Musa Nasr said, “We do not know from the life of our Shaikh and through the times we accompanied him which spanned over twenty years that he ever entered upon a ruler, or those in authority or a judge, or ever fawned on one, or was ever appointed in a religious position under one, or ever ate at the table of one: which was the thing that made him independent in the stances he took; and his religious verdicts were not issued due to political or religious pressure …
So his religious verdicts were never to please Zaid or Amr. Allaah had made him free of having a need of the people, and provided for him through what his own hands earned where he worked repairing watches for many long years, “The best of what a man eats is that which his own hands have earned …”
And I took his hand one day and said to him, “Our Shaikh! Have you ever shaken hands with any of the tyrants of this world?”
He replied, “No.”
I said to him, “And have you ever eaten at their tables or entered upon them?”
He said, “No.”
So I took his hand to kiss it and he prevented me from doing so, but I overcame him and kissed it. After which he severely reprimanded me, so I said, “And why shouldn’t I kiss a hand that has never shaken that of a tyrant? And which has served the Sunnah of the Messenger صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ for more than half a century?”
And the Shaikh would reprimand me many times for my exaggeration in the love and honour for him, and in my view this was less than what he deserved.
But this did not prevent us from opposing him, sometimes, in some of the independent judgements [ijtihaad] he would come to, may Allaah have mercy on him. For everyone’s saying is accepted and rejected except for the companion of this grave [i.e., the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ] as Imaam Maalik, may Allaah have mercy on him, said …”
Al-Imaam, al-Mujaddid, al-Allaamah, al-Muhaddith, Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani, pp. 63-64.