Although, he is touted as Anti-Talqeed, Anti-Madhabs. Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) was vehemently against laymen picking up Qur’aan and books of Hadeeth and doing DIY self-Ijtehaad. We may disagree with his approach of judging between the strongest opinion of four Madhabs but nowhere did he leave this issue to laymen rather he obligated “Blind Following” in Fiqh for laymen very clearly.
First Question: Is it permissible for the student of knowledge to suffice with the declarations of the scholars of the past as to whether a saying of the Prophet, صلى الله عليه وسلم, is weak or authentic? For example, he reads the checking of Haafidh al-Iraaqi where he says, “This hadith is authentic.” So is it permissible for him to suffice with that and the same with Imaam Ahmad or other than him?
Shaikh al-Albaani: “This matter resembles blind following in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). It is sufficient for the student of knowledge to listen to and act upon an opinion of one of the Imaams who are followed, and by that I do not only mean the four [famous ones], since there are more, by the Grace of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic with two conditions:
Second Question: “What is the proof concerning the forbiddance of blind following?”
Shaikh al-Albaani: “I do not know of any proof that states that blind following is haraam, rather blind following is a necessity for the one who has no knowledge. And Allaah, the one free from all defects and the Most High, said, “So ask those who know the Scripture if you know not.” Therefore, this aayah placed the Muslims into two categories as regards knowledge:
So if a person from the common folk came to a scholar and asked him about something and the scholar answered him, then this man has implemented the aayah.
Taken from Al-Fataawaa al-Kuwaitiyyah, compiled by Amr Abdul-Mun’im Saleem, pp. 81-83.
Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) Fatwa on length of Beard that a person who grows the Beard more then a Fist is Mubtadi (a person of Bid'ah):
Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) based on the following evidence considers that Beard length more then a fist is Bid'ah
حدثنا محمد بن منهال حدثنا يزيد بن زريع حدثنا عمر بن محمد بن زيد عن نافع عن ابن عمر عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال خالفوا المشركين وفروا اللحى وأحفوا الشوارب وكان ابن عمر إذا حج أو اعتمر قبض على لحيته فما فضل أخذه
Narrated Nafi (RA)': Ibn Umar said, The Prophet said, 'Do the opposite of what the pagans do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short.' Whenever Ibn 'Umar performed the Hajj or 'Umra, he used to hold his beard with his hand and cut whatever was excess [Bukhari]
This is a very strange opinion indeed which nobody follows and it was refuted by Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta (Saudia) with signatures from Abdul-`Aziz Al Al-Shaykh Salih Al-Fawzan, Bakr Abu Zayd Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan and Abdul-`Aziz ibn `Abdullah ibn Baz and the summary of the Fatwa is as follows:
As for the claim that it is not known that any of the Salaf let his beard grow without trimming, this is invalid and contradicts the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is reported in many authentic Hadiths that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was thick-bearded
Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) Fatwa on Niqab (recommended but not mandatory):
Disagreed with and refuted by many Salafi Scholars who regard Niqab to be an obligation e.g. see "The Four Essays On The Obligation Of Veiling" by various Salafi Scholars
If there are serious detailed and thorough works on Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) and his life from Deobandi Ulamah which are SOLID and ACCURATE please point them out...
Most of us (Non-Arabs) were intorduced to Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) by his book on Salah (prayers), translated into English by Dr Usama Hasan (London). This book is probably the Number one Salafi seller of the past 2 decades and most new Muslims are given it as present (on accepting Islam) and people follow it to the letter.
What is not told to most laymen (Salafees) who don’t speak Arabic is that this book has been refuted and disputed by other Salafi Ulamah from the beginning, This book claims to have the most strongest opinion on Salah when:
Therefore any Deobandi trying to discuss issues with Madkhalees about prayer should neither get offensive nor insulting, rather they should point out that the works of Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) regarded as “most authentic” are disputed and refuted even by Salafi Scholars (and his contemporaries) let alone by Hanafees.
The verdict of Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) that placing hands upon the chest (in Salah) is the most authentic opinion and everything besides it is weak is baseless and well known during his lifetime and now afterwards. Even amongst knowledgeable Salafi circles this is known!
(*) This is a famous issue where the wording of Attahiyaat is deemed to be shirk by Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) and made famous in the west by his student Shaykh (Dr) Bilal Phillips
Time passes everyone by.
The similitude of Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) is of Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) to Deobandees. No self-righteous Deobandi will EVER pay attention to any Academic refutation of Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) and they will automatically shutoff and assume that the one refuting is upon error.
However, there is a major difference between Salafees and Deobandees that the Salafees don’t adhere to Taqleed-Shaksi so sooner or later their infatuation with Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) was bound to end and it has. If you look at Salafi sites, blogs, articles and listen to their talks they no longer regard Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) as the benchmark of Hadeeth Scholarship.
Pockets of (Non-Arab) Salafees e.g. in Europe (and women in the west) are still running with Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) bandwagon, in fact most Salafi sites and blogs about Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) are by women! One of the most popular Salafi European blog is by a woman!
But the tide is long gone. Nevertheless, when dealing with Salafi (women) Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) admirers stop and ask yourself as how you would react to the refutation of Shaykh (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA)? The way you would react is exactly how a Salafi woman reacts to the refutation or opposition to Shaykh Al-Albani (RA).
This is an emotional issue and of fanatical adherence and not an Academic issue because the web is plastered with disagreements with Shaykh Al-Albani (RA), give it 5 years and people will say, “Al-Albani (RA), who?” amongst laymen! Amongst Academic circles his contributions are more significant but then those in Academic circles also clearly realise the shortcomings.
Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) was born in 1914 in the Albanian city of Shkodër which was part of the Ottoman Empire. At the demise of the Ottomans and due to political situation like many Muslim Albanian families, the family of young Al-Albani (RA) migrated to the outskirts of Damascus. The Turk (ottoman) families which moved to Damascus stayed at the Mount Qasiyoun district of the city and so did the newly arrived family of Shaykh Al-Albani (RA). This is an old picture of the neighbourhood.
The father of Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) was Haji Nuh Al-Albani (RA) who as per the general custom and tradition of Albanians (thereby Ottomans) was a Hanafi. It can be surmised that Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) must have studied the beginning Tajweed, Qur'aan and basic Hanafi Fiqh from his father or by Shaykh Sheikh Muhammad Sa‘id al-Burhani at Tawbah Mosque.
Pictures of the neighbourhood in Damascus (Turk/Ottoman quarter):
Pictures of the his house in Damascus where he grew up:
Pictures of Tawba Masjid where he (may have) studied basic prmers of Hanafi Madhab:
Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) started primary School at Madrasa Khairiya but his father pulled him out and decided to make a Hafidh of Qur'aan by teaching himself. Shaykh Al-Albani (RA)'s first school is as follows:
The Al-Albani (RA) family wasn't rich so he started working as a carpenter (originally) and then joined his father (at their shop) repairing watches. Pictures of the family watchshop where young Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) used to mend watches:
Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) found himself frequenting the famous Al-Dhahiriyah library in Damascus and his visits were so frequent that he was entrusted a key to the library. There are no sustained accounts of Shaykh (RA) studying for extended periods under any Scholars even from the Salafees. Here is a picture of where he spent most of his youth studying
This is an old library where old manuscripts were available and getting rusty so this is where young Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) started work on rare manuscripts. A Master of Hadeeth by the name of Shaykh Raghib Al-Tabbakh (RA) vistied the library around 1951 and he was introduced to a young Al-Albani when he gave him Ijazah in Hadeeth Musalsal.
The Ijazas of Hadeeth Musalsal are given for Barakah by many Mashaykh and this Hadeeth is mentioned by Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) in his own book that Shaykh Raghib Al-Tabbakh (RA) gave me Ijazah in it. The hadeeth is as follows:
أما بعد، روى أبو داود في سننه ( 1522 ) من حديث الصُنَابِحِي عن معاذ بن جبل رضي الله عنه: أن رسول الله صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أخذ بيده، وقال: " يا معاذُ! والله إني لأُحِبّكَ، والله إني لأُحِبُّكَ ". فقال: " أوصيك يا معاذ! لا تدعَنَّ في دُبُرِ كل صلاة تقول: اللهم! أَعِنّي على ذِكرِكَ وشُكْرِكَ وحُسْنِ عبادتك " .
Mu'adh reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took him by the hand and said, "O Mu'adh! By Allah, I love you.and I advise you not to fail to say after every prayer, 'O Allah, help me to remember You and thank You and worship You well." [Abu Dawud and an-Nasa'i]
This is a general Ijazah and I also have one of these so I hope that Khala Ummi Talib also accepts me as a Scholar of Hadeeth! :- )
As time passed Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) worked on manuscripts and his work was noticed in Saudi Arabia and a new university Islamic University of Madina was being opened in 1961 an invitation came to him from Shaikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim (RA) who was then the Mufti of the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia, i.e.,the Mufti before Ibn Baaz], and he (Shaykh Bin Baz) was the Principal of the university, asking him to agree to teach hadith sciences at Madinah University. Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) made Mushwara and took the job.
In Fiqh Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) decided to write a research book on the work of Shaykh Sabiq's Fiqh as Sunnah but reached only Kitaabus-Salah and the work is incomplete.
Since Shaykh (HA) is more knowledgeable on this subject than me I retract the claim that Shaykh Al-Albani (RA) was a Dhahiri.
May Allah (SWT) reward him for correcting me.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.