I’m not writing this as a fan/follower of him. Nor do I agree with him on every issue. I just write this to inform people about the man and what other people said about him to restore some justice and fairness.
Credit needs to be given where credit is due, no matter who it is. We need to be balanced and not biased. Especially if you do reserch and read. I don’t like madhhab partisanism because the truth can’t be contained within one madhhab. You may dislike or disagree with someone but you should also be able to acknowledge facts and take an objective stance. With regards to shaykh al-Albani rahimahullah I’d like to state that I feel certain brethren amongst us are not fair in their judgment and they don’t give him any credit just because he doesn’t follow their madhhab or because he is not a traditional scholar in the sense he was mainly an autodidact and apparently has no ijazat, at least that is what they claim. He did have teachers and he did have ijazat, although few. Most of the ‘attacks’ on him are ad hominem (on his person) and not on his methodology in hadith, which was in conformity with previous hadith scholars. As for his fiqh: he did ijtihad and some of his works prove he was a faqih indeed I think. If we speak about his knowledge on hadith I dare to state he was a muhaddith. He was not the only one who was an autodidact in the field of hadith: shaykh Shu’ayb al-Arna’ut rahimahullah was also an autodidact and he was respected throughout so why the focus on al-Albani? Everybody makes mistakes and no book/work is perfect except Allah’s book. Shaykh Muhammad b. Hasan al-Didu said he corrected them afterwards as we can read in the article below.
Here I just want to refer to some well known contemporary authors/scholars who gave credit to shaykh al-Albani:
– Shaykh Mustafa M. ‘Azami:
In his great work “Studies in Early Hadith Literature” he refers to him as: “Shaikh Nasir al-Din al-Albani, who placed his extensive knowledge of rare manuscripts at my disposal.” (See: Acknowledgments)
This makes clear he (shaykh M.M. ) respects the shaykh for his extensive knowledge of manuscripts since he worked for a long time in the Zahiriyyah library of Damascus and knew all manuscripts there. This is well known.
– shaykh Yusuf al-Qardawi said:
“Sheikh Al-Albani is one of the great erudite scholars of the 20th century. He verified a number of books on Hadith and compiled many. Some are listed: Silslat Al-Ahadith Ad-Da`ifah, Silslat Al-Ahadith As-Sahihah, Sahih Al-Jami` As-Saghir wa Ziyadatuhu, Da`if Al-Jami` As-Saghir wa Ziyadatuhu, Sahih Abi Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Sahih At-Targhib wat-Tarhib (though not fully published, it might be on manuscript), Irwa’ Al-Ghalil fi Takhrij Ahadith Manar As-Sabil, Mukhtasar Sahih Muslim, Mishkat Al-Masabih, As-Sunnah li Ibn Abi `Asim, and other books.” One could read this in an article on the (now not existing anymore) islamonline.net website
– shaykh Mohammed Daniel:
He once said in one of his lessons that if people can appreciate al-Zamakhshari rahimahullah then why not al-Albani?
– Deobandi ‘ulama:
As a home of hadith scholars shaykh al-Albani’s work is appreciated and respected by many of them according to shaykh Mohammed Daniel, who is a visitor of the madrassa and acquainted with many of the ‘ulama who teach there and have studied there.
– shaykh Hassan al-Kittani:
Anyone who took knowledge from shaykh Hassan knows he frequently refers to shaykh al-Albani in his lessons. This is sufficient proof for the respect he has for him.
– shaykh Muhammad b. Hassan al-Didu said:
“Indeed, Sheikh Albānī (ra) was from those who revived the art of examining and criticizing hadīth during these times. Indeed, due to him, many people became interested in the study of the Sunna (way of the Prophet (sa) and the science of examining reports, investigating reporters of hadīth and the extraction of sound narrations. In fact, we can safely say that he was the most famous person in this age regarding this important science and it is well known the he exercised a great amount of effort towards this field.”
This is sufficient actually. Read the whole article here (it is very balanced and respectful):
– shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali:
In his book “The Sunna of the Prophet” he said: “Nasir al-Albani, one of the most knowledgeable scholars of hadith in our time.” (pag. 100)
– Prof. Jonathan Brown:
He is actually the cause for me writing this post. In two of his books:
1.) The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim
If one reads pages 321 – 334 one can get a sense of appreciation by him for what shaykh al-Albani did and what he stood for.
He wrote: “I must admit my inestimable debt to (..) Muhammad Nasir al-Albani.” (Acknowledgments)
– Mohammad Hashim Kamali:
In his “A Textbook of Hadith Studies” he counts him among “prominent contemporary ‘ulama (pag. 153) and he calls him “the renowned scholar of hadith” (pag. 206) and among the “modern experts on hadith” (pag. 216)
– PhD dissertation of Moyeed-ul-Zafar about al-Albani:
Here you can see the amount of work the shaykh did on mansucripts in Chapter II specifically and you will be amazed.
Shaykh al-Albani I’m told verified more than 40.000 ahadith in his lifetime, this is something not many people did in his time and after him. The ummah owes him respect.
May Allah reward shaykh al-Albani for the work he did and may He forgive him and us for our mistakes.