Muhammad Nāsir al-Dīn al-Albanī
|Died||October 4, 1999 (aged 85)|
|Main interest(s)|| Hadith |
|Occupation||Muhaddith, Faqih, historiographer, bibliographer, watchmaker|
|Awards||King Faisal International Prize, 1999|
Muhammad Nasir-ud-Dīn al-Albani(1914 – October 2, 1999) was an Albanian Islamic scholar who specialised in the fields of hadith and fiqh. He established his reputation in Syria, where his family had moved when he was a child and where he was educated.
The Albanians are an ethnic group native to the Balkan Peninsula and are identified by a common Albanian ancestry, culture, history and language. They primarily live in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as in Croatia, Greece and Italy. They also constitute a diaspora with several communities established in the Americas, Europe and Oceania.
In Sunni Islam, the ulama, are the guardians, transmitters and interpreters of religious knowledge, of Islamic doctrine and law.
Ḥadīth in Islam are the record of the words, actions, and the silent approval, of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Within Islam the authority of Ḥadīth as a source for religious law and moral guidance ranks second only to that of the Qur'an. Quranic verses enjoin Muslims to emulate Muhammad and obey his judgements, providing scriptural authority for ahadith. While the number of verses pertaining to law in the Quran is relatively few, ahadith give direction on everything from details of religious obligations, to the correct forms of salutations and the importance of benevolence to slaves. Thus the "great bulk" of the rules of Sharia are derived from ahadith, rather than the Qur'an.
Largely self-taught in the study of Islamic texts, Albani is considered to be a major figure of the purist Salafi movement which developed in the 20th century.Al-Albani did not advocate violence, preferring quietism and obedience to established governments.
In the context of political aspects of Islam, the term political quietism has been used for the religiously motivated withdrawal from political affairs, or skepticism that mere mortals can establish true Islamic government. As such it would be the opposite of political Islam, which holds that religion (Islam) and politics are inseparable. It has also been used to describe Muslims who believe that Muslims should support Islamic government, but that it is “forbidden to rebel against a Muslim ruler”; and Muslims who support Islamic government at the right time in the future when,, a consensus of scholars or twelfth imam call for it. The Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia and Salafi are sometimes described as having "quietist" and "radical" wings.
A watchmaker by trade, al-Albani was active as a writer, publishing chiefly on hadith and its sciences. He also lectured widely in the Mideast, Spain and the United Kingdom on the Salafist movement.
A watchmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs watches. Since a majority of watches are now factory made, most modern watchmakers only repair watches. However, originally they were master craftsmen who built watches, including all their parts, by hand. Modern watchmakers, when required to repair older watches, for which replacement parts may not be available, must have fabrication skills, and can typically manufacture replacements for many of the parts found in a watch. The term clockmaker refers to an equivalent occupation specializing in clocks.
In the 1960s, Albani was invited to teach at the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia. His views were opposed by numerous traditional clerics and his contract allowed to lapse. He later returned from Syria for a brief time in the 1970s as the head of higher education in Islamic law in Mecca. He again aroused too much opposition, and returned to Syria. After serving time under house arrest by the Syrian government in 1979, Albani moved to Jordan, where he resided for the rest of his life.
The Islamic University of Madinah was founded by the government of Saudi Arabia by a royal decree in 1961 in the Islamic holy city of Medina. It follows the Salafi ideology which is prevalent in Saudi Arabia. It received institutional academic accreditation without exceptions from the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment in April 2017.
Mecca (; Arabic: مكة Makkah is a city in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula, and the plain of Tihamah in Saudi Arabia, and is also the capital and administrative headquarters of the Makkah Region. The city is located 70 km inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m above sea level, and 340 kilometres south of Medina. Its resident population in 2012 was roughly 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.
Albani was born into a poor Muslim family in the city of Shkodër in northern Albania in 1914. [ citation needed ]During the reign of the secularist Albanian leader Ahmet Zogu, al-Albani's family migrated to Damascus, Syria. In Damascus, Albani completed his early education – initially taught by his father – in the Quran, Tajwid, Arabic linguistic sciences, Hanafi Fiqh and further branches of the Islamic faith, also helped by native Syrian scholars. In the meantime, he earned a modest living as a carpenter before joining his father as a watchmaker.
Shkodër or Shkodra, historically known as Scutari or Scodra, is a city in the Republic of Albania. It is the capital of the surrounding county of Shkodër, one of 12 constituent counties of the republic. The city is one of the most ancient cities in the Balkans and the fourth most populous city in the country and exerts strong influences in culture, religion, arts and entertainment of northern Albania.
Damascus is the capital of the Syrian Arab Republic; it is also the country's largest city, following the decline in population of Aleppo due to the battle for the city. It is colloquially known in Syria as ash-Sham and titled the City of Jasmine. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural center of the Levant and the Arab world. The city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 as of 2009.
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria.
Albani began to specialize in hadith studies in the 1930s. Though he was largely self-taught,he transcribed and commented on Abd al-Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'Iraqi's Al-Mughnee 'an-hamlil-Asfar fil-Asfar fee takhrej maa fil-lhyaa min al-Akhbar. He followed this writing a series of lectures and books, as well as publishing articles in Al-Manar magazine.
Hadith studies consist of several religious disciplines used in the study and evaluation of the Islamic hadith — i.e. the record of the words, actions, and the silent approval of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, by Muslim scholars. The sciences seeks to determine the authenticity (sihha) of ahadith, primarily by attempting to determine whether there are "other identical reports from other transmitters"; the reliability of the transmitters of the report; and "the continuity of the chain of transmission".
Starting in 1954, Albani began delivering informal weekly lessons. By 1960, his popularity began to worry the government of Syria, and he was placed under surveillance by the Hafiz al-Asad government. He was imprisoned twice in 1969.In the late 1970s, the government placed him under house arrest more than once.
After a number of his works were published, Albani was invited to teach Hadith at the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia by the University's then-vice president, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz. Shortly upon his arrival, Albani angered the Wahhabi elite in Saudi Arabia, who did not like his anti-traditionalist stances in Muslim jurisprudence. They were alarmed by Albani's intellectual challenges to the ruling Hanbali school of law but were unable to challenge him openly due to his popularity.When Albani wrote a book supporting his view that the Niqab, or full face-veil, was not a binding obligation upon Muslim women, he caused a minor uproar in the country. His opponents ensured that his contract with the university was allowed to lapse without renewal.
In 1963, Albani left Saudi Arabia and returned to his studies and work in the Az-Zahiriyah library in Syria. He left his watch shop in the hands of one of his brothers. He was later invited back to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s but did not remain long because of opposition from clerics.[ citation needed ]
He was placed under house arrest more than once in the 1970s by the Ba'ath regime of Hafez al-Assad. [ additional citation(s) needed ]The Syrian government accused Albani of "promoting the Wahhabi da'wa, which distorted Islam and confused Muslims."
Albani visited various countries for preaching and lectures – amongst them Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, and the United Kingdom. He moved a number of times between Syria and a couple of cities in Jordan. He also lived in the UAE.[ citation needed ]
After Bin Baz's intervention with Saudi educational management, Albani was invited to Saudi Arabia a second time in order to serve as the head of higher education in Islamic law in Mecca.This did not last due to controversy among the Saudi establishment regarding Albani's views.
Albani returned to Syria, where he was briefly jailed again in 1979. He moved to Jordan, living there for the remainder of his time. He died in 1999 at the age of 85.
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Sab'u Masajid, Saudi Arabia
Albani was a proponent of Salafism and is considered one of the movement's primary figureheads in the 20th century. Albani criticised the four mainstream schools of Islamic law and rejected the traditional Sunni view that Muslims should automatically turn to a Madhhab for fiqh (jurisprudence).Instead, he spent much of his life critically re-evaluating hadith literature and felt that numerous previously accepted hadiths were unsound. This led him to produce rulings that were at odds with the Islamic majority. Although Salafism has frequently been associated with Wahhabism, Albani distinguished between the two movements, and he criticised the latter while supporting the former. He had a complex relationship to each movement.
Albani was amongst some leading Salafi scholars who were preaching for decades against what they considered the warped literalism of extremists. Politically they were quietists who rejected vigilantism and rebellion against the state. They believed that Muslims should focus on purifying their beliefs and practice and that, in time, "God would bring victory over the forces of falsehood and unbelief."
Albani's own views on jurisprudence and dogma have been a matter of debate and discussion. During a 1989 visit to Saudi Arabia, Albani was asked if he adhered to the lesser-known Zahiri school of Islamic law; he responded affirmatively. [ citation needed ]Albani's opponents among the mainstream have affirmed this as a point of criticism. A number of Albani's students have denied his association with any formal school of jurisprudence.
Albani held a number of controversial views that ran counter to the wider Islamic consensus, and more specifically to Hanbali jurisprudence.These include:
Additionally, Albani wrote a book in which he redefined the proper gestures and formulae that constitute the Muslim prayer ritual "according to the Prophet's sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallams practice." These were contrary to the prescriptions of all established schools of jurisprudence.As he argued that several details of the concrete prayer that have been taught from generation to generation were based on dubious hadith, his book caused considerable unease. Albani's descriptions for the performance of the Tahajjud and Taraweeh prayer deviated considerably from established practice.
Albani openly criticized Syed Qutb after the leader was executed. He claimed that Qutb had deviated in creed and held the belief of Oneness of Being. Further, Albani accused Hassan al-Banna, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, of not being a religious scholar and holding "positions contrary to the Sunna".
Albani was criticized by a number of contemporary Sunni scholars. Safar Al-Hawali criticized Albani for his "categorical condemnation of Taqlid" and his "radical hadith based revisionism".
In the early 1970s Syrian Hadith scholar Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda published a tract against al-Albani's reevaluation of Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.In 1987 the Egyptian hadith scholar Mahmud Sa'id Mamduh published a work entitled Alerting the Muslim to al-Albani's Transgression upon Sahih Muslim.
He stated that:
Indeed, I have concluded that his methods disagree with those of the jurists and hadith scholars, and that his methods are creating great disarray and evident disruption in the proofs of jurisprudence both generally and specifically. He lacks trust in the Imams of law and hadith, as well as in the rich hadith and law tradition handed down to us, in which the umma has taken great pride.
Syrian hadith scholar Nur al-Din 'Itr rebutted some of al-Albani's views.His contemporary, the Syrian scholar Said Ramadan al-Bouti, took issue with Albani's well-known call for all Palestinians to leave Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. He wrote two rebuttals of al-Albani entitled Anti-Madhabism: the dangers of an innovation that threaten the Sharia and Salafiyya: a blessed historical period, not a school of fiqh.
Lebanese scholar Gibril Fouad Haddad dubbed al-Albani "the chief innovator of our time" and accused him of bid'ah.The "reformed" jihadist Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif considered Albani to be "wrapped in evil" and "not suitable to be a sheikh" for his alleged claim that Jihad is defined as forgiveness, education and prayer.
Albani was awarded the King Faisal International Prize in 1999 before his death for his contributions to Islamic studies. The award committee described him as "considered by many academics as probably the greatest Islamic scholar of the 20th Century."
Over a period of sixty years, Albani's lectures and published books were highly influential in the field of Islamic studies, and many of his works became widely referred to by other Islamic scholars.Muhibb-ud-Deen Al-Khatib, a contemporary scholar, said of him: "And from the callers to the Sunnah who devoted their lives to reviving it was our brother Muhammad Nasiruddin Nooh Najati Al-Albani."
In 2015, the Huffington Post remarked that Albani's movement of "'Quietist Salafism' with its strong opposition to takfirism (doctrine of excommunication and declaring other Muslims of being heretics) and violence may provide the rhetoric that could prevent youth from being drawn to the apocalyptic rubbish of ISIS."
Albani's works, mainly in the field of Hadith and its sciences, include:
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab was a religious leader and theologian from Najd in central Arabia who founded the movement now called Wahhabism. Born to a family of jurists, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's early education consisted of learning a fairly standard curriculum of orthodox jurisprudence according to the Hanbali school of law, which was the school of law most prevalent in his area of birth. Despite his initial rudimentary training in classical Sunni Muslim tradition, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab gradually became opposed to many of the most popular Sunni practices such as the visitation to and the veneration of the tombs of saints, which he felt amounted to heretical religious innovation or even idolatry. Despite his teachings being rejected and opposed by many of the most notable Sunni Muslim scholars of the period, including his own father and brother, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab charted a religio-political pact with Muhammad bin Saud to help him to establish the Emirate of Diriyah, the first Saudi state, and began a dynastic alliance and power-sharing arrangement between their families which continues to the present day in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Al ash-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia's leading religious family, are the descendants of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab, and have historically led the ulama in the Saudi state, dominating the state's clerical institutions.
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by nearly 90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah, referring to the behaviour of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions.
Wahhabism is an Islamic doctrine and religious movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. It has been variously described as "ultraconservative", "austere", "fundamentalist", or "puritan(ical)"; as an Islamic "reform movement" to restore "pure monotheistic worship" (tawhid) by devotees; and as a "deviant sectarian movement", "vile sect" and a distortion of Islam by its opponents. The term Wahhabi(ism) is often used polemically and adherents commonly reject its use, preferring to be called Salafi or muwahhid. claiming to emphasize the principle of tawhid, for exclusivity on monotheism, dismissing other Muslims as practising shirk, (idolatry). It follows the theology of Ibn Taymiyyah and the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, although Hanbali leaders renounced Abd al-Wahhab's views.
The Mālikī school is one of the four major madhhab of Islamic jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. It was founded by Malik ibn Anas in the 8th century. The Maliki school of jurisprudence relies on the Quran and hadiths as primary sources. Unlike other Islamic fiqhs, Maliki fiqh also considers the consensus of the people of Medina to be a valid source of Islamic law.
Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Ibrāhīm ibn al-Mughīrah ibn Bardizbah al-Ju‘fī al-Bukhārī, or Bukhārī, commonly referred to as Imam al-Bukhari or Imam Bukhari, was a Persian Islamic scholar who was born in Bukhara. He authored the hadith collection known as Sahih al-Bukhari, regarded by Sunni Muslims as one of the most authentic (sahih) hadith collections. He also wrote other books such as Al-Adab al-Mufrad.
The Salafi movement, also called Salafist movement, Salafiya, and Salafism, is a reform branch or revivalist movement within Sunni Islam that developed in Egypt in the late 19th century as a response to Western European imperialism, with roots in the 18th-century Wahhabi movement that originated in the Najd region of modern day Saudi Arabia. It advocated a return to the traditions of the salaf, the first three generations of Muslims, which include the generations of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his companions, their successors, and the successors of the successors.
Sahih Muslim is one of the Kutub al-Sittah in Sunni Islam. It is highly acclaimed by Sunni Muslims as well as Zaidi Shia Muslims. It is considered the second most authentic hadith collection after Sahih al-Bukhari. It was collected by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, also known as Imam Muslim. Its authenticity has sometimes been questioned due to the fact that it was written over 250 years after the Islamic Prophet, Muhammed. Regardless of this, Sunni Muslims believe it to be genuine and authentic. Sahih Muslim, together with Sahih al-Bukhari is termed as Sahihayn.
In Islam, bid‘ah refers to innovation in religious matters. Linguistically the term means "innovation, novelty, heretical doctrine, heresy".
This article summarizes the different branches and schools in Islam. The best known split, into Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, and Kharijites, was mainly political at first but eventually acquired theological and juridical dimensions. There are three traditional types of schools in Islam: schools of jurisprudence, Sufi orders and schools of theology. The article also summarizes major denominations and movements that have arisen in the modern era.
The Hadith of Najd is a hadith with several chains of narration about three geographical locations, one of which is prophesied to be the source of calamities. While all Sunni Muslims accept the group of hadith as authentic, the exact location of the area referred to as "Najd" is disputed. Possible locations listed are the areas around Yemen, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
The Kutub al-Sittah are six books containing collections of hadith compiled by six Sunni Muslim scholars in the ninth century CE. They are sometimes referred to as Al-Sihah al-Sittah, which translates as "The Authentic Six". They were first formally grouped and defined by Ibn al-Qaisarani in the 11th century, who added Sunan ibn Majah to the list. Since then, they have enjoyed near-universal acceptance as part of the official canon of Sunni Islam.
Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki (1944–2004) was a Sunni (Sufi) Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia.
Rabee' Ibn Haadee 'Umayr al-Madkhalee is a former head of the Sunnah Studies Department at the Islamic University of Madinah. He is a Salafist Muslim scholar, founder of the Madkhalism movement and is considered one of Salafism's most radical thinkers.
Muqbil bin Hadi bin Muqbil bin Qa’idah al-Hamdani al-Wadi’i al-Khallali (1933–2001) was an Islamic scholar and considered to be the reviver of Salafism in Yemen. He was the founder of a Madrasa in Dammaj which was known as a center for Salafist ideology and its multi-national student population.
Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is a messenger of God.
Madkhalism is a strain of Islamist thought within the larger Salafist movement based on the writings of Rabee al-Madkhali. Arab states have generally favored Madkhalism due to its support for secular forms of government as opposed to other strains of Salafism, and Madkhalism's decline in Saudi Arabia has been connected with a decline in support for secular forms of government in the Muslim world.
Muhammad Surur bin Nayif Zayn al-'Abidin was a former Syrian Muslim Brotherhood member. He is credited with developing the Islamist trend that later came to be known as Sururism, which combines "the organisational methods and political worldview of the Muslim Brotherhood with the theological puritanism of Salafism." His developed trend is described as being "instrumental in promoting a politicised version of Wahhabism in the [Saudi] kingdom." However, while he supported the non-violent criticism of Muslim rulers, he rejected attempts to overthrow the regimes of Muslim countries as a source of fitna. Surur also wrote a highly popular anti-Shia book called Wa Ja'a Dawr al-Majus, published in 1984, where he explains that the Iranian Revolution is nothing but the starting point for a strategy of Shiite domination of the Middle East. The book was quoted extensively by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Gibril Fouad Haddad is a Lebanese-born Islamic scholar, hadith expert (muhaddith), author, and translator of classical Islamic texts. He was featured in the inaugural list of 500 Most influential Muslims and has been called "one of the clearest voices of traditional Islam in the West", a "prominent orthodox Sunni" and a "staunch defender of the traditional Islamic schools of law." He holds ijazas from over 150 scholars across the Muslim world. He resides with his family in Brunei Darussalaam and was a visiting fellow (2013-2015) then senior assistant professor (2015-2018) at the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Center for Islamic Studies, University Brunei Darussalam. He is also a staunch critic of Wahhabism and Salafism.
Zahirism, Ẓāhirī madhhab or al-Ẓāhirīyyah is a school of thought in fiqh founded by Dawud al-Zahiri in the ninth century, characterised by reliance on the manifest (ẓāhir) meaning of expressions in the Qur'an and hadith, as well as rejection of analogical deduction (qiyās). After a limited success and decline in the Middle East, the Ẓāhirī school flourished in the Caliphate of Córdoba, particularly under the leadership of ibn Hazm.
In this way he became a self-taught expert on Islam, learning from the books rather than the ulema. One of his biographers even states that al-Albani was distinguished in religious circles by how few ijazats (certificates) he possessed.