Sheikh Muhammad Nasiruddin, al-Albani as he was most famously known, was born in the city of Ashkodera, then the capital of Albania in the year 1332H (1914 AD) into a poor family. His father al-Haaj Nooh Najjaatee al-Albani had completed Sharee'ah studies in Istanbul and returned a scholar to Albania. After Albania was taken over by atheism the family made Hijrah to Damascus. In Damascus, al-Albani completed his initial education and was then taught the Qur'an, Tajweed, sciences of Arabic language, fiqh of the Hanafee madhab and further branches of the Deen by various Sheikhs and friends of his father.
He also learnt from his father the art of clock and watch repair - and became highly skilled in that and famous for it and derived his earnings through it.
He began to specialise in the field of Hadeeth and its related sciences by the age of 20, being influenced by articles in 'al-Manaar' magazine. He began to work in this field by transcribing al-Haafiz al-Iraaqee's monumental 'alMughnee an-hamlil-Asfaar fil-Asfaar fee takhreej maa fil-lhyaa minal-Akhbaar' and adding notes to it. He delved further into the field of Hadeeth and its various sciences despite discouragement from his father. Furthermore, the books he needed were not to be found in his father's library which was composed mainly of various works of Hanafee Fiqh - and since he could not afford many of the books he required he would borrow them from the famous library of Damascus - "al-Maktabah at-Thaahiriyyah", or sometimes from book sellers.
He became engrossed with the science of Hadeeth to the extent that he would sometimes close up his shop and remain in the library for up to twelve hours - breaking off his work only for prayer - he would not even leave to eat, but would take two light snacks with him. Eventually the library authorities granted him a special room to himself for his study and his own key for access to the library before normal opening time. Often he would remain at work from early morning until after 'Ishaa. During this time he produced many useful works - many of which are still waiting to be printed.
The Sheikh's studies of Hadeeth of Allah's Messenger (PBUH) had a great effect on him and resulted in his turning away from blind-following of his former madhab and instead to accept and act upon the Book and the Sunnah - with the understanding of the pious predecessors (i.e, As-Salafu Saaleh) of the Ummah. This naturally meant he was sometimes at variance with some of the local Sheikhs who blindly followed their Madhab, and likewise with the local Sufi Imaams and innovators who began to oppose him and incite the common people against him by calling him a 'Wahhaabi deviant'. He was, however, encouraged by some of the noble Sheikhs of Damascus who urged him to continue, amongst them Sheikh Bahjatul Baijaar, Sheikh Abdul-Fattah, the Imaam, and Tawfeeq al-Barzah, Rahimahum Allah.
The Sheikh faced much opposition in his efforts to promote Tawheed and the Sunnah but he bore this with patient perseverance. After some time he started giving two weekly classes attended by students of knowledge and university teachers - in which he taught various books of 'Aqeedah, Fiqh, Usool and Hadeeth sciences.
He also began organised monthly journeys for Da'wah to the various cities of Syria and then Jordan. After a number of his works appeared in print the Sheikh was chosen to teach Hadeeth in the new University in Madeenah, Saudi Arabia, for three years from 1381 to 1383 Hijrah, where he was also a member of the University board.
After this he returned to his former studies and work in "al-Maktabatu at-Thaahiriyyah" leaving his shop in the hands of one of his brothers. He visited various countries for Da'wah and lectures - amongst them Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait, the Emirates, Spain and England. He was forced to emigrate a number of times moving from Syria to Jordan, then Syria again, then Beirut, then the Emirates, then again to 'Ammaan, Jordan.
Sheikh Nasiruddin Albani became the pre-eminent scholar of Hadeeth (Al-Muhaddith) in recent era. His works - mainly in the field of Hadeeth and its sciences - number over 100. Among his gems beneficial for the whole Ummah include:
- Sifatu Salaatu Nabi mina takbiri ila taslimi ka annaka taraaha, the most widely distributed and printed book on 'How to' in Salaah according to the Sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH);
- Silsilah Saheehah, and Silsilah Dhaeefah wa Maudhucah, on Ahadith;
- Saheeh wa Dhaeef Jaami Sagheer, authenticated works originally compiled by Suyuti;
- Al Irwa' Ghaleel;
- Saheehs of Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nasaa'i, and Ibn Maajah.
- Saheeh wa Dhaeef Adabul Mufrad of Bukhari.
- Mishkaat Masaabih, the authenticated version of the original hadeeth collection.
His students are many and include many prominent Sheikhs of the present day amongst them: Shaykh Hamdi Abdul-Majeed, Shaykh Muhammad 'Eed Abbaasi, Dr. Umar Sulayman al-Ashqar, Shaykh Muhammad lbrahim Shaqrah, Shaykh Muqbil ibn Haadi al-Waadi'i, Shaykh Ali Khushshaan, Shaykh Muhammad Bin Jameel Zainoo, Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan Abdus-Samad, Shaykh Ali Hassan Abdul-Hameed al-Halabi, Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaali, and Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Abdul-Khaaliq.
The Sheikh passed away on Saturday 22 Jumaada Thaaniyah 1420 H (2 October 1999).
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