Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani

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Islamic scholar
Muhammad Nāsir al-Dīn al-Albanī
Born 1914
Shkodër, Albania
Died October 4, 1999 (aged 85)
Amman, Jordan
Nationality Albanian, Syrian
Ethnicity Albanian
Occupation Faqeeh, Historiographer, bibliographer, watch repairman
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Creed Athari
Movement Salafi
Main interest(s) Hadith studies
Awards King Faisal International Prize, 1999
Website Memorial website

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 was a watch repairman by trade, and a prolific writer and speaker. He was one of the first scholars to use word Salafi as a specific label.[1]


Early life[edit]

Albani was born into a poor family in the city of Shkodër in northwestern Albania in 1914.[2] 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 with the help of native Syrian scholars.[3][4] In the meantime, he earned a modest living as a carpenter before joining his father as a watchmaker.[4]

Albani began to specialize in hadith studies in the 1930s and at the age of twenty, 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.[4] He followed this with a series of lectures and books as well as articles in Al-Manar magazine.[2]

Scholastic career[edit]

Albani began delivering informal weekly lessons starting in 1954. By 1960, his popularity began to worry the government of Syria, and he was placed under surveillance.[5] After a number of his works appeared in print, he was invited to teach Hadith at the Islamic University of Madinah by the University's then-vice president, Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz. Shortly upon his arrival, Albani's anti-traditionalist stances in Muslim jurisprudence angered the Wahhabi elite in Saudi Arabia, who were alarmed at Albani's intellectual challenges to the ruling Hanbali school of law but unable to challenge him openly due to his popularity.[6] When Albani authored a book in support of 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 and gave his opponents justification for allowing his contract with the university to lapse without renewal.[6] In 1963, he left Saudi Arabia and returned to his studies and work in the Az-Zahiriyah library, leaving his watch shop in the hands of one of his brothers.[4]

Later life[edit]

He 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 from Syria to Jordan, then Syria again, then Beirut, then the UAE, then again to Amman, Jordan.[4]

Despite Albani's apolitical nature, he was still harassed several times by the Syrian government.[2] In 1967, Albani was seized by Syrian government authorities in a sweep of Sunni clerics and spent a month in prison before they were all released. 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.[7] This did not last due to controversy among the Saudi establishment regarding Albani's views; he returned to Syria where he was again jailed briefly in 1979, at which point he moved to Jordan. He died in 1999 at the age of 85, the same year when he won the King Faisal International Prize for his contributions to scholarship in Islamic studies.[2]


Albani was a well-known proponent of Salafism, and is considered one of the movement's primary figureheads in the 20th century. He was critical of what he viewed as the stagnation of Muslim civilization, blaming blind fanaticism to old traditions and the stifling of free thought and inquiry. This led Albani to criticism of the four mainstream schools of Islamic law, in addition to the spread of Sufism and the Tariqa system. Despite Salafism's frequent association with Wahhabism, Albani was a critic of the latter while a proponent of the former, and held a complex relationship with both movements.[8][9][10]

Albani was amongst some leading Salafi scholars who had been preaching against the warped literalism of extremists for decades. They were politically 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.[11]

Albani's own views on jurisprudence and dogma are a matter of some discussion. During a 1989 visit to Saudi Arabia, Albani was asked if he adhered to the lesser-known Zahiri school of Islamic law, to which he replied in the affirmative.[12] Albani's opponents among the mainstream have affirmed this as a point of criticism, though a number of Albani's students have denied his association with any formal school of jurisprudence.[citation needed]


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 reference points for other Islamic scholars.[2]

Another scholar and teacher, Muhibb-ud-Deen Al-Khatib, said:[13][14]

And from the callers to the Sunnah who devoted their lives to reviving it was our brother Muhammad Nasiruddin Nooh Najati Al-Albani.

Albani was not without detractors, either. Fellow hadith scholars Ahmad al-Ghumari and Abdullah al-Ghumari, though acknowledging Albani's status as a scholar of the field, engaged in a heated debate with Albani regarding the issue of building mosques over the Mausoleums of Muslim religious figures.[15]


His works, mainly in the field of Hadith and its sciences, number over 100 and include:[4]

  1. At-Targhib wa't-Tarhib (Volumes 1–4)
  2. At-Tasfiyah wa't-Tarbiya
  3. At-Tawassulu: Anwa'uhu wa Ahkamuhu (Tawassul: Its Types & Its Rulings) (link to english translation)
  4. Irwa al-Ghalil (Volumes 1–9)
  5. Talkhis Ahkam al-Jana'iz
  6. Sahih wa Da'if Sunan Abu Dawood (Volumes 1–4)
  7. Sahih wa Da'if Sunan at-Tirmidhi (Volumes 1–4)
  8. Sahih wa Da'if Sunan ibn Majah (Volumes 1–4)
  9. Al-Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah Sharh wa Ta'liq
  10. Sifatu Salati An-Nabiyy (link to English translation)
  11. Silsalat al-Hadith ad-Da'ifa (Volumes 1–14)
  12. Silsalat al-Hadith as-Sahiha (Volumes 1–11)
  13. Salat ut-Tarawih (later an abridgement of this book was published by al-Albani – Qiyamu Ramadhan)
  14. Salat an-Nabawi (the prayer of the prophet in the light of authentic hadiths) (link to english translation)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Qadhi, Yasir. "On Salafi Islam". Muslim Matters. Muslim Matters. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sheikh Mohammad Nasir Ad-Din Al-Albani at the official King Faisal International Prize website. Accessed November 26, 2014.
  3. ^ Roel Meijer, Global Salafism: Islam's New Religious Movement, pg. 63. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f A Brief Biography of Ash-Shaikh Al-Muhaddith Abu 'Abdir-Rahmaan Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaani by Dr. 'Aasim 'Abdullaah al-Qaryooti
  5. ^ Meijer, Global Salafism, pg. 65.
  6. ^ a b Meijer, Global Salafism, pg. 66.
  7. ^ Meijer, Global Salafism, pg. 67.
  8. ^ Stephane Lacroix, Awakening Islam, pg. 220. Trns. George Holoch. Cambridge: President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2011.
  9. ^ Stephane Lacroix, Al-Albani's Revolutionary Approach to Hadith. Leiden University's ISIM Review, Spring 2008, #21.
  10. ^ Meijer, Global Salafism, pg. 68.
  11. ^ A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 129. ISBN 978-1780744209. 
  12. ^ al-Albani, "Shareet al-Khobar," tape #4, 1989: Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
  13. ^ al-Asalaah, Issue #23, Pg. 76–77
  14. ^ Biography of Shaikh Muhammad Naasiruddin al-Albaani by Shaykh 'Ali Hasan al-Halabi
  15. ^ Muhammad Moin, "Ahmed Al-Ghumari on Al-Albani". Al-Sunnah: 8 March 2011.

External links[edit]