Shaykh Al-Albani was born in 1914 in Ashkodera, the former capital of Albania. He had an excellent memory which allowed him to memorize many ahadith of the Prophet and become a great Muhadith of our time.
He was Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Ibn Nooh Ibn Aadam Najaatee, al-Albaani by birth, Ad-Dimashqee by residence and Al-Urdunee (from Jordan) due to his migration and place of death. He was born in Ashkodera, the capital of Albania, in the year 1332H (1914 C.E.) and it is to this country that he ascribes himself.
He was a Muhaddith (scholar of hadeeth), a Faqeeh (scholar of Fiqh), a caller to the Book and the Sunnah with the understanding of the Salaf As-Saalih (righteous predecessors). And he was a proficient writer and an expert scholar.
His father was Al-Hajj Nooh, from the major Hanafee scholars of his land. During the doomed secularist, Ahmad Zogu’s reign of Albania there was severe oppression for the Muslims of that land. Because of this, Al-Hajj Nooh migrated with all of his children, which included Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen, fleeing for the sake of his religion to the land of Shaam. He traveled to Shaam due to what was reported in the prophetic ahaadeeth about its virtues and merits. And it is there that he and his family took residence. Fifty years later, the Shaykh (al-Albaani) migrated from here to ‘Amaan, the capital of Jordan. And it is in this city that he remained for the rest of his life as a scholar and teacher and a Faqeeh and educator.
His personal life
Sheikh Mahmoud Ridha Murad Zahid said the following about Sheikh al-Albaani:
I spent about a week in the Shaikh‘s resident, which I consider as a condensed course in the science of hadeeth and fiqh. In deed it was a rare opportunity, at least for a person like me who at the time was living about 15,000. miles away from this renowned scholar.
Due to the fact that there was no mosque nearby, I would call the adthan for Fajr prayer, and he would lead the Salah then we would move into the library where the Shaikhbegan his work. Two hours later, the breakfast would be ready which we shared with two of the Shaikh‘s aides. He used to talk while eating or listen to what they had to say.
Then the Shaikh would return to the library to resume his work until around 10 o’clock when he retired to his family’s apartment. He would remain there until Dthuhr prayer followed by lunch and siesta.
After Asr prayer, the Shaikh stayed in the library and remained there until around midnight. That was the best part of the day. Some of his close students would come in and join us for the rest of the evening. Due to certain reasons that were beyond his will, the Shaikh‘s house was open only to his relatives and close students, not to visitors, let alone to public. They did not waste his time by idle talk or anything of that nature.. They would bring their questions concerning biographies of hadeeth narrators, their classifications and the hadeeth standards, and other issues on aqeedah or jurisprudence. He would answer them as if he was reading from a book.
There was another interesting period of that part of the day when the Shaikh began taking telephone calls and answering the questions of callers from all over the world. The phone never stopped ringing. As soon as one call was over, another would be waiting on line. We used to listen to the questions through a speakerphone. The topics varied widely.
He would give his answers according to the level of understanding of the caller. But he would not answer the question before he completely understood it, nor would he move from one point to another before he was sure that the caller understood the previous one. At times, he would repeat the point more than once without showing signs of frustration. He always used to ask the caller after answering his question whether he understood the answer.
Knowing the Shaikh‘s love of the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), it was not surprising to know that he listened to his students’ funny incidents that occurred to them during the day. He himself would share with them an incident of his own. His Damascene dialect made his narrative more interesting.
Besides being a specialist in the science of hadeeth, the Shaikh, may Allah grant him mercy, also designed quite a few things in his home. One of them was the solar water-heater, which he showed me the next day of my arrival. He also designed an elevator for himself because it was difficult for him to climb up the stairs. He also devised a sundial that he placed on the roof of his house to show the exact prayer times, and other things.
There were other occasions that I really enjoyed. We used to receive invitations from his students for lunch, dinner, or even breakfast. He never refused any of them unless it was break fast, or when he was tied up with some important occupation. I enjoyed those occasions because they were attended by a large number of guests, which meant more questions and discussions.
The scholars of the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas said of Shaykh al-Albaani:
This man is well known to us for his knowledge and virtue, his veneration of and service to the Sunnah and his support of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah in warning against fanaticism and blind following. His books are very useful, but like any other scholar, he is not infallible; he makes mistakes and gets things right, but we hope that in matters where he got it right he will have two rewards, and in matters where he got it wrong he will have the reward of ijtihaad, as it is proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the judge issues a ruling, if he strives to work it out (ajtahada) and gets it right, he will have two rewards, and if he issues a ruling and strives to work it out but gets it wrong, he will have one reward.” Agreed upon. End quote.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qa’ood.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (12/324, 325)