His name was Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn ibn Nūḥ ibn ʾĀdam Najātī, al-Albānī at birth, al-Dimashqī by residence and al-Urdunī (from Jordan) due to his migration and place of death. He was born into a poor family in the city of Ashkodera, the capital of Albania, in the year 1332AH, and it is to this country that he ascribes himself.
His father was al-Ḥajj Nūḥ, from the major Ḥanafi scholar as of his land. During Aḥmad Zogu's reign of Albania, there was severe oppression for the Muslims of that land. Because of this, the Sheikh's family had migrated to Damascus, Syria, which is where he and his family took residence.
His first teacher was his father, al-Ḥajj Nūḥ Najātī, who himself had completed Sharīʿah studies in Instanbul, returning to Albania as one of its Ḥanafi scholars. Under the guidance of his father, the Sheikh studied Qurʾān, tajwīd, and the Arabic language as well as Ḥanafi fiqh.
Further, he studied Ḥanafi fiqh and Arabic language under Sheikh Saʽīd al-Burhān. He would also attend the lectures of Imām ʿAbd al-Fattaḥ and Sheikh Tawfīq al-Barzah.
The Sheikh met the late ḥadīth master, Aḥmad Shākir, with whom he participated in knowledge based discussions on ḥadīth and its research.
The Sheikh has many printed works mainly in the field of ḥadīth and its sciences.
A couple of his works include:
..and many others.
The Sheikh was praised by the senior scholars and imāms of this time and they would ask him questions, visit him, seek fatwā from him and exchange letters with him.
Sheikh ʿAbd al-Azīz al-Huddāh stated:
"The Sheikh, the great scholar, the ocean (of knowledge)."
Muḥammad al-Amīn al-Shanqītī used to respect the Sheikh so much to the point that when he would see him passing by, and he was giving his class in the masjid of Madīnah, he would stop his c lass to stand and give salām to him out of respect for him.
Sheikh ʿAbd al-Azīz ibn Bāz (رحمه الله) said:
"I have not seen under the surface of the sky a person knowledgeable of the ḥadīth in our current time the likes of the great scholar, Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī."
And he was asked about the ḥadīth of the Prophet (ﷺ):
"Indeed Allāh raises up from this ummah at the beginning of every century someone who will revive it for them." (1)
So he was asked who is the mujaddid of this century? He replied:
"Sheikh Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī. He is the mujaddid in my opinion and Allāh knows best."
Sheikh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-Uthaymīn (رحمه الله) said:
"From what I came to know of the Sheikh through my gatherings with him, and they were few, was that he was very serious about acting upon the Sunnah and fighting against the innovations. And this was regardless of whether it was about the belief or about actions. As through my readings of his written works, then I have come to know that about him, and also that he possesses a vast amount of knowledge of ḥadīth, in terms of reporting them and investigating them. And Allāh has benefitted many people through what he has written such as about knowledge, aspects of the manhaj, and concern for the science of ḥadīth."
The Sheikh had many praiseworthy characteristics. From the most clear, manifest and highest of them was his profound precision with regard to knowledge, his diligence, perseverance, his torlerance [with others], his firmness upon the truth, his quickness to return to correctness, his patience with the hardships of knowledge and da‘wah, and his taking of insults and harms for the sake of da‘wah, bearing that with patience and consideration.
One of the greatest things that distinguished the Sheikh from many of his brothers amongst the people of knowledge was his strong support for the Sunnah and its adherents, his firmness upon the methodology of the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ, his love for those who called to it, and his refutation against those who are deviants from all levels and various positions, with an extreme clearness and a rare clarity.
The Sheikh never ceased to be devoted to the knowledge, persistent in authoring works, diligent in teaching and educating until he reached the age of eighty-six. He did not stop authoring books, writing letters and referencing and checking of aḥādīth, because of his heart's attachment to that, until the last two months of his life, when he grew very weak. This was until Allāh took his soul in death right before sunset on al-Sabt when eight days remained for the end of the month Jumādā al-Thānī of the year 1420AH.
He left his will advising his relatives not to wail over his death and rush his burial. He donated his entire library that included valuable manuscripts to the library of the Islāmic University of Madīnah because of his "fond memories" of the years he spent there.
His funeral prayer was performed on the evening of the same day that he died. Numerous amounts of people, whose number exceeded that of five thousand individuals, prayed over him. The scholars, students of knowledge and common people were all affected by his loss.
May Allāh have mercy on the soul of Sheikh al-Albānī and grant him paradise, and may Allāh bless you, and shukran.
Brief contents of the biography is extracted from the book, Follow the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ by Sheikh Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī, with minor changes to the original wording.
1. Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4291