One of Shaykh Albani's friends from Jordan, who Shaykh Albani would often ask for advise:
He was asked: Is is haram to have the clothes below their ankle for a man?
He replied: How can I make something Haram what the early scholars and four imams considered permissible?
- Shaykh Mohammad Ibn Mahmoud al-Selawi
These points In shāʾ Allāh will bring further clarification to the statement above.
This friend is not maʿrūf, the general people do not know who he is, in comparison to the well known students and people who benefitted from Shaikh al-Albānī and they are known. In this regard we are unable to verify the reliability of this friend. When was this statement made, what year and where, and are there any other corroborating witnesses especially since it is disputable and contentious. If someone is going to be so brazen to make such statements or the one who then carelessly narrates it make a point, let us apply the principles of narrating to them. The reality is the madhabists want to take some credit from the great Shuyūkh in order to justify their viewpoints. Ya Akhī the obligation upon you are the divine texts and not the words of men!
None of the well known and famous students of Shaikh al-Albānī have transmitted this from him, such students are great in number, active in teaching and also authored hundreds of books and research based treatises between them; none of them have transmitted this. In fact one student has authored a specific book on the issue of the garments below the ankle and he does not cite this odd and aberrant view. From the numerous students of the Shaikh to our knowledge, not a single one of them has transmitted this from him, hence the alleged statement is to be rejected on the basis that it is Shadh and thus rejected.
We find the opposite from Shaikh al-Albānī and all the aḥadīth he authenticates which indicate the prohibition and forbiddance in letting the garment below the ankle, such ahadīth are so many that one could compile a whole book.
Shaikh al-Albānī has authored hundreds of books, some of which run into volumes and everyone knows the level of research, precision and meticulousness of the Shaikh, how he deals with issues and his clarification of them. From all of his works; which range from Aqīdah, Fiqh, Ḥadīth, the science of Ḥadīth, ʿUṣūl al-Fiqh we do not find a SINGLE statement even remotely suggesting the alleged statement above.
It is also known to the student of knowledge and even the beginner that Shaikh al-Albānī was a person of evidence and proof, he spent his whole life propagating an evidence approach to all matters, with the final resolve being the divine texts. It is therefore incredibly insensitive to say the least; to even suggest that he would hold the view of the four madhabs or Imāms as evidence. It is a totally different matter to even allege this was the view of the four Imāms and the early scholars. In fact it is outright ridiculous to suggest Shaikh al-Albānī would forsake the texts for the view of men. I mean look at his books, pick any one book and just read 2-3 pages and you will come to known the methodology of the Shaikh was to return to the texts.
Shaikh al-Albānī has in his various works opposed and went against the view of the earlier scholars, and there so many examples that it is bizarre and embarrassing that we have to even mention this. For example Shaikh al-Albānī goes against the authentication and disparagement of the earlier scholars on narrators and he has even discussed the narrators and narrations in Bukhārī and Muslim. He even opposed so many views of the Imāms and scholars of the past, why would it be different in this issue?
The wording is also suspect and this is an extension of the points above, because we know Shaikh al-Albānī's methodology was to refer to the nusus to make a ruling whether something was lawful, unlawful, prohibited, forbidden and or inherently disliked or the opposite and not look at the position or view of the the four madhabs. For instance one only has to read the introduction to the Ṣifah Ṣalāh to get a good idea that this alleged statement is questionable and perhaps a gross misunderstanding and or even idraj by the narrators and transmitter.
Shaikh al-Albānī has hundreds and hundreds of hours of recordings of his lessons, phone call conversations, questions and answer sessions, meetings, sermons etc. In fact he has the worlds best known series i.e. Silsilah Huda wan-Nūr as well as other series and we do not find a single statement from the Sheikhs own mouth in any of the hundreds of recordings, that he even said something remotely similar to the statement above.
Let us look at this is from another perspective, none of the numerous aḥadīth which discuss the issue of the garments below the ankle, mention the words ḥarām. There are so many narrations that the sheer number of them indicate and allude to prohibition i.e. being ḥarām. This is another discussion of ʿUṣūl al-Fiqh and what surprises us even more, the madhabist lovers under the garb and famous shield they use to hide behind of 'the four schools of thought' know very well because they engross themselves in ʿUṣūl al-Fiqh know that certain words indicate Nahi i.e. prohibition, words that indicate punishment are prohibited etc and on the other end their is Amr to raise the garment and again Amr is is for wujūb, yet they still have the mind boggling audacity to narrate and transmit such high suspect allegations.
The threat to punish those who drag their garments below the ankles is clear. the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, "The part of the Izār which hangs below the ankles is in the fire." (Bukhārī no.678). the garments below the ankles are a violation of this command. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr hols the literal meaning of this ḥadīth to be true i.e. the clothes below the ankle will be in the fire and he quotes the āyah Sūrah al-Anbiyā (21:98, See Fatḥ al-Bārī (10:268 no.5789)
In fact, the majority of the scholars i.e. the jumhūr agree that when the text is in the imperative form, it is intended for Taḥrīm (i.e. making something harām or unlawful), unless there is another authentic evidence that indicates otherwise. In one incident the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saw someone dragging his lower garment. he ﷺ rushed to him and said, "Pull up your Izār and fear Allāh," The man said, "I am Ahnāf (distortion of the foot which move towards each other) a person with trembling knees," He ﷺ said, "Tug up your Izār, certainly all of Allāh's creation is good." Since then the man was not seen except with his Izār touching the middle of his Shins or up to the middle of his Shins." (Ahmad on the condtions of Bukhārī and Muslim, refer to Silsilah āḥadīth al-Ṣaḥīḥaḥ (no.1441). There are many other āḥadīth which clearly command and are thus are the imperative form. Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajr said about some of these āḥadīth that the apparent meaning of the ḥadīth indicates that it is FORBIDDEN." (Fatḥ al-Bārī (10:263)