Sheikh Ismail Albatnuni was born in 1964 in Tripoli, Libya. From an early age, he sought out Islamic knowledge, memorizing the Quran, and eventually studying Maliki fiqh (a school of Islamic jurisprudence) from local scholars. However, he knew if he ever wanted to take his studies further it would mean having to leave his homeland.
"In Libya at that time, it was very difficult. Qaddafi shut down all of the Islamic universities," Sheikh Albatnuni explained. Instead, Albatnuni made the practical choice to study engineering and computer systems. However, in 1992, he left Libya to study at a branch of Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) because he was "very eager to study sharia." After graduating, he went on to teach Islamic Studies at Khalifa bin Zayed Air College.