- Hashim Shaheen
- BBC News Arabic
Today, Wednesday, marks the 1083 Hijri anniversary of the founding of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, built by Jawhar al-Sighilli, a prominent military commander during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu’iz li. Din Allah, whose construction began on the twenty-fourth of Jumada al-Awwal, corresponding to the fourth of April, 359 A.H. In 970 AD, its construction took nearly 27 months and was opened for Friday prayers. , Ramadan is the seventh AD. 972 June 21, 361 AH.
Also called Al-Azhar Mosque in reference to Mrs. Fatima Al-Zahra, daughter of Prophet Muhammad and wife of Ali bin Abi Talib.
Al-Azhar is the country’s largest Islamic scholarly organization, concerned with preserving, researching and publishing Islamic heritage, according to Law No. 103 on the Restoration of Al-Azhar and Bodies in Egypt.
Al-Azhar Mosque building
Throughout the ages, from its inception to the present, Al-Azhar Mosque has received the attention of Muslim caliphs, sultans, princes and rulers in its architecture in terms of expansion, construction and renovation. It was completed in 1439 AH / 2018 AD, it lasted for almost three years, and its current area is approximately 12 thousand square meters.
The mosque has eight gates, two on the west side leading to al-Azhar Square, Bab al-Musayneen and the Abbasid Gate, which was established by the Ministry of Religious Endowments during the reign of Khedive Abbas Helmi II. On the southern side, there are the Mughrabi Gate, Saida Gate and Shawwam Gate, and on the northern side, the Jawhariya Gate, and on the eastern side are the Two Holy Mosques Gate and the Soup Gate. .
The mosque is divided into two arcades: the great arcade, which is the old one, which follows the courtyard and extends from Bab al-Shawam to al-Sharaqwa arcade, and the new arcade, which follows the old one and rises two degrees from it. The new portico has two mihrabs, while the old portico has one mihrab called the old qibla.
How has Al-Azhar managed to consolidate its religious status over the years?
Al-Azhar has been able to establish its presence and its spiritual and scientific status in the Islamic world by attracting many science students from around the world, said Ahmad Al-Zawi, editor-in-chief of the Sawt Al-Azhar newspaper.
Al-Shawi attributes al-Azhar’s continuity throughout these years to its reliance on a “pluralistic Ashar curriculum”, meaning that it is not a single doctrinal institution but is concerned with teaching all schools of jurisprudence in addition to its character. “Sobriety, coexistence and knowledge of various legal sciences.”
How did the mosque become a university?
And the editor-in-chief of the Sawt Al-Azhar newspaper, Ahmed Al-Sawy, affirms that the purpose of establishing Al-Azhar was not only for worship, but also to spread knowledge and Fatimid doctrine, and after his death. The Fatimid state in the hands of the Ayyubids, through this move, was able to convert Egypt from a Shiite sect to a Sunni sect, thus ending the mosque’s affiliation.
Al-Shawi adds: “The idea of Sheikh al-Amu’d appeared after this period, when the sheikhs of the four Sunni sects sat in the mosque surrounded by students and students of knowledge, ain ) )to it a one of the universities, the mosque was turned into a university by foreign students. .”
Under Mamluk rule, al-Azhar Mosque dominated as one of the religious and scientific leaderships, and it became a major center for Sunni studies in Egypt and the Islamic world, especially after the fall of Baghdad and the split of Islamic rule in Andalusia and the north. Africa.
The sciences taught at Al-Azhar Mosque were numerous at the time, and varied between the study of theory, law, Arabic and mental science disciplines, as well as history and evaluation of nations and other sciences. Courses are organized in it, which enriched the scientific movement in the mosque, according to the official website of the mosque-affiliated Al-Azhar University.
Al-Shawi says: “Al-Azhar’s status has become a major voice for all the issues of the Islamic world,” and has given the office of “Grand Imam” to many political leaders who visit Egypt from around the world. , while noting that the Al-Azhar Commission was not affected by political events.
Al-Zawi explained that al-Azhar was in political positions at the local and Arab levels, resisting the colonialists and addressing grievances, stressing that al-Azhar’s sheikhs had an important role in electing rulers.
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