14 Facts About Al-Azhar University


Al-Azhar University is a public university in Cairo, Egypt.

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Al-Azhar University is one of the relics of the Isma'ili Shi'a Fatimid dynasty, which claimed descent from Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad and wife of Ali son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad.

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Abd-el-latif delivered lectures on Islamic medicine at Al-Azhar University, while according to legend the Jewish philosopher Maimonides delivered lectures on medicine and astronomy there during the time of Saladin though no historical proof has corroborated this.

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In 1748, the Ottoman pasha tried to get Al-Azhar University to teach astronomy and mathematics, to little avail.

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In 1961, Al-Azhar was re-established as a university under the government of Egypt's second President Gamal Abdel Nasser when a wide range of secular faculties were added for the first time, such as business, economics, science, pharmacy, medicine, engineering and agriculture.

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Historically, Al-Azhar University had a membership that represented diverse opinions within Islam.

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Al-Azhar University now maintains a modernist position, advocating "Wasatiyya", a reaction against the extreme textualism of many Wahhabi Salafi ideologues.

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In July 2012, after the law restricting Al-Azhar University's autonomy was modified by the incoming president Mohamed Morsi, the council was reformed.

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Al-Azhar University's muftis have a history of being consulted on political issues.

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Al-Azhar University added that "mastery over modern weaponry is important to prepare for any eventuality or prejudices of the others, although Islam is a religion of peace".

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Al-Azhar University has made declarations about Muslims interacting with non-Muslims who are not a threat to Muslims.

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In October 2007, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy, then the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, drew allegations of stifling freedom of speech when he asked the Egyptian government to toughen its rules and punishments against journalists.

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Clerics educated at Al-Azhar University publicly promote sectarian beliefs by calling Shia Muslims infidels and encourage isolation and marginalization of Shia Muslims in Egypt.

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Scholars from Al-Azhar University declared the writings to Farag Foda to be blasphemous.

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