Al-Azhar Mosque

Al-Azhar Mosque

The Al-Azhar Mosque, located in the heart of Islamic Cairo, very close to Bab Zuwayla, is one of the most important and oldest mosques in the city.

Since its foundation and until today it has been a center of studies. It is the second oldest Islamic university in the world and the most important in the teaching of Islamic law (Sharia) and Shiite theology in its origins, and Sunni from the twelfth century.

In 1952 the mosque was nationalized and, from 1961, it began to function as an independent university, which is still attended by theology students from all over the world.

Facts about Al-Azhar Mosque

 

1- The Al-Azhar Mosque was built by the commander of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz Ladin Allah, Johar al-Suqali, to be a university and a school at the same time; to graduate Fatimid preachers and spread the Shiite doctrine, which the Fatimids professed in Egypt, as Egypt was at that time on the Sunni doctrine.

2- The process of building Al-Azhar Mosque was after Johar the Sicilian conquered Egypt and built "Cairo".

3- The first Friday prayer was held in Ramadan in 361 AH / 972 AD, as the construction process took two years.

4- It was named Al-Azhar Mosque after Mrs. Fatima Al-Zahra, to whom the Fatimids are affiliated.

5- In 988, Caliph Al-Aziz Ballah made Al-Azhar a "university", where Ismaili scholars studied for free, in order to spread the Shiite doctrine in Egypt.

6- The Fatimids spent from the "endowments" on developing the mosque and its supplies such as furnishings, cleaning, lighting, water, and other matters.

7- After Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi conquered Egypt, he banned the Friday prayers in the mosque, stopped it, and opened the mosque to be a platform for all scholars in the Islamic world and turned it into a Sunni mosque.

8- Salah al-Din used to spend money on students, imams, supervisors and teachers, and provide them with housing and life needs, as studying and staying inside the mosque was free of charge.

More Facts about Al-Azhar Mosque

 

9- After a 100-year hiatus, Friday prayers returned in Al-Azhar Mosque, during the reign of Al-Zahir Baybars in 1267, and Salah al-Din canceled the sermon in Al-Azhar Mosque because it was a stronghold for Shiites, so he banned Friday prayers in it to limit the spread of the Shiite doctrine in Egypt.

9- After a 100-year interruption, Friday prayers returned again in Al-Azhar Mosque, during the reign of Al-Zahir Baybars in 1267, and Salah al-Din canceled the sermon in Al-Azhar Mosque because it was a stronghold for Shiites, so he banned the Friday prayers in it to limit the spread of the Shiite doctrine in Egypt.

10- Al-Azhar is credited with preserving the Arab identity and Arab heritage, as well as preserving the Arabic language, after the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate from the Tartars during the Ottoman Caliphate.

11- Al-Azhar is credited with preserving Arab identity, Arab heritage and the Arabic language, following the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate from the Tatars during the Ottoman Caliphate.

12- Al-Azhar had the greatest impact in confronting the French occupation of Egypt led by Napoleon Bonaparte, as Al-Azhar was the one who raised the first and second Cairo revolutions against them, and was one of the reasons for the French withdrawal from Egypt due to its strong resistance to the occupation despite the processes of approach that Napoleon was trying to approach the scholars and Egyptians, which failed every time.

13- Al-Azhar Mosque, which consists of an open nave overlooked by 3 porticoes, the largest of which is the Qibla Portico, and its area at the time of construction was half of its current area, and over the years, a group of porticoes, schools, niches and minarets were added to it, which changed its original features and shape.

 

Al-Azhar Mosque
5 Day Tour of Cairo
5 Day Tour of Cairo
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  • Greater Cairo – the capital of Egypt, home to the Giza Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum and fabulous Islamic architecture.
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  • Aswan – a more relaxed option, full of amazing sights.
  • Port Said – the center of the third-largest metropolitan area, has a cosmopolitan heritage, home to the Lighthouse of Port Said.
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  • Alexandria – Egypt’s window on the Mediterranean, with still-palpable glimpses of the past.
Popular destinations in Egypt
  • Greater Cairo – the capital of Egypt, home to the Giza Pyramids, the Egyptian Museum and fabulous Islamic architecture.
  • Luxor – the gateway to the Valley of the Kings, amongst other fabulous attractions.
  • Aswan – a more relaxed option, full of amazing sights.
  • Port Said – the center of the third-largest metropolitan area, has a cosmopolitan heritage, home to the Lighthouse of Port Said.
  • Hurghada – a town on the Red Sea, filled with all-inclusive resorts and diving.
  • Sharm El Sheikh – a hugely popular resort town on the Sinai peninsula, with some of the best scuba diving in the world.
  • Alexandria – Egypt’s window on the Mediterranean, with still-palpable glimpses of the past.
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