|Students||approx. 375,000 (2004)|
|Employee||approx. 16,000 teachers|
The Azhar ( Arabic الأزهر) is an Islamic academic institution of international standing that has its seat in Cairo and is maintained by the Egyptian state . It includes the Azhar University (جامعة الأزهر / ǧāmiʿat al-Azhar ), the Academy for Islamic Studies and the Azhar Mosque and is headed by an Islamic scholar, the Sheikh al-Azhar . Teaching at the Azhar began in 988, making the institution one of the oldest Islamic universities in the world. Her name is derived from az-Zahrā ' , an epithet of Fatima , the youngest daughter of the Prophet Mohammed . The duties of the Azhar are set out in Egyptian Law No. 103 of July 5, 1961, also known as the "Azhar Law" ( qānūn al-Azhar ).
According to Article 2 of this law, the Azhar is "a major Islamic scientific body that endeavors to preserve, study, disclose and disseminate the Islamic heritage, transmit the entrusted good of the Islamic message to all peoples and work towards establishing the truth about it to show Islam and its influence on the progress of humanity, the development of civilization, the maintenance of peace, tranquility and peace of mind for all people in this world and the hereafter. "
Whole body of the Azhar
According to Article 8 of the Azhar Law, the Azhar as a whole is made up of five bodies: 1. the "Supreme Azharrat" ( al-maǧlis al-aʿlā li-l-Azhar ), 2. the Academy for Islamic Investigations ( maǧmaʿ al-buḥūṯ al-islāmīya ), 3. the "Office for Culture and Islamic Study Missions " ( idārat aṯ-ṯaqāfa wa-l-buʿūṯ al-islāmīya ), 4. the "Azhar University" ( ǧāmiʿat al-Azhar ) and the "Azhar Institutes" ( al-maʿāhid al-azharīya ). According to Art. 4, the spiritual head of the Azhar body is the Sheikh al-Azhar . He presides over the supreme Azharrat and is also referred to as the "Grand Imam" (al-imām al-akbar) . The current Grand Imam is Ahmed el-Tayeb , who was previously Grand Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt for two years . According to Article 3 of the Azhar Law, the Egyptian President appoints a "Minister for the Affairs of the Azhar" ( wazīr li-šuʾūn al-Azhar ). In the past, this was repeatedly identical to Sheikh al-Azhar, as in the case of ʿAbd al-Halīm Mahmūd .
Academy for Islamic Studies
The Academy for Islamic Studies is a body of fifty scholars that deals with the clarification of controversial Islamic questions, holds international Islamic conferences and in some cases also performs censorship tasks in Egypt. The Academy also publishes the Azhar magazine ( Maǧallat al-Azhar ) and is responsible for the "City of Islamic (study) missions" ( Madīnat al-buʿūṯ al-islāmīya ), in which students from various Islamic countries live here to be familiarized with the Azharite form of Sunni Islam.
Azhar University is now spread across numerous locations across Egypt and has a male and a female branch. The male branch now has a total of 43 faculties: six faculties of theology ( uṣūl ad-dīn ) and Islamic mission ( Daʿwa ), five law faculties, seven faculties of Arabic language ( al-luġa al-ʿArabīya ), six faculties of Islamic sciences ( ad-dirāsāt al-islāmīya ), three medical faculties, two faculties of dentistry, two pharmaceutical faculties, two engineering faculties, two agricultural faculties, two faculties of agricultural engineering, two educational faculties, one commercial science faculty, one faculty of languages and translation, a media science faculty and a natural science faculty.
The female branch of Azhar University has 26 faculties: 13 faculties for Islamic and Arabic studies, two commercial faculties, one each for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, natural sciences, nursing, human sciences and home economics, and two general girls' faculties.
The religious character of the university means that in addition to their professional and academic qualifications, the students also always receive religious and Islamic training.
The teaching staff at Azhar University today consists of around 16,000 teachers. At the head of the administrative apparatus is the "Director of Azhar University" ( mudīr ǧāmiʿat al-Azhar ). The importance of Azhar University can also be seen in the number of students, which is completely outside of what is usual at American or European universities: In 2004, about 375,000 students were enrolled at Azhar, including 150,000 women. Since spring 2006, plans have been publicly discussed to divide the university into three colleges.
The Azhar Institutes, which offer Islamic-religious training at primary and secondary level, have their own general administration. As early as 1963 there were a total of 57 primary and 26 secondary institutes in Egypt. Azhar institutes with special tasks are the "institutes for Islamic study missions " ( maʿāhid al-buʿūṯ al-islāmīya ) for foreigners who want to study at the Azhar, the "model institute" ( al-maʿhad an-namūḏaǧī ), an educational experimental institute , and the "Institutes for Koran Recitation" ( maʿāhid al-qirāʾāt ).
Azhar Online Archive
In 2005, the Al-Azhar online archive was opened. It is a joint venture between the university and Sheikh Muhammad bin Raschid Al Maktum's “ IT Education Project ” in Dubai . The aim is to make all 42,000 manuscripts (approx. 7 million pages) in the Azhar library available to registered users via the Internet . At the end of 2006 about 1.5 million pages were available to subscribers .
Beginnings and early development
The nucleus of the Azhar was the Azhar mosque , which the Fatimid general Dschauhar as-Siqillī built in 360 (970/71 AD) as a Friday mosque in the new Fatimid residence city of al-Qāhira . It was completed in Ramadan 361 (June / July 972) and served as the main mosque of the Fatimids for more than forty years until this function was transferred to the al-Hakim mosque in 1013 .
Scientific studies began in the Azhar mosque as early as October 975, according to the Islamic calendar in the month of Ramadan 365 AH (according to the Hijra ). Chief Justice Abul Hasan Ali ibn an-Nu'man, a son of an-Nuʿmān , lectured in his lectures on an important work of Shiite jurisprudence . The actual theological college was founded in 988 during the rule of the Fatimids by the Grand Vizier Yaqub ibn Killis (979-991) in Cairo . It emerged as an educational center, with theology and law ( Fiqh ) being the main focus of teaching . In the 10th century, pioneering anatomical studies were also carried out by Ali Nimr Ibn Ali Nu'man, a nephew of the famous Chief Justice Abul Hasan Ali ibn an-Nu'man. These fundamental studies on the methodology of the section had a significant influence on Avicenna's medical study. The Azhar originated as an institution of the Ismaili Shia and became Sunni in 1171 .
Room and board were provided for the students and the teaching staff. The Mamluk period , when scholars such as Ibn Chaldūn and Ibn Hajar al-ʿAsqalānī were active here, is considered the actual "golden age" of the Azhar . The historian al-Maqrīzī reports that in 815 (1415/16 AD) a total of 750 students from Egypt and numerous other regions such as the Maghreb and Persia lived in the mosque, reciting the Koran , Fiqh , Hadith , Tafsīr and Arabic Studied grammar, listened to sermons, and held dhikr sessions. However, the Azhar was only one of many educational institutions in Cairo at that time. As al-Maqrīzī reports, there were a total of 70 madrasa schools in the city at that time .
Reform process and Azhar laws
A first modern reform took place under the Khedive Ismail Pasha , who in 1872 introduced the ʿālimīya (from ʿālim "scholar") as a new final diploma , which replaced the traditional authorization by Ijāza . In this way, lessons that are not regulated by any statutory provisions should be brought into a binding system. During this time the Azhar developed into one of the most important centers of Islamic learning and attracted students from all countries. At the same time, it opened up to non-Muslims and Shiites. The orientalist Ignaz Goldziher was the first European student to be admitted to the Azhar around 1873 . In 1910, the then Sheikh of Azhar Salīm al-Bishrī met the Iraqi Twelve Shiite scholar Muhammad al-Husain Āl Kāshif al-Ghitāʾ.
Another law, drawn up by a reform commission in 1910 and coming into force in 1911, stipulated that the rector of the Azhar was nominated by the Khedives, enlarged the advisory board, which now consists of rector, the sheikhs of the four schools of law , the general director of the Foundations and three members appointed by the Council of Ministers, and created a body of 30 top scholars ( haiat kibār al-ʿulamāʾ ), from which the rector was also elected. In the following years, the Azhar experienced a strong expansion: The number of students (including students at the affiliated religious institutes) rose to a total of 15,836 people by 1918.
A new constitution, passed on November 16, 1930, brought about another reform. The Azhar now received three faculties : one for theology ( uṣūl ad-dīn ), one for Islamic law ( aš-šarīʿa al-islāmīya ) and one for Arabic language ( al-luġa al-ʿArabīya ). The Tribunal of First-Class Scholars was given the authority to judge whether scholars were guilty of an act contrary to the dignity of their office. The composition of the advisory board was changed: the sheikhs of the four law schools were replaced by the sheikhs of the three faculties, and the council was completed by the Grand Mufti. It was also stipulated that new students were not allowed to be older than 16 when they started their studies.
The 1930 constitution was replaced by a new law on March 26, 1936. With this, the three Azhar faculties were combined into one university ( ǧāmiʿa ), which has now been structurally separated from the Azhar institutes. At Azhar University itself, diploma theses and dissertations were introduced as new qualification paths . The Azhar Law of 1936 defined the two core tasks of the Azhar: 1. to maintain and disseminate religious law, its principles and the sciences derived from it, as well as the Arabic language; 2. To train ʿUlamāʾ, who are entrusted with the teaching of religious and philological sciences in schools and other educational establishments as well as the exercise of public functions related to the religious law.
In 1955, after the Free Officers Revolution and the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser , the former Minister of Education Tāhā Husain made the proposal to convert Azhar University into a theological faculty that should be integrated into a modern university. In June 1961, the Egyptian National Assembly passed Law No. 103 of 1961, which provided for a major reform of the Azhar. This reform took up the ideas of Husain, but reversed its direction. Instead of integrating the Azhar into a modern university, the modern educational system was integrated into the Azhar. Four new faculties for economics and administration, engineering, medicine and agriculture as well as a faculty for women were opened. As Mahmūd Schaltūt , the Sheikh al-Azhar who was behind the reform, explained in an essay, the aim of the reform was to remove the barriers between the graduates of the Azhar and those of the state schools and universities and to equal opportunities in the fields of science and of professions. At the same time, the 1961 law gave the Azhar the first international missionary mandate. On the other hand, the law also made it lose its semi-autonomous status.
In order to improve foreign language teaching in the basic studies of all faculties, a separate "Institute for Languages and Translation" was founded in 1965, at which from then on the languages of the non-Islamic world were also taught. In the same year a "Higher Department for Islamic and Arabic Studies" was founded, the task of which was to offer a study program that introduces the entire field of traditional Islamic education.
The most famous former students and lecturers at the university include Mohammed Amin al-Husseini , Yusuf al-Qaradawi , Jakup Hasipi , Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi and Ezzat Abou Aouf . Today there are also many European and North American “Azhari”, many of whom are converts .
- Abdallah Chanfi Ahmed: "Entre da`wa et diplomatie: al-Azhar et l'Afrique au sud du Sahara d'après la revue Maǧallat al-Azhar dans les années 1960 et 1970" in Islam et sociétés au sud du Sahara: revue; le cahiers annuel pluridisciplinaire 14-15 (2000-2001) 58-80.
- Muhammad ʿAbdallāh ʿInān: Tārīḫ al-Ǧāmiʿ al-Azhar . 2nd edition Cairo 1958.
- Rainer Brunner: Approach and distance. Schia, Azhar and Islamic Ecumenism in the 20th Century . Berlin 1996. Available online here .
- A. Chris Eccel: Egypt, Islam and social change: Al-Azhar in conflict and accommodation . Berlin: Schwarz 1984. Available online here .
- J. Jomier: Art. "Al-Azhar" in The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition Vol. I, pp. 813b-821b.
- Bärbel Köhler: The science under the Egyptian Fatimids . Olms, Hildesheim, 1994. pp. 26-34.
- Wolf-Dieter Lemke: Maḥmūd Šaltūt (1893-1963) and the reform of the Azhar: Studies on renewal efforts in the Egyptian-Islamic education system . Frankfurt a. M. [u. a.]: Lang, 1980.
- Malika Zeghal: "Religion and politics in Egypt: The ulema of al-Azhar, radical Islam, and the state (1952-94)" in International Journal of Middle East Studies 31 (1999) 371-399. Available online here .
- Azhar University website (Arabic)
- Ministry of Religions website (multilingual)
- Charlotte Wiedemann and Daniel Steinvorth: al-Azhar, Die Blühende . in: Die Zeit No. 5 of Jan. 27, 2005
- New Grand Sheikh at Azhar University: With a suit and tie against extremism
- List of Members. (pdf) In: www.fumi-fuiw.org. Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World, 2017, p. 17 , accessed on September 1, 2019 .
- The Arabic text of the law can be viewed here.
- See Lemke 168–171.
- See also Lemke 172.
- New Grand Sheikh at Azhar University: With a suit and tie against extremism, Qantara.de March 26, 2010 ( Memento from July 12, 2012 in the web archive archive.today )
- See here ( memento from March 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) the website.
- See Abdallah Chanfi Ahmed: Ngoma et mission islamique ( Daʿwa ) aux Comores et en Afrique orientale. Une approche anthropologique . Paris 2002. p. 210.
- See the following list: Archive link ( Memento from October 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
- See the following list: Archive link ( Memento of October 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
- See Lemke 204.
- See Lemke 176.
- See Lemke 187–192.
- See also Lemke 194f.
- Cf. Koehler: Science under the Egyptian Fatimids . 1994, p. 26.
- Cf. ʿInān: Tārīḫ al-Ǧāmiʿ al-Azhar . 1958, p. 93.
- Plinio Prioreschi: A History of Medicine. Volume 4: Byzantine and Islamic Medicine. Horatius Press, Omaha NE 2001, ISBN 1-888456-04-3 , pp. 215f.
- Cf. ʿInān: Tārīḫ al-Ǧāmiʿ al-Azhar . 1958, p. 124.
- Cf. Jomier: "al-Azhar" in EI² Vol. I, p. 816b.
- See Lemke 177.
- Martin Kramer: The Jewish Discovery of Islam ( Memento of March 27, 2003 in the Internet Archive )
- See Brunner 43.
- Cf. Jomier: "al-Azhar" in EI² Vol. I, pp. 817b-818a and Lemke: Maḥmūd Šaltūt (1893-1963) and the reform of the Azhar . 1980, p. 182.
- Cf. ʿInān: Tārīḫ al-Ǧāmiʿ al-Azhar . 1958, p. 279.
- See Jomier 818b.
- See Jomier 818a-818b.
- See Lemke 101f., 173
- See Lemke 168.
- Cf. Zeghal 376.
- See Lemke 166.
- See Lemke 202f.
- See Lemke 227.
- See Lemke 170.
- See Lemke 167.
- See Lemke 222-224.
- See Lemke 229f.