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Al-Azhar Mosque

Al-Azhar Mosque

The Al-Azhar Mosque is more than just a mosque from antiquity or the direction of knowledge in Islam.

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Where is Al-Azhar Mosque located?

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Panorama view of Al- Azhar Mosque

El-Moaz Al-Deen Street is home to some of Islamic Cairo’s most impressive landmarks. When the city was first established in the eleventh century, this street served as its primary thoroughfare and was where palaces and mausoleums were built. Between Bab El-Fotouh and Al-Azhar Street, the northern portion of the road has recently undergone restoration and is now open to visitors. People like to spend time in this area of Cairo because it is among the most picturesque. One of the city’s spectacular sites is the Qala’un Complex.

What makes the Al-Azhar Mosque so significant?

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Top view of Al-Azhar Mosque

Al-Azhar is one of the oldest and most significant mosques in Egypt and the Arab world. It is the most prominent Islamic organization in the Islamic world and is regarded as a wellspring of knowledge. On Ramadan 14, 359 AH – 970 AD, the Al-Azhar Mosque’s foundation stone was formally set.

Who Built Al-Azhar Mosque?

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Yard of Al-Azhar Mosque

On April 4, 970, Jawhar gave the order to start building a congregational mosque for the new city. The mosque was finished in 972, and on June 22, 972, during Ramadan, the first Friday prayers were held there.

What does the name al-Azhar mean?

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Minaret Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque

Al-Azhar translates as “most radiant.” Al-Azhar is the world’s oldest mosque university and the preeminent study center for Sunni Islam.

What is Al-Azhar Mosque?

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Inside Al-Azhar mosque

The Al-Azhar Mosque is the most significant mosque in Egypt and one of the oldest centers for the teaching and propagation of Islam. Additionally, it is one of the most well-known historical mosques in Egypt and the Islamic world.

Facts about Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Mosque:

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque
  • He ordered the construction of Al-Azhar, the leader, Jawhar Al-Siqali, by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah.
  • Jawhar al-Siqilli was the most important and most famous leader in Fatimid history, as he was the founder of the city of Cairo.
  • It took two years to build Al-Azhar Mosque.
  • The Al-Azhar Mosque was named after Lady Fatima al-Zahra, to whom the Fatimids belonged.
  • In 378 AH/988 AD, the Caliph al-Aziz Billah made it a university to teach Ismaili esoteric sciences to scholars from Africa and Asia.
  • The area of ​​Al-Azhar Mosque is 12,000 square meters.
  • The mosque contains more than 380 beautiful marble columns whose crowns were brought from ancient Egyptian temples.
  • Al-Azhar was neglected during the rule of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt after Salah al-Din overthrew the Fatimids in 1171.
  • Salah al-Din was hostile to the principles of teachings that were put forward in Al-Azhar during the Fatimid Caliphate.
  • Prayers were interrupted in Al-Azhar for about a century by Salah El-Din, who invalidated the sermon at Al-Azhar Mosque, which was a stronghold of the Ismaili Shiites.
  • On December 17, 1267, Friday prayers were held for the first time in Al-Azhar Mosque during the reign of Al-Zahir Baybars, Sultan of Egypt.

Building of the Al Azhar Mosque:

Al-Azhar Mosque | Al-Azhar Al Sharif Mosque | Cairo, Egypt
Minaret Al-Azhar Mosque

The mosque has undergone numerous renovations and additions, enduring over a thousand years of fluctuating politics and governmental upheavals. The five minarets’ various architectural motifs serve as a reminder of the various dynasties that ruled Al-Azhar.

In addition to the mosque’s original central court made of stunning white marble, the structure also houses two madrassas, religious schools, and a covered prayer area. Students used to meet with professors in the central courtyard before Azhar University grew and principally moved to a second campus in the north of the city; classes in Arabic and Koranic interpretation are still conducted here today.

Its three greatest minarets, built in 1340, 1469, and 1510, may also be seen from the courtyard (from right to left if viewed from the yard). Sultan Al-Ghuri also constructed the neighboring Wikala Al-Ghuri and Al-Ghouriyya Complex. The 1510 minaret is distinguished by its twin spires.


Al-Azhar through the ages

Al-Nasir Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi ended Al-relationship Azhar’s with the Shiite sect as a venue for its dissemination at the end of the Fatimid era in Egypt. Egypt then turned back to the Sunni sect after Friday prayers were discontinued, and schools affiliated with the Sunni sect were established to compete with Al-Azhar by disseminating the scientific message. Sunni.

By the Mamluk period, Al-Azhar Mosque had undergone a significant transformation and had assumed control of both the religious and scientific spheres. It had regained its former glory by returning the Mamluk sultans to their original positions, and Friday prayers had resumed inside of it, along with Al-scientific Azhar’s endeavors, this time under the banner of the Sunnah.

Al-Azhar took on its scientific and religious mission until it became a significant Islamic university intended for students of science and Islamic scholars from all over, so it became the leading center for Sunni studies not only in Egypt but in the entire Islamic world. This occurred after the fall of Baghdad in the east and the cracking of Islamic rule in Andalusia and North Africa.

Al-Azhar Mosque maintained its vigor throughout Ottoman authority and over three centuries, and it delivered its message forcefully in the religious and scientific directions in Arabic. It attracted scholars from all over the world, and it held sway during this period up to the appointment of Sheikh Al-Azhar.

Don’t miss to check out our article about Islamic Cairo