The Meaning of Al-Azhar in Quran

Moddakir Academy
Moddakir Academy

Al-Azhar in Quran

Al-Azhar Al-Sharif has a sacred place in the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world. It is considered a bastion of Islam in its true, moderate form, far from extremism and fanaticism.

This reverence stems from Al-Azhar’s position as one of Egypt’s most important religious institutions and its authority in defining Islamic law. Additionally, Al-Azhar University is the oldest institution in the Islamic world for studying the Sunni methodology and Sharia law for all Muslims.

The Establishment and Status of Al-Azhar Sharif in Islam
The Al-Azhar Mosque was built by Jawhar al-Siqilli, the commander of the Fatimid Caliph al-Muizz li-Din Allah, in 359 AH/970 CE, just one year after the founding of Cairo. Its construction took approximately 27 months, and it was opened for prayer on Friday, 7 Ramadan 361 AH/21 June 972 CE. It soon became a center of learning and was named Al-Azhar Mosque after Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and wife of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), from whom the Fatimids claimed descent, according to the most reliable accounts

The Importance of Al-Azhar in Islam

Al-Azhar’s importance goes beyond its historical heritage. It serves as the leading authority on Islamic thought and interpretation, issuing fatwas (religious rulings) and engaging in theological discourse.

Al-Azhar Al-Sharif leads the scholarly effort in the field of ijtihad (legal reasoning) and the renewal of Islamic thought.
It is a beacon of knowledge for the entire world and a symbol of national identity and Sunni moderation.
Al-Azhar teaches the moderate form of Islam to Muslims worldwide.
It is responsible for الدعوة (proselytization) and spreading religious knowledge and the Arabic language in Egypt and the world.
It plays a significant role in politics and interfaith dialogue.
It counters terrorism intellectually and presents the true image of Islam against extremist ideologies.

The Educational History of Al-Azhar
Al-Azhar Mosque is the oldest fully-fledged university in the world, with a faculty of scholars from various disciplines and schools of thought, students from around the globe, textbooks, public libraries, and a free residential college providing all means of living. It is a pioneer of progress and prosperity, and a testament to the ability of the Egyptian people, in particular, and the Arab and Islamic peoples, in general, to achieve civilizational advancement and scientific accomplishment.

Education at Al-Azhar was not limited to religious sciences but also included various secular sciences such as astronomy and mathematics.

Al-Azhar Sharif, as the greatest Islamic university, continues to attract students of knowledge from all over the world who seek to learn true, moderate Islam, study religion and jurisprudence, and, more recently, study various sciences, arts, and literature. They graduate as practicing scholars well-versed in religion, combining faith in God, self-confidence, and strength of spirit with polished scientific, practical, and professional skills to emphasize the connection between religion and life and the link between belief and behavior.

Al-Azhar University is not isolated but rather interacts with the largest and most prestigious religious, scientific, and academic institutions in the world. It opens its doors to welcome the communication and gathering of all moderate and middle-of-the-road thinkers worldwide to teach and learn in its fragrant atmosphere.

Al-Azhar University comprises more than seventy specialized scientific faculties extending from the south of Egypt to the north, with a student body of over half a million Egyptians and students from more than one hundred countries.

In Conclusion
While the word “Al-Azhar” may not be found in the Quran, the institution it represents embodies the spirit of the holy text. As a center of learning, scholarship, and dialogue, it continues to illuminate the path of knowledge and understanding for Muslims worldwide, fulfilling its namesake promise to be “the most luminous.”

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