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Al-Azhar University: Carrier of history and tradition
Egypt is a very important country in Northeast Africa. The country is also well known for its history-tradition, civilization-culture. There are ruins of thousands of years old civilizations in Egypt, which make it easy to guess how much advanced urban civilization once developed there.
Situated on the banks of the Nile, this country has continued its course of progress through the ages. The education system of the middle-income country is also quite advanced considering the economic aspect. Egypt has Al-Azhar University, one of the oldest educational institutions in the world.
The practice of religious knowledge at Al-Azhar University has continued for nearly one and a half thousand years. Although Egypt's rulers have changed over time, al-Azhar has been patronized by every ruling group since its inception, and a simple mosque has become one of the world's most prestigious universities.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) preached Islam and laid the foundation of a well-organized Islamic empire, which spread beyond Persia to Jerusalem during the time of his next four caliphs. There were then several divisions in the larger Islamic empire, who established their own rule in the areas under their control.
Among these two notable regimes were the Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate. In 969, Al-Muiz-li-Deen, the ruler of the Fatimid Caliphate, conquered Egypt from the Abbasid Caliphate. Egypt was then made the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate.
Soon after Egypt became the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate. The task of building the new capital was given to Fatimid general Jawahar Sicily. He reformed Egypt during the Abbasid period and built the administrative office of the Fatimid Caliphate, built aesthetic buildings and various architectures. The city was renamed Al-Cairo.
Zawhar added the design of a mosque specifically to the Sicilian city plan. Jamiul-Cairo, the central mosque of the Fatimid administration, was built according to his plan. Jamiul Cairo was later renamed Al-Azhar.
The word al-Azhar comes from al-Zahar, which means luminous or luminous. There are two theories in history about naming Al-Azhar from Jamiul-Cairo. Some historians believe that the Al-Azhar Mosque is named after its aesthetic surroundings. However, according to most, al-Azhar is named after Fatima al-Jahar, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, in his honor. Although there is disagreement about the naming, it is true that at that time Al-Azhar really enlightened Egypt in the light of knowledge.
When the Fatimids conquered Egypt, most of them were Sunni Muslims. Meanwhile, the Fatimids were Shia Muslims. At that time, Sunni Muslims in Egypt did not have much idea about Shia doctrine. As a result, Muiz-li-Deen soon ordered the construction of a halqa (learning center) so that Shia doctrine could be practiced there.
In 975, an educational institution was established on the premises of Al-Azhar. Ali ibn al-Noman, a faithful friend of Muiz-li-deen, joined as the first teacher, who began his education there with a book called Al-Ikhtisar. Al-Ikhtisar Ismail-i is a famous book of Shia doctrine. The Al-Azhar Mosque is the center of Shiite ideological learning.
Becoming a university
998 marks the 29th anniversary of the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt. The Ishmael-e-Shia educational center at the Muiz-li-Deen al-Azhar mosque is now a well-known educational institution in Egypt. However, Baghdad is not as popular as the educational institutions of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Yaqub ibn Kilis, a prudent minister of the Fatimid Empire. He realized that in order to increase Al-Azhar's popularity, it was necessary to make some changes in the education system. Because until then, only Ismail-e-Shia doctrine was taught in Azhar. When Yaqub informed his plan to Caliph Aziz Billah, the Caliph became very interested and ordered the implementation of Yaqub's plan.
After 998, al-Azhar was reorganized. Along with Ismail-i Shia doctrine, Arabic literature, Arabic grammar, mathematics, astronomy, medical science, philosophy, etc. are added. Specific education policy is formulated. Subject teachers are recruited. The educational process of a university involves almost everything it needs to have. The small khanqah of al-Azhar, founded by Caliph Muiz-li-deen, was transformed into a university.
The Fatimid caliphate that began in Egypt after 969 ended in 1171. Salauddin Ayubi overthrew the Fatimids and re-established Sunni rule in Egypt. During this time he suspended the teaching activities of Al-Azhar University. Because Shia doctrine was taught in Azhar with great importance among other subjects. Shortly afterwards, al-Azhar University was reopened, eliminating Shia issues.
Most Muslims throughout the Arab world were Sunni, while Shiites were a minority. This is the main reason why Al-Azhar University was rebuilt by the Fatimid rulers but it was not accepted. Al-Azhar's importance to Sunni Muslims increased as the Ayub regime began in Egypt. But it took a long time for al-Azhar to become as famous or important as it is now.
If we look at the history of the whole world in the Middle Ages, we can see that there has been a change of power like monsoon rains. Saladin overthrew the Ayubi Fatimids, but soon after the rise of the Mamluks, the Ayubi rule in Egypt also came to an end. As the regime in Egypt has changed since the founding of Al-Azhar, so has the University of Azhar. The most positive change came during the Mamluk rule. Many historians refer to the Mamluk regime as the revival of al-Azhar.
When the Mamluk Sultan Beybars ruled Egypt, half the world was burning with Mongol violence. At that time the Abbasid Caliphate fell under the Mongol invasion. At the same time, the Mongol forces reduced the capital of the Abbasids, Baghdad, to dust. Not only Baghdad, but the whole of Middle-Earth was reduced to rubble by the Mongol invasion.
But what has Al-Azhar's change got to do with the rise of the Mongols? There are relationships. Because the Mongol forces then destroyed the whole of Middle-earth but could not reach Egypt. As a result, the educated class of Muslims based in Baghdad all took refuge in Egypt. In fact, most of the survivors of the Mongol uprising, including Baghdad, migrated to Egypt.
In this way, as Egypt became more diverse than most of the scholars and people of different cultures of the time, so did Al-Azhar University reach a unique height. At the same time, the title of the main educational center of Sunni Muslims has been associated since then.
After the Mamluks, Egypt came under Ottoman rule. The touch of nobility that Al-Azhar got during the Mamluk period is maintained even during this period. The famous Muslim scholars of that time taught in Azhar. There are also many talented people who have become famous in the Muslim world after completing their studies from there.
Al-Azhar in the modern era
Egypt became an independent state in 1922 when the doctrine of the nation-state became very popular after the First World War. In 1962, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized Al-Azhar University. He also combines religious subjects with history, culture, business, economics, science, medicine, medicine, engineering, etc.
Al-Azhar University currently has about 54,000 students from around the world. There are 359 departments in 81 separate faculties, with 8 separate faculties for female students. The number of teachers for so many departments is not less. About 5,000 teachers are involved in the educational activities of this university.
This university is one of the best universities in the current Arab world. Al-Azhar University is also conducting its educational activities with a good reputation all over the world.