Posted Opportunities 1
Founded Since 1850
Al-Azhar University, Arabic Jāmiʿat al-Azhar, the chief center of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world, centered on the mosque of that name in the medieval quarter of Cairo, Egypt. It was founded by the Shīʿite (specifically, the Ismāʿīlī sect) Fāṭimids in 970 CE and was formally organized by 988. Its name may allude to Fāṭimah, the Prophet’s daughter, known as “al-Zahrāʾ” (“the Luminous”), from whom the Fāṭimid dynasty derives its name. The format of education at al-Azhar remained relatively informal for much of its early history: initially, there were no entrance requirements, no formal curriculum, and no degrees. The basic program of studies was—and still is—Islamic law, theology, and the Arabic language.