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Al-Azhar Mosque (lit. 'The Resplendent Congregational Mosque'), known simply in Egypt as al-Azhar, is an Egyptian mosque in Islamic Cairo. Jawhar al-Siqilli commissioned its construction for the newly established capital city in 970. Its name is usually thought to derive from az-Zahrāʾ (meaning "the shining one"), a title given to Fatimah bent Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam. It was the first mosque established in Cairo, a city that has since gained the nickname "the City of a Thousand Minarets".
After its dedication in 972, and with the hiring by mosque authorities of 35 scholars in 989, the mosque slowly developed into what is today the second oldest continuously run university in the world after Al Karaouine in Idrisid Fes. Al-Azhar University has long been regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for the study of Sunni theology and sharia, or Islamic law. The university, integrated within the mosque as part of a mosque school since its inception, was nationalized and officially designated an independent university in 1961, following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.
Over the course of its over a millennium-long history, the mosque has been alternately neglected and highly regarded. Because it was founded as a Shiite Ismaili institution, Saladin and the Sunni Ayyubid dynasty that he founded shunned al-Azhar, removing its status as a congregational mosque and denying stipends to students and teachers at its school. These moves were reversed under the Mamluk Sultanate, under whose rule numerous expansions and renovations took place. Later rulers of Egypt showed differing degrees of deference to the mosque and provided widely varying levels of financial assistance, both to the school and to the upkeep of the mosque. Today, al-Azhar remains a deeply influential institution in Egyptian society that is highly revered in the Sunni Muslim world and a symbol of Islamic Egypt.
Depicts the building of Al-Azhar Mosque and sun raises behind, the inscription "Teach you the Book and Wisdom" above.
و يعلمكم الكتاب و الحكمة
Denomination in circle divides dates (Hegira and Gregorian), legend "Arab Republic of Egypt" above. Inscription "1000th Anniversary of al-Azhar Mosque" below.
جمهورية مصر العربية