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Al-Azhar Mosque & University Al-Azhar Mosque & University
Photo by Raymon Kondos © 2009 Your Egypt

Al-Azhar was founded in 970 by Gawhar El-Sekelli, a commander of the Fatimid dynasty. Aimed at spreading the Shi'iteWhat does it mean? teaching, the Fatimids made Al-Azhar a center of theological teachings. This came just one year after the founding of Cairo, the capital.

Al-Azhar played -and still plays- a very important role in the Islamic world. For many centuries Al-Azhar has been a center of learning Islamic theology, jurisprudence and religious exegesis. However, after the end of the Fatimid dynasty, the orientation of Al-Azhar teachings was changed to SunniWhat does it mean? doctrine after the takeover of Sunni Moslem Saladin Al-Ayyubi.

Several rulers along Egypt's Islamic history added foundations to Al-Azhar integrating it to become the biggest Islamic university in the world.
The teachings were restricted to religious ones in the beginning but later on, the university began to include secular subjects like science, medicine, trade … etc.
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