Azhar University, al-
- Chief school of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world, centred on the al-Azhar Mosque in the medieval quarter of Cairo.It was founded by the Fāṭimid dynasty in 970. The basic program has always focused on Islamic law, theology, and the Arabic language. Philosophy and medical studies were added during the Middle Ages but were eventually dropped from the curriculum. Philosophy was restored at the end of the 19th century, and social sciences were added at a branch campus in the early 1960s. Women were first admitted in 1962.
* * *chief centre of Islamic (Islāmic world) and Arabic learning in the world, centred on the mosque of that name in the medieval quarter of Cairo, Egypt. It was founded by the Fāṭimids in AD 970 and was formally organized by 988. The basic program of studies was, and still is, Islamic law, theology, and the Arabic language. Late in the European Middle Ages philosophy and medicine were added to the curriculum, but, because original and independent thinking was suspect in the orthodox scholarly circles of al-Azhar, these subjects were soon eliminated. Only in the 19th century, through the efforts of the great educational reformer Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī (Jamāl ad-Dīn al-Afghānī), was philosophy reinstated. Twentieth-century efforts at modernization resulted in the addition of social sciences at its new supplementary campus at Naṣr City.There are 14 subject faculties for men and 5 for women in Cairo, as well as regional faculties. Women have been admitted since 1962.
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