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Shaping Global Islamic DiscoursesThe Role of al-Azhar, al-Medina and al-Mustafa$
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Masooda Bano and Keiko Sakurai

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696857

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696857.001.0001

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Protector of the “al-Wasatiyya” Islam: Cairo’s al-Azhar University

Protector of the “al-Wasatiyya” Islam: Cairo’s al-Azhar University

(p.73) Chapter 3 Protector of the “al-Wasatiyya” Islam: Cairo’s al-Azhar University
Shaping Global Islamic Discourses

Masooda Bano

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter illustrates how al Azhar, established by the Shi'i Fatimid empire in 970, was eventually to become one of the most respected centres for Sunni Islamic learning around the globe. It shows how the emphasis on a “middle way,” as reflected in al Azhar's emphasis on teaching all four Sunni madhāhib, has been central to the rise of al Azhar as a global centre of learning. A number of factors led to the rise of the university to this prominent leadership position within Sunni Islam, including its location in Cairo, the exodus of scholars from places such as Andalusia due to political instability and their settlement in Cairo, the university's ability to harbour multiple discourses, and the controversial state led reforms enacted since the 1960s.

Keywords:   al Azhar University, Shi'i Fatimid, Sunni Islam, middle way, Cairo, Andalusia

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