Since its establishment one thousand andseventy years ago, - which is two thirdsof the age of Islamic Da'wah-, al-Azhar has been playing asignificant role in promoting the Islamic sciences and studies. Al-Azharculture has been distinguished with its intellectual diversity, dealing withsectarianism and extremism, correcting the wrong concepts, achieving culturalsecurity and liberating Muslim societies from cultural doubleness and doctrinalprejudice.
Indeed,al-Azhar has been acting as a guardian of Islam and the Islamic nation, exertingevery possible effort to keep the nation strong and united, and combining whatis original with what is contemporary. Al-Azhar provides a space forjurisprudential discussions and comparisons, without giving a priority to a certainera, jurisprudential school, doctrine or cultural background.
Al-Azhar culture is based on a deepcomprehension of the origins and the sources of judgments, a sincere induction ofthe rules of jurisprudence and its objectives and a profound apprehension ofthe consequences of actions. These elements give evidence on the richness ofthe Islamic sciences and the divinity of the honorable Shari'ah.
Despite their different nationalitiesand backgrounds, al-Azhar scholars are very proud of belonging to such distinguished institution; however,there are few individuals, who studied at al-Azhar, chose joining the groupsopposed to al-Azhar. These groups seek to marginalize the leading role ofal-Azhar in the Islamic world, causing divisions inside al-Azhar establishment,and even accusing al-Azhar of infidelity. Such groups include followers of the Wahhabimovement, members of the Muslim Brotherhood (al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn) and theShiites.
Those Azharis, who belong to suchvicious groups, should reevaluate their situations, and detach themselves fromsectarianism and fanaticism. Unfortunately, those Azharis, who were ungratefulto al-Azhar, are taking advantage from the temporary chaos in Egypt and tryingto spread poisoned thoughts in their lectures, conferences, mosques and media. Thesedisgraceful behaviors defame al-Azhar, and show it as an incubator of bothintellectual and armed terrorism.
Yet, Muslims have accepted al-Azhar astheir major Islamic reference, in order to confront sectarianism which seeks toexclude Egypt from practicing its leading role in the Islamic world, byweakening and undermining al-Azhar’s efforts.
As a matter of fact, al-Azhar culturehas been a guardian and a defender of Islam against the attempts of atheism,polytheism and corruption. It seeks, via its accredited approaches, toconsolidate the religious fraternity, tolerance, acceptance of the “Other”,national unity, and applying the values of justice, dignity and world peace.
Nevertheless, all evidence indicate thatal-Azhar is the gift of Islam; an institution that has been flourished andprogressed by the will and the might of the Egyptians, despite the viciousattempts that seek to ruin al-Azhar.