Muhammad was the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, sent to present and confirm the monotheistic teachings preached by Adam, Moses and other prophets, he is viewed as the final prophet of God in all the main branches of Islam, though some modern denominations diverge from this belief. Muhammad united Arabia into a single Muslim polity, with the Quran as well as his teachings and practices forming the basis of Islamic religious belief. Born 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at the age of six, he was raised under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, upon his death, by his uncle Abu Talib. In years he would periodically seclude himself in a mountain cave named Hira for several nights of prayer; when he was 40, Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in the cave, receiving his first revelation from God. Three years in 610, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "submission" to God is the right way of life, that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to the other prophets in Islam.
The followers of Muhammad were few in number, experienced hostility from Meccan polytheists. He sent some of his followers to Abyssinia in 615 to shield them from prosecution, before he and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina in 622; this event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. In December 629, after eight years of intermittent fighting with Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Mecca; the conquest went uncontested and Muhammad seized the city with little bloodshed. In 632, a few months after returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, he died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam; the revelations, which Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the verbatim "Word of God" and around which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad's teachings and practices, found in the Hadith and sira literature, are upheld and used as sources of Islamic law.
The name Muhammad appears four times in the Quran. The Quran addresses Muhammad in the second person by various appellations. Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped in Quran 73:1 and the shrouded in Quran 74:1. In Sura Al-Ahzab 33:40 God singles out Muhammad as the "Seal of the prophets", or the last of the prophets; the Quran refers to Muhammad as Aḥmad "more praiseworthy". The name Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, begins with the kunya Abū, which corresponds to the English, father of; the Quran is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe; the Quran, provides minimal assistance for Muhammad's chronological biography. Important sources regarding Muhammad's life may be found in the historic works by writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era; these include traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad, which provide additional information about Muhammad's life.
The earliest surviving written sira is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written c. 767 CE. Although the work was lost, this sira was used at great length by Ibn Hisham and to a lesser extent by Al-Tabari. However, Ibn Hisham admits in the preface to his biography of Muhammad that he omitted matters from Ibn Ishaq's biography that "would distress certain people". Another early history source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi, the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi. Many scholars accept these early biographies as authentic. Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between traditions touching legal matters and purely historical events. In the legal group, traditions could have been subject to invention while historic events, aside from exceptional cases, may have been only subject to "tendential shaping". Other important sources include the hadith collections, accounts of the verbal and physical teachings and traditions of Muhammad. Hadiths were compiled several generations after his death by followers including Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Muhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi, Abd ar-Rahman al-Nasai, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Malik ibn Anas, al-Daraqutni.
Some Western academics cautiously view the hadith collections as accurate historical sources. Scholars such as Madelung do not reject the narrations which have been compiled in periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures. Muslim scholars on the other hand place a greater emph
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Shia Islam is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident at Saqifah; this view contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus in Saqifa, to be the first rightful Caliph after the Prophet. Unlike the first three Rashidun caliphs, Ali was from the same clan as Muhammad, Banu Hashim as well as being the prophet's cousin and being the first male to become Muslim. Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias of Ali, Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i or Shi'ite individually. Shia Islam is the second largest branch of Islam: as of the late 2000s, Shia Muslims constituted 10-15% of all Muslims. Twelver Shia is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with 2012 estimates saying that 85% of Shias were Twelvers.
Shia Islam is based on the Quran and the message of Muhammad attested in hadith, on hadith taught by their Imams. Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, as the first Imam; the Shia extend this Imammah doctrine to Muhammad's family, the Ahl al-Bayt, some individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community and other divinely ordained traits. Although there are many Shia subsects, modern Shia Islam has been divided into three main groupings: Twelvers and Zaidis, with Twelver Shia being the largest and most influential group among Shia; the word Shia means followers and is the short form of the historic phrase shīʻatu ʻAlī, meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali". Shi'a and Shiism are the forms used in English, while Shi'ite or Shiite, as well as Shia, refer to its adherents; the term for the first time was used at the time of Muhammad. At present, the word refers to the Muslims who believe that the leadership of the community after Muhammad belongs to Ali and his successors.
Nawbakhti states that the term Shia refers to a group of Muslims that at the time of Muhammad and after him regarded Ali as the Imam and Caliph. Al-Shahrastani expresses that the term Shia refers to those who believe that Ali is designated as the Heir and caliph by Muhammad and Ali's authority never goes out of his descendants. For the Shia, this conviction is implicit in the history of Islam. Shia scholars emphasize that the notion of authority is linked to the family of the prophets as the verses 3:33,34 shows: "Indeed, God chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of'Imran over the worlds – Descendants, some of them from others, and God is Hearing and Knowing." Shia Muslims believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. They believe God chose Ali to be Muhammad's successor, the first caliph of Islam; the Shias believe. Ali was Muhammad's first-cousin and closest living male relative as well as his son-in-law, having married Muhammad's daughter Fatimah.
Muhammad invited people to Islam in secret for three years. In the fourth year of Islam, when Muhammad was commanded to invite his closer relatives to come to Islam he gathered the Banu Hashim clan in a ceremony. At the banquet, he was about to invite them to Islam when Abu Lahab interrupted him, after which everyone left the banquet; the Prophet ordered Ali to invite the 40 people again. The second time, Muhammad invited them to join, he said to them, I offer thanks to God for His mercies. I praise God, I seek His guidance. I believe in Him and I put my trust in Him. I bear witness. God has commanded me to invite you to His religion by saying:. I, warn you, call upon you to testify that there is no god but God, that I am His messenger. O ye sons of Abdul Muttalib, no one came to you before with anything better than what I have brought to you. By accepting it, your welfare will be assured in the Hereafter. Who among you will support me in carrying out this momentous duty? Who will share the burden of this work with me?
Who will respond to my call? Who will become my vicegerent, my deputy and my wazir? Ali was the only one to answer Muhammad's call. Muhammad told him to sit down, saying, "Wait! Someone older than you might respond to my call." Muhammad asked the members of Banu Hashim a second time. Once again, Ali was the only one to respond, again, Muhammad told him to wait. Muhammad asked the members of Banu Hashim a third time. Ali was still the only volunteer; this time, Ali's offer was accepted by Muhammad. Muhammad "drew close, pressed him to his heart, said to the assembly:'This is my wazir, my successor and my vicegerent. Listen to him and obey his commands.'" In another narration, when Muhammad accepted Ali's eager offer, Muhammad "threw up his arms around the generous youth, pressed him to his bosom" and said, "Behold my brother, my vizir, my vicegerent... Let all listen to his words, obey him." Sir Richard Burton writes about the banquet in his 1898 book, saying, "It won for a proselyte worth a thousand sabers in the pers
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt, serving from 1954 until his death in 1970. Nasser led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced far-reaching land reforms the following year. Following a 1954 attempt on his life by a Muslim Brotherhood member, he cracked down on the organization, put President Mohamed Naguib under house arrest and assumed executive office, he was formally elected president in June 1956. Nasser's popularity in Egypt and the Arab world skyrocketed after his nationalization of the Suez Canal and his political victory in the subsequent Suez Crisis. Calls for pan-Arab unity under his leadership increased, culminating with the formation of the United Arab Republic with Syria from 1958 to 1961. In 1962, Nasser began a series of modernization reforms in Egypt. Despite setbacks to his pan-Arabist cause, by 1963 Nasser's supporters gained power in several Arab countries, but he became embroiled in the North Yemen Civil War and the much larger Arab Cold War.
He began his second presidential term in March 1965 after his political opponents were banned from running. Following Egypt's defeat by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, Nasser resigned, but he returned to office after popular demonstrations called for his reinstatement. By 1968, Nasser had appointed himself Prime Minister, launched the War of Attrition to regain lost territory, began a process of depoliticizing the military and issued a set of political liberalization reforms. After the conclusion of the 1970 Arab League summit, Nasser died, his funeral in Cairo drew an outpouring of grief across the Arab world. Nasser remains an iconic figure in the Arab world for his strides towards social justice and Arab unity, modernization policies and anti-imperialist efforts, his presidency encouraged and coincided with an Egyptian cultural boom and launched large industrial projects, including the Aswan Dam and Helwan city. Nasser's detractors criticize his authoritarianism, his human rights violations and his dominance of military over civil institutions, establishing a pattern of military and dictatorial rule in Egypt.
Nasser was born on 15 January 1918 in Bakos, Egypt. Nasser's father was Abdel Nasser Hussein and his mother was Fahima Nasser. Nasser's father was a postal worker born in Beni Mur in Upper Egypt and raised in Alexandria, his mother's family came from Mallawi, el-Minya, his parents married in 1917. Nasser has Izz al-Arab and al-Leithi. Nasser's biographers Robert Stephens and Said Aburish wrote that Nasser's family believed in the "Arab notion of glory", since the name of Nasser's brother, Izz al-Arab, translates to "Glory of the Arabs"—a rare name in Egypt. Nasser's family traveled due to his father's work. In 1921, they moved to Asyut and, in 1923, to Khatatba. Nasser attended a primary school for the children of railway employees until 1924, when he was sent to live with his paternal uncle in Cairo, to attend the Nahhasin elementary school. Nasser visited her on holidays, he stopped receiving messages at the end of April 1926. Upon returning to Khatatba, he learned that his mother had died after giving birth to his third brother and that his family had kept the news from him.
Nasser stated that "losing her this way was a shock so deep that time failed to remedy". He adored his mother and the injury of her death deepened when his father remarried before the year's end. In 1928, Nasser went to Alexandria to live with his maternal grandfather and attend the city's Attarin elementary school, he left in 1929 for a private boarding school in Helwan, returned to Alexandria to enter the Ras el-Tin secondary school and to join his father, working for the city's postal service. It was in Alexandria. After witnessing clashes between protesters and police in Manshia Square, he joined the demonstration without being aware of its purpose; the protest, organized by the ultranationalist Young Egypt Society, called for the end of colonialism in Egypt in the wake of the 1923 Egyptian constitution's annulment by Prime Minister Isma'il Sidqi. Nasser was detained for a night before his father bailed him out; when his father was transferred to Cairo in 1933, Nasser joined him and attended al-Nahda al-Masria school.
He took up acting in school plays for a brief period and wrote articles for the school's paper, including a piece on French philosopher Voltaire titled "Voltaire, the Man of Freedom". On 13 November 1935, Nasser led a student demonstration against British rule, protesting against a statement made four days prior by UK foreign minister Samuel Hoare that rejected prospects for the 1923 Constitution's restoration. Two protesters were killed and Nasser received a graze to the head from a policeman's bullet; the incident garnered his first mention in the press: the nationalist newspaper Al Gihad reported that Nasser led the protest and was among the wounded. On 12 December, the new king, issued a decree restoring the constitution. Nasser's involvement in political activity increased throughout his school years, such that he only attended 45 days of classes during his last year of secondary school. Despite it having the unanimous backing of Egypt's political forces, Nasser objected to the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty because it stipulated the continued presence of British military bases in the country.
Nonetheless, political unrest in Egypt declined and Nasser resumed hi
The Alawis rendered as Alawites, are a sect of the Ghulat branch of Islam centred in Syria. The eponymously-named Alawites revere Ali, considered the first Imam of the Twelver school. However, they are considered to be ghulat by orthodox Shia Islam; the group is believed to have been founded by Ibn Nusayr during the 9th century and established as a religion. For this reason, Alawites are sometimes called Nusayris, though the term has come to be used as a pejorative in the modern era. Another name, "Ansari", is believed to be a mistransliteration of "Nusayri". Today, according to Mehrdad Izady, Alawites represent 17.2 percent of the Syrian population, an increase from 11.8 percent in 2010 and are a significant minority in the Hatay Province of Turkey and northern Lebanon. There is a population living in the village of Ghajar in the Golan Heights, they are confused with the Alevis of Turkey. Alawites form the dominant religious group on the Syrian coast and towns near the coast which are inhabited by Sunnis and Ismailis.
Alawites identify as a separate ethnoreligious group. The Qur'an is only one of their holy books and texts, their interpretation thereof has little in common with the Shia Muslim interpretation but in accordance with the early Batiniyya and other Muslim ghulats sects. Alawite theology and rituals break from mainstream Shia Islam in several remarkable ways. For one the Alawites drink wine as Ali's transubstantiated essence in their rituals, they believe in reincarnation. Alawites have kept their beliefs secret from outsiders and non-initiated Alawites, so rumours about them have arisen. Arabic accounts of their beliefs tend to be partisan. However, since the early 2000s, Western scholarship on the Alawite religion has made significant advances. At the core of Alawite belief is a divine triad; these aspects, or emanations, appear cyclically in human form throughout history. The establishment of the French Mandate of Syria marked a turning point in Alawi history, it gave the French the power to recruit Syrian civilians into their armed forces for an indefinite period and created exclusive areas for minorities, including an Alawite State.
The Alawite State was dismantled, but the Alawites continued to be a significant part of the Syrian Armed Forces. Since Hafez al-Assad took power through the 1970 Corrective Movement, the government has been dominated by a political elite led by the Alawite Al-Assad family. During the Islamist uprising in Syria in the 1970s and 1980s, the establishment came under pressure. Greater pressure has resulted from the Syrian Civil War. In older sources, Alawis are called "Ansaris". According to Samuel Lyde, who lived among the Alawites during the mid-19th century, this was a term they used among themselves. Other sources indicate that "Ansari" is a Western error in the transliteration of "Nusayri". However, the term "Nusayri" had fallen out of currency by the 1920s, as a movement led by intellectuals within the community during the French Mandate sought to replace it with the modern term "Alawi", they characterised the older name as an "invention of the sect's enemies", ostensibly favouring an emphasis on "connection with mainstream Islam"—particularly the Shia branch.
As such, "Nusayri" is now regarded as antiquated, has come to have insulting and abusive connotations. The term is employed as hate speech by Sunni fundamentalists fighting against Bashar al-Assad's government in the Syrian civil war, who use its emphasis on Ibn Nusayr in order to insinuate that Alawi beliefs are "man-made" and not divinely inspired. Recent research has shown that the Alawi appellation was used by the sect's adherents since the 11th century; the following quote from Alkan illustrates this point: "In actual fact, the name'Alawī' appears as early as in an 11th century Nuṣayrī tract. Moreover, the term'Alawī' was used at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1903 the Belgian-born Jesuit and Orientalist Henri Lammens visited a certain Ḥaydarī-Nuṣayrī sheikh Abdullah in a village near Antakya and mentions that the latter preferred the name'Alawī' for his people. Lastly, it is interesting to note that in the above-mentioned petitions of 1892 and 1909 the Nuṣayrīs called themselves the'Arab Alawī people"our ʿAlawī Nuṣayrī people' or'signed with Alawī people'.
This early self-designation is, of triple importance. Firstly, it shows; the Alawites are distinct from the Alevi religious sect in Turkey, although the terms share a common etymology and pronunciation. The origin of the genetics of Alawites is disputed. Local folklore suggests that they are descendants of the followers of the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari and his pupil, Ibn Nusayr. During the 19th and 20th centuries, some Western scholars believed that Alawites were descended from ancient Middle Eastern peoples such as the Arameans, Hittites, and
Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy
Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy referred to as Tantawi, was an influential Islamic scholar in Egypt. From 1986 to 1996, he was the grand Mufti of Egypt. In 1996, president Hosni Mubarak appointed him as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, a position he retained until his death in 2010. Tantawy born on 28 October 1928 in the village of Selim ash-Sharqiyah in the municipality of Tama, Sohag in Egypt, he joined the Alexandria Religious Institute in 1944. He went on to teach. In 1966, he was awarded exegesis of the Qur ` an, he became a member of the faculty of Ausol Aldeen in 1968 and a member of the faculty of Arabic & Islamic Studies at the Islamic University of Libya in 1972. In 1980 he moved to Saudi Arabia, where he became chief of the Tafsir branch of the Postgraduate studies branch at the Islamic University of Madinah, he returned to Egypt in 1985, when he became Dean of the Faculty of Ausol Aldeen at the prestigious Alexandria Religious Institute. He obtained his first degree with honours, his master's degree in education in 1959 and his PhD in 1966.
His doctoral thesis was on the children of Israel in the al-Sunnah. In 1986, Tantawy was appointed as Grand Mufti of Egypt on his 58th birthday, 28 October 1986, he held this position for ten years, until he was appointed Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University by the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, on 27 March 1996. The Al-Azhar Mosque is one of the most important Sunni Muslim institutions. Tantawy completed a seven thousand page exegesis of the Qur'an; this Tafsir took over ten years to complete. Tantawy led the funeral prayers at the funeral of Yasser Arafat in 2004, during which he said that "Arafat has done his duty as a defender of the Palestinian cause, with courage and honesty". In 1989 the Egyptian government's support for Western-style, interest-based banks was under siege by the expanding Islamic finance movement. In response to a government request for a ruling, Tantawy issued a fatwa that described some forms of financial interest as tolerable- among them, those paid by government bonds and those on ordinary savings accounts.
He declared that charging interest on such bank loans was in fact ribh, or just gaining profit, allowable. This allowed the development of a mortgage industry. However, his ruling did not issue as an effectual decree. Tantawy's rationale was based on an interpretation of the Islamic sources as banning usury but not any and all comparable forms of gain, his views on this issue have been controversial among his fellow Muslim scholars. Despite years of friendship with Tantawy, well-known Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi has criticized his position on interest, he issued a fatwa which allowed abortion in cases where a woman had become pregnant as a result of rape, though this created controversy and Mufti Ali Gomaa said Tantawy was wrong, that irrespective of how the life was created, after 120 days an abortion becomes impermissible, forbidden. Tantawy opposed female circumcision calling it un-Islamic in 1997, when he said "The ulema of Islam are unanimous in agreeing that female circumcision has nothing to do with religion" and revealed his own daughter had not been circumcised.
Tantawy took a line against suicide bombings, unlike his compatriot Yusuf al-Qaradawi, he condemned the use of suicide bombings against Israelis, rejecting the argument that all Israelis were legitimate targets, because at some stage they would all carry a gun. In 2003 he called suicide bombers "enemies of Islam", adding "people of different beliefs should co-operate and not get into senseless conflicts and animosity. Extremism is the enemy of Islam, jihad is allowed in Islam to defend one's land and to help the oppressed; the difference between jihad in Islam and extremism is like the earth and the sky" Tantawy, however the same year changed his position and said anybody blowing himself up in the face of the occupiers of his land is a martyr, in response to a question about the Islamic shari'ah stance over the Palestinians who blow up their bodies against the Israelis. He stressed, that Islam did not allow the killing of innocent civilians and children but only invaders and aggressors. Tantawy opposed women as Imams in mixed congregations during Friday prayers, saying when "A woman's body is private.
When she leads men in prayer, in this case, it is not proper for them to look at the woman whose body is in front of them. If they see it in their daily life, it should not be in situations of worship, where the main point is humility and modesty." He called Haidar Haidar's book, Feast for Seaweed, blasphemous. In 2001 he issued a fatwa banning women from acting as surrogate mothers or from receiving frozen sperm from dead husbands. In response to the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, he stated "We have no objection if the Pope holds another speech and declares publicly that what the Byzantine emperor had said was wrong. At the same time, the Pope has to apologize frankly and justify what he said". Speaking after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Tantawy said "It's not courage in any way to kill an innocent person, or to kill thousands of people, including men and women and children." He said that Osama bin Laden's call for a Jihad against the west was "invalid and not binding on Muslims", adding "Killing innocent civilians is a horrific, hideous act that no religion can approve".
He said the Qur'an "specifically forbids the kinds of things
Al-Azhar University is a university in Cairo, Egypt. Associated with Al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo, it is Egypt's oldest degree-granting university and is renowned as "Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university". In addition to higher education, Al-Azhar oversees a national network of schools with two million students; as of 1996, over 4000 teaching institutes in Egypt were affiliated with the University. Founded in 970 or 972 by the Fatimids as a centre of Islamic learning, its students studied the Qur'an and Islamic law in detail, along with logic, grammar and how to calculate the phases of the moon, it was one of the first universities in the world, the only one in the Arabic world to survive as a modern university including secular subjects in the curriculum. Today it is Islamic learning in the world. In 1961 additional non-religious subjects were added to its curriculum, its mission is to propagate Islamic culture. To this end, its Islamic scholars render edicts on disputes submitted to them from all over the Sunni Islamic world regarding proper conduct for Muslim individuals and societies.
Al-Azhar trains Egyptian government-appointed preachers in proselytization. Its library is considered second in importance in Egypt only to the Egyptian National Library and Archives. In May 2005, Al-Azhar in partnership with a Dubai information technology enterprise, IT Education Project launched the H. H. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Project to Preserve Al Azhar Scripts and Publish Them Online to publish online access to the library's entire rare manuscripts collection, comprising about seven million pages of material. Al-Azhar University is one of the relics of the Isma'ili Shi'a Fatimid dynasty era of Egypt, descended from Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad and wife of Ali son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad. Fatimah, was called Al-Zahra, it was named in her honor, it was founded as mosque by the Fatimid commander Jawhar at the orders of the Caliph and Ismaili Imam Al-Muizz as he founded the city for Cairo. It was in Jamadi al-Awwal in the year AH 359, its building was completed on the 9th of Ramadan in the year AH 361.
Both Al-'Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah added to its premises. It was further repaired and extended by Al-Mustansir Billah and Al-Hafiz Li-Din-illah. Fatimid Caliphs always encouraged scholars and jurists to have their study-circles and gatherings in this mosque and thus it was turned into a university which has the claim to be considered as the oldest University still functioning. Studies began at Al-Azhar in the month of Ramadan, 975. According to Syed Farid Alatas, the Jami'ah had faculties in Islamic law and jurisprudence, Arabic grammar, Islamic astronomy, Islamic philosophy, logic; the Fatimids gave attention to the philosophical studies at the time when rulers in other countries declared those who were engaged in philosophical pursuits as apostates and heretics. The Greek thought found a warm reception with the Fatimids who expanded the boundaries of such studies, they paid much attention to philosophy and gave support to everyone, known for being engaged in the study of any branch of philosophy.
The Fatimid Caliph invited many scholars from nearby countries and paid much attention to college books on various branches of knowledge and in gathering the finest writing on various subjects and this in order to encourage scholars and to uphold the cause of knowledge. These books were destroyed by Saladin. In the 12th century, following the overthrow of the Isma'ili Fatimid dynasty, Saladin converted Al-Azhar to a Shafi'ite Sunni center of learning. Therefore, "The Encyclopaedia of Islam" writes that, "He had all the treasures of the palace, including the books, sold over a period of ten years. Many were burned, thrown into the Nile, or thrown into a great heap, covered with sand, so that a regular "hill of books" was formed and the soldiers used to sole their shoes with the fine bindings; the number of books said to have disposed of varies from 120,000 to 2,000,000." Abd-el-latif delivered lectures on Islamic medicine at Al-Azhar, while according to legend the Jewish philosopher Maimonides delivered lectures on medicine and astronomy there during the time of Saladin though no historical proof has corroborated this.
In 1961, Al-Azhar was re-established as a university under the government of Egypt's second President Gamal Abdel Nasser when a wide range of secular faculties were added for the first time, such as business, science, medicine and agriculture. Before that date, the Encyclopaedia of Islam classifies the Al-Azhar variously as madrasa, center of higher learning and, since the 19th century, religious university, but not as a university in the full sense, referring to the modern transition process as "from madrasa to university". An Islamic women's faculty was added in the same year, six years after Zaib-un-Nissa Hamidullah had been the first woman to speak at the university. Al-Azhar has a membership that represents the theological schools of Al-Ashari and Al-Maturidi, the four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, the seven main Sufi orders. Al-Azhar has had an antagonistic relationship with Salafism. According to a 2011 report issued by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Al Azhar is Sufi in character: Adherence to a Sufi order has long been standard for both professors and students in the al-Azhar mosque and univer