9. The ‘Honorable’ Azhar, how could it be more honorable?

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Article summary: 

The author examines the ways in which the Azhar can regain its role as the world’s pre-eminent Islamic institution, helping the world confront Islamo-phobia and terrorism.

Article full text: 

For over a thousand years at a time when ‘Abd Allāh al-Najjār claims that the world was plunged in the darkness of ignorance the honorable Azhar has made huge contributions to the Islamic sciences.

Now though he argues that the Azhar has just become one institution amongst many and claims that the students of the Azhar who could barely speak Arabic have become prominent professors in other institutions rivaling those of the Azhar.

He argues that those in charge of the Azhar are making no efforts to restore the institution’s former glory. Furthermore even were they to try their attempts would be restricted by laws and regulations which would never allow reform and constitute a stumbling stone in the way development.

‘Abd Allāh al-Najjār argues that Muslims have no other choice but to revive the Azhar since it is the only institution capable of repulsing terrorism and Islamo-phobia. By restoring the eminence of the Azhar those who claim to act in the name of Islam blessing terrorism as jihād and deeming the halāl [permissible] harām [forbidden] will be exposed as a minority group of radicals.

The author believes than that reforming the Azhar is therefore in the interests of the whole world. Reform should start by re-representing the Azhar and ridding it of administrative subordination. It should be an independent institute aiming at safeguarding the religious sciences and the Islamic sharī‘a.

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