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Al-Azhar Grand Imams

Al-Azhar Mosque/Al-Azhar Grand Imams
Al-Azhar Grand Imams

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Ibrahim Al-Fayyoumī (1133 AH / 1720 CE - 1137 AH / 1724 CE)

Ibrahim Ibn Mousa Al-Fayyoumī

Office assumption date

1133 AH / 1720 CE

Retirement date

1137 AH, 1724 CE

Era

The Ottoman's

A note about the Grand Imam Al-Fayyoumi

     Ibrahim Ibn Mousa Al-Fayyoumī Al-Māliki was born in Al-Fayyoum, Egypt, in 1062 AH / 1652 CE. He memorized the Qur’ān since his young age. Then, he joined Al-Azhar and was educated by famous scholars such as Al-Kharāshī, Al-Baramāwī, Ash-Shahāwī and Az-Zurqānī.

     Although he wrote only one compilation, he orally conveyed much of his knowledge to his students. He taught great scholars such as Ali Al-Fayyoumī Al-Mālikī, Ali Aṣ-Ṣa‛īdī Al-‛Adawī and Muḥammad Ibn ‛Īsa Ad-Dumiāṭī Ash-Shāfi‛ī.

     Grand Imam Al-Fayyoumī devoted his life to seeking knowledge until he took office as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in 1133 AH / 1720 CE. He continued giving much benefit to students through teaching until he died in 1137 AH / 1724 CE.

Brief Biographical Notes

     Grand Imam Al-Fayyoumi was born in 1062 AH / 1652 CE in Al-Fayoum. He memorized the Qur’ān when he was young. Then, he joined Al-Azhar and was educated by famous scholars there. Among the most prominent of them was Al-Kharāshī, who was the first Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. Grand Imam Al-Fayyoumī used to visit him and stay with him during his studies. Al-Jabartī stated that “Al-Fayyoumi repeated reading and explaining the book Ar-Resālah, by ˀAbu ˁAbdullah Ibn Zaid Al-Qayrawānī, to his Sheikh.”

     Al-Fayyoumī was very interested in reading and research, so he was known for his knowledge, and his good reputation widely spread. He was one of the well-known scholars of Ḥadīth, as he was taught Ḥadīth by eminent scholars, such as Yaḥia Ash-Shahāwī, ˁAbdul-Qādir Al-Wāṭī, Abdur-Raḥmān Al-ˀAjhourī, Al-Baramāwī, one of Al-Azhar Mosque Imams, and Muḥammad Ash-Shuronbulānī and others. He took other disciplines from prominent Imams such as Ash-Shabrāmallisī, Az-Zurqānī, Ash-Shihāb Al-Bishbīshī, Al-Gharaqāwī, and others.

     Grand Imam Al-Fayyoumī had an exceptional talent of teaching. He left clear imprints and profound effects on his students, influenced by his teacher, Grand Imam Al-Kharāshī. He used his own teaching method as he would summarize what the Grand Imam Al-Kharāshī just explained to his students. Such method gave him extensive experience and broad percepts. Many students attended his lessons daily. At the end of the lesson, he would also summarize what he explained. He never left the class until he made sure his students understood the lesson well. In addition, he was a pious scholar. He stood by his students and supported them. He taught prominent Mālikī scholars who were well-known for their wide knowledge and deep research, in addition to piousness and asceticism.

     Grand Imam Al-Fayyoumī was one of the senior Mālikī scholars well-known for their wide knowledge and deep research attitude, in addition to piousness and asceticism. Before he took office as Al-Azhar Grand Imam, he had spent his life seeking knowledge and collecting information, until he was 70. As for his works, he wrote only one compilation Sharḥu l-Muqaddimati l-ˁEzziyyati lil-Jamaˁati l-Azhariyyah in the art of Arabic grammar and linguistics.

     The scholars unanimously agreed that Sheikh Al-Fayyoumī took office as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in 1133 AH / 1720 CE after the death of Grand Imam Shanan. He continued giving much benefit to his students through teaching until he died in 1137 AH / 1724 CE. Al-Fayyoumī was the last of the Mālikī scholars to take office as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar after they had held such position for almost half a century.

Notable Contributions and Events

  • During his assumption of Al-Azhar sheikhdom, he completed Al-Azhar Mosque renovation, which Grand Imam Muḥammad Shanan had earlier sought. On the last day of Ramadan, 1133 AH / July 1721 CE, Al-Azhar Mosque was cleaned and furnished with new mats on the eve of the Fast-Breaking Feast (‛Eidu l-Fiṭr). The construction lasted for 151 days as it started in Rabī‛u l-’Ākhar 1133 AH / February 1721 CE.
  • The scholars unanimously agreed to select Sheikh Al-Fayyoumī as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar after the death of Grand Imam Shanan.
  • Sheikh Al-Fayyoumī enjoyed a prominent position among the fellow scholars of his time, and he had a special talent of teaching.
  • He wrote only one compilation, namely Sharḥu l-Muqaddimati l-ˁEzziyyati lil-Jamaˁati l-Azhariyyah in the art of Arabic grammar and linguistics.

Categories: Grand Imams
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