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Al-Azhar Grand Imams

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Muḥammad Al-Jīzāwī (1335 AH/1917 CE-1346 AH/1927 CE)

Muḥammad Abul-Faḍl Al-Jīzāwī

Office assumption date

1335 AH/1917 CE.

Retirement date

1346 AH/1927 CE.

Era

Muḥammad ˁAli and his family

A Note about the Grand Imam

     Muḥammad Abul-Faḍl Al-Jīzāwī, was born in Warrāq Al-Ḥaḍar, Giza, Egypt, in 1264 AH/1847 CE. He joined Al-Azhar at the age of ten. He was authorized to teach in 1287 AH/1870 CE. He was well-known for teaching Logic and Theology. He was a member of Al-Azhar Board of Directors, then he became Al-Azhar Grand Imam’s Deputy. After that, he became the Chief of Alexandria Azhari Scholars. He became the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar on Dhul-Ḥijjah 14, 1335 AH/October 1, 1917 CE. Then, he was also appointed as the Head of the Mālikī Jurist School. Grand Imam Al-Jīzāwī witnessed the 1919 Egyptian Revolution during which Al-Azhar had a great contribution. He also contributed to reforming Al-Azhar, thus during his office as Grand Imam, "the 1923 Law” was issued. He died in 1346 AH/1927 CE.

Brief Biographical Notes

     Muḥammad Abul-Faḍl Al-Jīzāwī was born in Warrāq ul-Ḥaḍar, Giza, Egypt, in 1264 AH/1847 CE. He was religiously brought up; thus, he joined the kuttāb (preschool Qurˀān class) to memorize the Noble Qurˀān and he completed it in 1272 AH/1855 CE. At the age of ten, he joined Al-Azhar Mosque to complete his studies. He embarked on studying many disciplines, including Logic and Theology, as well as the Oft-Repeated Qurˀān Recitations and Islamic Jurisprudence, in addition to Arabic grammar, morphology, rhetoric, and other disciplines.

     He was educated by Al-Azhar senior scholars including Sheikh Muḥammad ˁElīsh, Sheikh ˁAlī Marzouq Al-ˁAdawī, Sheikh Ibrāhīm As-Saqqā, Grand Imam Shams ud-Dīn Al-ˀInbābī, Sheikh Sharaf ud-Din Al-Marṣafī, Sheikh Muhammad Al-ˁAshmāwī, and other scholars. He continued to attend classes until 1287 AH/1870 CE, when Grand Imam Al-ˀInbābī assigned him to teach. At first, he apologized. Later, he agreed and worked as a teacher at Al-Azhar Mosque.

Grand Imam Muḥammad Al-Jīzāwī held the following jobs:

• On Rabīˁ ul-ˀAwwal 13, 1313 AH / September 2, 1895 CE, during the reign of Grand Imam Salīm Al-Bishrī, Al-Jīzāwī was appointed as a member of Al-Azhar Board of Directors, then he resigned.  On Dhul-Qiˁdah 9, 1324 AH/December 24, 1906 CE, late during Grand Imam Ash-Sherbīnī’s office, Al-Jīzāwī was reappointed.

• On Ṣafar 18, 1326 AH / March 21, 1908 CE, he was appointed as Al-Azhar Grand Imam’s Deputy.

• He was appointed as the Head of Alexandria Azhari Institute.

• On Dhul-Hijjah 14, 1335 AH/October 1, 1917 CE, he became Al-Azhar Grand Imam. Then, on Ṣafar 20, 1336 AH/December 5, 1917 CE, he was appointed as the Head of the Mālikī Jurist School.

     Grand Imam Al-Jīzāwī witnessed the 1919 Egyptian Revolution, thus he led Al-Azhar at that crucial stage in the history of Egypt. At that time, Al-Azhar led the Egyptian nation with all its political spectrums against the English occupation. Al-Azhar presented the most wonderful examples in preserving the national unity. Grand Imam Al-Jīzāwī managed to take a serious step in reforming Al-Azhar by issuing the law in 1923. He also formed a committee for Al-Azhar reformation in 1925. Imam Al-Jīzāwī was occupied with serious events, thus he wrote a limited number of books. He died in 1346 AH/1927 CE.

Notable Contributions and Events

•   Grand Imam Al-Jīzāwī witnessed the 1919 Egyptian Revolution during which Al-Azhar was leading the entire Egyptian nation.

•  Grand Imam Al-Jīzāwī managed to take a serious step in reforming education in Al-Azhar, when he issued a law in this respect in 1923.

• He formed a reform committee in 1925 CE/1344 AH. The committee decided that the primary and secondary Azhari educational stages should be considered stages of general education. Hence, mathematical sciences was taught in such stages as it had been taught in civilian primary and secondary schools.

 

 


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