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Al-Azhar Grand Imams

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

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Mouṣṭafā ˁAbdur-Rāziq (1365 AH/1945 CE-1366 AH/1947 CE)

Mouṣṭafā ˁAbdur-Rāziq

Office assumption date

Muḥarram 22, 1365 AH/December 27, 1945 CE

Retirement date

Rabīˁul-Awwal 24, 1366 AH/February 15, 1947 CE

Era

Muḥammad ˁAlī’s Family

A Note about the Grand Imam

     Mouṣṭafā Ḥasan ˁAbdur-Rāziq was born in 1303 AH/1885 CE in a noble family in Minya, Egypt. He started his education in his village’s preschool class, then he joined Al-Azhar and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in 1326 AH/July 29, 1908 CE. He was appointed to teach at the School of Islamic Judiciary. He obtained his Ph. D. in Literature, and then was appointed as the Minister of Endowments on Ṣafar 26, 1357 AH / April 27, 1938 CE. He was the first Azhari graduate to assume such position. He assumed Al-Azhar Grand Imam’s position on Muḥarram 22, 1365 AH/December 27, 1945 CE. Grand Imam Mouṣṭafā ˁAbdur-Rāziq wrote a number of books, articles and academic research papers both in Arabic and French. He also contributed to founding a number of newspapers, charities and political parties. He passed to his Lord on Rabīˁul-ˀAwwal 24, 1366 AH /February 15, 1947 CE.

Brief Biographical Notes

     Grand Imam Mouṣṭafā Ibn Ḥasan Ibn Aḥmad Ibn Muḥammad Ibn ˁAbdur-Rāziq was born in 1303 AH/1885 CE, in a noble family in Minya, Egypt. He started his education in his village’s preschool class, then he moved to Cairo and joined Al-Azhar, where he was educated by the top scholars of his time. Seizing the opportunity of returning to his village for vacations, his father was keen to develop his talents and guide him in his studies.

     He obtained his Bachelor’s degree with honors on Jumādā Al-ˀĀkhirah 29, 1326 AH/July 29, 1908 CE. Then, he was seconded to teach at the School of Islamic Judiciary. However, such position did not satisfy his scholarly and literary ambition; thus, he resigned on Ṣafar 24, 1327 AH/March 16, 1909 CE.

     His passion for seeking knowledge led him to travel to France to study French and philosophy at the Sorbonne University. After a two-year study at the Sorbonne University, he moved to the University of Lyon in 1329 AH/1911 CE to continue his study there. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in literature. The thesis was titled Al-ˀImām ush-Shāfiˁīyyu ˀAkbaru Musharriˁiyi il-ˀIslām (Imam Ash-Shāfiˁī, the Greatest Legislator in Islam).

     With the outbreak of the World War I (1332 AH/1914 CE), Sheikh Mouṣṭafā ˁAbdur-Rāziq returned to Egypt. On Dhul-Qiˁdah 24, 1333 AH/October 3, 1915 CE, he was appointed at the Supreme Council of Al-Azhar. On Jumādā Al-ˀŪlā 20, 1334 AH/March 25, 1916 CE, he became a secretary there, where he was able to approach Al-Azhar top scholars.

     In 1335 AH/1917 CE, he gave several lectures at Ash-Shaˁb University which was established by Brozder the Swedish, an employee of the Debt Fund in Egypt. These lectures gained broad publicity. On Dhul-Ḥijjah 21, 1338 AH/September 4, 1920 CE, he was appointed as an inspector in the Islamic Courts. In Jumādā Al-ˀŪlā 1346 AH/November 1927 CE, he was appointed as Professor of Islamic Philosophy at the Faculty of Arts, Fuˀād I University (Cairo University now).

     On Ṣafar 26, 1357 AH/April 27, 1938 CE, ˁAbdur-Rāziq was appointed as the Minister of Endowments. He was the first Azhari graduate to assume such position. He remained in that position for seven years (1357-1365 AH/1938-1945 CE) until a royal decree was issued appointing him as Al-Azhar Grand Imam on Muḥarram 22, 1365 AH/December 27, 1945 CE.  At that time, ˁAbdur-Rāziq was the first Grand Imam appointed from outside Al-Azhar Council of Senior Scholars. Imam Mouṣṭafā ˁAbdur-Rāziq was content with the titles: “Grand Professor” and “Al-Azhar Mosque Grand Imam”, relinquishing the “Pasha” title and the position of the Minister of Endowments.

     On Rabīˁul-Awwal 24, 1366 AH/February 15, 1947 CE, Grand Imam Mouṣṭafā ˁAbdur-Rāziq passed to Lord, and his funeral prayer was performed in Al-Azhar Mosque. He was buried in his family’s cemetery in Al-Imām Ash-Shāfiˁī.

Notable Contributions and Events

• He was the first to establish a course on Islamic philosophy in the university syllabuses. He also suggested teaching Theology and Mysticism at the Department of Philosophy. He was the first Egyptian professor to give lectures on Islamic philosophy at the Egyptian Universities.

• He was pioneer in developing philosophy of the modern era. He was the first philosophy historian in Arabic, and the founder of the Arabic philosophical school based on Islamic principles.

• He is considered the first to write a book on religious disciplines based on a scholarly academic method. The book is on the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence.

• He worked on reviving ancient Arabic terminology and using them in teaching the branches of philosophy.

• He instructed a generation of brilliant students who later became prominent in the Islamic philosophy discipline.

• In his time, he was the first Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to be appointed from outside Al-Azhar Council of Senior Scholars.

• He wrote a number of religious and philosophical books, the most important of which is Tamhīdun Litārīkh il-Falsafati l-ˀIslāmiyyah (An Introduction to the History of Islamic Philosophy).

• He wrote introductions to some books of his friends and students, in addition to poems, research papers, religious, social, literary and political articles published in public newspapers, and books translated from and into French.

 

Categories: Grand Imams
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