Al-Azhar Grand Imams

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

ˁAbdur-Raḥmān An-Nawāwī (1317 AH/1899 CE - 1317 AH/1899 CE)

ˁAbdur-Ramān Al-Quṭb An-Nawāwī


Assumption date

1317 AH/1899 CE.

Retirement date

1317 AH/1899 CE.


Muḥammad ˁAli and his family

A Note about the Grand Imam

     ˁAbdur-Raḥmān Al-Quṭb An-Nawāwī was born in Nawāy, Mallawī, Egypt. He memorized the Qurˀan, then moved to Cairo and joined Al-Azhar Mosque. He was educated by the top scholars of his time. After his graduation, he held several jobs in judiciary where he proved his proficiency; then he took over Al-Azhar Sheikhdom as the Grand Imam in Muḥarram 25, 1317 AH/June 4, 1899 CE. He was a supporter of reform and renewal in Al-Azhar, but he passed away one month after his assumption to the sheikhdom. All his contemporaries recognized his reliability, piety and devotion. Given his preoccupation with judiciary, he did not write books in his discipline.

Brief Biographical Notes

     Grand Imam ˁAbdur-Raḥmān Al-Quṭb An-Nawāwī was born in 1255 AH/1839 CE in the village of Nawāy, after which he took his surname An-Nawāwī. He was the cousin of Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ḥassūna An-Nawāwī, both were born in the same year.  He began to memorize the Noble Qurˀan, thus gaining a religious upbringing. He memorized a small part of it, then he moved to Cairo in order to complete his studies. He joined Al-Azhar Mosque to seek knowledge and get educated by its senior scholars such as: Sheikh ˁAbdur-Raḥmān Al-Baḥrāwī, Sheikh Ibrahīm As-Saqqa, Sheikh Al-ˀInbābī, and Sheikh ˁIleīsh. In view of his intelligence and love for knowledge, he proved remarkable excellence; so his professors took care of him, the case which helped him to gain from their knowledge. After graduating, he worked in the judiciary. Due to his efficiency, he held a number of jobs, which are:

• The Fatwa Secretariat of the Council of Rulings, as an assistant to Sheikh Al-Baqlī in 1280 AH/1864 CE.

• Head of the Giza Directorate Judiciary, 1290 AH/1873 CE.

• Head of the Al-Gharbia Directorate Judiciary, 1296 AH/1879 CE.

• A judge at the Supreme Shariˁa Court in Cairo 1306 AH/1889 CE.

• Head of the Alexandria Judiciary.

• He assumed the head position of fatwa at the Ministry of Justice 1313 AH/1896 CE.

• He became the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Muharram 25, 1317 AH/June 4, 1899 CE.

Notable Contributions and Events

• He held a number of positions in the judiciary.

• His contemporaries witnessed to his righteousness, piety, integrity and competence.

• He took over Al-Azhar sheikhdom as the Grand Imam in Muḥarram 25, 1317 AH/June 4, 1899 CE. He was a reformer and supported renewal in Al-Azhar. He died one month after assuming Al-Azhar sheikhdom as the Grand Imam.



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