Office Assumption date
1090 AH/1679 CE
1101 AH/1690 CE.
A Note about the Grand Imam
It was reported that Sheikh Muḥammad Al-Kharashī was the first Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque to officially assume such position supervising and managing Al-Azhar affairs. He belonged to the Mālikī School of Jurisprudence. He combined knowledge of both religious and worldly matters. He was a resource for the weak and needy, fulfilling their needs. He was charismatic and rulers seriously considered his opinions. Students flocked to him from everywhere. He died on Sunday morning, Dhul-Ḥijjah 27, 1101 AH/September 30, 1690 CE. He was buried next to his father near Sheikh Muḥammad Al-Banoufarī’s tomb, in Al-Mujāwirīn Graveyard in Cairo.
Brief Biographical Notes
Grand Imam Al-Kharashī was born in 1010 AH/1601 CE in the village of Abū Kharāsh, Shubrākhīt, Al-Buḥairah, Egypt. It is a good village with many righteous people and scholars who combined religious and worldly disciplines. The village has green gardens and vast agricultural areas. Hence, we can say that the circumstances where Al-Kharashī grew up and spent his childhood combined religion with worldly matters and knowledge with piety. That is why he was known for being religious and worldly man. Al-Kharashī did not waste an hour without having a work accomplished, even when he was close to ninety.
Regarding his joining Al-Azhar to seek knowledge, we have not found any reference to that period in history books. However, some historians mentioned that he might have been ten years old when he left his village moving to Al-Azhar. Such was the age at which children used to finish memorizing the Holy Qurˀān and learn reading and writing, in addition to obtaining some information about the disciplines required for joining Al-Azhar.
As for Grand Imam Al-Kharashī’s virtues, here is some information:
He was keen to perform Fajr (Dawn) Prayer in congregation at Al-Azhar Mosque, since he joined it till his death. He also used to intercede with the political rulers to meet the needs of the weak, the poor, and the needy. Al-Kharashī enjoyed a great prestige and a good reputation; that is why his intercession was always accepted and all his demands were accomplished. He did not compete for anything of this world needs. Rather, he was always chaste, graciously enduring the harm, pardoning those who offended him, and blamed none of them for what they had caused to him. Grand Imam Al-Kharashī always made his own book treasure available for his students and lent them the books they needed. He never got annoyed by any question from a beginner, never got frustrated and never complained.
He became widely famous; thus, delegations from everywhere visited him, presenting their scholars’ books. This undoubtedly added to his knowledge and broadened his horizons. Such delegations also used to present gifts and vow money to him, but he never assigned any of this to himself; rather would give them to his relatives and acquaintances. Grand Imam Al-Kharashī passed away on Sunday morning Dhul-Hijjah 27, 1101 AH/September 30, 1690 CE.
Notable Contributions and Events
• It was reported that Sheikh Muḥammad Al-Kharashī was the first Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque.
• Scholars from all Muslim countries flocked to Al-Azhar Mosque in his time.