Al-Azhar Grand Imams

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

Monday, August 3, 2020

Muḥammad An-Nashartī (1106 AH/ 1694 CE-1120 AH/ 1709 CE)

Muḥammad An-Nashartī

Office assumption date

1106 AH/ 1694 CE.

Retirement date

 1120 AH/ 1709 CE.


The Ottoman’s

A Note about the Grand Imam

     Grand Imam Muḥammad An-Nashartī Al-Mālikī is one of the most prominent figures of the Mālikī School of Jurisprudence. He was born in Nashart, Kafr ish-Sheikh, Egypt. He was educated at Al-Azhar Mosque where he worked as a teacher after completing his studies. He was distinguished by his scholarly accuracy; and he devoted his life to seeking knowledge and commitment in worship. He assumed Al-Azhar Grand Imam’s position in 1106 AH/1694 CE. His life was full of continuous efforts in his sincere scholarly journey. Grand Imam Muḥammad An-Nashartī was broadly knowledgeable. Some of his students became among the elite scholars of his time. He continued teaching and performing his mission in the best possible way until his death on Dhul-Ḥijjah 28, 1120 AH/March 9, 1709 CE.

Brief Biographical Notes

     Muḥammad An-Nashartī Al-Mālikī was born in Nashart, Kafr ish-Sheikh, Egypt. He joined Al-Azhar and was educated by the senior scholars there. He worked hard in seeking knowledge, and exceeded his peers; thus, he enjoyed a prominent position. An-Nashartī mastered a great deal of the various disciplines that were known during his era, the case which qualified him to teach at Al-Azhar. He achieved a great deal in this field, the case which attracted students to flock from all over the Muslim world to attend his classes. This was a recognition of the man’s efforts, prestige of high academic position, as well as an acknowledgement of his leadership of the Mālikī scholars at his time. That is why he was the top nominee to assume Al-Azhar Grand Imam’s office, after the death of Grand Imam Ibrāhīm Muḥammad Al-Baramāwī (1101-1106 AH/1689-1694 CE), to become the third Sheikh to assume Al-Azhar Grand Imam’s office.

     Grand Imam An-Nashartī was keen to teach, even after assuming the Grand Imam's position; he continued to teach at the Aqbaghāwiyya School. He  performed his missions as perfect as possible, and carried out his responsibilities as a Grand Imam until his death in 1120 AH/1709 CE. The scholars of his time unanimously agreed that he had a unique talent of teaching, illustration and clarification, thus attracting students from all over the Muslim world to attend his classes.

     Although Grand Imam An-Nashartī remained in the Grand Imam's position for fourteen years, that did not affect his classes to which students from all over the Muslim world flocked. An-Nashartī died on Sunday afternoon Dhul-Ḥijjah 28, 1120 AH/March 9, 1709 CE. His burial was delayed until Monday morning. His funeral prayer was held in Al-Azhar Mosque in a well-attended scene, with the presence of masters, princes, and notables. It was a remarkable day. That scene indicated the Imam’s intellectual excellence and sublime stature, in addition to his scholarly fame. This also explained why his tenure continued for fourteen years.

     Grand Imam Muḥammad An-Nashartī did not write books. It is likely that he confined himself to teach classical books, especially those of the Malikῑ school of jurisprudence. After An-Nashartī’s death, the scholars were divided into two groups in nominating his successor; his disciples supported his student Sheikh ˁAbdul-Bāqī Al-Qillīnī, and another group supported Sheikh Aḥmad An-Nafrāwī. At last, the ruler appointed Sheikh Al-Qillīnī to assume the position.

Notable Contributions and Events

• Only little is Known about Grand Imam Muḥammad An-Nashartī’s life. No one wrote any accurate account of his biography. However, it was evident that his life was divided between knowledge and worship. He continued to practice such behavior even after he took over the Grand Imam's position; perhaps this is the reason why significant activities were reported about him.

• He supported teaching in Al-Azhar Mosque. He used to teach at the Aqbaghāwiyya School.

• He assumed the Grand Imam’s position from 1106 AH/1694 CE until 1120 AH/1709 CE.

• Grand Imam An-Nashartī was able to qualify a group of distinguished scholars who greatly influenced people after his death. Among the most famous of them were the author of many books ˁAbūl-ˁAbbās Aḥmad Ibn ˁUmar Ad-Dīrbī Ash-Shāfiˁī Al-Azharī,  the famous scholar ˁAbdul-Ḥayy Ibn Al-Ḥassan Ibn Zain Al-ˁĀbidīn,  the theologist and Ḥadīth Scholar Aḥmad Ibn Al-Ḥassan Ibn  ˁAbdul-Karīm Al-Karīmī Al-Khālidī Ash-Shāfiˁī Al-Azharī, known as Al-Gawharī, and Grand Imam ˁAbdul-Bāqī Al-Qillīnī who took over the Grand Imam's position after him.



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