In a first-of-its-kind official visit, His Eminence, Prof. Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar received today - at Al-Azhar Mosque- His Majesty, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who is currently on a visit to Egypt. During the meeting, the Grand Imam and the Saudi King discussed several issues related to Arabs and Muslims as well as ways to combat terrorism and extremism.
They also called on the Arabs and Muslims to stand united in the face of the challenges that encountering the nation at present and seeking to shatter its unity, affirming the importance of the continuous cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Al-Azhar to safeguard the fundamentals of faith and reject extremist ideology.
The two sides stressed that, during the upcoming period, efforts and mutual coordination will be stepped up to spread the culture of tolerance and coexistence, affirming that Al-Azhar and Saudi Arabia stand united in the face of terrorism.
The Grand Imam stressed his appreciation for the great efforts that Saudi Arabia exerts to maintain the security and unity of the Arab and Muslim worlds, which helps in setting the bases of peace and coexistence. On his part, the Saudi King lauded Al-Azhar's efforts in spreading moderate ideology and combating extremism and terrorism.
Upon arriving at Al-Azhar Mosque, the Grand Imam and the Saudi king offered two-rak’ah-salutation prayer. They then had a tour in the Mosque through which, Mohamed Abd al-Salam, the legal advisor, of the Grand Imam and a Judge at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice briefly reviewed the agreements of restoration works of Al-Azhar Mosque and building a new Dormitory of Al-Azhar International Students. During the visit, the Grand Imam and the Saudi king have discussed the most important issues of common concern, and at the end they laid the cornerstone of the new Dormitory of Al-Azhar International Students.
After laying the cornerstone, king Salman encouraged the completion of the new Dormitory to host 40000 foreign students from 120 countries all over the world to study at Al-Azhar. It is scheduled that the capacity of the first stage aims to host 5000 foreign students, while King Salman pledged the expenses of the second stage which will host 35000 foreign students.
Meanwhile, the Grand Imam and the Saudi King prayed that Allah rest the soul of the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
The visit was attended by prominent figures of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif including: the deputy of Al-Azhar Prof. Abbas shuman, the Grand Mufti of Egypt Prof. Shawqi Allam, the legal advisor of the Grand Imam Mohamed Abd Al-Salam, the Secretary General of the Islamic Research Academy Prof. Mohey al-Deen Afifi, and the Head of Al-Azhar Institutes Department Prof. Mohamed Abu Zeid al-Amir. Attendees from the Saudi part included: the Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh bin Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh, the Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubayr, the Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim al-Assaf and a number of Ministers and the Royal family.
This visit is the first formal visit of a Saudi King to Al-Azhar Mosque, the bastion of Moderate Islamic thought and beacon of light of Ahl al-Suuna in the Muslim world.