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HE Professor Dr Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb

Grand Sheikh of the Al Azhar University, Grand Imam of the Al Azhar Mosque

Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al-Tayyeb was appointed as Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar in March 2010, after the passing of his predecessor, Dr Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi. Al-Tayyeb was formerly the president of the Al-Azhar for seven years and prior to that, served for two years as the most powerful cleric in Egypt as its Grand Mufti.


is scholarly influence as a leading intellectual of Sunni Islam spans the globe. He has served as the dean of the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Aswan, and the theology faculty of the International Islamic University in Pakistan. He has also taught in universities in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Over the past two years of political uncertainty and unrest in Egypt and in particular during the months that led up to the Egyptian armed forces deposing Muhammed Morsi as President of Egypt, Al-Tayyeb attempted to mediate between Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood dominated government on one hand and opposition political forces on the other. Al-Tayyeb managed by virtue of his personal prestige and the prestige of his office to bring the two sides to participate in a meeting he chaired. It was the only time Morsi and the opposition had sat together and given their mutual intransigence. Al-Tayeb’s attempt at mediation did not succeed. When the Egyptian armed forces overthrew Morsi and his cabinet, Al-Tayyeb appeared the following day alongside the Coptic Patriarch, and other leading figures with the head of the Armed Forces General Al-Sisi. With his presence and in his brief remarks he effectively acknowledged  the legitimacy of the new political order. But weeks later when the armed forces moved with brutality against a massive Muslim Brotherhood Sit-In, Al-Tayyeb declared his disapproval of the bloodshed. These two seemingly contradictory public expressions following the coup in fact reflect Al-Tayyeb’s principled position.

But even before any of these events Al-Tayyeb was the object of Muslim Brotherhood hostility precisely because of his defence of traditional Islam (including its spiritual (Sufi) dimension in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood’s effort to transform Islam from a religion into a power seeking religious ideology.

Leader of the Al-Azhar University: Sheikh Al-Tayyeb leads the second-oldest university in the world, where teaching has continued without interruption since 975 CE. Al-Azhar represents the center of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. It is a key institution that issues authoritative religious rulings and has provided extensive Islamic education to Egyptian and international students since its inception over a millennium ago. This history makes it a bastion of Sunni traditionalism. The university is considered one of the most prominent Islamic educational institutions, and the foremost center of Sunni Muslim scholarship worldwide.

Administers the Al-Azhar Education Network: Al-Azhar is currently the largest university in the world, having risen from a group of three schools in the 1950s to its current state with 72 feeder schools, and close to 300,000 students studying there at any one time. Including schools that are part of Al-Azhar waqf initiatives, there are close to 2 million students. This immense size and grounded respect make the head of Al-Azhar an extraordinarily powerful and academically influential person.

1040The number of continuous years of teaching at the Al-Azhar.
7 mil The number of pages being digitized for online retrieval from Al-Azhar’s massive collection of manuscripts
57The number of years he has been involved with Al-Azhar, beginning at the age of 10 when he first joined an Al-Azhar affiliated school as a student.
Egyptian coup a crime and treason, says Mohammed Morsi - The Australian
2013-11-13 20:31:51

The head of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, blessed in public Mr Morsi's ouster, infuriating the Brotherhood's followers. Egyptian universities have seen clashes between students backing and opposing Morsi since the academic year began in late ...

Some consider revolution 'license for chaos,' Sawiris claims - Egypt Independent
2013-11-11 10:44:23

The Coptic businessman also announced he will be donating money for the restoration of both churches and mosques, part of an initiative by The House of the Family initiative under the auspices of Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb. Edited ...and more »

Prosecution refers 57 Azhar riot suspects to court - Egypt Independent
2013-11-06 14:54:15

Prosecution decided on Wednesday to refer 57 supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy to the Criminal Court. They are being accused of rioting in front of Mashyakhat Al-Azhar (office of Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb) and Qubba Palace.

Brotherhood students protest in Azhar University, block road - Egypt Independent
2013-10-28 14:37:19

The situation grew especially tense after some protesters boarded public buses and wrote graffiti condemning the military and Al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb. Sources from the administrative security in Cairo University said they arrested Ahmed ...

Pro-Morsy alliance calls for mass marches Friday - Egypt Independent
2013-10-24 17:10:32

Students who belong to Al-Azhar University Salafist Front announced taking part in protests over the coming week under the slogan the “Week of Durability.” The students added they would continue protests until Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and ...

Security break up fight between pro-Morsy and pro-Sisi students at Cairo ... - Egypt Independent
2013-10-22 13:11:29

Meanwhile, Al-Azhar University on Tuesday expelled three students from the Faculty of Islamic Studies after they insulted the Armed Forces and Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb. The university administration on Tuesday also referred the three girls ...

Armed Attack on Cairo Church Highlights Targeting of Copts - Al-Monitor
2013-10-22 23:34:43

Prime Minister Hazem el-Biblawi condemned the attack as “vicious” and contacted Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to present his condolences. Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and Mufti Shawki Allam condemned the incident and emphasized the ...and more »

Nasr Road re-opened after pro-Morsy demo - Egypt Independent
2013-10-19 16:26:31

Students were protesting in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist President Mohamed Morsy. Male and ... They chanted slogans denouncing Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb. Azhar University had ...and more »

Cairo, assalto a chiesa copta Al-Azhar: «Un atto criminale» - Avvenire.it
2013-10-22 08:50:05

Ancora un episodio di furia sanguinaria nei confronti della comunità cristiana d'Egitto, considerata dagli integralisti islamici complice nella destituzione dell'ex presidente Mohammed Morsi, avvenuta manu militari lo scorso 3 luglio. Domenica sera ...and more »

Mursi: No stablity in Egypt without coup fix - Sydney Morning Herald
2013-11-14 00:06:28

"This coup is a crime and treason," lawyer Mohammed al-Damati quoted Dr Mursi as saying. "I see this coup ... added the agency. The head of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, blessed in public Dr Mursi's ouster, infuriating the Brotherhood's followers.and more »

The unity between Muslims and Coptic Christians of Egypt is something of absolute importance.

Birth: 1 January 1946 (Age: 68)

Source of Influence:

Influence: Highest scholarly authority for a majority of Sunni Muslims, runs the foremost Sunni Islamic university.

School of Thought:

Status: Featured in current year

The unity between Muslims and Coptic Christians of Egypt is something of absolute importance.
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1040The number of continuous years of teaching at the Al-Azhar.
7 mil The number of pages being digitized for online retrieval from Al-Azhar’s massive collection of manuscripts
57The number of years he has been involved with Al-Azhar, beginning at the age of 10 when he first joined an Al-Azhar affiliated school as a student.
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