Azhar University, al-


Azhar University, al-

Chief school of Islamic and Arabic learning in the world, centred on the al-Azhar Mosque in the medieval quarter of Cairo. It was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in 970. The basic program has always focused on Islamic law, theology, and the Arabic language. Philosophy and medical studies were added during the Middle Ages but were eventually dropped from the curriculum. Philosophy was restored at the end of the 19th century, and social sciences were added at a branch campus in the early 1960s. Women were first admitted in 1962.

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