Thursday, March 5, 2015

News, Cairo: Al-Azhar mosque restoration project started this month

Al-Azhar mosque, one of the most famous and oldest in the world, will undergo restoration- though not for the first time. Written by Nevine El-Aref

The Permanent Committee for Islamic and Coptic Antiquities approved the restoration project of Al-Azhar Mosque after a Saudi Arabian contractor company provided the required funding.

Mostafa Amin, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the restoration work is to start next month and includes the consolidation of the mosque's foundations, the injection of the soil beneath it to make it stronger, the conservation of the minaret, and some decorative elements at the mosque's main building. A new set of toilets with similar architectural style is to be provided within the mosque's walls.  The budget required for the restoration project is a grant offered by the Kingdom of the Saudi Arabia.

Al-Azhar Mosque, meaning " the Mosque of the Most Resplendent", was built during the reign of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Muizz Li Deen Allah Al-Fatemi in 972 for the newly established capital of Egypt, Al-Qahira (Cairo). The mosque was previously restored in 2011 and covered the whale mosque; the Fatimid, which is the core component- commonly known as the Fatimid Umbrella- the Mamluk and the Ottoman parts.

The mosque took its name from the Prophet Mohammad's daughter Fatemah Al-Zahraa. During the span of time the mosque developed into what is today the second oldest continuously run university in the world after Al-Karaouine, in Ummyyad Fes. The mosque and university were neglected and its religious role declined during the Ayyubid era who promoted Sunnis, even though the mosque was founded as a Shiite Ismaili institution. But it regained its importance during the Mamluk ages and witnessed numerous expansions and renovations.

Today Al-Azhar remains a deeply influential institution in Egyptian society and is highly revered in the Sunni Muslim world as a symbol of Islamic Egypt.
Source: Ahram Online
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