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Ibrahim El-Houdaiby

The Identity of Al-Azhar and Its Doctrine

[The Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. It evolved to become the religious center of Egypt and the most celebrated theological college in the Islamic world. Image originally posted to Flickr by Alessio Corsi.]

The proposed amendments to Article 2 of the constitution – giving Al-Azhar the final say in defining Islamic Law (Sharia) – is of critical importance, not only because it limits Islamic knowledge to Al-Azhar, but also because it transfers the debate over the institution of Al-Azhar to the issue of identity. Assigning an institution with the task of interpreting Sharia is unusual in Islam, where, traditionally, knowledge was not seen to be associated with any specific ...

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