Al-Azhar is one of the oldest educational institutes in the world, built on the foundations of knowledge and faith with the aim of enriching the population through the love of God. Its services to humanity are countless and the great men and women it has produced have been a great service to human civilization. Before coming to Egypt I knew it was one of the places I had to see. I have been blessed to pray Jumu’ah in many different places before, but very few of those places compared to this.
The feeling of tranquillity and peace immediately comes over you as you enter through the archway of the 1200 year old building, a world away from the busy streets of Islamic Cairo outside. On the other side; a courtyard kept clean and gleaning in the hot summer sun. A humble notice board with a tattered timetable stuck on it is the only point of congregation as students and members of the public note down which talks they wish to attend. All this seems a world away from the personalised timetables delivered by email at university back home – a reminder of the struggle which is required to gain knowledge.