Grand Imam of Al-Azhar hosts Pope of the Vatican for historic conference
Al-Azhar University held its International Peace Conference on 27-28 April 2017, hosted by the Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb Shaykh al-Azhar, with keynote attendance of Pope Francis from the Vatican in Rome. Representatives from numerous countries and faith communities also participated. In his role as Vice-President of the UK Branch of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates (WAAG UK), the Vice-Principal of Jamia Al-Karam, Bakhtyar Pirzada al-Azhari, was invited by the Grand Imam to attend this important conference aimed at building bridges and presenting the true message of Islam on the world stage.
During his short trip to Cairo, the Vice-Principal, accompanied by graduate of Jamia Al-Karam, Junaid Pirzada, participated in various sessions of the peace conference, held meetings with Al-Azhar and the Graduates Association officials, attended the conference ‘Arabic Language and the responsibility of the Muslim Ummah’, met a number of his teachers and senior scholars of Al-Azhar, and also visited numerous Maqams of the pious predecessors and various landmarks of Egypt.
The notable individuals both Bakhtyar Pirzada al-Azhari and Junaid Pirzada met during their short trip included:
- The Grand Imam, Dr Ahmad al-Tayyab Shaykh al-Azhar. He is the leader of Al-Azhar, Chairman of the Council of Muslim Elders, and ranked as the most influential Muslim in the world.
- Shaykh Dr Abdul Fadeel al-Qawsi. He is the Vice-Chairman of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates International and deputy to the Grand Imam. He has visited Jamia Al-Karam and also attended the Gateway to Divine Mercy conferences. In 2011, he officially inaugurated the UK Branch of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates at Jamia Al-Karam.
- Mr Usama Yasin. He is the Vice-Chairman for Administrative Affairs of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates International. He has visited Jamia Al-Karam and also attended the Gateway to Divine Mercy conferences.
- Dr Taha Mustafa Abu Kuraishah. He is amongst the senior teachers of Al-Azhar University and former Vice-President. He visited Jamia Al-Karam in 2001 and is amongst the teachers of the Vice-Principal.
- Dr Abdul Daim Nusayr. He is Secretary-General of the World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates International and senior advisor to the Grand Imam. He has visited Jamia Al-Karam an also attended the Gateway to Divine Mercy conferences.
- Shaykh Dr Ahmad Umar Hashim. He is amongst the senior most scholars of Egypt, member of the Supreme Council of Al-Azhar Scholars and former President of Al-Azhar University. He visited Jamia Al-Karam in 2001, where he presented the Al-Azhar Lifetime Achievement Award (al-Dir’ al-Fakhri) to honour the life and works of Zia-ul-Ummat Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (ra), and he is amongst the teachers of the Vice-Principal.
- Dr Usama al-Abd. He is a renowned jurist scholar of Al-Azhar, currently head of the Religious Affairs Committee at the House of Representatives (Majlis al-Nawab) of Egypt. He has visited Jamia Al-Karam and is amongst the teachers of the Vice-Principal.
- Shaykh Dr Hasan al-Shafi’i. He is amongst the senior most scholars of Egypt, member of the Supreme Council of Al-Azhar Scholars and current head of Egypt’s Centre for the Advancement of Arabic Language. He is amongst the pioneers in the early establishment of the International Islamic University of Islamabad and admirers of the work of Zia-ul-Ummat Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (ra) in Pakistan.
- Muhammad Abdel-Haleem OBE. He is an academic, writer and professor of Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London, and editor of the Journal of Qur’anic Studies.
The Maqams visited included the resting places of Sayyiduna al-Imam al-Husayn (grandson of the holy Prophet), Sayyidah Zaynab (granddaughter of the holy Prophet), Imam al-Shafi’i (founder of the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence), Imam al-Waki’ (teacher of Imam al-Shafi’i), Imam Sharf al-Din al-Busiri (author of Qasidah Burdah) and Imam Abu’l-‘Abbas al-Mursi (gnostic and mentor of Imam al-Busiri and disciple of Imam Abu’l-Hasan al-Shazili). In addition, they visited the Muhammad Ali Mosque in the Citadel of Saladin, the Ibn Tulun Mosque and the Pyramids of Giza.
Upon returning to London, the Vice-Principal met up with former student of Jamia Al-Karam and son of former Vice-President of Iraq Tariq Al-Hashimi, Abu Obaidah Al-Hashimi, who hosted dinner in London before returning to Jamia Al-Karam.
For photos, see album on Facebook:
For the WAAG UK news report of the conference, visit: http://www.waag-azhar.org.uk/the-al-azhar-international-peace-conference-with-the-grand-imam-and-pope-francis/