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Higher Islamic Education in Egypt passed through many stages between strength and weakness, but what that cannot be denied is that there is an intellectual development that took place in this education due to different factors and reasons which influenced this development both negatively and positively. In the past, Islamic education was predominantly theological but the condition changed to the extent that the system became a twinning of general public education with Islamic studies education represented in Al-Azhar. Islamic education in Egypt thrived during the seventh to tenth centuries when primary Islamic schools were established as kuttābs, which subsequently advanced to Al-Azhar system. Kuttāb institutions emerged as spontaneous schools at grassroot level, often connected with mosques, but also created by the communities in homes, shops, tents, or under palm trees. Islamic studies education by then was built around individual teachers rather than institutions, and this helped the spread of education in the Muslim world. This later changed to institutional based education as evidenced in Al-Azhar. Therefore, the author in this paper intends to explore the factors that contributed to the intellectual development of Islamic education and the role of Al-Azhar in this endeavour. The view that Al-Azhar as an institution submitted to the Egyptian regimes and was unable to innovate intellectually and ideologically is one of this article’s major arguments.


Al-Azhar intellectual development higher Islamic education schools of thought Egypt

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How to Cite
Fattah, M. (2019). Higher Islamic Education and the Development of Intellectualism in Egypt: Case study of Al-Azhar Education System. Interdisciplinary Journal of Education, 2(2), 149–159.


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