(359-361 Hijri)- (970-975 A.D), the most important mosque in Egypt, and the most famous one in the Islamic world.
It has been a mosque and a university since more than one thousand years ago.
Although it was established for spreading the Shiite doctrine by the Fatimid general Jawhar El-Sequili at the orders of Caliph Muezz Li-Din Allah, but it is teaching the Islam now according to Sunni doctrine.
The mosque was built in the southeast of the city close to the Grand Palace, which was then between the neighborhood of “Daylam” in the north, and the neighborhood of “Turk” in the south.
The Caliph Muezz Li-Din Allah laid the foundation stone of Al-Azhar Mosque on Ramadan 14, 359 Hijri -970 AD, and the mosque was built in Ramadan 361 Hijri - 972 AD, to be the first mosque built in Cairo, and the oldest Fatimid monument in Egypt.
It was opened for prayers in Ramadan 361 Hijri - 972 AD, and the first Friday prayer was held on Ramadan7,361 Hijri - 972 AD.
Historians differed in the origin of the name of this mosque, and it is likely that the Fatimids, His Highness in Al-Azhar, after Fatma Al- Zahra daughter o Prophet Muhammad, and praising her Memorialize.
When Al hakim Baamr Allah came to power in (386-411 Hijri - 996-1020 AD), he increased in the construction of the mosque, then in 519 Hijri (1125 AD), Al- Amir established a mihrab and solved with wood inscriptions, and these inscriptions are still preserved in the House of Arab Antiquities in Cairo.
The situation changed during the reign of the Ayyubids.
Salah al-Din prevented the sermon from the mosque, It took about a century before Al-Azhar Mosque regained the sympathy of the governors and the country interest, and when the king Baybars came to power he increased in its construction and encouraged education in it and return the sermon to it in 665 Hijri - 1266-1267 AD.
He followed by many princes, Since then, the mosque has become famous and became a scientific institute for people from every dawn.
Al-Azhar has received much attention from the country, especially because the Mongol invasions in the Levant had destroyed the science institutes there, also the Islam in Morocco was disintegrating and decaying, which led to the destruction of his schools.
In 702 Hijri (1302-1303 AD), the earthquake devastated the mosque, and then prince Suhad took over its architecture.
The mosque was renovated in 725 Hijri (1325 AD) by Mohammed bin Hassan al-As'aradi (from Sa'rad in Armenia).
Around that time, the two princes Tebris and Akbegha Abdel Wahid built schools near Al-Azhar, Typrus built the Tiberian school in 709 Hijri (1309-1310 AD), and Akbugha Abdel Wahid built the Akbghawiya school in 740 Hijri (1340 AD), These two schools joined Al-Azhar, later.
Al-Tawashi Bashir al-Jamdar al-Nasiri renewed the mosque's construction and increased it around 761 Hijri (1360 AD), he arranged a Koran, made a reader for it, arranged food for the poor to be cooked every day, arranged a lesson for the jurists from the Hanafi, and renovated the kitchen of the poor.
The mosque’s aluminiferous fell in 800 Hijri (1397-1398 AD) and was immediately constructed by Sultan Barquq who spent on its cost from his money.
It fell out twice again in (817 Hijri- 1414- 1415 AD, and in 827 Hijri – 1423- 1424 AD) and it was rebuilt every time.
Around that time, Sultan Barquq established a water cistern, and built a Place for ablution. Tawashi Gawhar Al-Qantabai, who died in 844 Hijri (1440-1440 AD), built a school near the mosque.
The Mamluk era is one of the best eras for Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, where the Mamluk rulers raced to pay attention to its students, Sheiks and architecture, and expanded in spending and interest with it in addition to its architecture.
During the Ottoman era, the Sultans of the Othman showed great respect for the mosque and its people, despite its resistance and standing with the Mamluks during their war with the Ottomans.
However, this respect wasn’t translated to care and attention to its architecture or spending on its sheikhs and students, however, the mosque during this period became the best place for Egyptians and the first to receive science and understanding religion.
It also became the largest center for Egyptian scientists and began to teach some sciences of philosophy and logic for the first time.
During the French campaign against Egypt, Al-Azhar was a center of resistance; In it the scientists planned for first Cairo revolution, endured its scourge and faced violating its restraining.
In the aftermath of the Second Cairo Revolution, senior Al-Azhar scholars were subjected to the most severe forms of torture and pain, they also imposed heavy fines, so they sold their property and wives’ jewelry to defray them, and after the killing of Kleber, Al-Azhar lost some of its students, led by Suleiman al-Halabi.