|President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak appointed Professor Ahmad Al- Tayyeb as Sheikh Al-Azhar and Grand Imam, the world’s most prestigious seat of Islamic learning. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, spent more than forty years in the institution of Al-Azhar as he held several academic positions. Being a Professor of Theology and Philosophy in Al-Azhar University, Cairo, he was appointed Dean ofthe Faculty of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Quena, Egypt from 27/10/1990 till 31/08/1991 and Dean of the Faculty of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Aswan, Egypt from 15/11/1995 till 03/10/1999 as well as Dean of the Faculty of Usul Al-Din at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1999 till 2000, in addition to several academic posts in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and U.A.E. Sheikh Al-Tayyeb was then appointed as Mufti of the Arab Republic of Egypt from 10/03/2002 till 27/09/2003 and later as Rector of Al-Azhar University from 28/09/2003 till 19/03/2010. Sheikh Al-Tayyeb is now leading the whole educational body of Al-Azhar, which comprises schools, faculties and other educational institutions across Egypt. He is an expert in theology, religious philosophy, and has written books and studies in theology, Islamic culture and Islamic philosophy. Sheikh Al-Tayyeb is known for his open-mindedness and deep vision, his acceptance of differing points of view and discussing them to reach the best acceptable opinions. Being versed in languages other than Arabic, mainly French and English gave him access to other cultures and civilizations which made him successfully reach the other in fruitful dialogues. In an interview with local newspapers, Sheikh Al-Tayyeb stated that the development of the Azharite educational system is his top priority, with the assistance of scholars and experts, and through a stated plan which would start with reviewing and assessing the current educational system in order to identify the problems and obstacles, and would end with the implementation of the necessary procedures for the betterment of the Azharite educational system. He added that Al-Azhar has constants which cannot be altered. Al-Azhar is an institution which encourages dialogue that is open to others with a moderate approach and holds dialogues with the divergent parties of various cultures and creeds. Sheikh Al-Tayyeb stresses the fact that Al-Azhar is the most trustworthy reference to Muslims. He stated that he would maintain the constants of Al-Azhar and spread the moderate teachings of Islam. Sheikh Al-Tayyeb stressed that Al-Azhar would continue its journey of dialogue between religions and its openness to the various cultures. Sheikh Al-Tayyeb was also quoted saying: “Al-Azhar will continue to be a bastion for tolerance and moderation against extremism and fanaticism”; “All possible means, including the latest technology, will be used to spread moderate Islam across the world.” Sheikh Al-Tayyeb asserted that Islamic discourse was in dire need of review. Constructive change often requires institutions with historical, intellectual, and religious credibility. Al-Azhar is one such institution which Sheikh Al-Tayyeb is well suited to lead its efforts.
List of past Grand Imam of AlAzhar: