How Does One Enter Al-Azhar?

Bismellah wa salatu wa salamu ala sayedenaa rasulellaah salahualayhe wa salam:

What you need to know to get into Al-Azhar in Brief:

1. Try to have no less than 2 juz of Qur’an memorized.

2. If you are not fluent in Arabic consider studying in an Arabic center in Cairo for a year before taking the exams. al-Azhar has no department for teaching Arabic to non-Arabs. In addition, teachers utilize both Egyptian colloquial and Fusha. However, most of instruction in al-Azhar is conducted in Fusha and if requested, Fusha it will be employed to accommodate you.

3. Being a student of knowledge is a serious endeavor. Thus, I advise brothers and sisters to exhaust all their local resources before setting off to study in Egypt. It is wise to utilize the scholars and Imams in your locality before setting abroad. This is also the is the Sunnah of the Ulema –to learn firstly in one’s locality before traveling abroad to seek knowledge. Once you have exhausted your resources then you should prepare yourself to study abroad.

It makes little to no sense for a person to travel to Egypt to learn a basic book of Fiqh, Tajwid or some other science that can be learned in our lands, in the West. The Islamic sciences can be learned at a basic introductory level in our home countries as we have many teachers who are well qualified and experienced in teaching at this level. Also, failing to study in our countries for introductory level instruction undercuts the efforts of the Institutions in the West that are aiming at disseminating Islamic education.

4. It is beneficial to remember that al-Azhar, in its hey day, existed in a first world setting. Currently, Egypt no longer occupies a first world position as it once did. This is why the student of knowledge encounters many challenges and tends to be saddened by his or her experience.

Despite the challenges one may face given third world conditions is one is patient there is much benefit to be found in the Azhar of today that exists in a third world setting. Currentyl, al-Azhar is witnessing a revival so classes are to be found in the masjid at various levels and are possessed of a high degree of organization despite the environmental pressures. Cairo is one of the world’s largest cities numerically being thus one finds all the problems of a big city. Despite, pollution and the hecticness of life in Cairo and the city slicker attitude one comes to encounter there is much knowledge to be gained and many lessons to be learned in the city of a 1000 minarets. The student should not expect utopia but that does not preclude that he or she will not find the intellectual and spiritual jewels that prompt the student of knowledge to travel. It must be said that these jewels are found only by the student who is willing to endure and struggle and sacrifice for knowledge and seeks to please Allah {swt} in the contemporary world.

5. Having Ikhlaas and a heart dedicated to your Lord in the process of registering. You are required to have 5 photo copies of your passport, three passport pictures [to be taken in Egypt] , a letter from your embassy granting you permission to study in Egypt. In addition, you are required to have blood work done either the Hussein Hospital or the Zahraa hospital both which are under the supervision of al-Azhar and yo must have paper work given to you by the majma bahouth [registrar’s office] so that the results of your blood work is recorded and presented to al-Azhar so that your paper work is complete. al-Azhar recognizes blood work from the two hospitals mentioned as they are under the Azhari system.

You may need proof that you are Muslim if your name Islamic and written on your passport. You can a certificate declaring your profession of faith from the mashaikha or the office of Shaikh al-Azhar which is close to the al-Azhar masjid.

Subject matters that compromise the entrance exam:

1. Hadith

2. Nahu

3. Sarf

4. Balagha

5. Fiqh according to one of the four schools

6. Aqeeda (according to the ‘Ashari school [what is required in this area is very basic information])

7. Sirah

8. Tafsir

You can find the books that will help you for the entrance exams behind Masjid al-Azhar in the Dar al-Atrak area. There is a book shop known as al-maktab al-Azhariyah and they have what are known as the Tawdih series (Yes, Azhari cliff notes) for every subject that one is tested in.

There are oral exams along with written exams. After you take the oral exams you will be placed in the part of the examination process which requires writing it consists of the eight subjects listed above. Depending on how well you prepare for the tests you will be either placed in the middle school or the high school. Most students who prepare well invest 1 to 2 years in the high school wherein they study al-Fiyah ibn Malik, a madhab, arabic rhetoric and literature and hadith and tafsir etc. The base of Azhari education is in its high school system. Education there is not bad at all, you will study a number of good traditional texts there.

After a few months (because the exams to get in are in the middle of the year) you will be eligible to take two exams:

If you failed to make it to the last year of high school then you can test for the next year (to move up a grade). Or you can take the test to get into the university (in other words kinda like a test for the high school diploma.) If you pass the exit exam you can chose from one of the following colleges:

* Usol al-Din
* Shari’ah
* Arabic language
* Qur’an (eight year program)
* Dawa
* Islamic studies

The first two have the best reputation. However, don’t expect anything like your used to back home. there is NO ORGANIZATION so you must have a great deal of patience.

6. Exams start in late October early November. Thus, you need to have your paper work turned in to the office of foreign students in Nasir City by September/late August.

This office is behind the Women’s dorms located at the intersection of Mustapha Nahas and Tayran streets. It is one the sixth or eighth floor of the building. The building is simply known as the Idara. Go there around 10 am. The will close very shortly after the noon prayer.

7. Finally, Egypt is made up of all types of groups from the Salafis to the Shadhulis. Thus, students who have a balanced outlook and avoid being too extreme, and carry themselves in a balanced manner are successful in Egypt as they are able to deal with the diversity which represents the society and the Muslim ummah.

Remember the statement of your Lord,

“Thus we’ve made you a balanced nation.” Although you have these different groups there is a general feeling of love and brotherhood amongst most of them which we lack in the West.”

Why al-Azhar?:

One of the reasons that I chose al-Azhar and why I would recommend it, is because of the depth and maturity in outlook that the program cultitvates. You will not come out of Egypt hating sufis, bashing salafis and spending your life on mundane issues. You will, inshallah, come out with a profound respect for others and a love and concern for humanity. You will learn to appreciate your condition and strive harder to be a better human being and service society muslim and otherwise. It is really something incredible here to meet, live with and read from so many persons of different thoughts, ideas and orientations, so many scholars.


If you want to come here to start the latest click, cool fad or are bent on being intolerant of others then this is the wrong place to come. People come here to help the Ummah and be of benefit to humanity.

I encourage all of you, who are serious students to come, I’m your brother here and you will find me more than willing to help you the best I can. We have now, by Allah’s blessing, around 10 students in al-Azhar form the West and a few more entering this year. Thus, you are welcome.

Which is better Syria/Egypt?

This is really a very harmful question. All of these places have benefit. I’ve seem some amazing students come out of all of these lands and I’ve seen my share of flunkies. As one of our teachers told us, “99% of it rest on the student’s heart and his hal with Allah.” Thus, let’s avoid this type of dangerous competition and say, “All are, inshallah, on goodness from Allah.” I have nothing but respect and awe for the students of knowledge from Sham and other places and feel that they are really very special people. Let move towards developing each other and not destroying each other.


1. Up until now Al-Azhar is free although there is a rumor that they will begin to charge Westerners $400.00 yearly next year. However, books and everything are very cheap here in Egypt. For example I bought the ‘Amir’s printing of Lisan al-’Arab for $75 USD.
2. Living is cheap as well for many. But for families it can get interesting. There are a number of Islamic schools for children here and some of them can get a little pricey. At the same time there are others that are good and the price is decent.
3. If you are married make sure brothers to involve your wife in the process. There are many great Women scholars here and a number of places for women to study. However, it is important to get out and not live in the Arabic language centers. That is a first step and you should try to move beyond that after you have a good mastery of the language.
4. It is important to surround yourself with Westerners who can help you and keep you cool. Egyptian people are very good but poverty is eating at the faith like a termite eats wood. Things are not easy for them. You will see a lot of boy friend girl friend stuff, people smoking weed, robberies and other things. Thus, you need your fellow students to offer you support and fraternity in such situations.
5. It should, if all goes according to plan, take you 6-7 years to complete the Azhari program.

With love and respect.

Suhaib D. Webb

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  1. Mohammad Shoaib says:

    Assalamo Alaikhom,I am a student of bangladesh from Madrasah education board from science group.I got(no.1) Tallentfull government scholarship 2012 for alim examination,now i want to admite Al-Azhar University.If there is any scholarship to admite there for foreign student i need to know.kindly inform me about admission to Al-Azhar University with scholarship.Becoause my family is not able to provide cost,so I want to admite there with scholarship!

  2. anass ali says:

    i will like to study in your university. thank you,god bless you all.

  3. Aisha Kenawy says:

    I am female, live in Alexandria and want to study Shariah but I don’t know where to go. Are there Azhari colleges in Alexandria that I can join or any other classes.

  4. Gursel Gurbuz says:

    Assalmun Aleykum, i will love to have assistance from you my borther i have study islam here in Turkey but i will love to have deep knowdlege in islam and study arabic i am planing to move states before that i will love to study islam Egypt can you plase advise me thanks….

  5. Fahri al-din says:

    assalamualaykum:Iam a Uyghur,and i want to study more about islam,in my for countrfor me I don’t have more chance to study islam .Now I am in university in China.How yo apply for Azhar?

  6. Zakariya says:

    Asalam 3laykum dear brothers am a somali by nature and a kenyan citizen by registration and by birth and i study in a ma’had lughah so with this certificate of the ma’had can i be accepted for the exam and if yes how about the exam

  7. faisa says:

    hi there I am from Somalia and I live in uk my first question it free to join the university or you will charge me money and the other thing is I am not perfect in Arabic but I understand it well will I be able to get accepted in your university. jazakallah can you please reply back

  8. saim says:

    how non-arab can study in al azhar and what also any condition of age to study in al azhar university

    • abdiwali says:

      well you finish your school and then go to Egypt and learn Arabic after you mastered Arabic verbally and literally then you are accepted in Al Azhar university

      • Fatma says:

        Asalamu aleykum…my interest is in mastering arabic. is there any good institution you could suggest in cairo that has a very formal set up? As i am nearly completing my university studies and judging by this very informative post you need to know arabic before pursuing an education at al azhar

  9. abd'l Malik says:

    As-Salaamu-A’laikum-Wa-Rahmatullahi-Wa-Barrakatuh, Akhi.
    I’m an American brother who wants to learn Quran and arabic at Al-Azhar or any institute in the Middle East. However I have a wife and 4 children. I have heard of programs that Americans are able to get a sponsorship to attend some institute to do hifz and learn arabic but I cannot find anyone who knows exactly how or who to contact to get the process started.

    Jazak-Allahu- khair,

  10. shakil says:

    Assalamu alaikum, i am living in london. i am 18 years old and would like to study in al-azhar. i have studied intensive arabic and did my first year of aalimiyyah in ebrahim college.i am interseted in studying hifz and continuing my aalimiyyah in al azhar.

  11. Dounia says:

    Assalamu Alaikum, I’m a widow with two children I would like to go study at Al-Azhar inchaallah.I know that the program takes up to 8 years. I’m concern for my children’s education as they are still in elementary, I would really appreciate it if you can give me any advice on this.
    Jazak-Allahu- khair

  12. mdtoriquzzaman says:

    as-salamu alaikum arah matullah
    I am a student of bangladesh from Madrasah education i study at Islamic university in kustia. I want take admission at AL-azharus Sharif at deportment of Islamic studies. pleas give me solution about that. my Skype ID is mt.islam.

  13. ibrahim says:

    assalamu alaikum ya brothers…….i am from india i am seeker in to learn about islam…….now i am studying diploma in arabic in my home station…….my ustad said about a jamiath ul-azhar alhamdulliah i am inspired …….what are the procedures to join in al-azhar university……………past 3 years i searching an good institution to learn about islam……alhamdulliah now i got an al-azhar university……insha allah i will one of the student in al-azhar university…….

    • Abid says:

      Assalam alaikum brother ibrahim,
      As you have posted your message long time ago, just curious to know whether u got admission into al azhar uni or not? is ther any other institute u found in india for arabic langauge that is worth taking?
      Please share more info about your experience.
      jazak allah.

  14. seid mohammed says:

    i am seid mohammed, from Ethiopia. i am a university teacher from management department. i have MBA in management. and my vision is to learn and teach ISLAM. if possible please help me to join your Islamic University. May ALLAH bless the one who want to help the needy. JEZAKELLAH!!

  15. Aisha says:

    asalamu alaykum brothers and sisters
    i am a highschool student who lives in America
    and i wont get a chance to go to an islamic school befofe Al-azhar university so when i go there will be asked a paper from a previous islamic school or egyptian passport and i am not a citizen of egypt
    please reply to my question
    may Allah reward u with jannah

  16. sodiq muhammadrobiu kolawole says:

    i sodiq student of mahd el-arabi,nigeria ibadan,i realy like to study in azhar,and i’ll be happy if am assisted and put true,thanks.

  17. Ahmed Al-Daye says:

    As Salaam Alyakoum Wa Rahmatoo Allah SWT Wa Barakatohoo,

    Ramadan Kareem Wa Mubarak and may it bring blessings and every lasting happiness for everyone.

    My name is Ahmed Al-Daye, and I am from Canada. My dream and passion is to be a scholar of Islam and Alaam Deen. I have two bachelor degrees and have been working the past 10 years. I have never given up on my dreams and now I am looking to start that important step on my life.

    I am looking for guidance on what I need to do to be accepted in Al Azhar university, how do I enter the program, what documents I have to submit, what courses to study, and what is the fastest way for me to enter Al Azhar Islamic studies department and graduate as a Scholar of Islam.

    I am willing to do what it takes to be accepted, so please kindly respond to me at your earliest convenience.

    Wa As Salaam.

  18. Sirajudeen says:

    As-Salaumu alaykum!
    My name is Sirajudeen, I’m a citizen from Nigeria, I’m an SSCE holder but, I love Islam because its the only way for me, I love to become an Islamic scholars but am not much enough deep in Islamic studies but I which to know best but I don’t know what to do, I wish to become a student in al-Azhar university to study more on Arabic and Islamic but I know what to do and how to enter there pls I need idea from you my brothers amd sisters in Islam because I don’t want to be an illiterate in this course, I love it and I want to archive it so that I can teach people to like the Hadith that says: “Manta alamal Qur’an fahalamahu”, pls help me may Allah (swt) help us all and may He reward us abundantly. AMEN

  19. ahmad says:

    i want to get a form

  20. Abdul-Basid Sa'adan Lawan says:

    Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah… I’m a Nigerian and wl like to study at Al-Azhar.. I want u to pls enlighten me more on Al-Azhar Science courses… Jazaakumul-Lahu khayral jaza’

  21. Fakhr says:

    Assalamoualikoum warahmatullahi wabaraktu.
    pls can you told me how i can get contact with administration of Al-Azhar university…

  22. Zainab says:

    Iam trying to get admission for my bother through a family friend. In fact he told me my bother has got the admission and just waiting for it to be printed so we can start the processing the requirements from Nigeria.
    Nothing has been heard the new semester is about starting.
    I need to know what is happening please. Is there any admission for the remaining 2013.
    Please reply.

  23. Nazrul Habibi says:

    I would like to my PhD with Al-Azher. Please let me what I should I do. Please help me

  24. kibowa Ausi says:

    please sheik am a Ugandan having ashahadah for a level what should i do to join azhar university and i memorized the holy Qur’an please help me reply at that email

  25. Owais says:

    This post is quite old. I am from Pakistan and have studied basic islamic sciences during last 5 years. I would like to have the latest information on getting admission in Arab Universities

    • mozamil says:

      asalam alikom my brother, i am from Afghanistan i want to take master degree in Egypt( al-azher) university how i can? and what is the required. i am graduated from the faculty of Geo science.please help me about it.

  26. Essam says:

    AsslamuAlikum Everyone, It’s abit Hard to keep up with all this, and am really sorry we tried with the university to upgrade the website for better services. I study Simultaneous interpretation in Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and I would be more than Happy to assist you with anything in the application, plus I will try to get the requirements for the upcoming year and publish them in here for you. wish you all Good luck.

  27. Mohammed abdulrahma Mohammed says:

    Assalamu aleikum, am a young Kenyan Muslim want to join Al azhar university, What do I supposed to do?

  28. Abdal Hameed says:

    i’m a born christian, am a Nigerian and I discovered my religión and the true religión is Islam, so im a muslim WHO want to know more about my religión as the prophet HADITH insist on seeking knowledge. I can read the Holy Quran fluently pls I need Tour help to archieve my Dream

  29. ssss says:

    assalamualaik, i’m a bruneian.what are the entry requirements for this university?

  30. Abu Yusuf says:

    Assalamualaikum, to all those with intentions to study in Egypt there are many Arabic language centres, deeny halaqas, places to memorise quran(many for free and many charging some fees). My sincere advice is start off from an Arabic language centre and base yourself from there as they will also help you find accommodation and provide short-term and long-term visa extensions. Once you arrive in Cairo you will see for yourself what is availaible and what choices best suit your goals. Once in Cairo it is up to the individual to invest their time in asking the locals,foreigners and scholars about the available learning options.

  31. zakir hossain shahid molla says:

    assalamu aliqum . I am zaki Hossain I all ready been study in alazhare university of alazhar hare on Bangladesh 8 years. after o pasted Alim examination from madrasah e alia Dhaka 2010 . so inead to addmit in alazhar university with scholarship .

  32. mohameed siuran says:

    As salaam Alaikum…
    i want study sharia from foundation is there any chance to study in AL AZHAR because im not a Arabian…is there any age limit to study in AL AZHAR. and please give me some ideas


  33. Abd fatah says:

    Salamun abd fatah frm nigeria i want to study in al azari university..what am i gonna do.does it need 4 me to attend arabic college in egypt ?

  34. mohammad ishfaq says:

    asslam o alaikum
    i m from pakistan &i want to ask that my son is 13 years old and he is memories qura’n
    i want admit him in al azher
    please tell me that how it will possible
    with best regards,
    mohammad ishfaq

  35. Abdullahi says:

    salam alaikum.i am from nigeria and hoping towards alhazar mamagement of any scholarship offers opportunity, into alazhar university that shuld kindly include this poor muslim who is hoping for the best and completly handycap.but believe that all shall surly b well by the grace of ALLHA.subhanau wata ala and i will always believe in him.

  36. usman bala says:

    Assalamu alaikum my brothers in islam I am a nigerian I am ready to study in al azhar university I want to know the shedule of fees in usd

  37. Syed Nusrath says:

    I would love to study in your university

  38. Nazrul Habibi says:

    Assalamualaikum. I have aim to do a PhD with al azhar university. Please let me know what should I do.

  39. hassan mwendwa mwinyi says:

    assalamalaikum,iam a revert to islam from kenya at a place were alot of da’awa is required currently at ummah university[tamhiid arabic]and im not fluent in arabic yet i would like to study in your university to acquire more knowledge,how may you help me please?

  40. umair yasir says:

    slam bro…. i m from Pakistan and want to study SHARIAH LAW DOCTORATE IN ALAZHAR …i wana inquire what is the medium of instruction ,what eligibility criteria isrequired ,duration and other information of such program of Shariah LAW ,ADMISSION DATES AND ALL SUCH INFO,,,,As the wbsiite of university is under construction plz help

  41. Mohammad Raihan says:

    Assalamu Alaikum.
    I am Mohammad Raihan from bangladesh. And, i am a student of Higher Secondary under Baitush Sharaf Madrasah, Bangladesh. I’ve secured GPA-5 in Secondary exam. Now, I wish to study in Al Azhar University. How can I get admission there?

  42. feroza says:

    aslmkm i have 2 boys 9 and 11.they want 2 do hifz.please advise

  43. Umar Bashir says:

    I’m a 15 year old student from sheffield England. I’m about to leave school . I would like to move to Egypt to study. How can i get a scholarship into al azhar?

  44. shoaib mansoor says:

    Assalam o alaikum. I am a free lance film maker from Pakistan. I am doing a documentary on “Women and Religion”. I would like to record views of some scholar from Al-Azhar. Kindly guide me on how and whom to contact at Al-Azhar. I would also need permission to record the interview in some part of the university to establish the locale. Kindly guide/help me.
    Warm Regards

  45. Abubakari Mbubi says:

    assalam alaikum.dear brothers and sisters,am Ugandan looking for a scholarship.i would like to study arabic language with AL Azhar looking forward for your response. May Allah Bless You.

  46. syed abdul mohaimin quadri says:

    I am indian
    what is the requirement for admission in derasaat al islamiyh in jamia al azher shareef cairo egypt campus.
    I am compleet MA 3 times kamil al tafseer,kamil al hadeeth, kamil al treeq from jamia nizamia hyderabad india.
    my two brothers also studying in aalim(level intermediat. sanavi 2nd year ).
    so please help our about admossion and we are eligble which course in al azher cairo.
    your’s faithfully

  47. afeefa ck says:

    i would like to know how to study medicine through scholarship

  48. muhammad abdullah says:

    assalamu alikum.i am from bangladesh and i graduate in BBA.i want tn learn arabic lenguage.plz give information. May allah bless you.

  49. Bigirimana Mossi says:

    Asalam Aleikum, I am very happy to see the existence of such University. I wish to be there very soon Insha Allah.

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