Al-Azhar Mosque (Arabic: الجامع الأزهر al-Gāma` al-Azhar, "mosque of the most resplendent") is a mosque in Islamic Cairo in Egypt. Al-Mu‘izz li-Dīn Allāh of the Fatimid Caliphate commissioned its construction for the newly established capital city in 970. Its name is usually thought to allude to the Islamic prophet Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, a revered figure in Islam who was given the title az-Zahrā′ ("the shining one"). It was the first mosque established in Cairo, a city that has since gained the nickname "the city of a thousand minarets."
After its dedication in 972, and with the hiring by mosque authorities of 35 scholars in 989, the mosque slowly developed into what is today the second oldest continuously run university in the world after Al Karaouine. Al-Azhar University has long been regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for the study of Sunni theology and sharia, or Islamic law. The university, integrated within the mosque as part of a mosque school since its inception, was nationalized and officially designated an independent university in 1961, following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.