Al-Azhar University granted King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, an “honorary doctorate” in appreciation of his “support for Egypt and Islam”.
“Al-Azhar University council has decided to grant an honorary doctorate to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his courageous stance towards Egypt and for his support of the issues of Islam and Muslims across the Muslim world,” Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency quoted Al-Azhar University President Usama Al-Abd as saying.
Last month’s decision was the first such award granted by Al-Azhar for over two decades.
Al-Abd said: “[Granting] an honorary doctorate is the least we can do to honour the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his heroic stance [in support of] the will of the Egyptian people. Therefore, I have proposed to the Al-Azhar University Council – the world’s largest such council – that they grant the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques an honorary doctorate.”
The University’s council unanimously agreed on the proposal, he added.
The president of the university awarded the doctorate to King Abdullah in person.
Al-Azhar University is one of the world’s foremost Sunni Islamic academic institutions. Its leadership supported the military coup which overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Saudi Arabia who also backed the coup led by former field marshal turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, provided financial aid to the Egyptian regime and supported its brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Though theologically different, Al-Azhar University (Ash’ari) and the religious establishment of Saudi Arabia (Salafi) were unified in their position against the political threat that the Muslim Brotherhood posed in the region.
President Sisi performed Umrah during an official state visit to Saudi Arabia last week.
King Saud presented Sisi with the King Abdul-Aziz Necklace, the highest and most prestigious medal in Saudi Arabia.