Al-Azhar University, one of the world’s leading religious institutions, formed its first group of eight male students and eight female students in an unprecedented move towards being more tolerant to music and singing.
On April 28, the team sang at the Arts and Creativity Festival organized by al-Azhar University and presented a musical Choir show at the stage of the Azhar Conference Center in front of prominent Azhar figures.
Approximately 600 students applied to be a part of the musical group but only 16 were chosen, half of them girls, to represent al-Azhar in art competitions.
The university hired a professional maestro to train them alongside a music teacher at a public university to supervise the new activity in order to give a professional aspect to the team. There are no art colleges at al-Azhar University.
The “Ibda’a- Creativity” contest, held up by the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports for students of Egyptian universities since six years ago, was the first experience in which the “new choir” team appeared. The students aged between 19 and 22 years won second place.
During the March competition, girls wore veils and floral dresses while young men wore black suits and sang four songs for all participating university teams.
Following their success at Ibda’a 6, the university was preparing for its first festival in April.
Maestro Hassan Fikri who has led the team has been working in the field of music for 40 years and is leading the Oyoun Misr group which performs in the Egyptian Opera.
The young team has been criticized for the fact that singing is offensive to Al-Azhar, but later the idea was appreciated by many.
The university has become very interested in art and creativity and has distinguished artistic teams in drawing, plastic arts and folklore.
During his speech at the ceremony, al-Azhar’s deputy Abbas Shoman stated that al-Azhar does not oppose art and creativity, and is in touch with the problems of society and people.
Al-Azhar University is the third oldest university in the world after the University of Zaytuna in Tunisia, which was founded after the establishment of the Fatimid state in the Tunisian city of Mehdia before the departure of Al-Moez Ladin Allah Fatimi to Egypt where he founded Cairo and the University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fez which was also established by a Tunisian woman, Fatima al-Fihri.