Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi

Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi (1928-2010) is best known as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University since being appointed to that post from his former post as the Grand Mufti of Egypt. In his early career, Tantawy joined the Alexandria Religious Institute in 1944, and became a member of the faculty of Usul al-Deen in 1968. In 1972 he became a member of the faculty of Arabic & Islamic Studies at the Islamic University of Libya. In 1980 he moved to Saudi Arabia where he became chief of tafsir (exegesis) at the Postgraduate studies branch at the Islamic University of Madinah. He returned to Egypt in 1985 to become Dean of the Faculty of Usul al-Deen in the prestigious Alexandria Religious Institute. In 1986 Tantawy was appointed as Grand Mufti of Egypt on his 58th birthday. He held this position for almost ten years, until he was appointed Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University by the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, on 27 March 1996. He passed away in March of 2010 following a trip to Saudi Arabia.