Shaikh Ahmad Mohammad Al Tayyeb Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Shaikh Ahmad Mohammad Al Tayyeb, Grand Mufti of Al Azhar University, largely regarded as Islam’s highest seat of learning, is the Islamic Personality of the Year 2013, Dubai International Holy Quran Award’s (DIHQA) organising committee has announced.

The Dh1 million prize, part of the annual programme including Quran contests and lectures that takes place every Ramadan, will be awarded at a grand ceremony on Ramadan 20(July 29, 2013) that will also see the announcement of the Quran contest winner.

The prestigious annual award has been conferred on eminent Islamic personalities and institutions over the last 17 years, including the likes of Shaikh Mohammad Al Shirawi, Moulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Shaikh Yousuf Al Qaradawi, as well as Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The award is not confined to personalities who spend their lifetime in the service of Islam and Quran, but is also conferred on institutions that help spread the message of Islam. The two famous institutions awarded so far are Al Azhar University and King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex in Saudi Arabia.

However, this is the first time a sitting head of Al Azhar University is being awarded.

Al Tayyeb was appointed the Grand Imam of Al Azhar in 2010 by the then president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak, following the death of his predecessor Shaikh Mohammad Tantawi.

The 67-year-old former Grand Mufti of Egypt, who holds a doctorate from Al Azhar University and a Phd in Islamic Philosophy from Paris-Sorbonne University, has been president of Al Azhar University since 2003.

“I feel infinite pleasure in announcing the name of Shaikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, as the Islamic Personality of Year for the 17th session of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award,” said Ebrahim Bu Melha, Head of DIHQA’s Organising Committee, and cultural adviser to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He said that the award looks to honour personalities and institutions with a history of great service to Quran, Islam and Muslims in general.

“Shaikh Al Tayyeb has rendered his life in the service of Islam even before he was appointed the Grand Imam of Al Azhar. His service in the field of Islamic sciences has been phenomenal,” said Bu Melha, announcing the prize.

Last year the award went to famous American Islamic preacher Shaikh Yousuf Estes.