Usama al-Abd

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Usama al-Abd
Nationality Egyptian
Education B.A., M.A., and PhD from Al Azhar University
Occupation President of Al Azhar University
Years active 2011 until present

Usama al-Abd (Osama al-Abd) is the current president of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.


Al-Abd is a 1975 graduate of Al-Azhar University. After serving for a stint as a teacher at Al-Azhar, he worked as an Attorney General for 10 years. In 1981, he earned a M.A. in Comparative Fiqh from Al-Azhar and in 1985, he completed a PhD in the same subject. Thereafter, he returned to academia and was appointed Professor of Shariah and Law again at Al-Azhar University. In 1988, he moved to Kuwait where he taught Islamic law. In 2003, he returned to Egypt where he was appointed Vice President of Al-Azhar University; in 2011, he was appointed President of Al-Azhar University.[1] In April 2013, Al Azhar University's Council of Senior Scholars decided to hold elections to replace Al-Abd after a major food poisoning incident at Al-Azhar University's student hostel.[2] He was later allowed to stay after hiring a new catering company.[3]

In May 2014, Al-Abd announced that Al-Azhar University punished 1,301 students for their participation in anti-coup protests of which 131 were expelled outright from the university, 150 expelled from their dormitories, and 750 were referred to disciplinary boards.[4] Al-Abd stated that primary goal of the university protests was to disrupt studying and denied siding with Egyptian government headed by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.[3] Al-Abd also stated the Muslim Brotherhood was an exclusionary group hostile to the sheikh of Al Azhar University, Ahmed el-Tayeb, and solely dedicated to returning to power in Egypt without consideration for dissent.[3] Although some Brotherhood members were on the Al-Azhar University faculty, Al-Abd maintains the university will continue to adhere to "moderate and enlightened ideas and always rejects extremist ideas.”[3]

Al-Abd is fluent in Arabic and French.[1]