The late Sheikh Mostafa Ismail ... The Art of Listening

Sheikh Mostafa was born in 1905 and passed away in 1978. He represents the miracle of recitation because of the unique style and particular fashion of his recitation. With his golden voice, he managed to mix recitation genius with oriental musical rhythms. He is an ambassador of the Egyptian school in recitation. Dr. Said Badawy, Arabic Language and Phonetics Professor at the AUC and Oxford University once said “If we would mix musical sciences with Quran sciences in one chemical formula, the result would not be but the voice and performance of Sheikh Mostafa Ismail.

Sheikh Darweesh Al Hariry also said “ This man has a pioneer method and style. He is novel in everything, in his voice, and in his style”. The great composer Riyad Al Sonbaty also said “The voice of Sheikh Mostafa Ismail forms a whole musical band by itself”.

He received the Order of the Republic from President Gamal Abdel Nasser on Science Day in 1965. He also accompanied President Sadat on his historical visit to Al-Quds in 1977 where he recited Quran in the Holy mosque. He was also awarded The Medal of Excellence of First degree from President Mubarak after his death.

The scholar Faheem Gergis Rizk ... The Art of Listening

He is the senior chanter of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Archdeacon and senior chanter of St. Mark Great Church in Azbakiya. Archdeacon Fahim Rizq was born in 1910 in Meet Ghamr. He learned Psalms, primary ecclesiastical prayers, Deacon service, rhythms, and some other ecclesiastical rituals from the late chanter Hanna Soliman, the late chanter Girguis Georges, and the late chanter Wadi’e Azzouz at the Church of The Great Martyr Saint George in Meet Ghamr under the supervision of our father priests, especially the late Archpriest Joseph and the late Archpriest Ghoubrial.  He was selected Deacon in Mar Girguis Church in Meet Ghamr in 1923. Later on, he joined Mahmasha Chanting School, and in 1926 after his graduation, he  started his training  to become a chanter at Saint Mary Church and the Great Saint George Church in Meet Ghamr and the New Church of Prince Tawadros in Menya Al Kamh.

In March 1937, he was appointed chanter in the Holy Church of the Anastasis in Jerusalem. In 1938, he was selected Archdeacon of  The Jerusalem Church by the late Anba Thawfilis the Archbishop of Eastern Jerusalem (The Church of Jerusalem), then he returned to Cairo in 1948 and was appointed by Apostolic order in St. Mark Church in Azbakiya. Later on, he established with a group of chanters The Coptic Orthodox Chanters Syndicate and started teaching in the Clerical Faculty for three stages. Archdeacon Fahim Giruis Rizq died in 1999 after a great life spent in the service of the Church.

The renowned scholar Ali Gomaa

Dr. Ali Gomaa is an internationally renowned Islamic scholar. From 2003 until 2013, he served as the grand mufti of Egypt and he was selected by the Royal Center for Islamic Research and Studies in Jordan among the most influencing fifty Muslims around the world. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Ain Shams University in 1973, Gomaa enrolled in Al-Azhar University, the oldest active Islamic institution of higher learning in the world. He received a second Bachelor's degree (B.A.) in 1979 from al-Azhar, then an M.A., with highest honors in Juristic Methodology (usul al-fiqh) in 1988. He also received PH.D of Honors in Human Literature from Liverpool University in 2011 for his efforts in promoting tolerance and understanding between religions around the world. Dr. Gomaa served as the Grand Mufti of Egypt and member of the Center of Islamic Studies (Magma’a Al Bohous Al Islamiya). He received many awards and medals including Jerusalem Star (Nagmat Al Quds), The Shield of the Egyptian Army (Dara’a Al geisha al masry). Dr. Gomaa published a lot of books such as “He also wrote many researches and essays that had a great effect in society. Dr. Gomaa supervised the publication of a number of encyclopedia and participated in the editing of many scientific magazines and he plays a vital part in combating extremism.

An Egyptian native and one of Islam's most respected scholars of Islamic law, Gomaa oversaw Dar al-Ifta, Egypt's highest fatwa-issuing authority. Prior to his appointment as grand mufti, he served as a professor of jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, where he specialized in usul al-fiqh, the science of religious law; there, he published over 25 books on various topics in Islam. Gomaa has also issued a number of fatwas on topics ranging from gender equality to democracy. In addition to regular media appearances on Egyptian television, Gomaa has been vocal in reaching out to non-Muslim media outlets as a means of promoting understanding and tolerance. 

Priest Moussa "Boshop of Youth"

H.G Bishop Moussa was graduated in the faculty of Medicine – Ain Shams University in 1961 and worked as a doctor in Beni Suef for one year 1961 – 1962. Then he dedicated himself for service in the bishopric of Beni Suef Church during the period 1962 – 1967. In 1976, he started his monastic life in the Monastery of Mawas. Pope Shenouda chose him in 5/5/1980 as Bishop of Youth for Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Egypt and abroad. Since the establishment of the Coptic Orthodox Youth Bishopric 35 years ago, H.G. Bishop Moussa has been undertaking a pioneer role in the service of Coptic youth and the whole Egyptian society in many fields among which, his role in the establishment of the Cultural Development Group; a specialized group of cultural pioneers who play a great role in raising the awareness of Coptic youth of the history of Egyptian cultural and introducing Egyptian culture and literature pioneers to youth. He also established the National Service and Engagement Group for emigrant youth. On the artistic level, He established Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox festival under the auspices of Pope Shenouda III in 2004 to serve the Coptic youth in Egypt and abroad. 2 million young people of all ages and people with special needs from all Egyptian villages and cities and all countries around the world participate in this festival every year. The activities of the festival are translated into 9 languages. He wrote, introduced and published a lot of books and publications, on citizenship.

H.G Al-Anba Moussa received a lot of awards including:

Honorary of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sport. Arab Theatre Festival Aegis, April 2015 & May 2016. Selected member of the Supreme Council of Culture (Citizenship and Human Rights Committee).

Dr. Mahmoud Hamdy Zakzouk

Dr. Zakzouk Secretary General of Beit Al-Eila And Advisor to Sheikh Al Azhar served as Egypt's former minister of religious endowment which he held from 1995 to 2011. He obtained the teaching license from the Faculty of Arabic Language in Al-Azhar University in 1959 and the international certificate in 1960. He received a PhD in philosophy from Munich University in 1968. He served as a professor of philosophy in the Faculty of Islamic Origin (Osoul El Din) and assistant professor and then a professor, then deputy of the faculty of Islamic Origin before being appointed Vice Chairman of Al-Azhar University in 1995. Dr. Zakzouk became the minister of religious endowment in 1996. He participated in many conferences such as the International Conference for Cultural relations in Bonn- Germany -1980, the Annual Conference for the International Association of religious History in Hambourg University – Germany 1988, World Civilizations Conference in Berlin – Germany about the contemporary Islamic trends in 1991, and the Dialogue Research Conference in Lebanon 1995.

Dr. Zakzouk has a number of publications such as (Comparison of Al Ghazali's Philosophy with that of Descartes, 1992), (Islam in the European Views), (Introduction in Ethics), (Studies in Modern Philosophy), (Introduction in Islamic Philosophy), (Islam in European Thought: Religion and Civilization), and (Religion, Philosophy and Enlightenment). Dr. Zakzouk received the State Award of Appreciation in Social Sciences from the Supreme Council of Culture in 1997.


Dr. Ali El-Saman

President of the International Union for Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue and Peace Education (ADIC) for Europe and Egypt and the Secretary General of the Association for Economic Information “Europe-Egypt” and a free-lance journalist with weekly columns in a number of Egyptian newspapers. Dr. El Samman is also a regular guest speaker in many TV shows in the Egyptian television to analyze and comment on current events. In the past, Dr. El Samman worked in Paris as a director of the Middle East News Agency and a director of the Egyptian Radio and Television broadcasting in Western Europe. In Cairo, he worked as media advisor to President Anwar Sadat, President of the Prime Minister’s cabinet for infrastructure Projects with Western Europe. During late nineties, he worked as Vice-President of the Permanent Committee for Al-Azhar for Dialogue with the Monotheistic Religions and Advisor to the Grand Imam of El-Azhar for Interfaith Dialogue. He was also the President of the Committee for Interfaith Dialogue at the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs of Egypt and the Chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks, Egypt.

Dr. El Samman holds the Insignia of officer of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor – 2012. In 2004 He obtained a Medal from the Archbishop of Canterbury for “Successful efforts to promote peace and dialogue among the monotheistic religions”. He also received a certificate of appreciation from People to People International for “Significant contributions to the promotion of international friendship, and thus advancing the cause of peace in the world” – 2003. In 1991, Dr. El Samman was selected as a member of the International Organization of Achievement Leaders – England.


The great chanter Abdel-Kader El-Maraashly

An Islamic Chanter, Founder and Head of “Radwan Al-Marashly Band”. He was born in Damascus in 1948, and raised in an Islamic atmosphere where his father was Sheikh Yassin Al-Marashly, a Sheikh for several Sofi sects. He mastered many readings of the Holy Quran since his youth and used to imitate the senior readers and chanters in Egypt and Syria. His voice was a very significant voice, that attracts the audience to highly spiritual horizons.

He learned music through the senior and top chanters in the Great Umayyad Mosque by listening only; without any musical instrument. 

He founded the band under the patronage of his Sheikh, Mohammed Saleh al-Hamwi, in 1980 where he advised him to call it Al-Radwan Band.

Abdul Qader Yassin Al-Marashly holds the license of a chanter with an excellent grade from the Syrian Ministry of Awqaf on 1990 and 2006. He also holds a membership of Egyptian Syndicate of Musical Professions.

Al-Marashly participated in many local and international festivals including the Samaa International Festival which takes place every year in Cairo. He has always been characterized by his elegant voice and classy performance.