The First Islamic University in the World

First Islamic University (University of Al-Qarawiyyin)

The University of al-Qarawiyyin (Arabic: جامعة القرويين; Berber languages: ⵜⴰⵙⴷⴰⵡⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵇⴰⵕⴰⵡⵉⵢⵉⵏ; French: Université Al Quaraouiyine), moreover written as Al-Karaouine or Al Quaraouiyine, is a University located in Fez, Morocco.

It was once as soon as based as a mosque with the aid of Fatima al-Fihri in 857–859 and in final result grew to be one of the leading religious and educational amenities of the Islamic Golden Age. It used to be built-in into Morocco’s existing day state university in 1963 and formally renamed “University of Al Quaraouiyine” two years later.

The mosque building itself is additionally a massive complex of historical Moroccan and Islamic structure that factors elements from many particular intervals of Moroccan history.

Scholars replicate onconsideration on al-Qarawiyyin to have been effectively run as a madrasa until after World War II. Many students distinguish this popularity from the popularity of “university” (similar to how Christian seminaries are no longer categorised as a university), which they view as a beautifully European invention.

They date al-Qarawiyyin’s transformation from a madrasa into a college to its present day reorganization in 1963. Some sources, such as UNESCO and the Guinness World Records, cite al-Qarawiyyin as the oldest university or oldest continually strolling increased studying team in the world.

Education at the University of al-Qarawiyyin concentrates on the Islamic non secular and felony sciences with a heavy emphasis on, and unique strengths in, Classical Arabic grammar/linguistics and Maliki Sharia, though training on non-Islamic topics are additionally provided to students.

Teaching is despite the fact that delivered in the everyday methods.The college is attended with the aid of university college students from all over Morocco and Muslim West Africa, with some additionally coming from in addition abroad. Women had been first admitted to the organization in the 1940s.


Foundation of the mosque

In the 9th century, Fez used to be the capital of the Idrisid dynasty, considered to be the first Moroccan Islamic state. According to one of the predominant early sources on this period, the Rawd al-Qirtas with the aid of capability of Ibn Abi Zar, al-Qarawiyyin used to be set up as a mosque in 857 or 859 through Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy merchant named Mohammed al-Fihri.

The al-Fihri household had migrated from Kairouan (hence the become aware of of the mosque), Tunisia to Fez in the early ninth century, becoming a member of a neighborhood of one of a kind migrants from Kairouan who had settled in a western district of the city.

Fatima and her sister Mariam, each of whom had been nicely educated, inherited a giant quantity of cash from their father. Fatima vowed to spend her total inheritance to construct a mosque appropriate for her community. 48–49  Similarly, her sister Mariam is additionally reputed to have headquartered al-Andalusiyyin Mosque the equal year.

This foundation narrative has been puzzled by means of using some latest historians who see the symmetry of two sisters founding the two most well-known mosques of Fez as too convenient and probable originating from a legend. 48–49 :42  Ibn Abi Zar is moreover judged with the aid of modern-day historians to be a highly unreliable source.

One of the greatest challenges to this story is a foundation inscription that used to be rediscovered at some point of renovations to the mosque in the twentieth century, before hidden beneath layers of plaster for centuries. This inscription, carved onto cedar wooden panels and written in a Kufic script very comparable to foundation inscriptions in 9th-century Tunisia, was once located on a wall above the perchance web website online of the mosque’s unique mihrab (prior to the building’s later expansions).

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The inscription, recorded and deciphered via Gaston Deverdun, pronounces the foundation of “this mosque” (Arabic: “هذا المسجد”) via Dawud ibn Idris (a son of Idris II who ruled this location of Morocco at the time) in Dhu al-Qadah 263 AH (July–August of 877 CE). Deverdun suggested the inscription might also additionally have come from each and every different unidentified mosque and used to be moved proper right here at a later size (probably fifteenth or sixteenth century) when the veneration of the Idrisids used to be resurgent in Fez, and such relics would have held ample non secular fee to be reused in this way.

However, Chafik Benchekroun argued greater currently that a more probably rationalization is that this inscription is the real foundation inscription of al-Qarawiyyin itself and that it may have been blanketed up in the 12th century just in the past than the Almohads’ arrival in the city.
Based on this proof and on the many doubts about Ibn Abi Zar’s narrative, he argues that Fatima al-Fihri is pretty perchance a legendary decide as an choice than a historical one.

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