Thursday, January 2, 2014

The oldest university in the world: University of al-Karaouine

Founded in 859 by the princess Fatima al-Fihri, the University of al-Karaouine in Fez is arguably the oldest degree-granting university in the world.

Although it started with courses on Islamic law and theology, the university became a center for scholars studying logic, philosophy, natural science, astronomy, and mathematics. 

The cartographers Mohammad al-Idrisi whose maps aided European exploration in the Renaissance is said to have live in Fez for some time, suggesting that he may work or studied at al-Karaouine.

The university has produced numerous scholars who have strongly influenced the intellectual and academic history of the Muslim world.

The university had close links with religious and political leaders in Islamic Spain, and the exchange of ideas between the scholars of Al-Karaouine and European visitors may have held to the introduction of many innovations and inventions from the Islamic World to Christian centers of learning.

The mosque that Fatima al-Fihri initially built had a mihrab, four naves, a small court, and a relatively small minaret; however, across the centuries, the mosque grew in both physical size and importance.

Between the tenth and twelfth centuries, it became one of the leading institutions in the entire world.
The oldest university in the world: University of al-Karaouine
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