magnificent muslim: fatima al-fihri
Magnificent Muslim: FATIMA Al-FIHRI founded Al-Qarawiyyan: the world’s oldest university still operational today she was a pious Muslim women who used her inheritance to open a mosque and university in Fez, Morocco (859 AD). The university initially focused on Islamic studies but expanded it’s curriculum and was free of charge. The university became famous among Muslims and Christians and notable attendees included philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averreos), geographer Hassan al Wazzan (Leo Africanus), Jewish philosopher Moses bin Maimon (Maimonides), Dutch mathematician Jacob van Gool and Gerbert de Aurillac (Pope 999-1003 who introduced Arabic numerals used today to Europe). The university predates the world’s most established and prestigious educational institutions including University of Bologna (1088), University of Oxford (1096) and Harvard University (1636). The practices established at Al-Qarawiyyan are still used today. According to “Rise of Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West” by George Makdisi, terms such as charitable trust (waqf), fellows, holding a chair, obtaining degrees, and other practices such as inaugural lectures, oral defense, fellows “reading subjects”, mortar boards, tassels and academic robes can be traced back to Islam madrasas (educational institutions).