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The Story Of

Fatima Al-Fihiri

(800–880 CE)

An Amazing Muslim Female Achievement

by

Dr Gina van Raphael, @AliaGvR



@OmarKN

bit.ly/_fatf


This is from a twitter thread by Dr Gina van Raphael, @AliaGvR, 2019-05-09


Did you know the first university in the world was built by a Muslim woman approx 1200 years ago?

This is the story of Fatima Al-Fihiri (800–880 CE).

1/15


2. Daughter of a wealthy businessman, the family moved from Tunisia to Fez, Morocco during the rule of King Idriss II. When both her husband and father died, Fatima and her sister inherited a fortune.

They chose to spend their inheritance on building educational institutions.

3. In 859, Fatima built the Al-Qayrawan Mosque, decorated in the Andalusian style with Kufic calligraphy (early style) engraved throughout. At 30,000 sq ft, it can fit 22,000 people. It's also 450 metres high, and the courtyard (Muslims will pray outdoors too) extends the space to almost 100,000 sq ft.

She stacked it with Islamic works (Qur’ans, Hadith collections, etc).

4.
Miriam built the Al-Andalusiyyan Mosque nearby, with its heavy ornate doors and courtyard of walnut trees. Both employed ‘embroidery’ engraving — exquisite floral + geometrical + calligraphic features.

Both mosques are examples of some of the oldest in the world.

5. The mosques attracted people eager to learn not just religious instruction but Arabic grammar and music as well.

They talked, debated, drank Moroccan mint tea, and benefitted from generous financial gifts and grants by grateful sultans.


6. To house the ever-increasing influx of reading materials, Fatima then built al-Qarawiyyin Library.

Now considered the world's oldest [the oldest continually operating] library, it has over 4,000 rare old books and ancient manuscripts.


7.
The most prized is a 9th century Qur’an, written in Kufic on camel skin. 


8.
With a warren of mazed rooms behind iron doors, renovations have revealed ever more treasures.
mazed rooms behind iron doors

9.
It also houses the 8th c Imam Malik collection of hadith written on gazelle sheets, AND the original copy of Ibn Khaldun's book Kitab Al-'Ibar (Book of Lessons), gifted in 1396.
collection of hadith written on gazelle sheets

10.
Fatima wasn't done. She soon built the 1st university in the world, Al-Qarawiyyin University.1

Students as young as 13 could attend. It remains the oldest continuously operating, accredited, degree-granting university in the world. The 1st degrees were carved on wood.
oldest continuously operating, accredited, degree-granting university

11.
The University became a centre for political discussion, and taught:

Politics
Philosophy
Law
Natural Sciences
Rhetoric
Logic
Grammar
Medicine
Mathematics
Astronomy
Chemistry
History
Geography
and
Music.
The University became a centre for political discussion and taught much

12.
Notable alumni included the great 12-13th c Jewish philosopher Ibn Maymun (Maimonides) ... and the 1st sociologist and anthropologist, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1395 CE).
Sociology
Maimonides

13.
Muhammad al-Idrissi —geographer and cartographer of the 1st world map (Tabula Rogeriana) in 1154 — also studied at Al-Qarawiyyin.
Muhammad al-Idrissi —geographer and cartographer

14.
As did the French mathematician and philosopher Gerbert of Aurillac who became Pope Sylvester II (946–1003), credited with introducing Arabic numerals and the use of zero into Europe.
French mathematician and philosopher Gerbert of Aurillac

15.
So when you think of Arab/African Muslim women, please think of Fatima Al-Fihiri and her sister, and her/their continually operating university, library, and mosques.

World firsts. Almost 1,200 yrs old.

Money VERY well invested over time!





End






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1: Oldest higher-learning institution, oldest university (guinnessworldrecords.com)

MOROCCO (KARUEEIN)
The oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. The University of Bologna, Italy, was founded in 1088 and is the oldest one in Europe.

The Sumerians had scribal schools or É-Dub-ba soon after 3500BC.

Some also point out that India had a very old university:

The oldest university in the world is not Karueein (al-Qarawiyyin), but Nalanda, in Bihar, India. At its peak it had over 10,000 students from all over Asia Minor and even boasts of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) as one of its alumni. The university taught everything from astronomy to medicine. Lukas Godfrey

Dr Gina van Raphael added the following:

For all the 'Na-uh! We got their first!' claims, ALL cultures had centres of learning. The Sumerians had such 3500 yrs BCE. The Chinese, Greeks, Aztecs, Indians, Arab Bedouins etc...all peoples had higher learning sites since antiquity.

The *acknowledged* is Fatima's. [link]