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Enlightening Inspirations

World’s First University Founded by a Muslim Woman

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World’s First University Was Founded by a Muslim Woman?

If you ask someone to name an inspirational person, dead or alive; they will probably name someone like Martin Luther King, Tariq Ramadan, or Neil Armstrong depending on their preference. There is no denying the fact that these men have indeed done amazing things; they are powerful people. But many people are not aware of the fact that, women are doing and have done amazing things too.

It’s not our fault, we live in a patriarchal society. I just want to remind you of these names, and I want you to consider them in your list. Marie Curie, she was the first woman who was awarded the first noble prize in chemistry and physics. Maria Michell, an American was the first professional astronomer.

If we talk about contribution of great Muslim women the name of Fatima Al Fihri. The daughter of a Merchant, was known as “The mother of boys” and “The Lady of Fez”. I am talking about Fatima Al Fihri. Who is the founder of the first university (academic university). Okay, lets take a step back. Around 1215 years ago, a girl named Fatima was born in 800 CE in Tunisia. After a few years her family moved to Fez, which was an influential Muslim city back in the days. It was a city for people with ambition, and it was the perfect city or the Al Fihri family.

They were struggling with money, but the merchants hard work paid off; and he turned out to be a successful business man. Soon after Fatima’s brother and father passed away, she was left alone with her sister Mariam. As they had a generous sum of money, they decided to invest in something that would be beneficial for the community. Her sister decided to build a mosque, which is known as the Al Andalus Mosque. And Fatima wanted to benefit the community on an educational level, so she founded the Al Qarrawiyyin University in 859.

This university was a huge achievement, and a great way to link the Muslim culture’s alliances with European culture. Muslims and non-Muslims both studied at the Al Qarawiyyin University. It was a university built in the 9th century, and most of you would think it only taught Qur'an and Fiqh; but in reality it taught astrology, geology, chemistry, grammar, medicine, and mathematics.

The most inspirational and admirable things about Fatima is undoubtedly her vision. She decided to use her wealth in a way that would benefit the society in the long run. She passes away in 880 CE, but the Al Qarrawiyyin University is still existent; and is one of Morocco’s highly appreciated university. Guinness book of world record recorded the Qarrawiyyan university as the most oldest in the world, which is still providing education to students. To honor Fatima’s great contribution, a program was developed with 20 universities of North Africa and Europe, to promote higher education. Woman like Fatima Al Fihri have inspired millions of people.

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