There are many universities, but at the same time there are some discussions about the first university in the world, especially that this university is under the wing of Islam, and in this article we will try to clarify
Al-Qarawiyyin University … the university that preceded Europe by two centuries
The University of Al-Qarawiyyin in Morocco is the oldest in the world in the modern sense, and the story of building this university is exciting. It was founded by a woman named “Fatima Al-Fihri”, who was born in Tunisia, but then immigrated to Fez, the capital of the Kingdom of Idrisa in Morocco, and there her father and her husband died and inherited from them A lot of money.
She was dubbed “Umm al-Banin” because of her many charity and support for students of knowledge. There are not many details about her life, but she founded a large mosque in 859, the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, which, as soon as it was established, began to spread learning circles and lessons in it, to become the largest and most important mosque/university in North Africa at its time.
Historians believe that the mosque turned into a university in the eleventh century AD under the rule of the Almoravid State, so the mosque was a place for science lessons in all disciplines, and from this date, this mosque became called the University of the villagers. The mosque is still standing to this day, surrounded by all schools of the modern university.
The University of Al-Qarawiyyin is the first university in the world to establish specialized scientific chairs and academic degrees. The university also includes one of the oldest libraries in the world, which contains more than 4 thousand manuscripts and 24 thousand books.
Was Al-Azhar Mosque the second oldest “university” in the world?
The Al-Azhar Mosque was established in the Egyptian capital Cairo in 972 to become a platform for teaching the Shiite sect, which was the doctrine of the Fatimid state that was established in Egypt at the same time as the construction of the Al-Azhar Mosque. The Al-Azhar Mosque and its University are considered the most prominent religious entity in all parts of the Islamic world.
However, can we say that Al-Azhar Mosque was the second oldest university in the world after Al-Qarawiyyin University? To be able to arrive at an answer, we must first explain that the idea of the university has evolved over the centuries, and what we are talking about now about “the oldest university in the world” is really nothing but a talk about the “seed” or “nucleus” of the oldest universities in the world.
In this way, the Al-Azhar Mosque may be considered the second oldest university in the world. The courtyard of the mosque was the home of scholars ’circles for teaching in all disciplines. But he did not become a “university” in the modern sense until 1961. Although he taught all sciences there before the French invasion of Egypt by Napoleon, in what was known as the “French campaign against Egypt” in 1798.
University of Bologna … the oldest Italian university
From Morocco and Egypt, we are now moving to the other side of the Mediterranean, to Italy. The University of Bologna was founded in 1158 after taking the founding charter from Frederick I, but some historians believe that the university was founded before that in the year 1088, and the university’s slogan was “Alma mater”, which in Latin means “the nourishing mother” which means that the university provides intellectual food For students.
The study at this university was limited to the study of law, and the university has maintained over the years the quality of study in it, as it is always placed in
List of the best universities in Italy.
Oxford University … the first university for speakers In English
27 UK prime ministers and 28 Nobel Prize winners have graduated in Oxford throughout history, and it also gains its value from being the first university in the English-speaking world, despite what appears to be in its early years it was teaching in Latin.
The University of Oxford was founded in 1096, and after nearly 70 years, it gained tremendous momentum when King Henry II prevented English language students from studying at the University of Paris and thus became more dependent on the University of Oxford for students under his rule.
The University of Oxford has continued to advance and is today one of the best universities in the world.
The University of Salamanca in Spain
As for this university, it is one of the few universities in the world in which studies have continued and have not been interrupted since its foundation. Teaching began in 1094, and it is said that it began as a cathedral school in 1130. In any case, it was officially recognized by the King of Lyon in 1164.