Fatima Muhammad Al-Fihri (? – 880) (فاطمة محمد الفهري, nicknamed Oum al Banine, meaning the mother of the children) was an Arab Muslim woman chiefly known as the founder of the world's first academic degree-granting institution of higher education, which is still in operation today as the University of Qarawiyyin in Fes, Morocco.
Fatima Al-Fihri was the daughter of Muhammad Al-Fihri, a wealthy businessman.
The construction of the Qarawiyyin mosque
After Fatima and her sister Mariam inherited their deceased father's fortune, they decided to support the construction of mosques or educational institutions such as the Qarwiyyin mosque as a waqf or sadaqah jariya for their deceased father.
In 859, Fatima founded the world's first academic degree-granting institution of higher education, which is still in operation today as the University of Qarawiyyin in Fes, Morocco. The university was regarded as a major intellectual centre in the Mediterranean. Its excellent reputation attracted Gerbert of Auvergne to study there. Auvergne later went on to become Pope Sylvester II and has been given credit for introducing Arabic numerals and the concept of zero to the rest of Europe.
Fatima's sister Mariam is said to have been responsible for the construction of the Al-Andalus (Andalusian) Mosque in Fes .
- "Kairaouine Mosque, Fes". Sacred Destinations. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- "The Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque". Morocco.com.
- "Fatima Al-Fihri – Founder of the Oldest University in the World". The Urban Muslim Woman. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- FSTC Limited, Wednesday 20 October 2004.
- Muslims Weekly, Commentary, Jawed Anwar, 4 April 2005.
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