Fatima Al-Fihri was the daughter of a successful businessman, Muhammad Al-Fihri. She was born in Tunisia in the 9th century and moved to Morocco with her family as a child. She was from a prestigious family and inherited a fortune due to the early death of her father. She strived to help the community through her dedication and hope for her vision.
The young Fatima was pious, well educated and had a great passion for knowledge of Islamic religious science and architecture. She was renowned for being a deep thinker and her vision was cultivated and encouraged to grow in the Islamic society she lived in. She decided to use her resources to honour the Islamic tradition of learning and academic study and build a university and mosque in Fes, Morocco.
THE AL-QARAWIYYIN MOSQUE
The Al-Qarawiyyin mosque and university complex is renowned for being one of the world’s oldest degree-granting universities in the world. The construction process was reported to have been overseen by Al-Fihri herself. Being situated in one of the most influential cities in the Muslim world, the university played a leading role in academic relations between the Islamic world and Europe. It has also been renowned for centuries as a key centre of cultural and religious exchange. Thinkers associated with the university include the author Leo Aricanus and the jurist Muhammad al-Fasi. Almost 1200 years have passed since the university was founded and yet it continues to this day to graduate students from various disciplines.
FATIMA AL-FIHRI'S LEGACY
To this day, Fatima Al-Fihri is highly respected and looked up to by Moroccan women for her kind-heartedness, perseverance and wisdom. She is held up as an inspiration to all and her rich legacy lives on in the excellence of the institution she founded.