FATIMA AL FIHRI

Fatima Al-Fihri, also referred as the Umm al Banine was a daughter of Muhammed al-Fihri  is well known for her active role in her community and countries across the globe. She was born in Kairouan, Tunisia but during the early 9th century, her family migrated to Fes, Morocco. This was a city near river Fez where Fatima with her family lived and later got married through hardwork,the family later prospered from their humble life. Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al-Fihri his father was a wealthy businessman( Habib et al 2016)

However, when her husband, father and brother passed on, Fatima’s only sister (Mariam) and her inherited huge amounts of money, and both vowed to utilize the entire inheritance for the benefit of their community. Her sister decided to construct a grand mosque, Al-andalus, due to continuous growth of population in Fez who could not fit in the local one as the city was full of Islamic refugees from Spain, while Fatima proceeded to constructing Al Karaouine, another mosque that turned to be the largest in the horn of Africa. Fatima made a decision of fasting from the first day of the project to its completion which was approximately two years thereafter offered a prayer of appreciation for great success as a result of her struggles (Habib et al 2016).

It is in the process of building the Al-Karaouine mosque that Fatima Al-Fihri had the idea of constructing Al-Karaouine University (currently known as the University of Qarawiyyin) developed. Fatima acquired additional land which was adjacent to the mosque in order to put up this university. Upon completion, the university became the leading educational and spiritual center in the Muslim world. The strategic location of this university, within the compounds of the mosque and the most influential city of Fes, made this university to attract numerous scholars from beyond its boundaries. By 14th century, this university had registered approximately 8,000 students from various parts of the world. Currently, 12,000 years have passed since the founding of this university in 859, and continues to produce qualified students in various physical and religious sciences such as mathematics, music, history, astronomy, and geography among others (Kugle et al 2012).

Currently, this university is in the Guinness book of World Records for being the oldest continuously operating facility of the higher education in the world. The university has produced iconic individuals in the world, including the Abu Madhab Al-Fasi and Abu Al-Abbas al-Zwawi. The contributions and the active role of Fatima Al-Fihri to her community and the world as a whole has remained an inspiration to most women in the contemporary world, regardless of the religion (Kugle et al 2012)

Fatima Al-Fihri is a true definition of change. The legacy she left still impacts lives to date. Making her to having been the best woman to win the Nobel Prize for change and sit on the council. The reason she deserves the council is her ability to invest in an important project of building a university which benefits the community as well as the whole world instead of spending the wealth for her own gain. Without her there could have never been higher level of education instead the learning would have stopped a certain grade. Her action benefited many guaranteeing them degrees. People should consider her the greatest role model who spared her time and financial resources in benefiting the entire world. She also changed the perspective of how women have always been viewed giving them power to look just as superior as men (Akyeampong et al 2011).

Even after the death of Fatima the University still has as many benefits to people. The location in which al Qarawiyyin was situated was so suitable since it did not just serve the people of Northern Africa but attracted scholars from Europe as well. The knowledge and skills learned in the institution became applicable as Muslim scholars would create maps and Europeans would use them to explore the world all honors go to her who started this movement (Gauch 2016)

Fatima Al-Fihri would have been disappointed today with the social problems we face. The main ones being schools shut down and firing of teachers. This is clear evidence that society no longer invest in education. Fatima’s interest was giving back to society by ensuring adequate supply of knowledge to all through prioritizing education, no doubt the continued act of school closure and firing of teachers would have been a sign of disrespect to her. To ensure access to education for all, Fatima would have expanded her vision of ensuring learning is accessible by sacrificing her time and finances to set up more educational centers’ and supply of learning facilities needed. She would have repeatedly given back to the society as long as it benefits the education sector since in her religion this action pleases Allah. This is the best example of how Muslim integrate spirituality with education ( In Yasmin et al 2014)

Al-Qarawiyyi’s library is one of the oldest in the world history storing some of Islamic documents which includes seerah of Ibn Ishaq,muwatta,Transcript of Ibn khaldun’s and Qur’an which was a gift from sultan Ahmed to the university.The mosque is also one of the leading spiritual centers to the Muslims and one of the most beautiful attractions.as a result of  this University there is sponsorship program called Erasmus mundus Fatima Al Fihri which is of several universities from north Africa and Europe, the program is funded by European commission and its objectives are; Promotion of European higher education, improving career prospects and to promote understanding of intercultural factors ( Gauch 2016).

 

In conclusion, Fatima Al-Fihri is identified as a well educated woman who was the founder of the oldest mosque and first university, the leading spiritual and educational centre in the world establishing another higher level of learning and awarding degrees. The university which is still in operation to date. She gives back to the society by sacrificing her inherited wealth, making her a role model to many.Fatima Al-Fihri then died in 880 AD leaving behind a great legacy (In Yasmin et al 2014).

 

 

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