Did You Know which is the Oldest University in the World? If you said University of Bologna you is wrong. Founded in 1088 in Italy, this university, that has enrollment of around 84.200 students, is the oldest of the Europe but not the oldest of the World.
The oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world is the University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco, according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records.
It was founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 with an associated madrasa, which subsequently became one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the historic Muslim world. It was incorporated into Morocco’s modern state university system in 1963.
Education at Al Quaraouiyine University concentrates on the Islamic religious and legal sciences with a heavy emphasis on, and particular strengths in Classical Arabic grammar/linguistics and Maliki law, although a few lessons on other non-Islamic subjects such as French, English are also offered to students. Teaching is delivered in the traditional method, in which students are seated in a semi-circle (halqa) around a sheikh, who prompts them to read sections of a particular text, asks them questions on particular points of grammar, law, or interpretation, and explains difficult points. Students from all over Morocco and Islamic West Africa attend the Qarawiyyin, although a few might come from as far afield as Muslim Central Asia.
Even Spanish Muslim converts frequently attend the institution, largely attracted by the fact that the sheikhs of the Qarawiyyin, and Islamic scholarship in Morocco in general, are heirs to the rich religious and scholarly heritage of Muslim al-Andalus.
Most students at the Qarawiyyin range from between the ages of 13 and 30, and study towards high school-level diplomas and university-level bachelor’s degrees, although Muslims with a sufficiently high level of Arabic are also able to attend lecture circles on an informal basis, given the traditional category of visitors “in search of [religious and legal] knowledge” (“zuwwaar li’l-talab fii ‘ilm”). In addition to being Muslim, prospective students of the Qarawiyyin are required to have memorized the Qur’an in full as well as several other shorter medieval Islamic texts on grammar and Maliki law, and in general to have a very good command of Classical Arabic. It is a common misconception that the university is open only to men, however. It is open to both men and women.
The Second Oldest
The second oldest university in the list is also a Muslim university. Most websites missed these two universities, but both universities deserve to be on this list. The Al-Azhar University was established in 970 in Cairo, Egypt.
The Theological Faculty of university considered it Ismaili Shia school established in 988 which later changed into a school based on Sunni doctrines. The university academics continue to offer the study of the Holy Quran and detailed Islamic law. Al- Azhar is considered the most prestigious university in the Islamic world because of the propagation of Arabic language and Islamic law. In 1961 the faculties of engineering and medicine were offered.
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