Al Karaouine University: World’s oldest University

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Founded by a wealthy Tunisian woman, Fatima Alfehri, daughter of a rich merchant, Al Karaouine University and its affiliated mosque are among the world’s oldest.

Dating back to 859, the university is said to be older than its European counterparts, University of Oxford and University of Bologna, two of the world’s oldest universities.

Situated in the heart of city of medina, the mosque and the seat of learning was created when Fatima and her sister Marian inherited a large sum of money from their father, they pooled in to create a seat of learning for their adopted city and its inhabitants.

Even the Guinness Book of Records, records it as the world’s oldest seat of higher learning.

The University during the years gained royal patronage of the powerful Sultans of Morocco, under whose interest and guidance, it become as a leading school in the then Muslim world.

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8 Responses to Al Karaouine University: World’s oldest University

  1. Global Nomad says:

    How does one apply to this institution or is learning undergone by invitation only?

  2. [...] the University of Karueein in Fez, Morocco. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the University of Karueein is the oldest existing, and continually operating university in the [...]

  3. kanishka says:

    Destruction of Nalanda university, a Buddhist center of learning located in eastern part of India by Muslim Invader. Nalanada used to be the one of the first great universities from 427 BC to 1197 AD in the recorded history. Buddha is mentioned as having several times stayed at Nalanda.

    In 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by an Islamic fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji; this event is seen by scholars as a late milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India. Khilji is said to have asked if there was a copy of the Koran at Nalanda before he sacked it in fire.

    The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaquat-I-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded later as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism and plant Islam by the sword in that part of India; the burning of the library continued for several months and the “smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills.”

    • kanishka says:

      If not destroyed by invaders from the west, either Nalanda (mentioned above) or Takshshila (now Taxila in Pakistan) universities of India would have been one of the oldest universities in the universe. Chinese Pilgrims Fahi Yan and Huen Sang has described them in their books. These are BC dates.

  4. [...] the University of Karueein in Fez, Morocco. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the University of Karueein is the oldest existing, and continually operating university in the [...]

  5. [...] Al Karaouine University This combination mosque and university dates all the way back to 859 A.D. To add to its diversity, it was founded by a wealthy Tunisian woman, Fatima Alfehri, who was the daughter of a rich merchant. Acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records, various sultans have studied there and it remains an institute of Islamic higher learning. [...]

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