Daughter of Mohammed al-Fihri, Fatima al-Fihri, also called Umm al Banine, ‘Mother of the Boys’, is known for creating the oldest academic degree-granting university in existence today, the
. University of Qarawiyyin
Fatima and her family were among several families who moved from
Under the reign of King Idriss 1st, called Moulay Idrîss, son of Abdullah (nicknamed Al-Kâmil), Founder of Morocco's kingdom, several Arab families of the region of Ifriqia and Andalusia came for exile in
. King Moulay Idriss warmly hosted them. Among the Arab exiled who left for Morocco , was a pious woman native of Kairouan called « Fatima Bent Mohammed El Fehri » nicknamed Oum Al Banine (mother of two sons). Morocco
It is in the reign of King Idriss II that this pious woman went to her family in Adoua of Quaraouiyine. When her husband and her brothers died, she inherited a huge fortune that she wanted to devote it to pious work to deserve the blessing of God.
The meticulous way she built this mosque proceeds from the sincere will of a woman keen, in a first place, to deserve the blessing of God, through an act of charity where only devotion and loyalty of God was the rule.
The Saint woman fast all the time even during works and when they were completed, she made actions of grace to God as a token of her gratitude towards his majesty who highly supported her to crown the building of this Mosque.
The historian Ibn Khaldoun said, in this connection, that by building this valorous monument, this pious woman gave to the sovereigns of the epoch a rich lesson in terms of devotion and fair charity. For centuries, the Al Quaraouiyine Mosque’s architecture evolved.
It became, from the 10th century to the 12th century, an important centre of education and one of the first Islamic and most prestigious universities in the world.
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