The World’s Oldest University and Library, Founded by a Muslim Woman, Is Being Recreated

Yes, it was a Muslim woman who created the World’s First University & Library which is now being restored by another Muslim woman.

Fatima Al-Fihri crowns with the distinction of having established the world’s very first university: Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University in Morocco founded in 859 and contains manuscripts up to 12 centuries old, considered by many historians as the oldest, continually operating, degree-granting university in the world. Since the ages, the buildings has fallen in despair & need to be recreated, so the Moroccan Ministry of Culture asked the architect Aziza Chaouni to rehabilitate the library for the general public in 2012.

Al-Fihri was the daughter of a rich merchant who used her inheritance to establish a center of religious and secular teaching that eventually became a full-fledged university. She is the perfect example for the all women who want to accomplish their dreams and change the stereotypes in Muslim civilization.
And now, after 1000 yrs, Aziza Chaouni began with the renovation and restoring of the library. The restoration of the library started in 2012. The result is enormously successful and it is open to the general public now.


Bringing the oldest library upto date required many challenges and hardwork. Chaouni with her determination and dedication maintained all the standards. Her designs brings together the importance of preserving ancient culture while respecting parts of the library.
As of 2016, the public can peruse over 4,000 rare ancient books including a version of the Quran from the 9th century and again walk through the beautiful complex that not only retains the past intact, but also serves modern architecture, culture and technologies. The result is beautiful.


What a gift the world have received from this hard working women. May today’s women get inspired by them and contribute in the Muslim civilization.

Written by Jenifer Sayyed

Jenifer Sayyed

Dr. Jenifer Sayyed is a medical doctor by profession, with an interest in religious views.