Al Quaraouiyine, a well-known mosque in the city of Fez in Morocco, is the oldest existing and continually operating university in the world. But did you know that the construction took place during the month of Ramadan in the year 859 AD and it was founded by a Muslim woman.
During the Idrissid Dynasty, Fatima al-Fihriya used her wealth to build this mosque as it still stands today and in the year 877 AD it officially became a university. The university taught a range of subjects, including, but not limited to; mathematics, engineering, astrology, natural sciences, and religion. It attracted students from various cities in Morocco, Andalusia, and the Middle East.
It had granted one of its students the oldest known and documented Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree delivered in the world. Abdellah Ben Saleh Al Koutami, received the doctorate in medicine from Al Quaraouiyine in 1207, which allowed him to practice both human and veterinary medicine.
The university is also known as the host of several other prominent figures such as Pope Sylvester II, a French philosopher, mathematician, and mechanic. He was one of the first researchers to contribute to the restoration of scientific and human civilization in Europe, the first Pope to speak Arabic, and importantly the first to act as a bridge between the Arab and European civilizations.