Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Dream - Al Qarawiyyin

I have always wanted to visit the famous Al Qarawiyyin Mosque cum University because it was the home of some inspiring great scholars in the Muslim world. Founded in 859 by the daughter of a wealthy merchant from Kairoun, Tunisia, Fatima al Fihri vowed to spend all her wealth to build a medrasa for her community. From a place of worship, the place developed into religious institution and in 1957, King Mohammed introduced the teaching of mathematics, physics, chemistry and foreign languages. Al Qarawiyyin library housed the famous Al Muwatta of Imam Malik written on gazelle parchment and original copy Ibn Khaldun Al 'Ibar. The Quran, Fiqh and modern sciences are taught here. Among pioneer scholars attached as students or lecturers were Ibn Maimun (Maimonides), Ibn al-Arabi, Ibn Khaldun and Ibn al-Khatib. The medrasa was upgraded to University in 1947.

The impressive architecture of Al-Qarawiyyin was extensively extended in 1315 during the rule of AlMoravid ruler, Sultan Al Ibn Yusuf. Andalusian architects were employed and that explained the resemblance with Andalusian architecture in Al Hambra, Granada, Spain. We took the opportunity to pray and spend some time admiring the beauty of the mosque. The non-Muslims are not allowed to enter but thousands came to steal a glance and peek into the Mosque from the main entrance.

Resembling the intricate Andalusian artwork
Elegant Architecture
Fine Kuffic Caligraphy
The bab (door) of the mosque
The women's ablution fountain has existed since the 10th century

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