University of Al Karueein is Africa’s and World’s oldest University


Africa can boast as the continent that is home to the world’s oldest university. University of Karueein located in Morocco was established in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. This makes the University of Karueein automatically the oldest in Africa as well. The University was established a the dawn of the five centuries of the Islamic golden age.

The University which has operated since it was established was founded by a by Fatima Al-Fahri a woman with a huge vision whose out of the box thinking over 1100 years ago remains relevant as an educational institution. History has it that, Fatima al-Fihri, was the daughter of a very rich merchant by name Mohammed Al-Fihri.

The University is a religious college with a great emphasis on Islamic education and the Islamic faith.

The University also provides education in legal science, classical Arabic grammar or linguistics and Maliki Law. Non-Islamic subjects are not left out in a world that has become global. French, English and Information Technology are all taught in the University

In 1963, the University of Al Karueein was converted into a modern University. History shows that it was the first University to award first degree according to UNESCO. The Guinness World Records has also confirmed the University as the oldest.

The University is also known as the University of al-Qarawiyyin. Several years back, it was abandoned and left to decay. Humidity had a telling effect on its invaluable library books. However, this all-important hub of knowledge and education has stood the test of time. It gained prominent attention again and efforts were geared towards ensuring that, its stock of books are preserved for posterity.

Technology has been introduced into the University of al-Qarawiyyin the world’s oldest university to help preserve what is left in the library.


Great and respected Islamic scholars were educated in the university. Some of them include Ibn Rushayd al-Sabti (d. 1321), and Imran al-Fasi (d. 1015), who was a leading theorist at the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence. , renowned traveller and writer Leo Africanus was also a product of the university


History has it that, in 1947, the university was integrated into the mainstream Moroccan movement education system. This paved the way for subjects such as physics, chemistry, as well as foreign languages to be added to the curriculum. The teaching of these new subjected started in 1757. The name of the university was officially changed to University of al-Karaouine”

Historical facts suggest that students of the world’s oldest university are expected to have mastered and memorized the entire Qu’ran and other shorter texts before starting school at the  world’s oldest university, University of Al Karueein which drew students from not just Morocco but other Islamic countries in Africa and Asia.

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