Fatima Al-Fihriyya Art Nouveau by *Nayzak
Excerpt of Meet Fatima Al-Fihri - An Inspiration:
Twelve hundred years ago, under the Islamic State, a woman named Fatima Al-Fihri lived to make life for her community better and was a woman with a vision. She was from a prestigious family and had inherited a fortune from her father. As a young, wealthy and well educated woman her interest was neither in shoes or handbags, nor in any celebrity lifestyle, neither to woe a man for marriage, nor in any of the stereotypes that are usually associated with us women folk. There was depth in this woman, she had a vision that was cultivated and allowed to grow because of the Islamic society she lived in and encouraged her. Her vision did not remain a dream but was accomplished and the results can still be seen today. In 859, Fatima Al-Fihri founded the oldest academic degree-granting university existing today, the University of Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco.
The Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque is one of the largest Masjids (mosque) in Africa and one of the world’s oldest universities. Al-Qarawiyyin is the perfect example of how Islam combines the spiritual with education and that Islam is not separate from life’s affairs. This is not only an example of how education and religion merge in this small corner of the globe, but it sheds light on the esteemed role that women played in the Islamic community - an aspect of Islam that is often misunderstood. Furthermore, during medieval times it was regarded as being a major intellectual centre in the Mediterranean. Its excellent reputation even led to Gerber of Auvergne studying at the mosque. Auvergne later went on to become Pope Sylvester II and has been given the credit of introducing Arabic numerals and the zero to the rest of Europe.
Although Fatima Al-Fihriyya is an inspiration and a powerful symbol of empowerment for many Muslimahs, she is also a sad reminder of how much the Muslim community over the world has disintegrated from their ideals. Where women once were encouraged, and actually took high places in society and did many amazing things both for their time and the generations that would come after, the women in present day society have been subjected to years of oppression from a patriarchy that wants them “in their place”, of governments, rulers, systems that seek only to exploit them and make money for themselves while leaving behind and trampling down on the ones who enabled them to be great. Well, woman have great minds and are capable of great things, and our “place” is out in the world. It is out and doing things that matter, it is out and changing the world, it is doing things that we have a right to do, and it is a matter for every woman to reclaim those rights.
THIS is what Islam means for women to do. Know your rights.
I see this post going around and people talking about how there’s nothing on her on Wikipedia, so I’m reblogging this for that excerpt up there for people to start on her. And then continue reading up on her here.