Islamic Universities In The West


Photo by Patty Brito on Unsplash

A woman named Fatima Al-Fihriya opened the first University, the University of al-Qarawiyyin, in Fes, Morocco. She was a Muslim woman, a mosque and university founder. She had first started a mosque, but it slowly evolved into a university, and that too one of the leading universities for natural sciences. 


In the city of Salerno, Italy, the first university in Europe was established by Muslims. It was an extension of the Muslim universities in the east. The universities of Toledo, Seville, and Granada started up soon after. After non-muslim students from Europe learned and graduated from these universities, they would return to their lands to show off their educational status by wearing a thawb or kameez, the traditional dress of Muslims (typically men). At that time, if you saw a young man wearing a kameez in your area, it was an indication that this particular man was highly educated and had graduated from a university.


In our modern day, when graduating, non-muslim people here in the West still imitate Muslim clothing through tradition. This part of the culture has stayed with everybody for a long time and dates far back.


The author of the book Islam in Europe, Jack Goody, says in his book:

“The Arabic clothing has remained as the purest and clearest sign of scholastic integrity up to this day of ours, especially during scholastic events such as the debating of university thesis, and graduation.”