This is something you will not hear at dinner parties or during conversations over coffee. You'll not find this name hanging on walls of fame, at least not that many.
But everyday, her legacy thrives in our lives. She is Fatima Al-Fihri, the founder of the first academic University in history.
Fatima was born in Tunisia around 800 AD to a man called Muhammad. No, not Muhammad the Prophet (SAW).
After quite some years they all moved to Fez, Morocco which was one of the most influential Muslim cities back then. Which means that it was the place to be for ambitious people. And that was exactly what the family Al Fihri needed. They started as a family who struggled a lot with money, but hard work paid off and Mohammed Al Fihri became a very successful businessman. When Fatima’s father and brother died she was left alone with her sister Mariam. They were very lucky as they inherited a big sum of money. As generous as they were they both decided to invest their money in projects that would benefit their community. Fatima’s sister decided to build a mosque which is known as the Al Andalus Mosque. Fatima herself decided to benefit her community on an educational level. In 859 she founded the Al Qarrawiyyin University which was the very first academic university.
You'd think the University offered only religious sciences. The actual fact is that the University offered other subjects including geology, astrology, grammar, chemistry, medicine and mathematics!
Although she died around 880 AD, the Al Qarrawiyyin University is still existent and is known as one of the highly appreciated Moroccan universities.