Arab and European Universities

From 900 to 1300 universities and scholastic centers arose in the Arab Middle East and North Africa and in the large commercial towns of Western Europe.  the first of these centers of learning were established at Al-Qarawiyyin University Mosque in Fez (Morocco), and at Al-Azhar in Cairo, and at the Zaytun Univerity Mosque in Tunis.  In the 14th century historian Ibn Khaldun studied at both the Tunisian and Moroccan universities and later taught law at Al-Azhar.  In his memoirs he describes the advantages and differences of study at each of these centers of learning as well as in Andalusia where he worked as a diplomat.  He also related the comparative advantage of learning at the cities of the Islamic East, in places like Damascus, Baghdad, Bukhara and Samarkand.

Ibn Khaldun’s description of education in North Africa, Andalusia and the Eastern Islamic areas is attached here as a PDF file.Khaldun on Education complete set

The maps below shows the spread of university towns in Europe.

University Towns.pnguniversities