This perplexing chicken and egg philosophical problem is widely talked about because of a rap song by the hip-hop artist Marcus Jamal Hopson, otherwise known as Hopsin. It is meant to provoke thought since, presumably, the man who invented college could not have gone to college himself, at least not at the time he invented it. However, there is a very surprising answer to the question which gets out of all the philosophical traps. You can see the video below:
The first college in the world is generally agreed to be University of Karueein, founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco. It is consider the world’s first university and is actually in operation today under the name of The University of Al Quaraouiyine. The university, however, was not founded by a man. That’s right people, it was founded by a woman by the name of Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya.
The Oldest College in the World was Founded by a Woman
According to Wikipedia:
Al-Fihri was an Arab Muslim woman who is credited with founding the oldest existing, continually operating and first degree-awarding educational institution in the world.
Al-Fihri was born around 800 AD in the town of Kairouan, in present-day Tunisia. She is of Arab Qurayshi descent, hence the name “Fatima al-Fihri al-Qurashiyya [the Qurayshi one]. Her family was part of a large migration to Fes from Kairouan. Although her family did not start out wealthy, her father, Mohammed al-Fihri, became a successful merchant.
She and her sister Maryam were well-educated and studied the Islamic jurisprudence Fiqh and the Hadith, or the records of Prophet Muhammed. Both went on to found mosques in Fes: Fatima founded Al-Qarawiyyin and Maryam founded Al-Andalus.
Little is known about her personal life, except for what was recorded by 14th century historian Ibn Abi-Zaraa’. This is largely due to the fact that the Al-Qarawiyyin library suffered a large fire in 1323. Al-Fihri was married, but both her husband and father passed away shortly after the wedding. Her father left his wealth to both Fatima and her sister, his only children.
So the next time someone asks if the man who invented college went to college, tell them to put that in their pipe and smoke it!