Muslims played an immense role in formulating and establishing academic degree-granting universities:|
If the definition of a university is an institution of higher education and research which issues academic degrees at all levels (bachelor, master and doctorate), then the medieval Madrasahs known as Jamiah (university) founded in the 9th century are the first.
The University of Al Karaouine in Morocco is recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest degree-granting university in the world with its founding in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri. In the 9th century, Bimaristan medical schools were founded in the Islamic world, where medical degrees and diplomas were issued to students who qualified to be practicing Doctors of Medicine.
Al-Azhar University, founded in Egypt in 975, offered a variety of post-graduate degrees (Ijazah), and had individual faculties for a theological seminary, Islamic law, Arabic grammar, astronomy and philosophy. The modern academic robe worn by graduates was also adapted from the robe worn by the Aalim [Islamic scholar] (alumni).
The earliest degree-granting universities in Europe like Oxford were influenced by Madrasahs in Islamic Spain, Sicily (Italy) and the Middle East. The origins of the doctorate dates to the Ijazat attadris wal ifta (license to teach and issue legal opinions) in the medieval Islamic legal education system, which was equivalent to a Doctor of Law, and was developed in the 9th century. The status of Faqih (master of law), Mufti (professor of legal opinions) and Mudarris (teacher) were later translated into Latin as magister, professor and doctor.
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