The various Arabic Institutes in Fèz, have placed Morocco on the world map for Arabic studies. However Fèz, in the Islamic world has been traditionally renowned for *Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University for well over twelve hundred years. A typical Institute, of many, underlying how learning constituted the heart of Islam and its civilisation.
Fèz, perhaps the most beautiful of all African Arab cities, is still rooted in Islamic heritage. The medina is an extraordinary maze of winding, twisting lanes, alleys and cobbled streets that suddenly open to spacious plazas where one might find coppersmiths, or a marketplace, or furniture builders or just a lonely donkey waiting for its master to return.
Some of the Arabic Institutes, such as ALIF in Fèz have been established for just over a decade. Hence like many of the Egyptian Institutions they have a proven track record for teaching Arabic to foreigners. However, with an ever increasing number of Moroccan Institutes promoting links with western Universities, its centres for Arabic learning are now geared towards teaching Arabic as a vocational language. This has resulted in an increasingly secular content in their teaching approach.
*Did you know?
The foundation of Al-Qarawiyyin is also revealing. It was founded in 859 C.E, by a young princess Fatima al-Fihri, who migrated with her father Mohammed al-Fihri from Qirawan (Tunisia) to Fèz. Fatima and her sister Mariam were well educated and brought up in religious devotion. This remarkable story is a typical example shedding light on the role and contribution of women in Muslim Civilisation. Such a role is the subject of widely held misconceptions about Islam.