brief history of madrasa
At the beginning of the Caliphate or Islamic Empire, the reliance on courts initially confined sponsorship and scholarly activities to major centers. Within several centuries, the development of Muslim educational institutions such as the madrasah and masjid eventually introduced such activities to provincial towns and dispersed them across the Islamic legal schools and Sufi orders. In addition to religious subjects, they also taught the "rational sciences," as varied as mathematics, astronomy, astrology, geography, alchemy, philosophy, magic, and occultism, depending on the curriculum of the specific institution in question. Established in 859, Gami'at al-Qarawiyyin (located in al-Qarawiyyin Mosque) in the city of Fas, Morocco, is considered the oldest university in the world by some scholars, though the existence of universities in the medieval Muslim world is debated. It was founded by Fatimah al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy merchant named Muhammad al-Fihri. This was later followed by the establishment of al-Azhar in 959 in Cairo, Egypt. During the late 'Abbasid period, the Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk created one of the first major official academic institutions known in history as the Madrasah Nizamiyyah. Nizam al-Mulk created a system of state madrasahs (in his time they were called the Nizamiyyahs, named after him) in various 'Abbasid cities at the end of the 11th century.
During the rule of the Fatimid and Mamluk dynasties and their successor states in the medieval Middle East, many of the ruling elite founded madrasahs through a religious endowment known as the waqf. Not only was the madrasah a potent symbol of status but it was an effective means of transmitting wealth and status to their descendants. Especially during the Mamlūk period, when only former slaves could assume power, the sons of the ruling Mamlūk elite were unable to inherit. Guaranteed positions within the new madrasahs thus allowed them to maintain status. Madrasahs built in this period include the Mosque-Madrasah of Sultan Ḥasan in Cairo.Madrasa education in the Ottoman Empire. Taşköprülüzâde recognizes four stages of knowledge—spiritual, intellectual, oral and written. Madrasahs were established throughout the Islamic world, the most famous being the 10th century al-Azhar University and the 11th century Niẓāmiyyah, as well as 75 madrasahs in Cairo, 51 in Damascus and up to 44 in Aleppo between 1155 and 1260. Many more were also established in the Andalusian cities of Córdoba, Seville, Toledo, Granada (Madrasah of Granada), Murcia, Almería, Valencia and Cádiz during the Caliphate of Córdoba.In the Ottoman Empire during the early modern period, "Madrasahs were divided into lower and specialized levels, which reveals that there was a sense of elevation in school. Students who studied in the specialized schools after completing courses in the lower levels became known as danişmends.As with any other country during the Early Modern Period, such as Italy and Spain in Europe, the Ottoman social life was also interconnected with the Madrasa. Madrasas were built in as part of a Mosque Complex where many programs, such as aid to the poor were held under the infrastructure of a mosque, which reveals the interconnectedness of religion and social life during this period. "The mosques to which Madrasas were attached, dominated the social life in Ottoman cities. Social life was not dominated by religion only in the Muslim world of the Ottoman Empire; however, was also quite similar to the social life of Europe during this period. Overall, the fact that mosques contained Madrasas comes to show the relevance of education to religion in the sense that education took place within the framework of religion and religion established social life by trying to create a common religious orthodox. Hence, Madrasas were simply part of the social life of society as students came to learn the fundamentals of their social values and beliefs.