It is the oldest - eleven hundred years - university in the world which is still functioning. It is the Islamic university inFez,Morocco, known as the Qarawiyyin. This old tradition of Islamic learning influenced the West greatly through Spain.
In Spain, under the Ummayad Dynasty,Muslims,Christians and Jews lived peacefully ONLY under a few ENLIGHTENEDMuhammadan Rulers for short periods of time.
Because of the freedoms that were allowed for the Jews and Christians during those periods, cross fertilization of ideas, thoughts, theories and concepts became the cornerstone of the 'Islamic' Civilzation of the Andalus.
Translations began to be made in the 11th century mostly in Toledo of 'Islamic' works into Latinoften through the intermediary of Jewish scholars many of whom knew Arabic and often wrote in Arabic.
As a result of these translations, 'Islamic' thought and through it much of Greek thought became known to the West and Western schools of learning began to flourish. Even the 'Islamic' educational system was emulated in Europe and to this day the term chair in a university reflects the Arabickursi (literally seat) upon which a teacher would sit to teach his students in themadrasah (school of higher learning).
As European civillization grew and reached the high Middle Ages, there was hardly a field of learning or form of art, whether it was literature or architecture, where there was not some influence of 'Islam' present. 'Islamic' learning became in this way part and parcel of Western civilization even if with the advent of the Renaissance, the West not only turned against its own medieval past but also sought to forget the long relation it had had with the 'Islamic' world.
In the Library of the Qarawiyunmosque at Fez, there is a manuscript (MS no 727) containing a report of Ibn Ishaq's lectures at Kufa on the life of Muhammad. This was 'discovered' by Dr Muhammad al Hajawi in 1932 as reported in (Majalla of the Arab Academy of Damascus in 1932, XII, p. 110).
This remarkable document mentions several extremely important and relevant 'traditions' that are not repeated by the Ahadith becausethey shed a not so glamorous light on Muhammad or are contradictory to them.
These particular traditions were omitted by Ibn Hisham from his text. The most relevant details of this manuscript have been translated by Alfred Guillaume from a microfilm made of it in his
"New Light on the Life of Muhammad"
and they contain astounding 'revelations'-
1The Arabs were illiterate.They did not study writing. All that they knew of Heaven and Hell, the Resurrection, the mission of Prophets and so on was the little they had heard from the Jews and Christians. This teaching had no effect on their lives.
(MS fos. 22b-23b)
2 Hassan b Thabit asserts that it was Abdu'Muttalib who put the Black Stone into the wall of the rebuilt Ka'ba andNOT Muhammad.When the rebuilding was finished, the Ka'ba was given a roof for the first time.
(MS folio 33a).
3 That Zayd b Amr b Nufayl (a Hanif) was the one who berated Muhammadfor eating meat of animalssacrificed to idols(MS fos 35a-38b).This tradition was expunged from Ibn Hisham's recension altogether but there are traces of it in Suhayli
(p 146)and Bukhari (K.p. 63, bab 24).
*** It should be made clear that the law of Abraham only forbade the eating of the flesh of animals that had died and not those that had been sacrificed to idols ***
4 The details of the Satanic Verses (MS fos 56)
5Jews holding and cultivating land in Meccawhich contained palm trees and a well. (MS fos 60a-62a)
6 The Ansar (Aus & Khazraj) were of Yemenite extraction, many of whose ancestors were converts to the religion of the Jews under the Hymiarite kingdom.
7 Umar was told that the pagan Arabs knew nothing of a Lord, the sending of prophets, resurrection, paradise or hell(MS fos. 8a-9b)
8 Contrary to the reports in Suhayli and Tabari, the MS asserts that Muhammad's father, Abdullah died BEFORE he was borne and NOT28 months afterwards.
(MS 14b-16a) and also that Abdul Muttalib presented the child Muhammad to Hubal in the middle of the Ka'ba,a detail thatIbn Hisham conveniently dropped.
9 While in the Suhayli report it is said that " ..the apostle of Allah grew up, Allah protecting him and keeping him from the vileness of heathendom because He wanted to honour him with apostleship..", the MS in (fos. 19a-21b) has
"..while he followed the religion of his people.." [ Which of course was heathendom].
10 In theMS (fos. 21I-22a), there is no mention of Khadija's conversation with her cousin Waraqa bin Nawfal and his assertion that Muhammad was the prophet of his people nor is there a poem attributed to him as in Ibn Hisham's version.
11 In the story of Laylat al Qadr, the first 'revelation', the (MS fos. 38b-40b) varies considerably from the tradition in Ibn Hisham since it mentions that Gabriel had a brocade with writings on it when he ordered Muhammad to read etc. This version casts a huge shadow on the veracity of the later traditionalists who had every theological reason not to mention it.
12 All of a sudden the illiterate Arabs became very literate even among the women. In (MS fos 57b-59a), Umar b al Khattab, found his sister and Khabbab b Aratt reading a sheet of paper on which was Sura Ta Ha.
13That there were two emigrations to Abyssinia and not one.
(MS fos 67b-71a)
14 In (MS fos 81a-b), it states categorically that Muhammad married Aisha after Sauda.
15It reports(MS fos. 92b)the tradition fromAishathatMuhammad never left her side on the"night Journey"since it was a Spiritual Passage only.
16How it was thanks to a Jew from Qurayza(MS fos 1b-3a)that saved both the Madina and Mecca from destruction at the hands of the Tubba' the Himyarite.
*** The followers of Muhammad find it IMPOSSIBLE within themselves to give any credit to the contribution of the Jews and Christians in translating works from the European languages to Arabic and later from Arabic to the European languages.
Nonetheless, the historical FACTS speak loudly and volumes regarding their ENORMOUS contributions in ALL fields of KNOWLEDGE and THEOLOGY especiall when it is COMMON knowledge based upon the history of the Arabs themselves that they had no CIVILIZATION - the Arabs of the Hijaz especially - and were mostly ILLITERATE ***