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5 Reasons Why Timbuktu is Classified as a Scholarly Capital of Medieval World

Timbuktu, a city in Mali, which situates about 20 km north of the Niger River and the capital of the Tombouctou region, has become a location for the middle age when it comes to relatively academic studies.

Timbuktu has made so much impact in academics, which drives many scholars to the area.

The expertise skills of this area are second to none when it comes to educations and its associates.

Focus on your readings as we round off here why Timbuktu is a fabled learning center in the medieval world.

1. Hosts several ancient educational facilities for Islamic studies

The hosting of educational facilities for Islamic studies is one of the key factors that make Timbuktu a scholarly capital for the medieval world.

Generally, the city has an excellent zeal for education. 

Aside from that, the people of Timbuktu export salt and gold, with books being their major traded commodity.

In Timbuktu, academic scholars’ works ascribe to increasing the number of manuscripts in the cities.

Also, the city was able to make the area home to three of West Africa’s oldest mosques, where they impact knowledge concerning Islamic studies and religion and provide necessary educational facilities for them.

Among the three West African oldest mosques and educational facilities in Timbuktu are:

  • Sankoré Madrasah – otherwiese Sankore Masjid or the University of Sankoré
  • Djingareyber, and 
  • Sidi Yahia.

The establishment of these learning centers dates back to the 14th and early 15th centuries.

2. Hosts 60-80 private educational and desert libraries 

Another reason why Timbuktu is a significant ancient academic destination in Africa is the availability of many high academic libraries, numbering up to 60-80.

One of their main libraries, Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Islamic Studies and Research, is a valuable library that keeps over 20,000 books and manuscripts about Mali’s history and other important information. 

Note: these important manuscripts contain information relating to art, medicine, philosophy, and science, as well as copies of the Holy Quran too and scholars come from far and near in other to source for essential books from the libraries.

Up to 60 libraries in Timbuktu still exist till date under the ownership of local families and institutions.

3. Great center of scholarship

Timbuktu is an excellent center for giving out scholarships to people, especially those who want to study the mystery behind the Islamic religion.

As of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Timbuktu reached its peak as a scholarship center in Africa, making it a famous region for scholars.

The city, indeed, has high ranks of educational ventures for the middle ages. 

Currently, the city’s population is nearly 100,000, but a quarter of the total population comprises scholars and students.

Again, an ancient ruler of Timbuktu, Mansa Musa, funds the idea by building mosques and employing qualified Islamic teachers to impact residents and indigenes significantly.

The educationists of the Timbuktu employed the works of well-known chronicles and biographical dictionaries of the region.

4. Developed learning centers and Islamic teaching

Another feature that qualifies Timbuktu as a crucial learning center of the Medieval age is the availability of structural learning centers.

Since the apogee of Timbuktu, it has been a place of study through to the twentieth century. 

It was also a city famous for educating scholars whose reputations were pan-Islamic.

Timbuktu’s rich learning history directly links with its commercial hub from the 12th century, which drew many folks interested in Islamic studies. 

Also, it has all the necessary facilities for the teaching and learning of Islamic religion and related practices.

5. Houses the oldest University in the world

Timbuktu houses the oldest and the first university globally, making the city a perfect academic location.

The first-ever university in the world, situated in Timbuktu, is Sankore University, among other two ancient ones, established in the early 1300s under the reign of the Mali Empire, the most famous ruler, Mansa Musa.

Three great Masajids makes up the organization of Sankore University, and they include, the Masajid of Sankore, Masajid of Jingaray Ber, and the Masajid of Sidi Yahya.

As a result, the city becomes impressive, with massive growth as it continues to be a fabled educational center, attracting manuscripts and scholars.

Across the Muslim world, Timbuktu acquired a reputation for learning and scholarship.

6. Impacts Islamic students greatly

The city of Timbuktu is a scholarly capital of the Medieval world because it’s a center for learning in the Arabic world, making a significant impact on Islamic students.

Sankore University, otherwise, Sankoré Madrasah, in Timbuktu, is among the three ancient and most renowned mosques and learning centers offering exceptional courses.

Many Muslim scholars from different Islamic beliefs and geographical regions migrate to Timbuktu to study several courses due to their expert teaching abilities. 

While teaching, the schools use the Arabic curriculum because it is deeply immersed in Arabic and has a command of its grammar and poetry that a scholar needs.

Why was Timbuktu so important?

Timbuktu is so important because it is the starting point for trans-Saharan camel caravans, transporting goods northwards. 

Also, it is among the most important cities in the Mali Empire because of its proximity to the Niger River bend, fed by trade along both the east and west sides of its excellent water highway.

What is so special about Timbuktu?

Timbuktu is unique due to its best-known ancient universities, the Djinguereber Mosque and Prestigious Sankore University, founded in the early 1300s under the reign of Mansa Musa, the Mali Empire and most famous ruler of the Islamic West African states.

Note: Timbuktu’s most significant contribution to Islam and world civilization was its scholarship.

Why are the Timbuktu manuscripts considered of great importance to the world? 

The Timbuktu manuscripts were of great importance to the world because they contained vital information and teachings from hundreds and thousands of years back.

Note: some information dates back to the 14th to 16th centuries when it started playing a huge role as a hub for trade and Islamic studies.

Final Words

Indeed, Timbuktu is en educational capital of the Medieval World and a major center for Islamic culture in Africa.

A close look at the educational achievement of this city will convince you to that. 

Timbuktu harbors a rear educational standard that is admirable, which the present-day Islamic schools should emulate.

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