مدرسة ابن يوسف (مراكش)

( Ben Youssef Madrasa )

The Ben Youssef Madrasa (Arabic: مدرسة ابن يوسف; also transliterated as Bin Yusuf or Ibn Yusuf Madrasa) is an Islamic madrasa (college) in Marrakesh, Morocco. Functioning today as a historical site, the Ben Youssef Madrasa was the largest Islamic college in the Maghreb at its height. The madrasa is named after the adjacent Ben Youssef Mosque built by the Almoravid Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf in the early 12th century, and was commissioned by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib in the 16th century.

 A student's room in the Ben Youssef Madrasa

The madrasa is named after the adjacent Ben Youssef Mosque, which was originally the main mosque of the city, founded by the Almoravid Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (r. 1106–1142 AD).[1][2]

According to historical sources, in particular al-Ifrani, the first madrasa on this site was founded during the Marinid dynasty by Sultan Abu al-Hasan (r. 1331–1348).[2][3] This dynasty, known for its perpetuation of the arts and literature, ruled from Fez during the 13th to 15th centuries and was responsible for constructing many madrasas across Morocco.[4] Historically, madrasas in the Maghreb served to train ulama (Islamic scholars) in Maliki Islamic law, jurisprudence (fiqh), and variant readings (Qira'at) of the Qur'an.[4][5]

The Saadian dynasty, which enjoyed the status of sharifs (descendants of Muhammad), were less dependent on the construction of madrasas to sustain their legitimacy and the support of the ulama than their Marinid predecessors.[6] Nonetheless, they build many new monuments, including madrasas, in their capital of Marrakesh.[7]

The Ben Youssef Madrasa was constructed by the Saadian sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (r. 1557–1574 AD), a major builder of his period. Its construction probably began soon after he assumed power. It was completed in 1564–1565 AD (972 AH), as recorded by an inscription,[8][3] following a style established during the earlier Marinid period.[2][6] Once finished, it was the largest madrasa in the Maghreb.[2][6] It was reportedly able to accommodate upwards of 800 students.[9][verification needed]

 Ben Youssef Madrasa in 1925 (photo by Leo Wehrli, coloured by Margrit Wehrli-Frey)

Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site in 1982.[10] The Ben Youssef Madrasa currently attracts thousands of tourists every year and remains one of the most important historical buildings in Marrakesh.[11] It closed for restoration again in November 2018 and reopened to the public in April 2022.[12][13][14]

^ Cite error: The named reference :1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b c d Marçais, Georges (1954). L'architecture musulmane d'Occident. Paris: Arts et métiers graphiques. p. 392. ^ a b Salmon, Xavier (2016). Marrakech: Splendeurs saadiennes: 1550-1650. Paris: LienArt. pp. 118–169. ISBN 9782359061826. ^ a b Marçais, Georges (1954). L'architecture musulmane d'Occident (in French). Paris: Arts et métiers graphiques. pp. 284–294. ^ Bloom, Jonathan M. (2020). Architecture of the Islamic West: North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, 700-1800. Yale University Press. p. 178. ISBN 9780300218701. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference :2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ M. Bloom, Jonathan; S. Blair, Sheila, eds. (2009). "Sa'di". The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 159–160. ISBN 9780195309911. ^ Deverdun, Gaston (1959). Marrakech: Des origines à 1912 (in French). Rabat: Éditions Techniques Nord-Africaines. pp. 373–377. ^ Yeomans, Richard (2000). The Story of Islamic Architecture. New York: New York University Press. pp. 11–113. ^ Razer, David (2015). Morocco Revealed: Fez, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat. Approach Guides. pp. 1931–2000. ISBN 978-1936614479. ^ Cite error: The named reference :4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Morocco's Largest Madrasa". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2022-06-22. ^ "the emblematic Medersa of Ben Youssef, an architectural gem, H24info". Morocco News. 2022-05-02. Retrieved 2022-06-22. ^ "The Madrasa Ben Youssef in Marrakech finally reopens its doors". Visit Marrakech. 2022-04-22. Archived from the original on 2022-12-15. Retrieved 2022-06-22.
Photographies by:
Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium - CC BY-SA 2.0
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