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A nizamiyya (Persian: نظامیه) , (Arabic: النظامیة‎) is one of the medieval institutions of higher education established by Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk in the eleventh century in present-day Iran. The name nizamiyyah derives from his name. Founded at the beginning of the Seljuk empire, they are considered to be the model of madrassas, or Islamic religious schools.

Nizamiyyah institutes were the first well organized universities in the Muslim world. The quality of education was the highest in the Islamic world, and they were even renowned in Europe. They were supported financially, politically, and spiritually by the royal establishment and the elite class.

The most famous and celebrated of all the nizamiyyah schools was Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad (established 1065), where Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk appointed the distinguished philosopher and theologian, al-Ghazali, as a professor. Persian poet Sa'di was a student of the Baghdad Nizamiyyah. Other nizamiyyah schools were located in Nishapur, Balkh, Herat and Isfahan.

Nizam ul-Mulk was finally assassinated en route from Isfahan to Baghdad in 1092 CE. According to several books, he was assassinated by a member of Hashshashin, a group of the Ismaili sect of Shi'a Islam.

According to Mughatil ibn Bakri, a staff member of the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad, Nizam al-Mulk himself was assassinated when he converted to Shi'a after a Sunni-Shi'a debate held by the orders of Sultan Malik Shah I, who was also killed.[1]


  1. ^ Mughatil ibn Bakri, In search of Truth in Baghdad (در جستجوی حق در بغداد), also appearing under the title "راهي به سوي حقيقت", ISBN 964-93287-8-5, p.134-136. Link to item in publisher's catalog: [1]

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