In North Africa the sophisticated and highly educated women of the Zirid (Sanhaja Berber) dynasty emulated their royal counterparts in Egypt. During the 5th / 11th century a Zirid princess added a mosque
to the ribat
(fortified enclosure) in Monastir; it became known as the Mosque
of al-Sayyida in recognition of her work. In the library at Kairouan, there are a number of Qur’an
manuscripts commissioned by Zirid princesses intended for use at the Great Mosque
, among them Umm Milal’s Qur’an
and that of Umm al-‘Ilu, the sister of the Zirid prince al-Mu‘izz. A third manuscript was presented by Fatima, governess to the prince Badis Bin al-Mansur.