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Islamic Hospitals

Sep 20, 2007
Georgi Zeidan writes: “Within two centuries of the death of the Prophet, Mecca, Medina and other great Muslim cities all had hospitals, while the Abbasid governors and their ministers competed each for his own region to have the best such institution for the care of the sick. Baghdad alone had four important hospitals. By three centuries after the hijra the governor Adhud-ud-Dowleh Deylamy had founded the Adhudi Hospital with 24 specialists, each master of his own particular field, a hospital which soon earned the reputation of excelling all hospitals throughout Islam, though in the course of time it too was surpassed.

The order and arrangement of Islamic hospitals was such that no distinctions of race, religion or occupation were recognised, but cure was administered with meticulous care to any patient. Separate wards were allotted for patients of specific diseases. These were teaching hospitals where the students learned theory and observed practice. In addition, there were travelling hospitals which carried doctors and their gear by camel or mule to every district. Sultan Mahmoud the Seljuk travelled with a hospital which required 40 camels for its transport.”

Dr. Gustave le Bon writes: “Muslim hospitals went in for preventive medicine and the preservation of health as much as if not more than for the cure of the already diseased. They were well-aired and had plenty of running water. Muhammad bin Zachariah Razi (Razes) was ordered by the Sultan to seek out the healthiest place in the Baghdad neighbourhood for the construction of a new hospital. He visited every section of the town and its environs, and hung up a piece of meat which he left while he looked into infectious diseases in the neighbourhood and studied climatic conditions, particularly the state of the water. He balanced all these various experimental tests and finally found them all to indicate that the place where the portion of meat was the last to putrefy and develop infectious bacteria was the spot on which to build. These hospitals had large common wards and also private wards for individuals. Pupils were trained in diagnosis and brought observation and experience to the perfecting of their studies. There were also special mental hospitals, and pharmacies which dispensed prescriptions gratis.”

Marc Kapp writes: ” Cairo had a huge hospital with playing fountains and flower-decked gardens and 40 large courtyards. Every unfortunate patient was kindly received, and after his cure sent home with five gold coins. While Cordoba , besides its 600 mosques and 900 hammams, had 50 hospitals.”

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