Saturday, 14 May 2011

Muslims and the Innovation of Hospitals

Muslims and the Innovation of Hospitals

Medicine has been given great attention ever since the beginning of Islam, not in the second or the third Hijri century as it is believed.  This is clear in many of our Prophet's (SAWS) ahadith[1] on different occasions, in which he (SAWS) encouraged Muslims to submit to medical treatment.  Our sagacious Islamic law contains many rules that make good use of medicine for the benefit of humanity.


Our beloved Messenger said, as reported by al-Bukhary and Abu-Huraira (RA)[2], that Allah has never created an ailment without a cure.


Muslims: the First To Establish Hospitals

Muslim medical contributions were numerous.  The innovation of hospitals was one of the greatest achievements of the Muslims in the Middle Ages.  They were the first founders of the hospital we know today, preceding others by more than nine centuries. The first Islamic hospital, specializing in leprosy, was established during the period of Al-Walid Ibn-Abdul Malek, the Umayyad Caliph, who ruled from 86 A.H to 96 A.H.


Many hospitals were established in the Islamic world afterwards.  These hospitals developed a high standard of science and medicine and were considered the first university hospitals in the whole world, whereas the first European hospital was built in Paris nine centuries later.


Mobile and Fixed Hospitals

Hospitals in the middle Ages were called "birmaristans".  There were two kinds of hospitals: Mobile hospitals and fixed ones.  The fixed hospitals were built in nearly all the cities even the small ones whereas mobile ones were equipped with medical instruments and medications and tour the distant rural areas, villages, deserts and mountains.


Mobile hospitals, supplied with medical instruments and medication and, accompanied by physicians, reached all parts of the Islamic nation. They were carried on the back of camels (up to forty camels) during the period of the late Caliph Mahmoud al-Salgouqy, (511 A.H.- 525A.H).


On the other hand, the fixed hospitals attained high standards of health care.  Some of the most famous hospitals were built in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, under the names of Al- Adudi Hospital (371 A.H), al-Nuri Hospital (549 A.H) and al-Mansouri Hospital (683 A.H) respectively.  More than fifty hospitals were built in Cordoba alone.


These great hospitals were partitioned into small wards, each specializing in a specific kind of ailment.  There were separate wards for internal medicine, surgery,  dermatology, ophthalmology, psychiatry and orthopedics and traumatology.


Medical Education in Hospitals

Hospitals were not only centers of medical treatment.  They were also medical universities with very high standards of teaching. A specialized physician (the master) would make the rounds of patients in the morning attended by trainee physicians in order to instruct them, record observations and prescribe medication.  Then, he would go to a large hall, surrounded by his students, to lecture them, explain some of the medical books and answer questions.  He would even set an examination for medical students at the end of each medical course, licensing those who passed to practice their specialty.


Islamic hospitals had extensive libraries with a huge number of books on medicine, pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, fiqh[3] pertaining to medicine and others of interest to physicians.  For example, Ibn-Tulun Hospital had a library comprising more than one hundred thousand books on various branches of medical sciences.


Adjacent to the hospitals were huge fields, where medical herbs were grown to provide the medicines required for treatment.


Prevention Procedures in Islamic Hospitals

The procedures taken by hospitals to keep an infection or a contagious disease from spreading were not only unique but also amazing in all respects.. When patients were admitted into hospitals, their own clothes were kept for them and they were given clean garments.  This was done to avoid spreading the infection via the garments worn when the disease was caught.  Each patient was then admitted into a specialized ward for his kind of infection.  He was not allowed to enter another ward, so as to avoid transmitting his infection to others.  A patient was also allotted a separate bed to sleep on with new sheets and private utensils.


Compare all this to the hospital which was established in Paris centuries later, where patients were all made to stay in the same ward, regardless of the type of their illness.  Furthermore, up to five patients were allowed to sleep in the same bed. A patient with small pox  an orthopedic case and a pregnant woman would have all been together in the same ward.  Physicians and nurses could not enter these wards without wearing masks because of the stench that pervaded the wards.


The bodies of the dead were not allowed to be transferred outside these wards except twenty-four hours later after the death of the patient.  Imagine how detrimental this was for the rest of the patients!


Praise be to Allah for honoring us with Islam.


Examples of Renowned Hospitals in Islamic History


Al-Adudeyy Hospital was one of the greatest hospitals, which was constructed in Baghdad in 371 A.H. in the period of Adad ad-Dawlah.  Twenty-four physicians were appointed there as soon as it had been built.  This number tremendously increased afterwards. It also included an extensive scientific library, pharmacy and kitchens.  A large number of employees worked there.  Doctors were available to supervise the treatment of patients twenty-four hours a day as they worked in shifts.


An-Nury Hospital was one of the greatest hospitals that was established in Damascus in 549 A.H. by the fair Sultan Nur ad-Deen Mahmoud (May Allah have mercy on his soul).  This hospital kept receiving patients and offering medical treatment for a very long period of time about eight centuries until 1317 A.H.


Al-Mansuri  Hospital was also one of the best in Islamic history.  It was built in Cairo in 683 A.H. by Sultan Qalawoan.  It was an example of discipline, accuracy and hygiene. It was large enough to receive four thousand patients per day.


Marakesh Hospital, was constructed by al-Mansour Abu-Yousif Ya'qoub who ruled Morocco from 580 to 595 A.H.  The construction of this hospital was an epitome of perfection and beauty.  It was beautifully landscaped with fruit trees.  There were also four small artificial lakes inside.  The medical equipments, the skillful physicians and the modern medicine were all of a very high quality.  Indeed it was a pride for the Muslim Nation.


There were also specialty hospitals for treating only one type of ailment such as ophthalmology, leprosy and mental hospitals.  In some Islamic cities, there were integrated medical districts


According to Ibn-Jabeer, may Allah bless his soul, he went on a journey around 580 A.H. to Baghdad, the capital during the Abassid Caliphate, where he saw an entire district that was dedicated to serving patients.  It resembled a small city and had a magnificent palace in the center surrounded by gardens and numerous homes.  Physicians of various specialties, including pharmacists and medical students worked there.  The government and waqfs (endowments by the rich) constituted the financial source for the treatment of the poor and others.

[1] Plural form of the word 'hadith' or the Prophet's actual sayings or actions as narrated by his companions.

[2] (RA): Radya Allah anhu/anha [May Allah be pleased with him/her].

[3] Islamic jurisprudence

Now days we as Muslims have to spread the voice to learn quran online and so we could gain the true knowledge and the quran teaching that is give to us by our beloved prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and do quran reading. Do we as Muslim ask our self that why we are at the peak of destruction? The answer will be simple that we have left our roots the holy quran we should guide promote Islam from in our homes first and let learn our kids quran  and encourage them in doing quran memorization this should be our first goal for it we can do different stuff like let then participate in different online quran recitation competition to let them read quran from different online quran reciters and along with it we elders should learn quran also and improve our knowledge of quran and Islam and learn holy quran tafseer because to understand and learn quran Arabic and for this now a days there are many online quran tutor available who teach tajweed quran and its translation and tafseer so let us join our hands to be the voice of Islam and let improve the image of it as well and full fill our duty


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