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The Bimaristan of Granada

Bimaristan is a Persian word (بیمارستان bīmārestān) meaning "hospital", with Bimar- from Middle Persian (Pahlavi) of vīmār or vemār, meaning "sick" plus -stan as location and place suffix. In the medieval Islamic world, the word "Bimaristan" was used to indicate a hospital where the ill were welcomed and cared for by qualified staff.


Features of bimaristans[edit]

As hospitals developed during the Islamic civilization, specific characteristics were maintained. For instance, Bimaristans served all people regardless of their race, religion, citizenship, or gender.[1] The Waqf documents stated nobody was ever to be turned away.[2] The ultimate goal of all physicians and hospital staff was to work together to help the well-being of their patients.[2] There was no time limit a patient could spend as an inpatient;[3] the Waqf documents stated the hospital was required to keep all patients until they were fully recovered.[1] Men and women were admitted to separate but equally equipped wards.[1][2] The separate wards were further divided into mental disease, contagious disease, non-contagious disease, surgery, medicine, and eye disease.[2][3] Patients were attended to by same sex nurses and staff.[3] Each hospital contained a lecture hall, kitchen, pharmacy, library, mosque and occasionally a chapel for Christian patients.[3][4] Recreational materials and musicians were often employed to comfort and cheer patients up.[3]

The hospital was not just a place to treat patients, it also served as a medical school to educate and train students.[2] Basic science preparation was learned through private tutors, self-study and lectures. Islamic hospitals were the first to keep written records of patients and their medical treatment.[2] Students were responsible in keeping these patient records, which were later edited by doctors and referenced in future treatments.[3]

During this era, physician licensure became mandatory in the Abbasid Caliphate.[3] In 931 AD, Caliph Al-Muqtadir learned of the death of one of his subjects as a result of a physician's error.[4] He immediately ordered his muhtasib Sinan ibn Thabit to examine and prevent doctors from practicing until they passed an examination.[3][4] From this time on, licensing exams were required and only qualified physicians were allowed to practice medicine.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nagamia, Hussain (October 2003). "Islamic Medicine History and Current Practice" (PDF). Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine. 2 (4): 19–30. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rahman, Haji Hasbullah Haji Abdul (2004). "The development of the Health Sciences and Related Institutions During the First Six Centuries of Islam". ISoIT: 973–984.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Miller, Andrew C (December 2006). "Jundi-Shapur, bimaristans, and the rise of academic medical centres". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 99 (12). pp. 615–617. doi:10.1258/jrsm.99.12.615. Archived from the original on 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  4. ^ a b c d Shanks, Nigel J.; Dawshe, Al-Kalai (January 1984). "Arabian medicine in the Middle Ages". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 77 (1): 60–65. PMC 1439563. PMID 6366229.

Further reading[edit]