From Bimaristan to the nhs

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh (Peace, Blessings & Mercy of Allah be upon You).

This statement is being issued on the 05th of July 2018 and supersedes all previous statements on the subject.

The NHS was founded by the then Health Secretary Aneurin “Nye” Bevan on the 5th of July 1948 with Park Hospital in Manchester being the first hospital. 13 year old Sylvia Beckingham (née Sylvia Diggory) became the first patient to be admitted to the hospital due to nephritis. The NHS was not founded at a time of great prosperity, it was founded at a time when Britain and its citizens were weary of two world wars, the treasury was depleted and the empire was in decline. Britain was also in the middle of an acute housing crisis. The establishment of NHS was an attempt by our predecessors to heal the sick. They found the money and the resources despite being under unprecedented economic pressure a few years after WWII. We salute all those at the NHS who have and continue to play a role in healing the sick. You are the foundation of the NHS and it cannot function without your dedication and your sacrifice.


The western system of medicine owes a great deal of debt to the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Chinese and the Indians but the framework for bringing together experts under a single roof to heal the sick was popularised by Muslims. Bimaristan (refuge for the Sick) 1 is not only a predecessor to the modern hospital but its roles and functions would be virtually indistinguishable from a modern Hospital.


Muslims came across the inspiring medical practitioners of Jundaysābūr and then set about revolutionising patient care throughout the Islamic world. The establishment of the first Bimaristan is credited to the Muslim Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik [668–715]. However it was the famous Harun al-Rashid [763–809] who invited Jabril ibn Bukhtishu to formally setup the first and then a series of Bimaristans throughout the Islamic Caliphate.


The quest for Muslims to heal the sick is firmly rooted in the commandment and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) as he has stated:

Abu al-Darda narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) said: Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically, but use nothing unlawful. [Abu Dawud]

Over 1400 years before Florence Nightingale [1820-1910] one of the female companions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) by the name of Rufaydah al–Aslamiyah (RA) had setup a mobile tent to tend to the injured during the Battle of the Trench.


Bimaristan charter:

All regardless of race, religion, creed or colour were treated free of charge and the Bimaristans were funded by the Waqf (endowment). The Al-Mansuri Bimaristan treated between 4000 patients daily with a capacity of treating up to 8000. Patients were given food and money in lieu of lost wages while undergoing treatment 2 . The Waqf (endowment) specifically encapsulated its purpose in the charter and stated:

The Hospital shall keep all patients, men and women until they are completely recovered. All costs are to be borne by the hospital whether the people come from afar or near, whether they are residents or foreigners, strong or weak, low or high, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, blind or sighted, physically or mentally ill, literate or illiterate. There are no conditions of consideration and payment; none is objected to or indirectly hinted at for non-payment. The entire service is through the magnificence of Allah, the generous one.

British Muslims and the NHS:

The British Muslims thus have a unique love for the NHS as it embodies the best of the Islamic tradition of helping those in need. There are countless motivated and dedicated Muslims working for the NHS along with equally passionate and dedicated BAME members on a daily basis. We love the NHS and are thankful for this wonderful British institute which has inspired dedicated care for the sick the world over.


However, we are concerned! We are worried about the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

We are concerned about the lack of staff at the NHS. We are concerned about the impact of no-deal Brexit on the NHS. 


Today, should mark our renewed commitment to the NHS, its resources and its heart and soul (the people). We are proud of the work they do and we should provide them with the necessary resources to do their job. NHS was born in the times of financial difficulties, we should not let the financial stresses of today undermine it. We should handover this great British institution to the future generations in a much better state then we found it, this should be our uncompromising commitment to the NHS.