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.