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In medieval Islam, a hospital; in modern usage, this Persian appellation is applied especially to a mental hospital. One of the greatest and original institutional achievements of classical Islamic society, the bimaristan provided a wide range of services, sometimes without fee, and also functioned as a medical research and teaching school. The first bimaristan was established in Baghdad under Harun al-Rashid (r. 786–809). Among the most illustrious were the twelfth-century Adudi hospital in Baghdad and the Mansuri hospital in Cairo, completed in 1284, which had a huge administrative staff, lecture halls, a mosque, a chapel, a rich library, both male and female attendants, and separate networks of wards for fevers, ophthalmia, surgery, and dysentery; it also had a pharmacy, a dispensary, and an outreach division.

See also Medicine: Traditional Practice

Subjects: Islam.

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