All the hospitals in Islamic lands were traditionally financed from the revenues of pious bequests called waqfs. Wealthy men, and especially rulers, donated property as endowments, whose revenue went toward building and maintaining the institution.The property could consist of shops, mills, caravanserais, or even entire villages. The income from an endowment would pay for the maintenance and running costs of the hospital, and sometimes would supply a small stipend to the patient upon dismissal. Part of the state budget also went toward the maintenance of a hospital. The services of the hospital were to be free, though individual physicians might charge fees.
Little detailed information is available regarding the hospitals as teaching institutions. We have accounts of teaching at certain hospitals, such as the `Adudi hospital in Baghdad, but how many hospitals had such formal classes is not known. Clinical training at bedside in a hospital, whether as an apprentice or through formal instruction, was, however, a part of medical learning for a substantial number of formally trained physicians. In the medical writings, such as the encyclopedia by al- Majusi, there was frequent encouragement of students to acquire clinical training.
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Islamic physicians displayed particular concern and skill in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, perhaps because blindness was the major cause of disability throughout the Islamic lands.Often,illnesses of the...