In his shining new book The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion, and Charity
(Cambridge University Press, 2015), Ahmed Ragab
, Assistant Professor of Religion and Science at Harvard Divinity School, charts the institutional and intellectual history of hospitals or bimaristans in medieval Egypt and the Levant. A central argument of this book is that hospitals in Islamdom were more than just institutions where the sick were treated; hospitals also served as important sites of communal services and congregation, as urban architectural monuments, and as symbols and expressions of a rulers political authority. By exploring an astonishing variety and number of sources, Ragab provides an unparalleled window into the aspirations and operations that defined the medieval Islamic hospital. This splendid new book will be of great interest to students of medieval Islamic history, religion and science, medical history, and the study of Islam and religion more broadly.