Marmaduke Pickthall was born in London in 1875 to a Christian family affiliated with William the Conqueror. His father died when he was five years old. He became familiar with Islam while he was working as a journalist in the Middle East.
Al-Nur Bimaristan in Damascus was one of the most important Islamic hospitals known to Muslims. Many patients from different countries of the Islamic world used to visit it. It provided its services for several centuries until a new hospital was built in Damascus.