Background of Quarantine & Its Concept
By Zaid Shah

What does Islam Have to do with "Quarantine"?

Published in: History, Health, Science
Date: 06 / 04 / 20

The word "quarantine" originates from quarantena, the Venetian language form, meaning "forty days". However, it is stated that the origin of this Venetian term was inspired by trentino meaning "thirty day isolation period", first used in 1377 by Great Council of a busy Mediterranean seaport of Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik, Croatia), when passing law to contain Black Death of 14th century CE. Following the next 80 years similar laws were introduced in parts of Italy and the period was extended from 30 to 40 days changing the name trentino to quarantino, a term derived from the Italian word quaranta, which means “forty”. However, what is mostly unknown is the fact that this concept comes from a 10th century medieval Muslim scientist called Abu Ali Sina, known as Avicenna in the West. He wrote almost 450 works on a wide range of subjects and about 40 of them concentrated on medicine. His most famous medicine works are The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. He suggested quarantining sick people for forty days calling it al-Arba'iniya ("the forty")so other people wouldn’t catch their diseases. His research included infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis also called White Plague, due to its contagious nature. Despite the fact of his great expertise in study of medicine, he was also an Islamic Scholar, carrying expertise in sciences of Quran & Hadith. It is not surprising that his quarantine theory may have been influenced by Islam especially when Prophet Muhammad ﷺ also taught for an epidemic situation that: "... whoever hears that there is an outbreak of plague in some land, he should not go to that land, and if the plague breaks out in the land where one is already present, one should not run away from that land, escaping from the plague."

Zaid Shah

About the author

I carry a passion for Researching, Learning & Writing on Various Islamic Topics. To read more of my work You can also visit my personal blog website

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