“Then corruption is related as we have presented, and it included at this pace most of the world, so that what perished of the human kind was achieved by it in this limited time by seven tenths (seventy percent), and it did not advance in what was related to the first-informed from the histories of nations, an epidemic that reached the extent of taking it between the East and the West and eradicating it. The people of the house and the village are on the same path, related to people, fire is attached to allies and wildfire is the lowest of his clothes, from familiarity with a sick person, or perhaps by touching his clothes and utensils.”
This was an excerpt from the book “Maqna’a the Liquid in the Terrible Disease” by the Andalusian scholar, writer and physician, Lisan Al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib, a description of the plague that struck almost half of the globe in the eighth century AH, and afflicted the Maghreb, and Andalusia in particular.
Because of the severity of the epidemic and the lives it took in a few years, the names and descriptions of that pandemic were many, so it was called “the greatest plague”, “the sweeping plague”, and “the general plague”.
Symptoms are the same, there are many diseases
Many centuries separate us from that epidemic, were it not for the fact that returning to it has become a necessity, at the time of the spread of the new Corona virus, which is considered one of the most dangerous epidemics facing humanity, for decades.
It is true that epidemics have similar aspects, had it not been for narrowing the angle to excavate the role of Muslims and their presence to confront the plague in the past, and their effectiveness in confronting the Corona virus at present, would reveal concretely, the extent of the decline that afflicted Muslims on the intellectual and scientific level, in these days there is no talk except about Western and Asian laboratories. Which are racing against time to reach a vaccine, and are competing with each other to classify virus detection devices.
This role was played by Muslim scholars in the middle of the eighth century AH, especially in Andalusia, in which the nectar of all sciences was concentrated. The epidemic, and among them is the scholar, poet, doctor and Andalusian jurist, Ahmed bin Ali bin Khatama Al-Ansari, who is gathered in many historical accounts that he is the author of the first medical book on epidemics, which is the book “Attaining the purpose intended in detailing the incoming disease”, in which he provided many details about the epidemic. The plague, which the whole world at that time was unable to understand, and was also able to understand the ways of its transmission and how to get rid of it, and limit its spread.
The book “Convincing the Questioner about the Colossal Disease” by Ibn Khatama Al-Ansari, the first medical book that talks about epidemics
The poet of Andalusia, her doctor, and one of her good deeds
Historical sources do not agree on a single year of Ibn Khatma’s birth. As for the death, a number of researchers mentioned it as the year 770 AH, and his full name is Ahmed bin Ali bin Muhammad bin Khatama al-Ansari, and perhaps the most translated, written and praising Ibn Khatma is the writer of Andalusia Lisan al-Din Ibn Al-Khatib, for his great admiration for him, and the strength of the relationship between them, and many books chronicle the correspondence between them, which were written in a wonderful language and feelings of love and appreciation.
We find that Ibn al-Khatib describes Ibn Khatma as “strong in mind, a lot of diligence, good in writing, good at handwriting, enjoying sitting with him, good manners, and he is one of the good deeds of Andalusia and a class in grammar and prose.”
Ibn Khatamah Al-Ansari lived in Al-Almeria, and there he studied at the hands of many of its great scholars, including Abu Al-Hasan Ali bin Muhammad bin Abi Al-Aish Al-Marri, Ibrahim bin Muhammad Abi Al-Aas Al-Tanukhi, the traveler bin Jaber bin Hassan Al-Wadi, and other Andalusian sheikhs, guardians and ministers .
And after years, Ibn Khatma will have a prominent scientific position, not only in Almería, but in all of Andalusia. He has a scientific council in the Great Mosque in Almería, and it was a reading council, in which different types of literature and language are dealt with, especially since he was a poet and authored many collections.
Ibn Khatama Al-Ansari won the respect of the general people of Almería and its elite for what he showed of his knowledge, abundance of knowledge, and good language, so he began the task of writing important contracts for the emirate, and writing about the governors in his country, and he was always the guest of honor in the capital of Andalusia, Granada, to meet its emir in the Alhambra Palace. He made friends with Granada scholars and ministers.
He has authored many books in literature, poetry and medicine, including “The Advantage of Almeria over Other Andalusian Countries”, “Attaining the Mind to Sensation in the Difference Between Sex and Sexology”, “The Dessert Scent in Minutes of Punishment”, and “Rehana from Blood and a Breath of Souls” It is a collection of poetry, then his book “Tahseel Objective Al-Qasid fi Detailing the Incoming Disease”, which he wrote after the outbreak of the plague in his native Almeria, and the great killing it caused among the people, so what is the story of this plague