Christian and Muslim Views on the 14th Century Plague, Known as Black Death

Christian and Muslim Views on the 14th Century Plague, Known as Black Death

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The infamous plague, known as the Black Death, was a deadly disease which managed to spread throughout Europe and the Middle East in the 14th century. Although both the Europeans and the Empires of Islam experienced the Black Death, each region had different responses and reasons for the causes of the disease. Empires of Islam viewed the plague as a blessing from God while Europeans believed it was a punishment from Him. As a result of the Black Death, Europeans rebelled whereas Empires of Islam respected authority. Europeans used other religions as an explanation for the start of the Black Death while Islamic empires did not blame other religions, but rather had other explanations that caused the disease.
The Black Death was God’s blessing from Muslims’ point of view, but from the perspective of Europeans, the plague was said to be a punishment from Him. Empires of Islam saw this deadly illness as a gift from God. Muhammad al-Manbiji, an Islamic scholar, believed praying to extinguish the plague was unnecessary due to the belief it was a gift from God (Document 4). Although Muslims were aware the Black Death was a deadly plague which greatly decreased the population (Documents 2, 3), they responded peacefully. Rather than looking at the plague as life-threatening, Muslims viewed the disease as a blessing sent from God. Europeans viewed the Black Death as a punishment for the sins of all Christians. Gabriele de Mussis, a Christian Piacenzan chronicler, implied that the plague appeared due to the sins of Christians (Document 4). Christians blamed themselves and believed they were deserving of the plague. This made Europeans seem like they were the ones responsible for the entire plague itself. The Empires of Islam and the Europea...

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...ble ways to prevent getting the disease. As the seriousness of the Black Death progressed, Europeans became angry, blaming Jews for causing the illness, and acted upon it by burning them. The empires of Islam tried to figure out the causes and ways to prevent the plague from spreading.
Both Europeans and Islamic empires experienced the Black Death. However, regions affected by the disease reacted in various ways and differed in reasons for the cause of the disease. Muslims were peaceful, accepted the Black Death as a blessing from God, and were proactive in suggesting causes of the disease. In contrast, Europeans blamed and burned Jews for the plague, rebelled against authority, and saw the illness as a punishment for sins. Even though Christians and Muslims believe in the same God, the responses and actions of both regions toward the Black Death differed immensely.

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