An Analysis of Islamic and Christian Views of the Black Death
The Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, was a 14th century pandemic that caused widespread discord and eradication of mankind. In response to this cataclysmic event, humanity turned towards religion and magic for explanations, prevention, and remedies. Two of the prevalent religious groups, Christianity and Islam, had dissimilar views on whether this outbreak was a curse or blessing, but nonetheless, acknowledged that it was a potent disaster that left sickness and death in its course.
In youth, many individuals are able to recall the popular chant “ring around the rosie”, but its origins are far less innocent. They are the tale tell signs and customs of the bubonic plague. “Ring around the rosie” may refer to maladies such as a ring on the skin that would come with red blotches. Other side effects included characteristics such as:
“The emergence of certain tumors in the groin or the armpits, some of which grew as large as a common apple, others as an egg, some more, some less, which the common folk called gavoccioli. …[It] soon began to propagate and spread itself in all directions indifferently; after which the form of the malady began to change, black spots or livid making their appearance in many cases on the arm or the thigh or elsewhere, now few and large, then minute and numerous”
The next line, “pocket full of posies”, refers to the admonition of flowers and spices in one’s pockets raise to their noses when walking outside “because the air seemed be everywhere laden and reeking with the stench emitted by the dead and the dying, and the odours of drugs.” Regrettably, “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down” is rather...
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...uslims used methods of magic and meditation as treatment. Such methods included the use of amulets and cryptogramming of the Qur’an’s verses. The interpretation of numbers, contemplation of text, and meditation, they claimed, helped them understand the world and assisted in guiding their focus spiritually toward that of the divine
In a sense, the Black Death made people more aware of death. Acknowledged as an act of God, some people retreated to themselves and their possessions, but most made the best of their lives with acts of altruism. All things considered, it made humanity more mindful of their mortality, and brought them together through apocalyptic devastation and fear. Although Muslims and Christians had different views of its causes and remedies, most everyone experienced a sense of loss and vulnerability in the wake of a traumatic and pervasive disease.
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