Syed Rizwan Abbas1 and Syed Imran Abbas2 [PDF]
1Department of Biological Sciences; Hunza Campus; Karakorum International University; Gilgit.
2Laparoscopic Obesity & Diabetic Surgeon, Dubai, UAE.
Ibn Sina [Avicenna] the Scientist Responsible for Quarantine. Did you know that the Persian scholar of medicine, Ibn Sina (980-1037) suspected that some diseases were spread by microorganisms? To prevent human-to-human contamination, he came up with the method of isolating people for 40 days. He called this method al-Arba’iniya (“the forty”).
Traders from Venice heard of his successful method and took this knowledge back to Italy. They called it “quarantena” (“the forty” in Italian). This is where the word “quarantine” comes from. The origin of the methods currently being used in much of the world to fight pandemics have their origins in the Islamic world.
Allah says in the Quran: “Who saves one human life, it is as if he has saved all mankind” (5:32). Even today Ibn Sina’s method saves thousands, perhaps millions, of lives. Ma sha Allah, that is another legacy filled with barakah!
Note: Ibn Sina’s full name was Abu Ali Al-Hussein Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina.
In the west he is also known by the Latin version of his name is Avicenna.
It is quite impressive that this definition is almost the same definition we use today for infections and more importantly that Ibn Sina hypothesized on the existence of microorganisms. Ibn Sina went even further to hypothesize that microbial diseases (e.g. tuberculosis) could be contagious and that those who are infected should be quarantined. Let’s briefly review the discovery of microorganisms and be further astonished with the intuition and vision of the “Father of Early Modern Medicine,” Ibn Sina (Colgan, 2009). In the seventeenth century, nearly seven centuries after Ibn Sina, the Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek (also referred to as the “Father of Microbiology”) observed microorganisms under a microscope (Robertson et al., 2016). With his fundamental discovery, he showed that there were living organisms that were not visible to the naked eye. What van Leeuwenhoek did not realize was that these microorganisms (e.g. pathogen: a disease causing microbe) could actually be the cause of infections.
Ibn Sina was born in 980 in the village of Afshana near Bukhara, Uzbekistan (previously known as Khorasan) to a local governor named Abdullah, from Balkh, and his wife Setareh, a local from Afshana. Thanks to his father’s position as a governor as well as his background as a scholar, Ibn Sina had access to an excellent education in Bukhara, which at the time was the capital and intellectual center of the Samanids. Ibn Sina was taught by some of the most famous scholars of the time in the sciences and in Islamic theology.
- The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence (Brooks et al., 2020).
- Isolation, quarantine, social distancing and community containment: pivotal role for old-style public health measures in the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak (Wilder-Smith & Freedman, 2020).
- Estimating the asymptomatic proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Yokohama, Japan, 2020 (Mizumoto, Kagaya, Zarebski, & Chowell, 2020).
- Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study (Wu, Leung, & Leung, 2020).
- Incubation period of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infections among travellers from Wuhan, China, 20–28 January 2020 (Backer, Klinkenberg, & Wallinga, 2020).
These studies showed why Muslims were powerful in those days. All because of latest knowledge and research in all type fields. People came to Muslims scholars and put their problems and got solutions from our legacy. So, time is change and we are just waiting for someone’s for the solutions. We should come forward and take over the real path which we have lost.
Backer, J. A., Klinkenberg, D., & Wallinga, J. (2020). Incubation period of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infections among travellers from Wuhan, China, 20–28 January 2020. Eurosurveillance, 25(5).
Brooks, S. K., Webster, R. K., Smith, L. E., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., & Rubin, G. J. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet.
Colgan, R. (2009). Advice to the young physician: on the art of medicine: Springer Science & Business Media.
Mizumoto, K., Kagaya, K., Zarebski, A., & Chowell, G. (2020). Estimating the asymptomatic proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Yokohama, Japan, 2020. Eurosurveillance, 25(10).
Robertson, L., Backer, J., Biemans, C., van Doorn, J., Krab, K., & Reijnders, W. (2016). Antoni van Leeuwenhoek: Master of the Minuscule: Brill.
Wilder-Smith, A., & Freedman, D. (2020). Isolation, quarantine, social distancing and community containment: pivotal role for old-style public health measures in the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Journal of travel medicine, 27(2), taaa020.
Wu, J. T., Leung, K., & Leung, G. M. (2020). Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study. The Lancet, 395(10225), 689-697.