Covid-19 and previous efforts to contend with pandemics provided the backdrop for a recent webinar organised by the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Hamad Al-Thani Centre for Muslim Contribution to Civilisation (CMCC) at the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
‘Pandemics and Protection: Reading of a Classical Muslim Text’ was based on Maaddat al-Baqa. Written by Mohamed ibn Ahmad al-Tamimi, a 10th-century Arab physician, this highly-influential historical text focuses on aspects of air quality and pollution. Maaddat al-Baqa also highlights the pioneering role of Muslim scholars in scientific research and discoveries, as well as how early Muslims confronted the challenges posed by epidemics. In doing so, al-Tamimi’s text represents one of the first scientific publications on pandemics.
The webinar was delivered by Dr Aisha Yousef al-Mannai, director of HBKU’s CMCC. Her lecture featured a reading and brief description of the text as well as insights into the types of precautionary measures early Muslims employed to prevent the proliferation of infectious diseases. She also fielded questions and further comments during an interactive segment with the online audience.
Speaking after the webinar, Dr al-Mannai said, “In keeping with previous events, this webinar reflected our enduring commitment to shaping intellectual debates on Islam. It was also an opportunity to emphasise the connections al-Tamimi made between quality of life and outbreaks of diseases. Just as now, healthcare professionals relied on medication and vaccines to tackle a variety of ailments. Maaddat al-Baqa serves as a timely reminder that our environment should also be factored into efforts to keep pandemics like Covid-19 in check.”
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