Since the outbreak of COVID-19, everyone is talking about social distancing, its history, and who invented or first suggested quarantine.
The online searches for the word “quarantine” have increased 10,000 percent during the last few months. Whether it is the health experts, media, or politicians, quarantine is the number one recommendation and the effective way of curbing the infection rate of quarantine.
But is the “quarantine” a new phenomenon, and do you know who was the first who invented the idea?
If you look up at the definition of the word “quarantine,” it is “a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to an infectious or contagious disease are placed.”
Traditionally, the concept of the quarantine has been used for Biblical times, but there is a general consensus that the man who popularized the term is a Muslim polymath, Ibn Sina.
Avicenna, Father of Quarantine
Also referred to as Avicenna in the west, Ibn Sina is one of the most shining stars ever shone on the horizon of the Muslim world during its over 1400-year-old history.
Born in 980 AD., Ibn Sina, like many of his contemporary scholars, was a mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, physician, thinker, and prolific writer of the golden Islamic age.
By the age of 14, Ibn Sina practiced and learned about medicine. Although he learned a lot about law and natural sciences, his major talent was in medicine. By 20, he was one of the wisest people of his time.
He argued for the use of quarantine in his most celebrated work, the Canon of Medicine, which was published in 1025 AD. Many believe Ibn Sina as the father of quarantine.
The Muslim scholar had expounded the theory that infection spreads through the small particles invisible to the naked eye. The theory was proven centuries later after the invention of the microscope in the 17th century.
A visionary way beyond his time, Ibn Sina came up with the concept of “ARBA’INIYA”, which in Arabic means 40-days, an isolation method to stop the spread of the infection.
In the mid-1330s, when the black death ravaged the world, all crew docking in Venice needed to stay on board for 40 days before coming to the land. The Venetians would call it “Quarantina”. That is how the condition got its existing name.
Ibn Sina’s work resonated both in the eastern and the western world. His book “Canon” was translated in Latin in Spain during the 12th century. Then the University of Bologna, the oldest university of Europe, adopted his book as the base of their medical studies.
So, during the 13th and 17th centuries, Avicenna’s encyclopedia became the foundation of the western education system.
Avicenna is considered as the father of medicine. His work was mainly focused on the prevention of the diseases rather than the treatment.
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