What did the companions do at times of quarantine?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet (pbuh) ordered the Companions, his ummah and all humanity “not to go to a place if they hear of an outbreak of plague there and not to leave a place if plague breaks out there”. (Bukhari, Tibb, 30; Muslim, Salam, 92)

The Messenger of Allah asked people to keep away from leprous people (Bukhari, Tibb, 19); when he heard that there was a leprous person in the delegation coming from Thaqif to Madinah to pay allegiance to him, he wanted that person to return and stated that his allegiance was accepted. (Muslim, Salam, 126; Ibn Majah, Tibb, 44)

The Prophet (pbuh) also stated that animals with diseases should be separated from healthy animals. (Muslim, Salam, 104-105; Abu Dawud, Tibb, 24)

We have not found any information about an epidemic in the places where the Prophet (pbuh) lived when he was alive.

However, an epidemic called shireveyh broke out in Madain, the capital city of Sassanids in 627, when the Prophet (pbuh) was alive.  

The Period of the Companions:

When Hz. Umar, who set off for Syria, was informed that there was a plague epidemic in the region, he returned. (Bukhari, Tibb, 30; Muslim, Salam, 98; Tabari, Tarikh, IV, 57-58)

The plague epidemic called Amwas broke out in 639 affected the activities of the Muslims in Syria seriously. During the plague in which more than 20 thousand people died, notable Companions like Abu Ubayda b. Jarrah and Muadh b. Jabal died. A drastic famine occurred the same year.

A plague broke out in Kufa in 670. Mughira b. Shu’ba left Kufa so as not to be affected from the plague. He returned after the effect of the epidemic died away but he was infected and died.

The plague that broke out in Egypt in 685 caused the death of many people. 

Two years later, in 687, during the caliphate of Abdullah b. Zubayr, a drastic plague broke out in Basra. It was given the name the Jarif Plague, by being likened to flood’s dragging everything it comes across since it caused the death of many people. 

It is narrated that 80 people among the children and descendants of Anas b. Malik living in Basra died during this plague. The number may have been exaggerated but the narrations show how drastic the plague was. 

The effect of the plague that broke out in Damascus in 698 was also strong and caused the death of almost all people in the region.   

The Fatayat Plague, which broke out in 706, affected Basra, Wasit and Damascus. The reason why it was called Fatayat was the fact that it affected girls and women first.

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