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Catalogue: Plague Tracts

Blue arrow pointing to the right A Note on Plague Tracts

Islamic plague tracts also had as their primary focus the collecting and interpreting of various hadith, or traditions regarding the Prophet, that were considered relevant to the concepts of contagion and transmissibility of disease and the proper reaction to such occurrences. Plague tracts also attempted medical explanations and remedies for plague (ta‘un or waba’ in Arabic), and sometimes a history of plagues up to the time of composition.

For plague tracts and theories of contagion, see M. Ullmann, Islamic Medicine [Islamic Survery 11] (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1978), pp. 86-96; M. Dols, The Black Death in the Middle East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977); L. I. Conrad, 'Epidemic disease in formal and popular thought in early Islamic society', in Epidemics and Ideas: Ideas in the historical perception of pestilence, ed. T. Ranger and P. Slack (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 77-99; L. I. Conrad, 'Ta'un and waba': Conceptions of plague and pestilence in early Islam', Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, vol. 25 (1982), pp. 268-307; and L. I. Conrad, 'Arabic Plague Chronologies and Treatises: Social and historical factors in the formation of a literary genre', Studia Islamica, vol. 44 (1981), pp. 51-93.

The National Library of Medicine has in its collections only two plague treatises: a popular one by āshköprüzāde (d. 1560/968) and another by Muammad ibn Muammad ibn al-aāb (d. 1547/954). NLM has the only recorded copy of Muammad ibn Muammad ibn al-aāb's treatise, made during the author's lifetime and possibly in his own hand.

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