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And a branch or two (21/06/22 11:23:20)
    "The miasmal theory of plague was congenial to Moslem theology which held that the disease is a martyrdom, a mercy from God for a Moslem, and a punishment for an infidel. It followed that a Moslem should neither enter nor flee from a plague-stricken place, and that there was no contagion. Orthodox Islamic medical thought accepted the premise and the reasoning from it."

    "The Muqni'at provides a clear clinical description of the plague, explaining (as one would expect) the clinical features of the disease, especially predisposition to it, in terms of the prevailing humoral theories of the era. Ibn al-Khatib distinguished between the bubonic and pneumonic forms of the infection and recommended a number of measures for prophylaxis and treatment, none of which differs materially from those advised by other late medieval writers. What distinguishes his treatise is his emphasis on contagion (cil-adwa). "

    "How did Ibn al-Khatib reconcile his idea that plague was transmissible with the orthodox view, the revealed work (ash-har'), that plague was not contagious? He replied: "That infection exists is confirmed by experience, investigation, insight, personal observation,8 and reliable reports. These are the elements of proof." He was confident that received doctrine could be refuted by empirical observations if they were carefully made and confirmed by their recurrence and by independent observers. But he was experienced enough a diplomat and dialectician to anticipate the form rebuttal from strict constructionists would take. He continued: "One may not ignore the principle that a proof taken from tradition (Hadith laadwa), if observation and inspection show the contrary, must be interpreted allegorically." To the fundamentalist mind, allegorical interpretation of what it perceives as literal truth is anathema. To the orthodox mind, applying the test of reason to faith is likewise anathema. In an authoritarian-fundamentalist society that is enough for a charge of heresy.

    Precisely why Ibn al-Khatib was secretly strangled in a Granada prison cell in 1375 is not known, but the charge of heresy was probably supplemented by charges of malfeasance in office. "


    So rationality was impossible in this system. It became possible in western Europe - through long struggles with many participants against the stifling totalitarianism of the church - which finally collapsed. Totalitarianism was not eradicated; what we see these days, are strong attempt at re-establishing the evil totalitarian empires.

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And a branch or two