By Anna Akasoy
Medieval History Journal, Vol.10, No.1-2 (2007)
Abstract: By comparing two natural disasters, earthquakes and epidemics, in particular the plague, this article tries to reconstruct general features of debates around disasters in medieval Islam. It points out several similarities such as the function as a punishment and warning in the early Islamic tradition, the apocalyptic dimension and the status of victims of both disasters as martyrs and comparisons with the problem of flight and desertion. Furthermore, there are conflicts between Islamic religion and Greek science, but in both cases the debates took place in separate bodies of literature. Apart from these common features there are also differences which can be partly explained by the natures of the phenomena and partly by specific developments in the debates around them.