The concept of quarantine has been mentioned in Islamic traditions. There are questions from Ahl al-Bayt (a) about some details, such as leaving and escaping from a place of a disease or a place in which a disease has spread. According to hadiths, before the spread of a disease in an area, people should escape that area; however, after that infection of that place, it is forbidden to leave it. In a hadith, the Prophet (s) has been quoted that the reward of the one who does not leave a place in the time of an outbreak of a disease is like the reward of a martyr.
Quarantine in Islamic History
The concept of quarantine has been mentioned in Islamic traditions, and its necessity has been emphasized. There are hadiths about leaving the place of disease or leaving the place where the disease has spread. This indicates that the idea of quarantine and the isolation of an area where a disease has spread was acknowledged.
There are historical reports that when the plague had spread in the Levant, ‘Umar refused to go there reminding his companions of a saying of the Prophet (s): “if plague struck a city and you are in that city, do not leave the city and if it struck a city and you are out of the city, do not enter it.” After mentioning this report, Shahid Muttahari explains that there was no quarantine at that time; however, residents of a city would not leave the city for the safety of others. In other words, he meant that there was no personal or collective quarantine at that time, although the quarantine of a whole city is clearly reflected in historical accounts.
According to hadiths, one should flee a neighborhood in which the disease has not yet spread. However, if a contagious disease has already spread in that area, hadiths do not allow people to leave it. According to a hadith, “when the plague spreads among the people of a mosque, they have no right to go to other communities.” In this hadith, the mosque is introduced as a symbol and an axis of a neighborhood; thus, it means that if a disease has spread among the people of a neighborhood, they should not leave the neighborhood and consequently spread the disease.
In another hadith, “Ali b. Ja’far asked his brother, Imam al-Kazim (a), whether it is right for a person to run away from cholera during an outbreak in an area. Imam answered, ‘he should flee if it had not spread in the mosque in which he performs his prayers. But if it has already spread among the people of that mosque, it is not right for him to flee.”
Reward for Staying in Quarantine
It has been narrated from the Prophet (s), “if a plague breaks out and one stays in his city and exercises patience for the sake of God and believes that nothing will happen to him except what God has predestined for him, God will provide such a person with a martyr’s reward.” In this hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (s) encourages people not to leave the city after an outbreak of disease by announcing the reward of staying in the city.
- This article is mainly taken from "قرنطینه در روایات" on Persian Wikipasokh.