The Black Death itself caused more than 30 percent of the population in Europe and the Middle East to die (Doc. 2). It was described as the end of the world when people died by the hundreds each day (Doc. 3). The plague presented itself to Europe in 1348 and to Muslim lands during 1348 and 1349 (Doc.1). This contagious epidemic caused its victims to die within three days (Doc. 3). The symptoms of the disease included swelling beneath armpits and the spitting of blood. Yet, the responses of Christians and Muslims were different even though the same disease hit them. By looking at what the Christians and Muslims thought the causes of the Black Death were, the differences of the Christian and Muslim response to the plague, and the similarities of how the two religions reacted, this paper will show how Muslims and Christians responded in a different way because of their thoughts and actions to the epidemic that ended the lives of many. Muslims and Christians thought differently in some ways, but similar in others as to who or what cause the Black Death. First, the Muslims and Christians both thought God caused the plague (Doc. 4). However, Muslims acted as if it was a blessing from God and that prayer was negative. Christians thought that it was the punishment of their sins.
This shows that the Muslims and Christians were similar in that they both thought God caused it, but Muslims thought it was a blessing, while Christians thought it was a punishment. Second, the Christians did not only blame God, they also accused the Jews of poisoning their wells. The Christians brutally burned them all to death (Doc. 7). The Muslims did not blame the Jews, but instead kept their accusations that God brought the plague onto them. This shows that the responses are different because the Muslims only blamed God, while the Christians blamed the Jews as well as God. In addition, the Christians thought and prevented the plague mostly different than how the Muslims thought what caused it and how they prevented it in terms of non-religious explanations and solutions. The causes the Christians thought caused the Black Death include the conjunction of planets and excessive clothing, while the Muslims thought there was an abundance of shooting stars, warm ovens, and demons that caused the plague. However, they both thought that the plague was caused by impure air.
This shows that the Christians and the Muslims thought more differently than similarly about what caused the plague. The causes Muslims and Christians thought caused the plague were more different than similar, but how different were their responses to this epidemic? The reactions of the Christians and Muslims were different in many ways. To begin with, the Christians rebelled against their religion and authority. They gave in to greed and evil when the plague caused so many deaths (Doc. 6). Instead, the Muslims carried their holy books and started praying and weeping to God for his mercy on them. The Muslims all stood steadfast and did not give up their religion because of the disease (Doc. 9). This shows how different the Muslims and Christians are because the Christians rebelled, while the Muslims held on to their religion. Next, the Christians burned and killed the Jews because they thought the Jews were responsible for the plague (Doc. 7). But in Muslim lands, the Jews prayed peacefully alongside Muslims. The Muslims, unlike the Christians, did not persecute the Jews or other minorities (Doc. 9). This shows the many differences of their responses because Muslims did not kill any Jews, but Christians tried to kill them all. The Christians and Muslims also tried to prevent the plague in different ways. Christians placed wax cloth over their windows, filled their houses with flowers, avoided sleeping on their back, and breathed in latrine vapors. Muslims stayed indoors, used letter magic, avoided sad talk, and consumed pickled onions, pumpkin seeds, and sour juices (Doc. 5). This shows how differently the Muslims and Christians responded to the plague because they tried to prevent the plague in very different ways.
Though the Christian and Muslims reacted in more different ways than how they reacted similarly, they still were a little alike in their actions to the Black Death. Even though the Christians and Muslims responded differently, they also were similar in some few ways. Similarly, they both built fires to purify the contaminated air and drank liquefied clay as a cure and prevention for the Black Death (Doc. 5). This shows that Muslims and Christians reacted more differently than alike because they only had two things in common as a prevention for the plague, but there are way more differences as to how they reacted to prevent the plague. Next, the Christian and Muslims both prayed to God for his mercy in Damascus (Doc. 9). This shows that the Christian and Muslims responded similarly by asking God for his mercy, but the responses of Christians away from Damascus was rebellion instead of prayer. Therefore, the majority of the responses of Christian and Muslims were more different than they were alike.
Although Christians and Muslims were similar in their responses, they were still more different that they were similar. The Black Death was such a big phenomenon that it drastically affected the lives of Christians and Muslims in different ways. The Christians and Muslims knew so little about a disease that they did not know how to cure it. The Black Death still lingers around, but it does not cause nearly so many deaths as it did before because we know a lot more about how it happens and how to prevent and cure it. The Black Death is important because it killed the most people in one strike than any other plague.