Islamic World

History of water supply, sanitation and drainage.
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Islamic World
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Personal hygiene and sanitation are very important within Islam and the Islamic hygienical jurisprudence, from the 7th century, features some complicated rules. Bathhouses were built across the Islamic world to ensure that the rules are correctly followed. The hygienical jurisprudence states that Taharah (ritual purity) consists of wudu (washing oneself) for the five daily prayers (salah) alongside regularly bathing (performing ghusl.) These bathhouses were also required as Islamic toilet etiquette states that washing must occur after using the lavatory to ensure purity and to minimise germs and bacteria.

The capital city of the Abbasid Caliphate (8th-13th centuries,) Baghdad, contained a sewer system and over 65,000 baths. Islamic cities in the medieval era had hydraulic technology that powered water supplies and supplied large amounts of water for washing and drinking, mainly for mosques and baths. Arabic writers visited these cities and wrote travel guides about the various different bathing premises. These medieval Islamic cities also contained advanced waste disposal systems and had intertwined networks of sewers for this. One of these cities, Fustat, also contained large buildings with multiple floors, flushable toilets and ducts, which transported waste to tunnels which were below ground.

The Extraction of Hidden Waters, by Al-Karaji (c. 953-1029,) presented revolutionary ideas about hydrological and hydrogeological perceptions like pieces of the hydrological cycle, the quality of groundwater and influential factors of the flow of groundwater. This book also contained a primary account of an early filtration system for clean water.

Avicenna (Ibn Sina) first suggested a fundamental version of contagion theory during medieval times in the Islamic world in his book The Canon of Medicine in 1025. This was the most reliable medical book of the Middle Ages and featured the idea that diseases can be transferred from person to person through dirt and water. This idea was later largely accepted by Islamic scholars and was referred to as najasat which meant impure substances. Ibn al-Haj al-Abdari (c. 1250-1336,) a fiqh scholar, later provided advice on how diseases and illnesses could spread through water, food and garments through contamination.

Medieval Europe