To touch a leper was forbidden, and the offence involved ceremonial defilement.
With the advance of the Saracens the knights of St Lazarus, when driven from the Holy Land and Egypt, migrated to France (1291) and Naples (1311), where they founded leper hospitals.
There is little leprosy in the peninsula, but there is a leper hospital near Penang on Pula Deraja and another on an island on the west coast for the reception of lepers from the Federated Malay States.
In like manner in the purification of lepers two birds were used; the throat of one was cut, the living bird dipped in the blood mingled with water and the leper sprinkled; then the bird was set free to carry away the leprosy.
Nureddin only left a minor in his place: Amalric, who died in the same year, left a son (Baldwin IV.) who was not only a minor but also a leper; and thus the stage seemed cleared for Saladin.