Traveling leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. This is the quote by Ibn Battuta that has proven to be true in his very own case. Ibn Battuta was a Muslim traveler in the 14th century who explored the world and told people about the Islamic world at that time. It is said that traveling is the best way to broaden knowledge. Ibn Battuta was also one of those curious minds who traveled across the world to know the unknown. Let’s know more about the history’s greatest traveler Ibn Battuta.
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta:
When it comes to the world’s famous travelers, everyone knows Marco Polo. He was a Venetian trader who started traveling with the family for trading. You might have heard the name of Christopher Columbus, the person who discovered America. Both were history’s greatest traveler, and almost everyone knows much about them.
But do you know about the greatest Muslim traveler of the fourteenth century? He was the one who traveled more than Polo. Ibn Battuta was indeed one of the greatest Muslim travelers in the history who covered almost 75000 miles at that time.
Ibn Battuta was born to a family of legal scholars in 1304 in Tangier, the part of modern Morocco. He studied Islamic law to become a judge. Ibn Battuta wanted to study more and about Islamic laws and jurisdiction. He had a passion for traveling since he was a child. So at the age of 21, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta decided to set off from Tangier and headed towards Mecca to perform Hajj. It was just the beginning of a journey that took him 30 years to return.
The interesting journey of Ibn Battuta:
When Ibn Battuta left his home, he was very young and had no money. But it could not stop him from pursuing his passion for traveling across the world. He traveled across the entire Islamic regions of Asia, Africa, and Southeastern Europe.
When he first began traveling his destiny was Mecca where he wanted to perform Hajj. Hajj/Pilgrimage is a religious obligation for Muslims, and they go to Mecca from all over the world to perform the rituals. Ibn Battuta reached Mecca after probably fifteen months. During these months Ibn Battuta married a woman and visited a few lands. After performing Hajj, he decided to travel and explore the world.
Ibn Battuta’s thirst for knowledge led him to Persia, Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan, and North Africa. He also visited Southeast Asia and India. In fact, he stayed in India for almost eight years. During his stopover in India, he was appointed as a Qadi/judge by Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq.
It may seem quite boring to you that he only traveled traveled and traveled. But the fact is he visited many places and met many people during his traveling. His journey was like a rollercoaster ride. He was many ups and downs in his life. There were the times when he had no money or belongings. He met many dangers and faced many challenges during his traveling journey. Ibn Battuta was robbed and shipwrecked too. So, it was quite an exciting journey that continued for three decades.
How the world today knows about him?
As a matter of fact, most people do not know much about Ibn Battuta. Unlike Marco Polo, he is not that famous even though he traveled more than Polo. However, the world now knows about him and his expeditions. All the information about Ibn Battuta that is available today comes from his book “Rihla.” When he came back after spending thirty years in traveling, he was asked to write about his travels.
So Ibn Battuta narrated his wandering experience to Ibn Juzayy (a fellow scholar) who wrote down everything. All the credit goes to Battuta, who wrote about his journey in the book and told today’s world about the abode of Islam at that time.
Ibn Battuta is indeed the world’s greatest Muslim traveler who started exploring the world at a very young age. He was all alone when he first left for Mecca. Ibn Battuta joined caravans many times while traveling. He met with the locals and learned about their traditions and culture. He received gifts and valuables from the rulers of the states he visited.
Why Ibn Battuta left his home? He had a passion for traveling when he was too young. Also, he wanted to perform Hajj as he was raised into a religious family. So, his lofty ambitions led him to an exhilarating journey.
Today the world celebrates the expeditions of the world’s greatest traveler. In Dubai, Ibn Battuta festival is celebrated to let the world know about the explorer of the 14th century and the challenges he faced while traveling.