Ibn Battuta’s Travels
Over past decades explorers travelled to various parts of the world to satisfy their quest for adventure, gain more experiences and create an impact on people. Travelling enables a person to learn about history and understand the culture of different people. During the 14th century, explorers travelled with camels, horses and ships and some even by foot. However, in the modern world, the travel has changed due to new inventions and thus cutting the time of travel. There have been many notable explorers who learned and understood the universe geography. Some of these explorers include Ferdinand Megellan, Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Galileo and Ibn Battuta among others who made successful explorations. Ibn Battuta is regarded as a famous traveller of the 14th century who made various discoveries and travelled across the universe with broad ideas. He commenced his travels when he was just 20 years old, and his primary goal to move was to reach Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca, as a place where all good Muslims want to go before they die. Ibn travels were challenging as he had to travel for long distances, make new records and create an impact on the people he encountered with during his journey. This paper explores the implications of Battuta a Moroccan scholar and a traveller, in undertaking excursions, exploring the Islamic world and beyond and examining the discoveries based on his thoughts, experiences and diverse people and culture he interacted with during his travel.
It’s evident from the original recordings and observations that Battuta travelled across the universe based on the remarks for his travels which has a significant say on his deals about norms and culture. Ibn was a Moroccan scholar who pursued to travel across Africa and Asia. Throughout 1354 C.E, Ibn traversed Africa and Asia regions after visiting Pilgrimage to Mecca. His travels are documented based on the experiences he encountered in the different areas. Ibn wrote own thoughts, experiences, diverse people he interacted with, the norms and the customs of the places he visited and made a record of the places he visited. Throughout the travel, Ibn encountered cultures, and he developed interests in learning the cultures. Some cultural practices were foreign to Ibn, and this created a desire to explore more to understand cultural variations.
According to the documentation of Dr Mohamed, there is a lot of recording about Battuta travel under The great Arab traveller Ibn Battuta: A cultural chauvinist and impostor, ajournal which focuses on dialogues of Battuta. Dr Mohamed a journalist; focuses on the cultural and religious exchanges of Batutta which enhances exploration of experiences of the scholar during his travel. The journalist provides an argument that Batutta wasn’t only an armchair traveller but also a traveller who supported other explorations made by different travellers. Batutta is regarded as a person who possessed excellent skills in communications as well as inter-cultural exchanges with different people from different languages as well as cultures. This aspect enabled him to create a bridge that eliminated the cultural shame in the Muslim world. The recorded cultural dialogues indicate that Batutta was successful in creating a better understanding of inter-cultural biases as well as cultural insults among the Muslims and other religions. However, the journalist wonders on the embedded terms and knowledge of Batutta to different cultures. According to works of Ralf Elger The Wonders of the Orient, provides as systematic explorations of Batutta as well as the cultural scores attributed to his travel. Being a Moroccan didn’t hinder Batutta making discoveries that had a significant impact on the universe. Batutta denounced the then called racism which existed between the Chinese and the Russians. Batutta dismissed the allegations of “Christians with red hair and blue eyes who are ugly and brimming with faithlessness” made by the Chinese. Batutta argued that despite much good to be found from the Chinese, he couldn’t like the claims they made against the Christians, and he further evaluated the strange customs and norms which were used for the basis of discriminating against other religious groups. Batutta wrote “Then (…) it occurred to me that I should improve my knowledge of these countries. In doing so, I realized that there is nothing good about them”, to explain that discrimination against other religious groups showed undermining of human dignity.
Batutta travels were also based on own descriptions of rulers who had governed before his lifetime, as they showed numerous inconsistencies revealed by geographical details. The contradictions of the rulers made Batutta concentrate on methods to publicize correct Islamic culture image as well as promoting dialogues between the cultures, religions, and civilizations. Batutta worked towards spreading justice and peace values based on the principles of human rights and freedom and in accordance to the Islamic civilization. His works were based on encouraging cultural interactions as well as supporting diversity in states he visited to preserve the cultural identity for the Muslims.
The journey to Mecca creates a dramatization of the 5,000 miles that Batutta covered between 1325 and 1326 from hometown in Morocco to arrive at Mecca. According to Journey to Mecca recordings, Battuta was inspired by the 18 months pilgrimage journey despite encountering many obstacles such as an attack by the bandits, dehydration, and painful in retracing the routes. After the legendary joining the Damascus Caravan with many pilgrims to Mecca, Batutta completed his first leg of what could be his six successful travels to Mecca. Batutta arrived in Mecca as a transformed man. The film recorded by the Journey to Mecca creates an invitation to experience the Hajj at the era of Batutta and the first aerial view captured on the journey to Mecca enhance a clear way to look at Mecca as a sacred place.
During the times of travel, the pilgrims encountered many people and understood better the Islamic knowledge. Batutta being a scholar, he focused on teaching people about the Islamic religion. The travel of Batutta is documented from different places including Bijaya travel to the city of Tunis. Batutta continued with his trips to Alexandria in 1326 and stayed there for a couple of days. Thereafter, he left for Cairo and was impressed by the transformations on the people, and he believed that the city could be used as an excellent example for the Muslim society in upholding of the ‘Five Pillars of Islam.’ Batutta stayed for few months in Cairo before bounding for Mecca through Syria and Damascus. The Calvert book explores the discoveries made by Batutta during his travel to Mecca. According to Calvert, the arrival of Ibn to Jerusalem was marked by worst adversity. The place had lost its economic status, and this influenced Batutta making some considerations which could alleviate the condition. The travel through Jerusalem was crucial for Batutta as he participated in the reconstruction of Dome of Rock which was regarded as the third holiest place for Islam. The study further explores the contribution of Batutta in Damascus as he shared knowledge on Islam religion and described “Cave of Blood” a site where Cain murdered his brother. This makes Battuta earn several credentials due to his purpose in strengthening the Islam beliefs and prepared people to share those beliefs with others. In Mesopotamia Batutta met Sufi Muslims who sought God on experiences they had in music and poetry. Battuta honoured the Sufi traditions and also prayed for the deaths for many people had been invaded by the Mongols. Battuta also recognized the different ways of using the Quran for every decision that rules made.
According to Waines, the study focuses on the adventure tales of Batutta. The research focuses on examining the travel of Batutta to India where he discovered the inaccessible mountains which were inhabited by the Hindus infidels who were under Muslim rule. The other inhibitors were the rebels who were perceived as the outcasts banished from Muslims. Once more, Battuta brought up a woman who he observes to be “richly dressed” and was followed by infidels and Muslims. Batutta was amused by the women having social status and wealth which was against the Muslim teachings as the women were perceived as subordinates of men. After further explorations, Batutta discovered of the death rituals that were rather interesting and seemed to be intrigued by the practices. Also, Batutta was interested in the death ritual of the Indians which includes the burning of the body into ashes. The trip to India proved to be the most disturbing chapter for the Battuta odyssey as the Hindu rebel’s harassed Batutta group when travelling to the Indian coast. Battuta was also robbed and kidnapped, and this created a string of disasters that he encountered. Undoubtedly, Batutta theological grounding inspired opening of many spiritual opportunities to unite the adventurous and spiritual aspects of personality. Indeed his journey was based on religious purpose as he sought to complete the pillars of Islam which are obligatory to Mecca pilgrimage.
Batutta travel is supported by the Quran which encourages people to travel and see wonders and Gods signs at every corner of the universe. “And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” He observed people living in worship, and yet they sought to show dervishes to Muslims. Also, he observed the hypocrisy of different groups such as the Indians who couldn’t establish relationships with Muslims and they never gave food and drinks to Muslims. For the Turks, Batutta observed that they could leave their stock grazing as the strict rules prohibited theft, and in situations where someone was caught stealing he could be forced to restore the items with addition. This discovery enabled Batutta to understand the need for the law among the people. According to Batutta, the customs and laws could be used to uphold morality among the people and thus fostering better relations among people. According to Davidson work Chronicle from Antiquity to Modern Times, it further supports the experiences and discoveries of Battuta. According to this source, its emphasis on the minor injustice acts which are found among the people and which abhor injustices. Batutta is regarded as a person who was enthusiastic to learn the Quran it was the source of spiritual knowledge.
In conclusion, Batutta was a Muslim who travelled across the world in his lifetime. He visited many places such as India, China, Mali, Egypt, Damascus, and Syria. His travels had great experiences in different cultures and made various discoveries. The sources used supports the arguments articulated on the Batutta travel. The primary sources are based on the interviews and the recordings of Batutta particularly The Journey to Mecca which records Batutta travel and explorations. Also, the secondary sources which are based on the studies conducted to explore the interactions of Batutta with various diverse communities and how he used his knowledge to teach on the Islam beliefs.
Battuta, Ibn. The Travels of Ibn Battuta: In the Near East, Asia and Africa, 1325-1354. Courier Corporation, 2013.
Batuta, Ibn. The Travels of Ibn Battutah. Vol. 84. Pan Macmillan, 2003.
Calvert, John. “Ibn Battuta, Muhammad ibn Abdullah.” In Dictionary of African Biography,
edited by Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2012.
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. “Ibn Baṭṭūṭah, Abū Abd Allāh Muḥammad.” In The Oxford
Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Vol. 2. Edited by John L. Esposito. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Waines, David. The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer. London: I.B. Tauris, 2012.
- Ibn Battuta, The Travels of Ibn Battuta: In the Near East, Asia and Africa, 1325-1354, (Courier Corporation, 2013), 1-20.
 Battuta, The Travels of Ibn Battuta: In the Near East, Asia and Africa, 1325-1354, 50-120.
 Tim Mackintosh-Smith, “Ibn Baṭṭūṭah, Abū Abd Allāh Muḥammad.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Vol. 2. Edited by John L. Esposito, (Oxford: Oxford: University Press, 2009). 1-6.
 John Calvert, “Ibn Battuta, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah,” In Dictionary of African Biography,
edited by Emmanuel K. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 1-4.
 Calvert, “Ibn Battuta, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah,” In Dictionary of African Biography, 1-9.
 Calvert, “Ibn Battuta, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah,” In Dictionary of African Biography, 1-4.
 Calvert, “Ibn Battuta, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah,” In Dictionary of African Biography, 1-4.
.David Waines, The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012), 1-60.
 Ibn Batuta, The Travels of Ibn Battutah, Vol. 84, (Pan Macmillan, 2003), 20-30.
 Quran 30:22.