IBN BATTUTA…………………………………….

……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD

Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta Islamic scholar/Explorer Medieval era

Full name Born Died

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta February, 1304 Tangier, Morocco 1368 or 1369 Morocco

School/tradition Sunni Maliki

Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368 or 1369) was a Moroccan Muslim Berber scholar and traveler who are known for the account of his travels and excursions called the Rihla (Voyage). His journeys lasted for a period of nearly thirty years and covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond, extending from North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo.

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As there was always a risk of being attacked. Béjaïa and then to Tunis where he stayed for two months. he arrived to the port of Alexandria. Within Mamluk territory. where he stayed for about a month. when he was twenty one years old.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. and followed the North African coast crossing the sultanates of Abd al-Wadid and Hafsid. In Sfax. United Arab Emirates All that is known about Ibn Battuta's life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels.500 kms (2. Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown on a hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.000 miles). His journey to Mecca was by land. a journey that would take 16 months. travelling was relatively safe and he embarked on the first of his many detours. As a young man he would have studied the Sunni Maliki "school" of Muslim law which was dominant in North Africa at the time. on February 25. Ibn Battuta got married for the first of several occasions on his journeys. and Ibn Battuta chose the least-travelled: a journey up the Nile. but he would not see Morocco again for 24 years. Morocco. In the early spring of 1326. then part of the Bahri Mamluk Empire. 1304 during the time of the Merinid dynasty. he usually chose to travel as part of a caravan. He spent several weeks visiting the sites and then headed inland to Cairo. then east by land to the Red Sea port of 2 . Ibn Battuta was born into a family of Muslim legal scholars in Tangier. after a journey of over 3. His route passed through Tlemcen. Three commonly used routes existed to Mecca. In June 1325. a large important city and capital of the Mamluk kingdom.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Early life and his first Hajj An interactive display about Ibn Battuta in Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai.

and Bethlehem.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. now faced his return home. having encountered a holy man during his first trip who prophesied that Ibn Battuta would only reach Mecca after a journey through Syria. After spending the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Aydhab. After four days. Jerusalem. upon approaching the town he was forced to turn back due to a local rebellion. burial place of Islamic Prophet Muhammad. and having graduated to the status of al-Hajji as a result. There he completed the usual rituals of a Muslim pilgrim. His next destination was the Ilkhanate in modern-day Iraq and Iran. Returning to Cairo. for example—and the Mamluk authorities put special effort into keeping the journey safe for pilgrims. However.500 kms (800 miles) from Damascus to Medina. he journeyed on to Mecca. Ibn Battuta joined up with a caravan traveling the 1. he decided to continue journeying instead. Iraq and Persia 3 . to Damascus (then controlled by the Mamluks). Upon reflection. An additional advantage to the side journey was that other holy places were along the route— Hebron. he took a second side trip.

Ibn Battuta joined a large caravan of pilgrims returning across the Arabian Peninsula to Mesopotamia. At this point. Ibn Battuta travelled with the royal caravan for a while. the fourth Caliph and son-in-law of the prophet. both in modern Turkey. Parts of the city were in ruins as it had been heavily damaged by the army of Hulagu Khan. visiting Mosul. a large flourishing city which had been spared the destruction wrought by the Mongol invasion on many more northerly towns. It had been the first major city in the region to open its gates to the Mongols and had become an important trading centre after most of its nearby rivals were razed. Ibn Battuta was ill with diarrhea on this crossing and arrived back in Mecca weak and exhausted for his second hajj. Finally. and then turned north to Tabriz on the Silk Road.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD On 17 November 1326. probably in July. then Cizre and Mardin. The caravan first went north to Medina and then. In al-Najaf he visited the mausoleum of Ali ibn Abi Talib. From al-Najaf he journeyed to Wasit and then south following the Tigris to Basra. he took an excursion northwards following the Tigris. Ibn Battuta started a 6 month detour that took him into Persia. From there he headed south to Shiraz.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. East Africa 4 . a site venerated by all Muslims but particularly the Shi’a community. after a month in Mecca. On returning again to Baghdad. travelling at night. headed northeastwards across the Nejd plateau to al-Najaf. he headed back across the mountains to Baghdad arriving there in June 1327. His next destination was the town of Isfahan across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. instead of continuing on to Baghdad with the caravan. In Baghdad he found that Abu Sa'id. On returning to Mosul he joined a "feeder" caravan of pilgrims heading south for Baghdad where they met up with the main caravan that crossed the Arabian Desert to Mecca. a journey lasting approximately 44 days. the last Mongol ruler of the unified Ilkhanid state was leaving the city and heading north with a large retinue.

he visited Mogadishu.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. Mombassa. Zanzibar. arriving at around the beginning of 1329 (or 1331). Anatolia. Arriving in the Yemen he visited Zabid. Leaving Mecca after the hajj in 1328 (or 1330) he made his way to the port of Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea and from there caught a series of boats down the coast. and Kilwa. Ibn Battuta also mentions visiting Sana'a. Golden Horde. Spending about a week in each of his destinations. In Aden he embarked on a ship heading first to Zeila on the African shore of the gulf and then on around Cape Guardafui and down the East African coast. but whether he actually did is doubtful. He suggests in the Rihla that he remained in the town for three years: from September 1327 until autumn 1330. he returned by ship to Arabia and visited Oman and the Straits of Hormuz. commentators have suggested that he may have spent only one year and left after the hajj of 1328. and then the highland town of Ta'izz where he met the Rasulid king Malik Mujahid Nur al-Din Ali. It is more likely that he went directly from Ta'izz to the port of Aden. among others. because of problems with the chronology.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Ibn Battuta then stayed for some time in Mecca. Aden was an important transit centre in the trade between India and Europe. With the change of the monsoon. Central Asia and India 5 . His progress was slow as the vessels had to beat against the south easterly winds. He then returned to Mecca for the hajj of 1330 (or 1332). However. Byzantine Empire.

in the Crimea. and then carried on past the Caspian and Aral Seas to Bokhara and Samarkand. his first beyond the boundaries of the Islamic world. A sea voyage from Damascus on a Genoese ship landed him in Alanya on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey. Southeast Asia and China 6 . and Sultan Muhammed Tughlaq had resolved to import as many Muslim scholars and other functionaries as possible to consolidate his rule. Ibn Battuta landed in Caffa (now Theodosia). to join up with one of the caravans that went from there to India. Ibn Battuta talked his way into this expedition. and being under suspicion for a variety of treasons against the government. Needing a guide and translator if he was to travel there. the mountain passes of which he used to cross into India. he journeyed south to Afghanistan. From there. on a journey as far as Astrakhan on the Volga River. There he bought a wagon and fortuitously joined the caravan of Ozbeg. Ibn Battuta was employed as a qadi ("judge") by the sultan. but the Sultan offered the alternative of being ambassador to China. From there he traveled by land to Konya and then Sinope on the Black Sea coast.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Spending another year there. he retraced his route to Astrakhan. he went to Anatolia. Upon reaching Astrakhan. Given the opportunity to both get away from the Sultan and visit new lands. he then resolved to seek employment with the Muslim Sultan of Delhi. Crossing the Black Sea. the Golden Horde's Khan. and entered the lands of the Golden Horde. Ibn Battuta took it. After a month in the city. he met the emperor Andronicus III Palaeologus and saw the outside of Hagia Sophia. and Ibn Battuta veered between living the high life of a trusted subordinate. Eventually he resolved to leave on the pretext of taking another hajj. the Khan allowed one of his pregnant wives Princess Bayalun to go give birth back in her home city—Constantinople.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. The Sultanate of Delhi was a new addition to Dar al-Islam. then under the control of the Seljuqs. Tughlaq was erratic even by the standards of the time. Arriving there towards the end of 1332. On the strength of his years of studies while in Mecca.

Setting sail from Sri Lanka. Return home and the Black Death 7 . and then the ship that rescued him was attacked by pirates. and remarking his criticism of this practice.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. and. Stranded on shore. he was robbed and nearly lost his life. When the sultanate was overthrown. through the Grand Canal to Beijing. In the Rihla he mentions his dismay at the local women going about with no clothing above the waist. From there. and two of the ships of his expedition were sunk. Vasco da Gama also landed at the same place). The Philippines and then finally Quanzhou in Fujian Province. Ibn Battuta once again worked his way back to Calicut. Vietnam. China. From there. he went north to Hangzhou. Sumatra. reaching in quick succession Chittagong. He spent nine months in the Maldive Islands. it became necessary for Ibn Battuta to leave India altogether. with a detour near the beginning of the journey to the Maldives.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD En route to the coast. This place is presently known as Hosapattana and is located in the Honnavar taluka of Uttara Kannada district. although there has been some doubt about whether this actually occurred. much longer than he had intended. from where he then sailed to the Maldives again before getting on board a Chinese junk and trying once again to get to Yuan Dynasty China. This time he succeeded. halfkidnapped into staying. they sailed to Calicut (two centuries later. Appointed chief judge and marrying into the royal family. his skills were highly desirable in these formerly Buddhist islands that had been recently converted to Islam. The third then sailed away without him and ended up seized by a local king in Sumatra a few months later. a storm blew up. not far from modern-day Shanghai. and he was half-bribed. he carried on to Sri Lanka for a visit to Sri Pada (Adam's Peak). From there. Jamaluddin was ruler of a small but powerful Nawayath sultanate on the banks of the river Sharavathi on the Arabian Sea coast. Fearful of returning to Delhi as a failure. he managed to catch up with his group within two days and continued the journey to Cambay. As a qadi. his ship nearly sank in a storm. Nevertheless. he stayed for a time in the south of India under the protection of Jamal al-Din. He also traveled even further north. he and his party were attacked by Hindus. separated from the others. but being ignored by the locals. he became embroiled in local politics and ended up leaving after wearing out his welcome by imposing strict judgments in the laissez-faire island kingdom. however. While Ibn Battuta visited a mosque on shore. He resolved to carry on to China.

he decided to return to Morocco. Death was the theme of the next year or so. nearly a quarter century after leaving it.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Returning to Quanzhou. Returning to Damascus with the intention of retracing the route of his first hajj. and then returned to Tangier to discover that his mother had also died. Abu Sa'id having died since his previous trip there. for the Black Death had begun. he pondered throwing himself on the mercy of Muhammed Tughlaq but thought better of it and decided to carry on to Mecca once again. he saw that state dissolved into civil war. Returning via Hormuz and the Il-Khanate. a few months before. he learned that his father had died. During the trip he made one last detour to Sardinia. and Ibn Battuta was on hand as it spread through Syria. and Arabia. Palestine. After reaching Mecca. Ibn Battuta decided to return home—though exactly where "home" was a bit of a problem. House in the Medina of Tangier perhaps lodging Ibn Battuta's grave 8 . Returning to Calicut once again.IBN BATTUTA…………………………………….

and the threat had receded. he stopped for a while in Marrakesh. and once more he moved on. While Ibn Battuta never mentions this specifically. he decided to travel through one of the few parts of the Muslim world that he had never explored: Morocco. Leaving al-Andalus. Once more he returned to Tangier. hearing of this during his own trip must have planted a seed in his mind. and Ibn Battuta joined up with a group of Muslims leaving Tangier with the intention of defending the port. Two years before his own first visit to Cairo.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Andalus and North Africa Having settled in Tangier for all of a few days. the Black Death had killed Alfonso. for he decided to set out and visit the Muslim kingdom on the far side of the Sahara Desert. He traveled through Valencia and ended up in Granada. which was nearly a ghost town after the recent plague and the transfer of the capital to Fez. 9 . Alfonso XI of Castile was threatening the conquest of Gibraltar. previously unknown to the rest of the world.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. so Ibn Battuta decided to visit for pleasure instead. On his return home. the Malian king Mansa Musa had passed through the same city on his own hajj and had caused a sensation with his extravagant riches—West Africa contained vast quantities of gold. Ibn Battuta then set out for a trip to al-Andalus—Muslim Iberia. By the time he arrived.

nothing but sand blown here and there by the wind. he received a message from the Sultan of Morocco commanding him to return home. He left the capital in February and journeyed overland by camel to Timbuktu.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD The Sahara Desert to Mali and Timbuktu In the autumn of 1351. Ibn Battuta finally arrived at the oasis town of Iwalatan (Walata) which had recently become part of the Mali Empire. A long and difficult journey lay ahead. The buildings were constructed from slabs of salt by slaves of the Massufa tribe. who cut the salt in thick slabs for transport by camel. Ibn Battuta disapproved that female slaves. he nevertheless stayed for eight months. Though in the next two centuries it would become the most important city in the region. he traveled southwest along a river he believed to be the Nile (it was actually the Niger River) until he reached the capital of the Mali Empire. at the time it was small and unimpressive.the water was brackish and the place was plagued with flies. Dubious about the miserly hospitality of the king. While at the oasis of Takedda on his journey back across the desert." After another 900 harrowing km through the worst part of the desert. He set out again with a caravan in February 1352 and after 25 days. He arrived back in Morocco early in 1354. the entire caravan could disappear without a trace. There he met Mansa Suleyman. Taghaza was a profitable commercial center and awash with Malian gold. When the takshif became lost. writing that there was "no visible road or track in these parts. From there. Traversing the open wastes of the Sahara Desert was therefore terrifying to many travelers. The Rihla 10 . and Ibn Battuta soon moved on by boat to Gao where he spent a month. reaching the Moroccan town of Sijilmasa a bit more than a week later. He set off for Sijilmasa in September 1353 accompanying a large caravan transporting 600 black female slaves. servants and even the daughters of the sultan went about stark naked. requiring special advance guides or takshif with local experience to arrange a passage. and Ibn Battuta noted the difficulty of navigating without landmarks. Ibn Battuta set out from Fez.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. There he bought some camels and stayed for four months. king since 1341. though Ibn Battuta did not have a favorable impression of the place . arrived at the settlement of Taghaza which was situated in a dry salt lake bed.

The title of the manuscript ‫ تحفة النظار في غرائب المصار وعجائب السفار‬may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling but is often simply referred to as the Rihla ‫ .……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD After returning from his travels in 1354 and at the instigation of the Sultan of Morocco. is the only source of information on his adventures. whom he had previously met while in Granada. most of Ibn Juzayy’s descriptions of places in Palestine were copied from an account by the thirteenth century traveler Muhammad al-Abdari. even within the Muslim world. Among Turks and Mongols recently converted to Islam. Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to a scholar named Ibn Juzayy. but in the early 1800s extracts were published in German and English based on manuscripts discovered in the Middle East containing abridged versions of Ibn Juzayy’s Arabic text. For example. recorded by Ibn Juzayy and interspersed with the latter's own comments. This account. the Rihla provides an important account of many areas of the world in the 14th century. For centuries his book was obscure. Ibn Juzayy clearly copied passages from the twelfth century account by Ibn Jubayr. He tended to be somewhat irritating to locals. he was astonished at the freedom that women had.الرحلة‬or "The Journey". Nevertheless. little is known about Ibn Battuta's life. Some commentators have also questioned whether he really visited China. When describing Damascus. Modern commentators do not believe that Ibn Battutta visited all the places that he described and argue that in order to provide a comprehensive description of places in the Moslem world Ibn Battutta relied on hearsay evidence while Ibn Juzayy made use of accounts by earlier travelers. After the completion of the Rihla in 1355. Medina and some other places in the Middle East. were too revealing. with gifts that seemed applicable to his social status. Abu Inan Faris. and some sub-Saharan regions in Africa. He may have been appointed a qadi in Morocco. Similarly. his journey from Balkh to Bistam in Khorasan and his trip around Anatolia. whilst apparently fictional in places. Ibn Batuta often experienced culture shock in regions he visited where local customs did not fit his straight-laced background. and eventually to be sent on his way after a time from such regions.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. and he felt that dress customs in the Maldives. Ibn Battuta died in Morocco in 1368 or 1369. There is no indication that Ibn Battuta made any notes during his approximate 29 years of traveling so when he came to dictate an account of his adventures he had to rely on his memory and to make use of manuscripts produced by earlier travelers. Mecca. When French forces occupied Algeria in the 1830’s they 11 . it is considered very unlikely that Ibn Battuta made a trip up the Volga river from New Saray to visit Bolghar and there are serious doubts about a number of other journeys such as his trip to Sana'a in Yemen.

These manuscripts were brought back to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and studied by the French scholars. Beginning in 1853.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. extensive notes and a translation into French. Charles Defrémery and Beniamino Sanguinetti. Ibn Battuta has grown in fame and is now a well-known figure. they published a series of four volumes containing the Arabic text.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD discovered five manuscripts in Constantine including two that contained more complete versions of the text. SUMMARY 12 . Defrémery and Sanguinetti’s printed text has now been translated into many other languages.

Modern commentators do not believe that Ibn Battutta visited all the places that he described and argue that in order to provide a comprehensive description of places in the Moslem world Ibn Battutta relied on hearsay evidence while Ibn Juzayy made use of accounts by earlier travelers. a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo. extending from North Africa. he was astonished at the freedom that women had. were too revealing. After returning from his travels in 1354 and at the instigation of the Sultan of Morocco. and eventually to be sent on his way after a time from such regions. The title of the manuscript ‫ تحفة النظار في غرائب المصار وعجائب السفار‬may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling but is often simply referred to as the Rihla ‫ .IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. Among Turks and Mongols recently converted to Islam. and some sub-Saharan regions in Africa. 13 . He may have been appointed a qadi in Morocco. Nevertheless. the Rihla provides an . His journeys lasted for a period of nearly thirty years and covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond. whilst apparently fictional in places. recorded by Ibn Juzayy and interspersed with the latter's own comments. little is known about Ibn Battuta's life. Central Asia. whom he had previously met while in Granada. with gifts that seemed applicable to his social status. Southeast Asia and China in the East. Abu Inan Faris. to the Middle East. Indian subcontinent. He tended to be somewhat irritating to locals. This account. his journey from Balkh to Bistam in Khorasan and his trip around Anatolia.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368 or 1369) was a Moroccan Muslim Berber scholar and traveler who are known for the account of his travels and excursions called the Rihla (Voyage). For example. and he felt that dress customs in the Maldives.الرحلة‬or "The Journey". it is considered very unlikely that Ibn Battuta made a trip up the Volga river from New Saray to visit Bolghar and there are serious doubts about a number of other journeys such as his trip to Sana'a in Yemen. West Africa. is the only source of information on his adventures. Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West. Ibn Battuta died in Morocco in 1368 or 1369. After the completion of the Rihla in 1355. Some commentators have also questioned whether he really visited China.important account of many areas of the world in the 14th century Ibn Batuta often experienced culture shock in regions he visited where local customs did not fit his straight-laced background. Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to a scholar named Ibn Juzayy.

He visited Iraq. or "The Journey". Byzantine Empire. was born at Tangier. and The Sahara Desert to Mali and Timbuktu. Southeast Asia and China. Anatolia.……… BY MOSTAFA RAAD Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta . The title of the manuscript ‫تحفة النظار في غرائب المصار وعجائب‬ ‫ السفار‬may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling but is often simply referred to as the Rihla.H. Andalus and North Africa.). also known as Shams ad . Persia. Morocco. Ibn Battuta died in Morocco in 1368 or 1369. This account is the only source of information on his adventures. Abu Inan Faris. After returning from his travels in 1354 and at the instigation of the Sultan of Morocco. 14th June. (703 Hijra). After the completion of the Rihla in 1355. He left Tangier on Thursday. little is known about Ibn Battuta's life. 1325 C. For centuries his book was obscure. even within the Muslim world. Central Asia and India. (2nd Rajab 725 A.E. East Africa. His travels lasted for about thirty years. and covered almost the entirely of the known Islamic world and beyond.IBN BATTUTA……………………………………. There is no indication that Ibn Battuta made any notes during his approximate 29 years of traveling so when he came to dictate an account of his adventures he had to rely on his memory and to make use of manuscripts produced by earlier travelers.Din. He may have been appointed a qadi in Morocco. Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to a scholar named Ibn Juzayy. Golden Horde. when he was twenty one years of age. 14 .E. on the 24th February 1304 C. but in the early 1800s extracts were published in German and English based on manuscripts discovered in the Middle East containing abridged versions of Ibn Juzayy’s Arabic text.

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