Muslim travelerby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
It is said that no other traveler in Ibn Battuta’s time traveled as extensively as he did. He started his travels in around 1325 and continued until his death. Mr. Battuta dictated most of his life story to a man named Ibn Juzayy, a scholar that he met while in Iberia. Although some of what Ibn Juzayy wrote was fictional the majority of his dictations about Mr. Battuta were true and historically accurate.
No one is absolutely sure as to the date of Mr. Battuta’s birth, but many speculate it was between 1304 and 1037. When he was about 20 years old he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, but he did not return home. This pilgrimage was the beginning of Mr. Battuta’s Traveling career. After the pilgrimage, Ibn Battuta traveled roughly 75 thousand miles, through about 44 Muslim countries.
In the course of Ibn Battuta’s first journey, he traveled through
Algiers, Tunis, Egypt, Palestine and Syria to Makkah. After visiting Iraq,
Shiraz and Mesopotamia he once more returned to perform the Hajj at Makkah
and remained there for 3 years. Then traveling to Jeddah, Mr. Battuta
went to Yemen by sea, visited Aden and set sail for Mombassa, East Africa.
After going up to Kulwa Ibn Battuta came back to Oman and repeated pilgrimage
to Makkah in 1332. After this pilgrimage Ibn Battuta set out with the
purpose of going to India, but on reaching Jeddah, he changed his mind
(some people speculate this was due to him not being able to find a ship
bound for India), and revisited Cairo, Palestine and Syria, thereafter
arriving at Aleya (Asia Minor) by sea and traveled across Anatolia and
Sinope. Mr. Battuta then crossed the Black Sea and after long wanderings
he reached Constantinople through Southern Ukraine.
On his return, Batttuta visited Khurasan through Khawarism and having visited all the important cities such as Bukhara, Balkh, Herat, Tus, Mashhad and Nishapur, he crossed the Hindukush Mountains via the 13,000 ft Khawak Pass into Afghanistan and passing through Ghani and Kabul entered India. After visiting Lahri (near modern Karachi), Sukkur, Multan, Sirsa and Hansi, he reached Delhi. For several years Ibn Battuta enjoyed the patronage of Sultan Mohammad Tughlaq, and was later sent as Sultan's envoy to China. Passing through Cental India and Malwa he took ship from Kambay for Goa, and after visiting many thriving ports along the Malabar Coast he reached the Maldives Islands, from which he crossed to Ceylon.
Continuing his journey, he landed on the Ma'bar (Coromandal) coast and
once more returning to the Maldives he finally set sail for Bengal and
visited Kamrup, Sylhet and Sonargaon (near Dhaka). Sailing along the Arakan
coast he came to Sumatra and later landed at Canton via Malaya and Cambodia.
In China he traveled northward to Peking through Hang chow. Retracing
his steps he returned to Calicut and taking ship came to Dhafari and Muscat,
and passing through Paris (Iran), Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt made
his seventh and last pilgrimage to Makkah in November 1348 and then returned
to his home town of Fez. His travels did not end here; he later visited
Spain and the lands of the Niger across the Sahara.
Ibn Battuta's sea voyages and references to shipping reveal that the Muslims completely dominated the maritime activity of the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Chinese waters. Also it is seen that though the Christian traders were subject to certain restrictions, most of the economic negotiations were transacted on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Ibn Battuta, one of the most remarkable travelers of all time, visited China sixty years after Marco Polo and in fact traveled 75,000 miles, much more than Marco Polo. Yet Battuta is never mentioned in geography books used in Muslim countries, let alone those in the West. Ibn Battuta’s contribution to geography is unquestionably as great as that of any geographer yet the accounts of his travels are not easily accessible except to the specialist. The omission of reference to Ibn Battuta's contribution in western geography books is not an isolated example. Because many great Muslims whether historians, doctors, astronomers, scientists, or chemists have suffer the same fate, more recent textbook editions have been generous to make up for previous oversight.
1. Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1345, Published by Routledge and Kegan Paul
2. The Introduction to the "Voyages of Ibn Battuta" by Vincent Monteil in The Islamic Review and Arab Affairs. March 1970
3. www.wikipedia.com ” Ibn Battuta World History February 27, 2005