Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta spent 30 years traveling and exploring the world in the medieval times. He visited Islamic empires and beyond. Ibn Battuta is known as one of the greatest travelers in the history as he covered around 75000 miles of ground during his travels.
Early life and career:
The great Muslim explorer and traveler Ibn Battuta was born on February 24, 1304, C.E. Ibn Battuta’s family was of Berber origin, and his father was a judge. Ibn Battuta also had to follow the family tradition and become a judge (Qadi). He was commonly known as the Shamas ad-Din. According to his family tradition, he was raised to be a scholar, but there were no universities or Madrasa for higher learning in Tangier. There were libraries in Damascus, Cairo, and Alexandria. So, Ibn Battuta decided to travel.
He belonged to a religious family, so he was also eager to go to Mecca to perform Hajj. Hajj is a religious obligation, and the Muslims visit the Holy place of Mecca to perform certain rituals.
Ibn Battuta left his hometown at the age of 20 and started his journey towards Mecca- a journey that took him sixteen months. Ibn Battuta decided to join Caravans in most of his travels to reduce the risk of being attacked. But it is a fact that he came across many adventurous and dangers. He started his voyage by exploring the lands of the Middle East.
How do people know about Ibn Battuta?
It is needless to say how famous Ibn Battuta as a world explorer and traveler is but a question may arise in mind that how people know about him today. In 1355 Ibn Battuta came back to Morocco after completing his travels, he told many tales of his incredible journey. The ruler of Morocco wanted him to keep a record of all his travels and explorations.
So, Ibn Battuta asked his assistant (a young scholar) Ibn Juzayy to write the stories of his journey. He wrote the account down for Ibn Battuta, and that travel book became famous with the name “Rihla.” Rihla is an Arabic word, and its meaning in English is “journey.”
Ibn Battuta’s Travels:
Ibn Battuta first went to Mecca and then he decided to explore the world. He left Mecca to visit Baghdad and Persia. He returned to Baghdad after visiting Iraq and present day’s Turkey. At that time he was infected with diarrhea. He also traveled through ships.
In 1330 or 1332 Ibn Battuta broke the rule and traveled to a Christian land Constantinople. He shared his travel tales with an Orthodox priest at the famous church of Hagia Sophia. Then he headed towards Afghanistan and India. In India, Ibn Battuta stayed for a few years, and he was appointed as a judge or Qadi there. Ibn Battuta headed towards Iraq, Persia, Arabia, Somalia, Swahili Coast, Anatolia, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, North Africa, Spain, Mali, and Timbuktu.
Ibn Battuta traveled several places and shared his travel tales with people. Ibn Juzayy wrote his travel stories in a book named Rihla. After the completing of this travel book, a little is known about Ibn Battuta. After completing his travel, he came back to Morocco and was appointed as a judge in a small village of Morocco. He died in 1368.
Ibn Battuta’s travels covered forty-four modern-day countries, and he often served as a judge/Qadi at different places. He married several times and had kids too. Once during his journey, he was caught by thieves and got robbed, but he succeeded to escape.