Ibn Battuta is one of the greatest travelers of medieval times. Born in Tangier, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta in three decades of nearly constant wandering set foot in forty countries of modern times.
But who was he and why he spent thirty years in exploring the world? Ibn Battuta, as stated above, was born into Tangier (a part of modern Morocco). He was brought up into a Muslim family; that is why he wanted to become an Islamic legal scholar and judge following the family tradition.
Background of Ibn Battuta:
Ibn Battuta was born into an educated family so studied law. The main focus was on education, so after completing the basic studies, he wanted to seek more knowledge. There were no big Madrassas and libraries in Tangier at that time so Battuta thought it would be better to leave Morocco.
Also, Ibn Battuta was passionate about traveling since childhood. Ibn Battuta also wanted to perform Hajj, which is a religious obligation for Muslims. So, at the age of 21, he left for Mecca-the holy city where Muslims from all over the world gather to perform religious rituals. After traveling for a few months, he finally reached Mecca and performed Hajj. Then Ibn Battuta decided that it is the time to continue traveling and exploring the world. Hence, he did not go back to his homeland and started a journey that took him to Africa, China, India, Maldives, Egypt, and many other places.
A journey- three decades:
When Ibn Battuta began exploration, he was not financially strong. He did not have money even to bear the traveling expenses. Financial troubles could not stop him from pursuing his passion and becoming the world’s greatest Muslim traveler of medieval times. He visited almost all the Islamic states of that time and learned about Islamic law and jurisdiction. Moreover, he visited non-Muslim lands as well.
It is easy to describe in words that he visited so many places. Have you ever thought about how many problems he might have faced during his expeditions? Ibn Battuta was a passionate traveler, so despite all the hurdles and danger coming across his way, he never gave up. He was robbed many times and left with nothing to continue his travel. He was shipwrecked many times and once his life was in danger in India. But he succeeded to escape every time and save his life.
His travel account:
Ibn Battuta spent almost thirty years wandering the world. But how do people in the 21st century know about Ibn Battuta? Who was he? How many places did he visit? What hardships came across his way? Well, the answer to these questions is “his travel accounts.” The world today knows about him because of his traveling book “Rihla.”
When Ibn Battuta came back to the homeland Morocco after thirty years, he used to tell the travel stories to his fellows. The ruler of Morocco upon hearing his impressive traveling tales asked him to keep a record. So, Ibn Battuta decided to get the help of a fellow scholar Ibn Juzayy. Battuta narrated his traveling experiences to Juzayy who wrote down his travel account. Rihla is the name of the book that describes everything about Battuta and is expeditions.
Ibn Battuta, when left for Mecca, was a young boy. He had to leave the family to learn more about Islamic laws and fulfill the dream of exploring the world. He married many women and fathered many kids too. When Battuta came back to Morocco, he was an old guy. His father had died and Battuta did not know about it.
Served as a Qadi:
Ibn Battuta always wanted to become a Qadi (judge). That is why he traveled across the world to learn more about Islamic laws. He served as a Qadi during the stay in India. In India, Ibn Battuta lived for eight years. There was a Muslim ruler in India at that time who appointed Ibn Battuta as a Qadi. Upon returning to Morocco, he served as a Qadi for some time before his death.
A few words about his journey:
Ibn Battuta was a passionate traveler. Despite all the problems and challenges, he did not give up. He lacked money when he started traveling, but somehow, he managed to continue his traveling and reached the destination. Then he was showered with cash and gift by the locals and the rulers of the Muslim states that he visited.
He was welcomed by the locals. Ibn Battuta faced many hardships in life during his travels. He was devastated when he left his home. He had to leave his family to pursue his passion. Ibn Battuta had to travel across deserts, mountains, rivers, and lands to visit the 40 countries of modern times.