You probably might have heard about the history’s greatest travelers such as Marco Polo, and Christopher Columbus. But have you ever heard about a Muslim explorer and traveler Ibn Battuta? He is one of the greatest Muslim travelers in the history who visited numerous countries during his entire life. Ibn Battuta chronicled his travel accounts spanning over three decades. If you have not heard much about him before today in this article we will see who he was and how did he succeed to explore the world when there were no modern means of transportation available.
A traveler of historical importance:
Ibn Battuta was one of the most famous travelers and explorers in the medieval times whose journal went a long way in providing a clear account of states and countries he visited in his life. He was a scholar, so he visited almost all the countries that were governed by the Muslim rulers. He consorted with the people of the countries he visited. He wanted to know more about their culture and traditions. He also attended the courts of the most famous kings. Ibn Battuta lived an incredibly exciting life and traveled for three long decades.
Childhood and early life:
On February 15, 1304, Ibn Battuta was born in the city of Tangier in Morocco. He was born in the family which had descended from an African tribal clan “Berber.” His family had a tradition of judges which he also had to follow. He belonged to the family of scholars so; he received his education in literature at the school. It is not known exactly from where he studied. At that time there were no big universities in Tangier, and that’s why Ibn Battuta decided to leave his hometown. At the age of 21, he first went to Mecca to perform Hajj and then he went to Damascus to earn diplomas and learn from scholars.
Travels and career:
People may think that how Ibn Battuta succeeded in traveling for thirty years and how he managed his expenses. He was a marvelous traveler who made a living out of traveling to different countries. He got gifts from the rulers of the regions that he visited. The ruler of a city gifted him gold and woolen cloth. Ibn Battuta joined Caravans in many of his travels, and when he left Tunis, he was serving as a judge for the Caravan of pilgrims. Ibn Battuta had extraordinary adventures in his life. He studied, prayed and practiced law. When he visited India, he was appointed as Qadi (He had a plan to serve as a judge in India).
Not every explorer succeeds in providing a vivid account of his journey. But Ibn Battuta dictated his travel journal named “Rihla.” His assistant Ibn Juzayy wrote down his travel accounts. Ibn Battuta provided information about his traveling experiences and about the culture of the places he visited. He mostly visited the Islamic lands and wrote about he got shocked by seeing the difference among cultures even in the Muslim countries. Though he was also criticized saying that his writing is not original and is borrowed from another traveler. Some people believed that Ibn Battuta never visited some places he has written in his book about.
Ibn Battuta started traveling at a very young age, and the information all we have about him is from Rihla. There is not much known about the personal life of Ibn Battuta. However, it is said that he married a royal family in the Maldives’. He got married multiple times and had children as well.