“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller” – IBN Battuta
About IBN Battuta
Muhammad Ibn Battuta (February 25, 1304 – 1368 or 1369) was a medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar, who is widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time. He is known for his extensive travels, accounts of which were published in his Travels (Rihla). Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China.
All that is known about Ibn Battuta’s life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels, which records that he was of Berber descent, born into a family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier, Morocco, on 25 February 1304, during the reign of the Marinid dynasty. He claimed descent from a Berber tribe known as the Lawata. As a young man he would have studied at a Sunni Maliki madh’hab (Islamic jurisprudence school), the dominant form of education in North Africa at that time. Maliki Muslims requested Ibn Battuta serve as their religious judge as he was from an area where it was practiced.
In June 1325, at the age of twenty-one, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown on a hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, a journey that would take sixteen months. He would not see Morocco again for twenty-four years.
After returning home from his travels in 1354, and at the instigation of the Marinid ruler of Morocco, Abu Inan Faris, Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to Ibn Juzayy, a scholar whom he had previously met in Granada. The account is the only source for Ibn Battuta’s adventures. The full title of the manuscript may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling . However, it is often simply referred to as The Travels (Rihla), in reference to a standard form of Arabic literature.
There is no indication that Ibn Battuta made any notes or had any journal during his twenty-nine years of travelling. When he came to dictate an account of his experiences he had to rely on memory and manuscripts produced by earlier travellers. Ibn Juzayy did not acknowledge his sources and presented some of the earlier descriptions as Ibn Battuta’s own observations. When describing Damascus, Mecca, Medina and some other places in the Middle East, he clearly copied passages from the account by the Andalusian Ibn Jubayr which had been written more than 150 years earlier. Similarly, most of Ibn Juzayy’s descriptions of places in Palestine were copied from an account by the 13th-century traveller Muhammad al-Abdari.
Little is known about Ibn Battuta’s life after completion of his Rihla in 1355. He was appointed a judge in Morocco and died in 1368 or 1369. (Source – Wikipedia)