Whenever the greatest travelers of the history are discussed Marco Polo wins the title. But there is a person who covered more miles than Marco Polo, and his purpose of traveling was to explore the world and learn. Ibn Battuta is one of the greatest travelers that lived on earth. He was young just like Polo when he left his home to pursue his dream of traveling and exploring the world. He is one of the remarkable travelers of all time, but unfortunately, he is never mentioned in geography books.
So let’s talk about the history’s greatest Muslim traveler who covered 75000 miles in three decades- much more than Marco Polo.
The forgotten traveler:
A Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta born in Tangier left his home at a very young age to perform pilgrimage in Mecca. It was just the beginning of a journey that lasted for thirty years. He spent a considerable part of his life wandering and exploring the world. Today, youngsters find it quite hard to live without smartphones and Wi-Fi. But Ibn Battuta left his home to fulfill his dream when he was only 21 years old.
People would habituate to straying from home for a long time in those days. There were no modern means of transportation available so they would use animals or ships to travel from one place to another. So, Ibn Battuta rode his donkey and set off from his home to an exciting and adventurous journey in which he faced robbers, black plague, shipwrecks, and pirates.
It was not like he only faced terrible things during his journey. As a matter of fact, he learned more about Islamic law (which was his primary purpose of traveling) and experienced different cultures. He had described his whole experience in his writings which are not easily acceptable to all. Not all people know about this greatest Muslim traveler who told the world about the Abode of Islam in the 14th century. So, he is rightly called “the forgotten traveler.”
The countries Battuta visited:
The journey of Ibn Battuta started when he left Morocco and went to Mecca. He was born into a Muslim family, so he wanted to perform Hajj. When he finally reached the holy city of Mecca and performed Hajj, he decided not to return to Morocco. He then started an exciting journey and never looked back. He traveled through Tunis, Algiers, Palestine, Egypt, and Syria to Mecca during his first journey. Remember that he took a few months to reach Mecca as there were no fast and modern means of transportation available in the 14th century.
He visited Mesopotamia, Shiraz, and Iraq and then returned to Mecca again. He performed Hajj again, and then after staying for a few years there, he continued traveling. He visited Bahrain, Oman, Cairo, and many other lands during his long journey. In fact, he visited 40 countries of modern maps. He changed his plan of visiting India when he reached in Jeddah in 1332 C.E. Then after visiting many other areas such as Yamama, Bahrain, Palestine, Cairo, Anatolia, Khurasan, and Afghanistan, etc. he reached India. Ibn Battuta’s stay in India lasted for eight years, and he visited many places there. He described in his book which his favorite spots in India were. Ibn Battuta was appointed as a judge in India and Sultan of Delhi sent him to China as an ambassador.
Ibn Battuta back home:
As already stated earlier that Ibn Battuta went on an adventurous journey that took thirty years if his life. He enjoyed traveling and seeing the world. Ibn Battuta visited almost all the countries ruled by the Muslims at that time. He experienced many cultures and was shocked to see the difference even between the cultures of Muslim countries.
Ibn Battuta left his home at a young age and never looked back. His parents died in his absence, and he came to know about their death when he came back to Morocco after three decades. Ibn Battuta was asked to serve as a judge in Morocco as the ruler was impressed by hearing his travel tales. So, Ibn Battuta wrote down his traveling journey as the ruler of Morocco asked him to do so. In fact, Ibn Battuta requested his fellow scholar to write down everything he narrates to him.
Thankfully, the world has the travel tales of Ibn Battuta in the form of “Rihla” (the book of Ibn Battuta). Otherwise, the world would not have known about the greatest traveler of the history. His book described how much troubles he faced while fulfilling his dream of exploring the world. Now the world is recognizing and appreciating what Battuta did. There is a festival named Ibn Battuta festival is celebrated in Dubai to celebrate art and travel.