Today, when we talk about traveling, it carries the images with excitement. No matter you are going for the first time or have already been there once, you have hotels and motels to take rest. The automobiles take you to your destination in no time. Even traveling to another country takes only a few hours. But this was not the case with Ibn Battuta. He did not have any means of transportation and communication when he started his traveling career. Ibn Battuta traveled on his donkey with no modern suitcase along.
The renowned Traveler:
Ibn Battuta, the son of a Muslim scholar, was born in Tangier Morocco. He was raised in a Muslim family, so he had the utmost desire to go to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. At the age of 21, Battuta decided to travel to Mecca where Muslims from all over the world gather to perform the religious obligation every year.
Ibn Battuta would not come back after performing Hajj and set out all alone to an adventurous, exciting and memorable journey that lasted up to thirty years. The most exciting aspect of his journey is that he was jobless and had not enough money to meet the traveling expenses. He was passionate about his dream of traveling, so fate was with him. A law professor helped him in his first traveling journey.
The challenges Battuta faced:
As already stated above traveling at that time was not easy at all. You have airplanes, ships and vehicles to move easily from one place to another but when Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown, there were no such means of transportation available. Besides that, he also had to face many challenges during his journey. What were these let’s have a quick look:
- Financial issue:
The first problem he faced was a lack of finance. You need money to bear the traveling expenses. Though there were no automobiles at that time still money was needed to travel. Ibn Battuta was jobless when he started traveling and had nothing much to spend on.
- Food problem:
As discussed earlier Battuta did not have enough money to buy food many times. But the best thing about Battuta is that nothing stopped him from following his passion for exploring the world.
Ibn Battuta Traveler fell sick many times during his voyage. He visited almost the whole Islamic region and many non-Muslim states as well. He joined caravans many times too.
Robbers and dacoits were active in premodern times as well. Ibn Battuta many times came across the robbers. Fortunately, he escaped and saved his life every time he was in danger.
- Life-threatening situations:
Ibn Battuta covered 75000 miles on the ground. The area he covered is three times more than the world famous traveler Marco Polo. Battuta became one of the famous explorers, but it was not that easy as it seems to be. He came across many dangers and faced life-threatening situations. He was shipwrecked many times during his journey. Once he was about to get punished by a ruler, but he succeeded in saving his life. In fact, later he was offered a job by the ruler.
Rihla-the travel journal of Ibn Battuta:
Ibn Battuta after exploring the world came back to his hometown. He started serving as an Islamic judge in Morocco as the post was offered by the ruler of Morocco to him. The ruler was quite impressed after hearing his travel stories. He asked Battuta to write down his travel tales in so he asked his fellow scholar Ibn Juzayy to write his travel journal. Battuta narrated his traveling experience to Ibn Juzayy, and he wrote down everything. The name of the book is “Rihla” and most of the information about Ibn Battuta available today comes from the book.
Marco Polo is known as the world’s greatest traveler, but Ibn Battuta traveled more than him. Battuta started moving just to follow his dream. He left his hometown to study Islamic law and learn more about Islamic jurisdiction.
He was curious to know about different nations and cultures. Ibn Battuta has stated in his book that the cultural difference shook him. He was surprised to see the difference of cultures even in Islamic countries too.
Ibn Battuta invested three decades in following his dream of visiting and exploring the world. He faced challenges and life-threatening situation during his expeditions but never gave up. He returned to Morocco when he was old. His journey was tough yet exciting. He had to bear the severe weather conditions while traveling. Ibn Battuta received many gifts from locals and rulers of the states as well. He came back to his hometown and recorded his journey in his book and died after serving as a Qadi for a few years.