Ibn Battuta In Black Africa

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Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, is well-known for being one of the greatest travelers of his time. Battuta’s descriptive account of his travels to East and West Africa in the fourteenth century provides important insight into African Islamic life at that point in time. Although Battuta and the peoples in black Africa shared the same religion, he comes to realize that sharing a religion is not enough to completely relate to a different group of people. The story of Ibn Battuta in Black Africa illustrates the difficulties he faced in relating to these peoples due to the non-traditional role of women, different religious customs, and frequent misinterpretation of situations. In Ibn Battuta’s description of his time in West Africa, he frequently writes of his disapproval in the way women dress and behave in this culture. In traditional Islam society, women are typically under the tight control of their husbands or fathers, and cover their faces with veils so as to not draw any unwanted attention. However, in this region, Battuta notes that, “With regard to their women, they are not modest in the presence of men, they do not veil…show more content…
One custom that he writes about is a dusting custom in which men remove their clothes and throw dust on their heads as a sign of respect before their king. He believes that it is a “bad custom” because as the footnote indicates, “. . . Islam tends to deprecate such customs” (Pg. 59, 89). Additionally, Battuta is unhappy that some people eat animals who have not been properly slaughtered through a ritual. He describes a time when a camel he had been riding died, and states, “I found the blacks had eaten it as their custom is in eating a dead animal” (Pg. 62). Battuta ultimately has a difficult time relating to their regional customs that stray from the traditional Islamic customs he follows at
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