Essay about The Islamic World : Ibn Battuta

Essay about The Islamic World : Ibn Battuta

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Ibn Battuta, or Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Lawati al-Tanji, was a practicing Muslim in the 14th century CE (or the 8th century H) and a voracious traveler who, at the age of twenty-two, felt prompted by the encouragement of the Quran to embark upon many journeys into not only the Muslim world, but also into such foreign regions as China, Russia, and India. He began his lifelong travels in 1325, with the intention of completing one of the five pillars of Islam: the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca, known as Hajj “and to visit the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb at al-Madinah” . On his original pilgrimage to Mecca from Tangier in Morocco, he stopped in Cairo, Jerusalem, and Damascus, locations where his legal expertise would be useful and also where he could accumulate further regional legal expertise. However, his journeys did not end with his initial completion of Hajj; he spent the next twenty-four years traveling the world, visiting Iraq, Iran, Turkey, the Swahili coast, Somalia, Tanzania, Russia, Afghanistan, India, the Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, China, and Spain, interspersing several additional Hajj journeys throughout that quarter of a century. On his travels, he encountered innumerable fellow Muslims and unfamiliar mystical Muslims, as well as provided opinions and details regarding other religious practices, which he included in his travel book, the Rihla, or Travels.
The fact that he traveled so extensively was not unusual when compared to other travelers of his time. The difference between he and his contemporaries was “that he wrote his travels down, or to be exact dictated them….In terms of ground covered, some 75,000 miles, it was, and still probably is, the biggest travel bo...


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In summary, Ibn Battuta’s Rihla detailed his journey through nearly 75,000 miles, spanning from his home of Tangier in Morocco all the way to China in the far east. Because his original purpose for embarking upon his journey was to fulfill a pilgrimage, specifically the Hajj pillar of Islam, his religious perspective served as an integral subtext within the narrative. Though he primarily traveled through lands that contained Muslims such as he, he also encountered innumerable Christian populations, Hindu populations in India, intermittent Jewish individuals, and infidels in China, all of which differed dramatically from his Sunni Muslim faith. He portrayed both positive and negative interactions with individuals from almost all of them, provoking one to conclude that Ibn Battuta at least viewed other religions with respect, if not with open admiration.

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