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Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta
Full name Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta
Born February, 1304 Tangier, Morocco
Died 1368 or 1369 Morocco
Era Medieval era
Region Islamic scholar/Explorer
School Sunni Maliki

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد ابن عبد الله اللواتي الطنجي بن بطوطة‎ or simply Ibn Battuta (February 24, 1304–1368 or 1369) was a Moroccan Berber Muslim scholar and traveller who is known for the account of his travels and excursions called the Rihla (Voyage) in Arabic. His journeys lasted for a period of nearly thirty years and covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond, extending from North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo. With this extensive account of his journey, Ibn Battuta is often considered as one of the greatest travellers ever.[1]


Early life and his first hajj

A 13th century book illustration produced in Baghdad by al-Wasiti showing a group of pilgrims on a Hajj.

All that is known about Ibn Battuta's life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels. Ibn Battuta was born into a family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier, Morocco, on February 24, 1304 during the time of the Marinid dynasty.[2] As a young man he would have studied the Sunni Maliki "school" of Muslim law which was dominant in North Africa at the time.[3] In June 1325, when he was twenty one years old, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown on a hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, a journey that would take 16 months, but he would not see Morocco again for 24 years.

His journey to Mecca was by land, and followed the North African coast crossing the sultanates of Abd al-Wadid and Hafsid. His route passed through Tlemcen, Béjaïa and then to Tunis where he stayed for two months. He usually chose to join a caravan to reduce the risk of being attacked. In the town of Sfax, he got married for the first of several occasions on his journeys.

In the early spring of 1326, after a journey of over 3,500 km (2,200 mi), Ibn Battuta arrived at the port of Alexandria, then part of the Bahri Mamluk empire. He spent several weeks visiting the sites and then headed inland to Cairo, a large important city and capital of the Mamluk kingdom, where he stayed for about a month. Within Mamluk territory, travelling was relatively safe and he embarked on the first of his many detours. Three commonly used routes existed to Mecca, and Ibn Battuta chose the least-travelled: a journey up the Nile valley, then east to the Red Sea port of Aydhab.[4] However, upon approaching the town he was forced to turn back due to a local rebellion.

Returning to Cairo, Ibn Battuta took a second side trip to Damascus (then controlled by the Mamluks), having encountered a holy man during his first trip who prophesied that he would only reach Mecca after a journey through Syria. An additional advantage to the side journey was that other holy places lay along the route—Hebron, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem—and the Mamluk authorities made great efforts to keep the routes safe for pilgrims.

After spending the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, he joined up with a caravan travelling the 1,500 km (930 mi) from Damascus to Medina, burial place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. After 4 days in the town, he journeyed on to Mecca. There he completed the usual rituals of a Muslim pilgrim, and having graduated to the status of al-Hajji, faced his return home but instead decided to continue journeying. His next destination was the Ilkhanate situated in modern-day Iraq and Iran.

Iraq and Persia

An interactive display about Ibn Battuta in Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

On 17 November 1326, after a month in Mecca, Ibn Battuta joined a large caravan of pilgrims returning across the Arabian Peninsula to Iraq.[5] The caravan first went north to Medina and then, travelling at night, headed northeastwards across the Nejd plateau to Najaf, a journey lasting approximately 44 days. In Najaf he visited the mausoleum of Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib), the fourth Rashidun (rightly guided Caliph), and son-in-law of Muhammad, a site venerated particularly by the Shi’a community.

At this point, instead of continuing on to Baghdad with the caravan, Ibn Battuta started a 6 month detour that took him into Persia. From Najaf he journeyed to Wasit and then south following the Tigris to Basra. His next destination was the town of Esfahān across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. From there he headed south to Shiraz, a large flourishing city which had been spared the destruction wrought by the Mongol invasion on many more northerly towns. Finally, he headed back across the mountains to Baghdad arriving there in June 1327. Parts of the city were in ruins as it had been heavily damaged by the army of Hulagu Khan.

In Baghdad he found that Abu Sa'id, the last Mongol ruler of the unified Ilkhanid state was leaving the city and heading north with a large retinue. Ibn Battuta travelled with the royal caravan for a while, then turned north to Tabriz on the Silk Road. It had been the first major city in the region to open its gates to the Mongols and had become an important trading centre after most of its nearby rivals were razed.

On returning again to Baghdad, probably in July, he took an excursion northwards following the Tigris, visiting Mosul, then Cizre and Mardin, both in modern Turkey. On returning to Mosul he joined a "feeder" caravan of pilgrims heading south for Baghdad where they met up with the main caravan that crossed the Arabian Desert to Mecca. Ibn Battuta was ill with diarrhea on this crossing and arrived back in Mecca weak and exhausted for his second hajj.

East Africa

Ibn Battuta then stayed for some time in Mecca. He suggests in the Rihla that he remained in the town for three years: from September 1327 until autumn 1330. However, because of problems with the chronology, commentators have suggested that he may have spent only one year and left after the hajj of 1328.[6]

Leaving Mecca after the hajj in 1328 (or 1330) he made his way to the port of Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea and from there caught a series of boats down the coast. His progress was slow as the vessels had to beat against the south easterly winds. Arriving in the Yemen he visited Zabīd, and then the highland town of Ta'izz where he met the Rasulid Malik (king) Mujahid Nur al-Din Ali. Ibn Battuta also mentions visiting Sana'a, but whether he actually did is doubtful.[7] It is more likely that he went directly from Ta'izz to the port of Aden, arriving at around the beginning of 1329 (or 1331).[8] Aden was an important transit centre in the trade between India and Europe.

In Aden, he embarked on a ship heading first to Zeila on the African shore of the Gulf of Aden and then on around Cape Guardafui and down the East African coast. Spending about a week in each of his destinations, he visited Mogadishu, Mombasa, Zanzibar, and Kilwa, among others. With the change of the monsoon, he returned by ship to Arabia and visited Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. He then returned to Mecca for the hajj of 1330 (or 1332).

Byzantine Empire, Golden Horde, Anatolia, Central Asia and India

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Uqba ibn Nafi · Tariq ibn Ziyad
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After spending another year in Mecca, Ibn Battuta resolved to seek employment with the Muslim Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq. Needing a guide and translator for his journey, he set off in 1330 (or 1332) to Anatolia, then under the control of the Seljuqs, to join up with one of the caravans that went from there to India. A sea voyage from the Syrian port of Latakia on a Genoese ship landed him in Alanya on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey. From Alanya he travelled by land to Konya and then to Sinope on the Black Sea coast.[9]

Crossing the Black Sea, Ibn Battuta landed in Caffa (now Feodosiya), in the Crimea, and entered the lands of the Golden Horde. He bought a wagon and fortuitously was able to join the caravan of Ozbeg, the Golden Horde's Khan, on a journey as far as Astrakhan on the Volga River.

Upon reaching Astrakhan, the Khan allowed one of his pregnant wives, Princess Bayalun, supposedly an illegitimate daughter of Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, to return to her home city of Constantinople to give birth. Ibn Battuta talked his way into this expedition, his first beyond the boundaries of the Islamic world.[10]

Arriving in Constantinople towards the end of 1332 (or 1334), he met the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos and saw the outside of the great church of Hagia Sophia. After a month in the city, he retraced his route to Astrakhan, then continued past the Caspian and Aral Seas to Bukhara and Samarkand. From there, he journeyed south to Afghanistan, the mountain passes of which he used to cross into India.[11]

The Delhi Sultanate was a new addition to Dar al-Islam, and Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq had resolved to import as many Muslim scholars and other functionaries as possible to consolidate his rule. On the strength of his years of study while in Mecca, Ibn Battuta was employed as a qazi ("judge") by the sultan.

Tughlaq was erratic even by the standards of the time, and Ibn Battuta veered between living the high life of a trusted subordinate, and being under suspicion for a variety of treasons against the government. Eventually he resolved to leave on the pretext of taking another hajj, but the Sultan asked him to become his ambassador to Yuan Dynasty China. Given the opportunity to both get away from the Sultan and visit new lands, Ibn Battuta took the opportunity.

Southeast Asia and China

En route to the coast, he and his party were attacked by Hindus,[12] and, separated from the others, he was robbed and nearly lost his life.[13] Nevertheless, he managed to catch up with his group within ten days and continued the journey to Khambhat (Cambay). From there, they sailed to Kozhikode (Calicut) (two centuries later, Vasco da Gama also landed at the same place). However, while Ibn Battuta visited a mosque on shore, a storm came up, and one of the ships of his expedition were sunk.[14] The other then sailed away without him and ended up being seized by a local king in Sumatra a few months later.

Fearful of returning to Delhi as a failure, he stayed for a time in the south of India under the protection of Jamal-ud-Din. Jamal-ud-Din was ruler of a small but powerful Nawayath sultanate on the banks of the Sharavathi River on the Arabian Sea coast. This place is presently known as Hosapattana and is located in the Honavar tehsil of Uttara Kannada district. When the sultanate was overthrown, it became necessary for Ibn Battuta to leave India altogether. He resolved to carry on to China, with a detour near the beginning of the journey to the Maldives.

He spent nine months in the Maldive Islands, much longer than he had intended. As a qadi, his skills were highly desirable in these formerly Buddhist islands that had been recently converted to Islam, and he was half-bribed, half-kidnapped into staying. Appointed chief judge and marrying into the royal family of Omar I, he became embroiled in local politics and ended up leaving after wearing out his welcome by imposing strict judgments in the laissez-faire island kingdom. In the Rihla he mentions his dismay at the local women going about with no clothing above the waist, and remarking his criticism of this practice, but being ignored by the locals. From there, he carried on to Sri Lanka for a visit to Adam's Peak (Sri Pada).

Setting sail from Sri Lanka, his ship nearly sank in a storm, then the ship that rescued him was attacked by pirates. Stranded on shore, Ibn Battuta once again worked his way back to Kozhikode, from where he then sailed to the Maldives again before getting on board a Chinese junk and trying once again to get to the Mongol Yuan Dynasty China.

This time he succeeded, reaching in quick succession Chittagong, Sumatra, Vietnam, the Philippines and then finally Quanzhou in Fujian Province, China. From there, he went north to Hangzhou, not far from modern-day Shanghai. He also described travelling further north, through the Grand Canal to Beijing, although it is considered unlikely that he actually did so.[15]

Return home and the Black Death

Returning to Quanzhou, Ibn Battuta decided to return home to Morocco. Returning to Calicut(Kozhikode now) once again, he considered throwing himself at the mercy of Muhammed Tughlaq but thought better of it and decided to carry on to Mecca. Returning via Hormuz and the Ilkhanate, he saw that the state had dissolved into civil war with Abu Sa'id having died since his previous trip there.

Returning to Damascus with the intention of retracing the route of his first hajj, he learned that his father had died. Death was the theme of the next year or so, for the Black Death had begun, and Ibn Battuta was on hand as it spread through Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. After reaching Mecca, he decided to return to Morocco, nearly a quarter century after leaving it. During the trip he made one last detour to Sardinia, then returned to Tangier to discover that his mother had also died, a few months before.

Andalus and North Africa

After a few days in Tangier, Ibn Battuta set out for a trip to al-Andalus—Muslim Iberia. Alfonso XI of Castile and León was threatening the conquest of Gibraltar, and Ibn Battuta joined up with a group of Muslims leaving Tangier with the intention of defending the port. By the time he arrived, the Black Death had killed Alfonso, and the threat had receded, so Ibn Battuta decided to visit for pleasure instead. He travelled through Valencia and ended up in Granada.

Leaving al-Andalus, he decided to travel through one of the few parts of the Muslim world that he had never explored: Morocco. On his return home, he stopped for a while in Marrakech, which was nearly a ghost town after the recent plague and the transfer of the capital to Fez.

Once more he returned to Tangier, and once more he moved on. Two years before his own first visit to Cairo, the Malian Mansa (king of kings) Musa had passed through the same city on his own hajj and had caused a sensation with his extravagant riches—West Africa contained vast quantities of gold, previously unknown to the rest of the world. While Ibn Battuta never mentions this specifically, hearing of this during his own trip must have planted a seed in his mind, for he decided to set out and visit the Muslim kingdom on the far side of the Sahara desert.

The Sahara Desert to Mali and Timbuktu

A 13th century book illustration produced in Baghdad by al-Wasiti showing a slave-market in the town of Zabid in Yemen.

In the autumn of 1351, Ibn Battuta left Fes and made his way to the town of Sijilmasa on the northern edge of the Sahara desert in present day Morocco.[16] There he bought some camels and stayed for four months. He set out again with a caravan in February 1352 and after 25 days, arrived at the salt mines of Taghaza which were situated in the bed of a dry salt lake. The buildings were constructed from slabs of salt by slaves of the Masufa tribe, who cut the salt in thick slabs for transport by camel. Taghaza was a commercial centre and awash with Malian gold, though Ibn Battuta did not have a favourable impression of the place: the water was brackish and the place was plagued with flies.

After a 10 day stay in Taghaza the caravan set out for the oasis of Tasarahla (probably Bir al-Ksaib)[17] where it stopped for 3 days to prepare for the last and most difficult leg of the journey across a vast sand desert. From Tasarahla a Masufa scout was sent ahead to the oasis town of Oualata to arrange for a party to bring water a distance of four days travel to meet the thirsty caravan. Oualata was the southern terminus of the trans-Saharan trade route and had recently become part of the Mali Empire. Altogether, the caravan took two months to cross the 1,600 km (990 mi) of desert from Sijilmasa.[18]

From there, he travelled southwest along a river he believed to be the Nile (it was actually the Niger River) until he reached the capital of the Mali Empire.[19] There he met Mansa Suleyman, king since 1341. Dubious about the miserly hospitality of the king, he nevertheless stayed for eight months. Ibn Battuta disapproved that female slaves, servants and even the daughters of the sultan went about completely naked. He left the capital in February and journeyed overland by camel to Timbuktu.[20] Though in the next two centuries it would become the most important city in the region, at the time it was small and unimpressive, and Ibn Battuta soon moved on by boat to Gao where he spent a month. While at the oasis of Takedda on his journey back across the desert, he received a message from the Sultan of Morocco commanding him to return home. He set off for Sijilmasa in September 1353 accompanying a large caravan transporting 600 black female slaves. He arrived back in Morocco early in 1354.

The Rihla

After returning home from his travels in 1354 and at the instigation of the Sultan of Morocco, Abu Inan Faris, Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to Ibn Juzayy, a scholar whom he had met previously in Granada. The account, recorded by Ibn Juzayy and interspersed with the latter's own comments, is the only source of information on his adventures. The title of the manuscript تحفة النظار في غرائب الأمصار وعجائب الأسفار may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling but is often simply referred to as the Rihla الرحلة, or "The Journey".

There is no indication that Ibn Battuta made any notes during his 29 years of travelling, so, when he came to dictate an account of his adventures, he had to rely on his memory and to make use of manuscripts produced by earlier travellers. When describing Damascus, Mecca, Medina and some other places in the Middle East, Ibn Juzayy clearly copied passages from the 12th century account by Ibn Jubayr.[21] Similarly, most of Ibn Juzayy’s descriptions of places in Palestine were copied from an account by the 13th century traveller Muhammad al-Abdari.[22]

House in the Medina of Tangier perhaps lodging Ibn Battuta's grave

Western Orientalists do not believe that Ibn Battuta visited all the places that he described and argue that in order to provide a comprehensive description of places in the Muslim world Ibn Battuta relied on hearsay evidence and made use of accounts by earlier travellers. For example, it is considered very unlikely that Ibn Battuta made a trip up the Volga River from New Sarai to visit Bolghar[23] and there are serious doubts about a number of other journeys such as his trip to Sana'a in Yemen,[24] his journey from Balkh to Bistam in Khorasan[25] and his trip around Anatolia.[26] Some orientalists have also questioned whether he really visited China.[27] Nevertheless, whilst apparently fictional in places, the Rihla provides an important account of many areas of the world in the 14th century.

Ibn Battuta often experienced culture shock in regions he visited where local customs of recently converted peoples did not fit his orthodox Muslim background. Among Turks and Mongols, he was astonished at the way women behaved (he remarked that on seeing a Turkish couple, and noting the woman's freedom of speech, he had assumed that the man was the woman's servant, but he was in fact her husband) and he felt that dress customs in the Maldives, and some sub-Saharan regions in Africa were too revealing.

After the completion of the Rihla in 1355, little is known about Ibn Battuta's life. He was appointed a judge in Morocco and died in 1368 or 1369.[28]

For centuries his book was obscure, even within the Muslim world, but in the early 1800s extracts were published in German and English based on manuscripts discovered in the Middle East containing abridged versions of Ibn Juzayy’s Arabic text. When French forces occupied Algeria in the 1830’s they discovered five manuscripts in Constantine including two that contained more complete versions of the text.[29] These manuscripts were brought back to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and studied by the French scholars, Charles Defrémery and Beniamino Sanguinetti. Beginning in 1853, they published a series of four volumes containing the Arabic text, extensive notes and a translation into French.[30] Defrémery and Sanguinetti’s printed text has now been translated into many other languages. Ibn Battuta has grown in fame and is now a well-known figure.

Places visited by Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta travelled almost 75,000 miles in his lifetime. Here is a list of places he visited.

Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia


Mamluk Empire

Arabian Peninsula

Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe

Central Asia

India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh


  • Quanzhou - as he called in his book the city of donkeys
  • Hangzhou — Ibn Battuta referred to this city in his book as "Madinat Alkhansa" مدينة الخنساء. He also mentioned that it was the largest city in the world at that time; it took him three days to walk across the city.
  • Beijing - Ibn Battuta mentioned in his journey to Beijing how neat the city was.

Other places in Asia

Somalia and East Africa

Mali West Africa


During most of his journey in the Mali Empire, Ibn Battuta travelled with a retinue that included slaves, most of whom carried goods for trade but would also be traded as slaves. On the return from Takedda to Morocco, his caravan transported 600 female slaves, suggesting that slavery was a substantial part of the commercial activity of the empire.[31]

Popular culture

  • Ibn Battuta was depicted in the 2009 Hollywood film Ninja Assassin.
  • Ibn Batuta pehen ke joota is a popular Hindi nursery rhyme from the 1970s, written by the poet Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena.[32]
  • Ibn-E-Batuta is a song from the 2010 Bollywood film Ishqiya, titled after Ibn Batuta.

See also


  1. ^ Nehru, Jawaharlal (1989). Glimpses of World History. Oxford University Press. pp. 752. ISBN 0195613236. . After outlining the extensive route of Ibn Battuta's Journey, Nehru notes: "This is a record of travel which is rare enough today with our many conveniences.... In any event, Ibn Battuta must be amongst the great travellers of all time."
  2. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 19
  3. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 22
  4. ^ Aydhad was a port situated on the west coast of the Red Sea at 22°19′51″N 36°29′25″E / 22.33083°N 36.49028°E / 22.33083; 36.49028. See Peacock, David; Peacock, Andrew (2008), "The enigma of 'Aydhab: a medieval Islamic port on the Red Sea coast", International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37: 32–48, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2007.00172.x 
  5. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 89-103
  6. ^ Ibn Battuta states that he stayed in Mecca for the hajj of 1327, 1328, 1329 and 1330 but gives comparatively little information on his stay. After the hajj of 1330 he left for East Africa, arriving back again in Mecca before the 1332 hajj. He states that he then left for India and arrived at the Indus river on 12 September 1333; however, although he does not specify exact dates, the description of his complex itinerary and the clues in the text to the chronology suggest that this journey to India lasted around three years. He must have therefore either left Mecca two years earlier than stated or arrived in India two years later. The problems with the chronology are discussed by Gibb 1962, pp. 528-537 Vol. 2, Hrbek 1962 and Dunn 2005, pp. 132-133.
  7. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 115-116, 134
  8. ^ Gibb 1962, p. 373 Vol. 2
  9. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 137-156
  10. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 169-171
  11. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 171-178
  12. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 215
  13. ^ Gibb & Beckingham 1994, pp. 773-782 Vol. 4; Dunn 2005, pp. 213-217
  14. ^ Gibb & Beckingham 1994, pp. 814-815 Vol. 4
  15. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 259-261
  16. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 376 Vol. 4; Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 282; Dunn 2005, p. 295
  17. ^ Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 457. Bir al-Ksaib (also Bir Ounane or El Gçaib) is in northern Mali at 21°17′33″N 5°37′30″W / 21.2925°N 5.625°W / 21.2925; -5.625. The oasis is 265 km (165 mi) south of Taghaza and 470 km (290 mi) north of Oualata.
  18. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 385 Vol. 4; Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 284; Dunn 2005, p. 298
  19. ^ Ibn Battuta's itinerary is uncertain as the location of the capital of the Mali Empire is not known.
  20. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 430 Vol. 4; Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 299; Gibb & Beckingham 1994, pp. 969-970 Vol. 4; Dunn 2005, p. 304
  21. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 313-314
  22. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 63-64
  23. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 179
  24. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 134 Note 17
  25. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 180 Note 3
  26. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 157 Note 13
  27. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 253 and 262 Note 20
  28. ^ Gibb 1958, p. ix Vol. 1; Dunn 2005, p. 318
  29. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. xx
  30. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853-1858
  31. ^ Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, Trade, Transport, Temples, and Tribute: The Economics of Power, in In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998)
  32. ^ Jyothi Prabhakar (4 February 2010). "Why credit for Ibn-e-Batuta asks Gulzar". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 


  • Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1853-1858), Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah (Arabic and French text) 4 vols., Paris: Société Asiatic . Google books: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4.
  • Dunn, Ross E. (2005), The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-24385-4 . First published in 1986, ISBN 0-520-05771-6.
  • Gibb, H.A.R. trans. (1929), Ibn Battuta Travels in Asia and Africa (selections), London: Routledge . Reissued several times. Extracts are available on the Fordham University site.
  • Gibb, H.A.R.; Beckingham, C.F. trans. and eds. (1958, 1962, 1971, 1994, 2000), The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (full text) 4 vols. + index, London: Hakluyt Society, ISBN 978-0904180374 .
  • Hrbek, Ivan (1962), "The chronology of Ibn Battuta's travels", Archiv Orientalni 30: 409–486 .
  • Levtzion, Nehemia; Hopkins, John F.P., eds. (2000), Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africa, New York, NY: Marcus Weiner Press, ISBN 1-55876-241-8 . First published in 1981. Pages 279-304 contain Ibn Battuta's account of his visit to West Africa.
  • Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (ed.) (2003), The Travels of Ibn Battutah, Picador, ISBN 0-330-41879-3 .

Further reading

  • Gordon, Stewart. 2008. When Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks who created the "Riches of the East." Da Capo Press, Perseus Books. ISBN 0-306-81556-7.

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ibn Battuta

Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد ابن بطوطة‎) (born 24 February 1304 - year of death uncertain, possibly 1368 or 1377) was a Moroccan Berber scholar and jurisprudent from the Maliki Madhhab (a school of Fiqh, or Sunni Islamic law), and at times a Qadi or judge. However, he is best known as a traveler and explorer, whose account documents his travels and excursions over a period of almost thirty years, covering some 73,000 miles (117,000 km). These journeys covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond, extending from North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the west, to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the east, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo.

Travels in Asia and Africa

  • I arrived at length at Cairo, mother of cities and seat of Pharaoh the tyrant, mistress of broad regions and fruitful lands, boundless in multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour, the meeting-place of comer and goer, the halting-place of feeble and mighty, whose throngs surge as the waves of the sea, and can scarce be contained in her for all her size and capacity."
  • On the bank of the Nile opposite Old Cairo is the place known as The Garden, which is a pleasure park and promenade, containing many beautiful gardens, for the people of Cairo are given to pleasure and amusements. I witnessed a fete once in Cairo for the sultan's recovery from a fractured hand; all the merchants decorated their bazaars and had rich stuffs, ornaments and silken fabrics hanging in their shops for several days."
  • The mosque of 'Amr is highly venerated and widely celebrated. The Friday service is held in it and the road runs through it from east to west. The madrasas [college mosques] of Cairo cannot be counted for multitude. As for the Maristan [hospital], which lies "between the two castles" near the mausoleum of Sultan Qala'un, no description is adequate to its beauties. It contains an innumerable quantity of appliances and medicaments, and its daily revenue is put as high as a thousand dinars.
  • There are a large number of religious establishments ["convents "] which they call khanqahs, and the nobles vie with one another in building them. Each of these is set apart for a separate school of darwishes, mostly Persians, who are men of good education and adepts in the mystical doctrines. Each has a superior and a doorkeeper and their affairs are admirably organized. They have many special customs one of which has to do with their food. The steward of the house comes in the morning to the darwishes, each of whom indicates what food he desires, and when they assemble for meals, each person is given his bread and soup in a separate dish, none sharing with another. They eat twice a day. They are each given winter clothes and summer clothes, and a monthly allowance of from twenty to thirty dirhams. Every Thursday night they receive sugar cakes, soap to wash their clothes, the price of a bath, and oil for their lamps. These men are celibate; the married men have separate convents.

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[[File:|thumb|Ibn Battuta]] Ibn Battuta (1304–1368 or 1369) was a Moroccan explorer. He is known for the account of his journeys called the Rihla (Voyage). He travelled for nearly thirty years and covered most of the Islamic world. He also explored West Africa, Southern and Eastern Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. This distance was more than Marco Polo traveled.rue:Ібн Батута


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