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The Adventure of Ibn Battuta

“Traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller”- Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta commenced his journey in 1325, when he was 20 years old. His main reason to travel was to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam- The Haj pilgrimage.

However, his journey continued to almost 30 years and had covered about 75,000 miles in as many as countries which were then mostly under the ruling of Muslim leaders of the World of Islam, or "Dar al-Islam".

He met many trials & tribulations with many adventures along the way. He was castigated by bandits, almost drowned in a sinking ship, and nearly beheaded by a tyrant ruler. It is also believed he had a few conjugal bonds and concubines and had sired many children during his escapades!

The arrival of the Arabs, the language and the religion of Islam was introduced followed by the Arab conquest and Islamic civilization were established led by the Umayyad Caliphate. Tunisia was comprehensively swayed by Europe during the colonial era and is considered the most westernized of Muslim North African territories. Despite the country’s history of Islam, it was as recent as 2014, the constitution stated the country’s official religion as Islam. It pronounced the government as the guardian of religion with more emphasis for the spread and acceptance of Islam.

En route and accompanied of merchants from Tunis, Ibn Battuta reached the city of Tunis. Despite the welcome and greetings the merchants received from the townsfolk, he was disenchanted in not being greeted and welcomed since he was unknown. Upon noticing his tears of weep, he was greeted and welcomed by a native. During his stay, he travelled within Tunis and made contract in matrimony on two occasions.

Ibn Battuta’s cavalcade reached “Al- Iskandariyah” (Alexandria) in 1326. It is said that the sight was a well-guarded fortress that one could wish for in a way of aggrandizement and embattlement with architectural flawlessness and a radiant opalescence. It is believed to be said that this experience is an inimitable pearl and glorious in surpassing beauty and that ‘Allah’ should protect her. Following visits to other cities through the Nile, he travelled to "Al-Qahirah" (Cairo) now known as mother of cities, the seat of Pharaoh, broad boondocks and fruitful lands, illimitable buildings, unsurpassed in splendor & grandeur. His journey on the Nile is said to have surpass all rivers of the earth in sweetness of taste, breadth of channel & magnitude. Among the other marvels was the Pyramids, their significance and the origin of their construction.

Islam thrived during the early dynasty during the Fatimid and the Ayyubid rule establishing Egypt as a major cultural, political and social power in the Islamic world. Thereafter, the Mamluks, known as the military took control of Egypt and established it as a major Islamic power. The arrival Napoleon transformed the political setting following Muhammad Ali becoming the heritable ruler. His rule set Egypt on the path to modernization.

Ibn Battuta entered “Antaliyah” (Antalya) unfolding as one of the finest & beautiful of cities to be seen anywhere. Welcomed and greeted by the members of the Fiyan who were magnanimous in conduct, he was fascinated with the hospitality that he received. In the month of Shawwal, the followers with Ibn Battuta set their journey to “Constantinople the great” (European topography of Istanbul), who were denied entry by the Sultan. Upon permission, Ibn Battuta and his followers were welcomed with gifts, food, and money. Enormous in magnitude and divided in to two by a river, one landscape was known as “Astanbul”. The other landscape was reserved for the Christians of the Frank. Having spent one month in the city, Ibn Battuta bid farewell and left the city.

Muslims constitute 99% of Turkey's population, followed by rich history of empires, architecture, arts and literature. The established presence of Islam reaches back to the 11th century when the Seljuks expansion in Eastern Anatolia took place.

A country that consist the second largest Muslim population in the world, are descendants of the early reverts to Islam on the influence of Arabs who traded in the coastal Malabar and Konkan-Gujarat as early as the seventh century. The development transformed the idolatrous into a country united by faith and embraced with brethren to spread Islam throughout the country. Islam was initially very well acknowledged in South India which saw the construction of Masjids as well as social interactions which witnessed marriage with Indian women.

Ibn Battuta entered Dihli (Delhi), abiding on a contract with the Sultan that he would permanently remain in India. He found favour with the Sultan who employed him as a Qadi (Judge). Ibn Battuta departed on various journeys within India meeting various tribes and rulers. It is assumed, Ibn Battuta married to the daughter of the Sultan of Ma'Bar (Madurai).

The nation which constitutes the large Muslim population in the world, Indonesia's historical dwellers were Hindus and Buddhists. In the early days of the 13th century, Islam was introduced by Arab traders, followed by the evangelist. Subsequently, embracing of Islam by the local monarchs and the influential transpired. The hastened growth of Islam among the ruling elite ensued as wealthier Arab traders marrying into their as well general traders marrying local women. The trading neighborhoods thus boomed and highly influential. The Malay rulers acknowledged the benefits of becoming Muslims themselves, and many among them reverted.

During the phase of Islam's growth and acceptance, Ibn Battuta reached the islands of Al-Jawah (Sumatra). It has been recorded having met the King who was known to be a devout Muslim and accomplished his religious obligations with extreme enthusiasm. The King was known for his humility and hospitatilty, Ibn Battuta and his men were invited to stay as his guests for Fifteen days.

A glimpse of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was experienced by Ibn Battuta when he left Maldives. He entered Battalah (Puttalam) in the presence of the King and was welcomed as his noble guests. Known for his kindness, the king offered Ibn Battuta & his companion’s accommodation for three days. The king was keen in listening to his journeys, gifting him with Pearls and anything he wanted during his stay. On the permission of the king, he mounted the Adam's Peak. Continuing his retreat in the island, he has set foot in Kunakar (Kurunegala) and Gampola.

Settlement of Muslims dates back to the 7th century AD, with the arrival of Arab traders and immigrants from Indian and Malaya origin who carried with them the religion of Islam and Islamic way of life. The diverse origins of these traders & migrants along with their customs & traditions, inter marriages continue to prevail in areas where they have settled over many decades thus showcasing the characteristics in the way of life among the Sri Muslims which is a distinguishing form of Islamic culture distinctive to Sri Lanka.

Ten days after leaving Qaliqut (Kolkata), Ibn Battuta reached Dhibat Al- Mahal (Maldives). On reaching one of the islands, it is believed to be said the natural beauty of the archipelago as one of the wonders of the world. During this passé, the Monarch had been in pursuit for a chief judge with Arabic linguistic skills and the doctrines of the Holy Quran. Ibn Battuta’s arrival in Maldives bequeathed the Monarch with good news to find a guest that will serve their needs. Having remained for Two months, he was appointed as judge, married twice including a noble woman from the ruling family. Moving from one island to another he returned to Male to bid adieu despite the Monarchs plea to remain in the island. He set sail leaving behind his wife and family while the Monarch embraced him wept copiously.

Once upon a time a Buddhist country that has significance in the history of the Maldives with the language, the first Maldivian scripts, the governing, the customs and culture of the Maldivians originating. The influence of the Arab traders in the Indian Ocean in the 12th century relatively enlighten why the last Buddhist monarch reverted to Islam centuries ago.

Islam was conceived through the Arab conquest. Later, the first Islamic empire in Morocco was created. Since then, Morocco has been governed by Islamic empires, although invasions by Portuguese Christians, followed by the French and Spanish Christians.

The native land of Ibn Battuta, is said to have left Tangiers on a Thursday during the month of Rajab of 1325 on pilgrimage to Makkah & Madinah, and not return until end 1350. He had journeyed throughout the Islamic World, but had never experienced much of his birthplace. On his return, he laid down his goods and entourage to realize that is the best of countries blessed with resources.

Ibn Battuta returned to Tangiers and sought to see his Mother’s grave. After Three months, he resolved to participate in frontier fighting of the Holy war focusing on the claiming Al- Andulus (Andulusia). On leaving Tangiers, he entered Rundah (Ronda) which is also said as one of the strongest and best visited Muslim fortresses. After spending Five days, he decided to duty call in Marbalah (Marbella) which is said as a pretty little town. On seeing a troop marching to Malaqah (Malaga), he joined his commander and on entering the city he reiterates as one of the finest cities blessed with abundant resources. Having travelled across the region of Andulus, Ibn Battuta entered the city of Gharnatah (Granada) and accepted as the bride of the cities surrounded by Orchards, Gardens, Meadows, Palaces and Vineyards. Ibn Juzayy remarks,” if I were not afraid of being charged with excessive local patriotism, I would try to describe Granada, since I have the opportunity. Such is the fame that there is no sense in speaking at length about it”.

Formerly a Muslim nation with a history spanning nine centuries. Following the collapse of the Caliphate, Islam progressively diminished with the controlling by the Christian Reconquista which succeeded in defeating and conquering the Muslim states of the Iberian Peninsula. A recent trend in immigration witnessed a renaissance of Islam as well as reception towards mixed marriages. Reverts to Islam has been ascending in Andalusia particularly Granada, due to its historical Islamic autonomy.


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