“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.