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The adventures of Ibn Battuta: One of The Greatest Travellers of The World

The Adventure of Ibn Battuta Exploring the World
The title "the greatest adventurer in the world" is usually pinned by Western historians on Marco Polo, Venetian travelers who visited China and the Archipelago in the 13th century. However, if measured by distance and terrain, Polo still lost compared to Muslim scholars, Ibn Battuta.

Although his adventures were not widely known outside the Islamic world, Battuta spent half of his life crossing vast areas of the Eastern Hemisphere.

In his exploration, Battuta uses a ship to cross the sea and for land travel, he uses a camel or on foot. Throughout his adventure, he traveled 120,000 km (four times the distance of Marcopolo) and has traveled to more than 40 (modern) countries.

Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Battuta was born in Tangier, Morocco on February 25, 1304. He grew up in a family of Islamic judges. When he was 12 years old, he was believed to have succeeded in memorizing the Koran.

In 1325, when he was 21 years old, he left his homeland to go to the Middle East. He intended to perform the Hajj, but he also wanted to study Islamic law throughout his journey.

When starting his journey, Ibn Battuta left alone. There was no other traveler accompanying him at the beginning of his journey, he only relied on the determination to visit famous holy places.

Ibn Battuta began his journey by riding a donkey. On the way, he met a pilgrim caravan group while crossing North Africa. The route is famous for steep and full of robbers.

As he passed the steep route of North Africa, the young traveler had a fever so severe that he was forced to tie himself to the saddle to avoid collapsing. Even so, he still continued his journey. Instead, he married a woman at his stopover. The woman was the first wife of about 10 wives she married throughout her journey. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last long, because both of them decided to divorce on the trip.

After a difficult journey, Ibn Battuta finally arrived in Egypt. In Egypt, Battuta studied Islamic law and traveled to Alexandria and the metropolitan city of Cairo, which he called "incomparable in beauty and splendor."

He then proceeded to Mecca for the Hajj. Upon arrival in Makkah, his original goal had been reached, but after completing his pilgrimage, he decided to continue to travel the world.

Ibn Battuta claimed to be motivated by his dream, where a large bird took him flying eastward and left him there. A holy man who interpreted his dream said that the Battuta would go around the earth and the Moroccan youth intended to fulfill the prophecy.

From Mecca, Battuta began his journey around the plains of Persia and Iraq before finally returning to the city to continue the journey across Yemen to the Horn of Africa (the prominent East African Peninsula to the Arabian Sea). From the Horn of Africa, he then visited the Somali city of Mogadishu before going down to the equator to explore the beaches of Kenya and Tanzania.

Travel to India and Asia


After leaving Africa, Battuta planned a trip to India, where he hoped to get a job as a qadi (Islamic judge).

On his way to India, he followed a winding route to the east, first cutting through Egypt and Syria before sailing to Turkey. As he always does in Muslim countries, he relies on his status as an Islamic scholar to get hospitality from the local population. Therefore, he was often given gifts in the form of good clothes, horses, slaves, and even concubines

From Turkey, Battuta crossed the Black Sea and entered the Golden Horde region known as the Uzbeg. Upon his arrival, he was welcomed at the Uzbek palace and then accompanied one of Khan's wives to Constantinople.

Ibn Battuta lived in the Byzantine city for a month, visited the Hagia Sophia and even received a brief audience with the emperor. Having never gone to a large non-Muslim city, he was astonished by the collection of "countless" Christian churches in its walls.

Ibn Battuta then traveled east across the Eurasian meadow before entering India via Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush mountains.

Arriving in the city of Delhi in 1334, he obtained a job as a judge under Muhammad Tughluq, a strong Islamic sultan in Gujarat. Battuta pursued this job for several years and even married and had children.

But his work must be stopped due to a lack of harmony with the authorities and his fear of the sultan who does not hesitate to get rid of people he does not like. In 1341, the sultan sent Battuta to the Mongol palace in China, the opportunity was used by the Battuta to flee Sultan Tughluq.

Even though the Moroccan thought was still thirsty for adventure, he decided to continue his adventure with a large caravan heading to the Far East.

The journey to the Far East proved to be the most terrible wandering of the Devil. On the way, the group was constantly interrupted by Hindu rebels along their journey to the coast of India.

The peak of Battuta was kidnapped and robbed of all his things except his pants. But disaster doesn't stop there. When he made it to the port of Calicut, on the night of an ocean voyage, his ships exploded in the sea because of the storm and sank, killing many people in his entourage. Fortunately, Ibn Battuta still survived the tragic tragedy.

The series of disasters had made Ibn Battuta devastated. On the other hand, he was reluctant to return to Delhi and face the sultan, so he chose to take a sea trip south to the Indian Ocean Islands in the Maldives.

On the tropical island, Ibn Battuta had settled and married several wives. While in the Maldives he returned to work as an Islamic judge.

But after fighting with the authorities, he continued his trip to China. After making a stopover in Sri Lanka, he boarded a merchant ship through Southeast Asia.

In 1344, he arrived at the bustling Chinese port in Quanzhou. He described the port as one of the largest ports but was filled with garbage.

Despite this, Battuta described the Mongol China as "the safest and best country for travelers" and praised its natural beauty, but he also called its inhabitants infidels.

Depressed by the habits of foreigners who contradict Islamic teachings, Ibn Battuta was finally only fixated on the Muslim community in the country. As a result, the records in this country are also vague, it's just that he calls the city of Hangzhou "the biggest city I've ever seen on earth."

Until now historians were still debating how far he went, but he claimed to have traveled north to Beijing and crossed the famous great canal.

End of the Adventure of Ibn Battuta


China marks the beginning of the end of Ibn Battuta's journey. After reaching the edge of the world, he finally turned and returned to Morocco.

On his way home his ship was attacked by pirates near the island of Sumatra until he finally stopped in the town of Perlak Sumatra on 1345-1346. At that time the city of Perlak was controlled by Malik Zahir, Sultan Samudera Pasai.

He described Sultan Malik as a simple sultan, where he always walked when he performed Friday prayers to the mosque. He also said that the Kingdom of Samudera Pasai was more inclined to be a Sunni kingdom than the Shiite kingdom.

From Sumatra, Ibn Battuta continued his journey back. It passed the Indian, Mediterranean, North African and Saharan routes until finally returning to Tangier, Morocco in 1349.

Upon arriving at home, Battuta's parents had died, so he only stayed for a while before traveling to Spain. He then began a multi-year journey across the Sahara to the Mali Empire to visit Timbuktu.

During his adventures, Battuta never wrote a record of his adventures, but when he returned to Morocco in 1354, the country's sultan ordered him to compile a travel record.

He then spent the following year dictating his story to an author named Ibn Juzayy. The result is an oral history known as Rihla (journey).

Although not very popular in his day, this book now stands as one of the clearest and most extensive travel records of the 14th-century Islamic world.

After the completion of Rihla, Ibn Battuta disappeared from historical records. However, he is believed to have worked as a judge in Morocco and died around 1368. It seems that after spending a lifetime on the road, the big wanderer finally decided to settle in one place.

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