Who is Ibn Battuta?

Who is Ibn Battuta?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Ibn Battuta is a traveler and geographer who was born in Tangier, Morocco in 1304 and died in 1369. For more than twenty years, Ibn Battuta traveled to countries such as Egypt, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran, East Africa, Anatolia, Northern Turkish provinces, East Asia, India, China, Andalusia and Sudan and named them “Rıhlet-ü İbn Battuta”. He is a traveling scientist who described it in detail in his travel book. Ibn Battuta tried to understand the political, military, social and social issues of the places he visited and reflected them in his work.

Ibn Battuta also included Anatolia and the Turkish people of this region in his travel book, and mentioned their bravery, cleanliness and goodness at length, and referred to the Ahi organization and Orhan Gazi, the Ottoman sultan of the period, with special care. Some lines in the travelogue are as follows:

“This country called Bilad-i Rum (Anatolia) is the most beautiful country in the world. While their beauties were distributed separately to other countries, Allah brought them all together here. The most beautiful people in the world, the most cleanly dressed people live here and the most delicious meals are cooked. These are the most compassionate ones among Allah’s creations, which is why it is said, ‘Plenty and abundance are in Damascus, and compassion is in Anatolia.’”


Ibn Battuta was born on February 24, 1304 in Tangier, Morocco. His family belonged to the Berber tribe of Levate and migrated here from Berka, and as it can be understood from the sentence in his travel book, “Kaza and meshihat are my profession and that of my ancestors” (er-Riḥle, III, 233), he trained many qadis. As a matter of fact, he was also a judge in various places and died while he was a judge of Tâmesnâ (Ibn Hacer, VI, 100; Gibb, Selections from Ibn Battuta, p. 2).

The earliest writers to mention Ibn Battuta are Lisanuddin Ibn al-Hatib, Ibn Hajar al-Askalani and Ibn Khaldun; Makkarî and Abdulhay al-Hasenî also quoted from er-Riḥle. Ebü’l-Hasan et-Temgrûtî, who was sent to Istanbul by the Sa’dîs as an ambassador in Maghrib, referred to Ibn Battûta while describing some cities in his work, and Zebîdî was referring to Muhammed b. He touched upon the memorandum of Fethullah al-Beylûnî (as. see).

Having met the rulers of Turks, Mongols and Maldivians, Ibn Battuta was appointed to the position of kadi in many countries, and he was given some diplomatic duties due to his knowledge of Persian and Turkish and to gain various political experiences during his travels. He was loved by the people and the ulama because he dressed like a dervish and acted like a dervish (Ibn al-Hatîb, III, 274).

Because of his closeness to the Sufis and the ascetics, Ibn Battuta memorized their words. With this aspect, er-Riḥle also gives valuable information about the mystic life of that period. Although he seems like an ordinary person, his style is dominated by extraordinary colorfulness and shockingness. Although he sometimes states that he does not believe in some words, he never rejects the narration from someone he trusts.

Sometimes Ibn Battuta participated in the jihad against the infidels, and sometimes he kept himself away from blessings and lived like an ascetic. He disposed of all his property and entered the lodge of Sheikh Kemâleddin Abdullah el-Gārî, but in his own words, life threw him back into adventures (er-Riḥle, III, 97, 115, 248).

As learned from the travelogue, Ibn Battuta was only twenty-two years old when he set out from Tangier with the intention of pilgrimage on 14 June 1325, during the reign of Maghrib Sultan Abu Said al-Merini. Following the North African coast, he arrived in Alexandria on April 5, 1326. Here, with the suggestion of Sheikh Burhaneddin al-A’rec, he was eager to see eastern countries such as India, Sindh and China.

Ibn Battuta

He went from Alexandria to Cairo, from there to Upper Egypt (Said) and visited the tomb of Sheikh Abu’l-Hasan al-Shazeli in Humaysera; Hizbü’l-bahr virdi, which he gave in full text in his work (I, 189-190), is an important document in terms of the history of mysticism.

Although he landed at Ayzâb Port on the Red Sea to cross from Upper Egypt to Jeddah by sea, he had to return to Cairo due to the political turmoil in the region. One of the remarkable points here is that Ayzâb Port has an international status, another is that it calls the Egyptian Mamluks “Etrak” and that it introduces the Mamluk domination area with the term “Turkish country” like Anatolia (I, 231).

Ibn Battuta, who did not stay long in Cairo, set out for Syria on 17 July and after visiting cities such as Jerusalem, Aclun, Akka, Sur, Sidon, Taberiye and Antakya, he arrived in Damascus on 9 August and spent Ramadan here. He received general approval from fourteen scholars, among whom were two female muhaddiths, primarily Şehâbeddin İbnü’ş-Şihna.

One of the details he gave about the region is that the Mamluk Sultan al-Malikü’n-Nâsır said that he sent special teams consisting of Ismaili bodyguards to kill Karasungur. These parts of the travelogue are also good sources for war history and guerrilla tactics.

Source: Encyclopedia of Islam