When you take a look at the history of famous travelers, you come across the names of non-Muslim explorers such as Marco Polo, Sir Richard Burton, Christopher Columbus, and Fridtjof Nansen, etc. But there is also a renowned Muslim traveler as well who have covered 75000 miles of earth-more than the Venetian merchant Marco Polo.

Ibn Battuta is sometimes compared with Marco Polo, but Battuta traveled more than Polo. Polo started traveling with the family for trade as he belonged to a family of merchants. While as Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown to follow his dream of exploring the world.

The early life of Ibn Battuta:

It was the day of 24th February 13, 1304, when a boy took birth in a family of Muslim scholars in Tangier, Morocco. Who knew that the boy would be one of the most renowned travelers in the world one day? He was born in a family of Berber who had a tradition of producing Islamic legal scholars (judges). According to the proud family tradition, Battuta also had to study law and become a scholar.

He studied in a Madrassa in his hometown and upon finishing the studies he decided to go for pilgrimage to Mecca. He wanted to learn more about Islamic law, but there were no prominent universities or libraries in his hometown. So, Battuta decided to travel and explore the world. Being born into a family of Muslim scholars, Battuta had the desire to perform Hajj first. After performing Hajj, he would travel to several countries that include a few lands of non-Muslim rulers as well. As a matter of fact, he set a record of visiting all of the known Muslim lands then ruled by the Muslims.

Career:

It was already decided that he will follow the footsteps of his father and become an Islamic judge. He started studying Islamic law, but he decided to travel further for his education. He was restless and wanted to learn more. So, he started a journey that took him thirty years to come back to his hometown. It is quite interesting to know that Battuta saw a dream when he was a kid. The dream was an indication that one day Ibn Battuta will travel the world and his dream turned into reality when he was 21 years old. He first went to Mecca and performed Hajj then he started an exciting journey that continued for thirty years.

Dangers Battuta encountered with:

When people read about the travel tales of famous explorers, it seems that they were not having any trouble during their journey. But this is not the case. Travelers face many challenges and come across many dangers while traveling. Ibn Battuta started following his dream in premodern times when there were no means of transportation available. It is said that when Battuta began traveling for the first time, he was traveling on his donkey. Besides, Battuta faced problems that include diseases. He visited many countries and joined caravans and got sick many times. Many times he did not have enough food and water while traveling.  He came across the robbers many times but fortunately succeeded in saving his life each time. He had to stay in the cold at nights and in scorching sun during the day while traveling.

Ibn Battuta was jobless when he started traveling. He did not have enough resources to continue moving but was lucky enough as a law professor helped him in his first traveling experience. He was also gifted money and valuables by the rulers of different states that helped him in exploring the world.

Foods Battuta ate while traveling:

Battuta was curious to learn about different cultures and nations. He visited many places and met with the locals to know what they eat, what they wear and how they live. Here is the list of some food items Battuta ate while traveling:

Sheep
Goats
Raisins
Figs
Fried Chicken
Fava Beans    
Lettuce  
Fish
Sea fowl
Millet
Prunes
Buffalo 
milk
Eggplant
Chickpeas  

Conclusion:

Ibn Battuta was a young boy who started his traveling journey with the aim to learn Islamic law and explore the world. He was a passionate traveler who despite facing death many times during the voyage did not stop. He met many rulers who offered him jobs and presented gifts as well.

Ibn Battuta traveled three times more than Marco Polo which makes him a famous Muslim traveler in history. His book “Rihla” is the source of information about his expeditions. His fellow scholar Ibn Juzayy wrote the book. He returned to Morocco after spending thirty years of his life in doing what he always wanted to do