Term Paper: Ibn E Battuta Iban Battutah

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Ibn e Battuta

Iban Battutah

Ibn Battutah Travels to Spain

Ibn e Battuta

Ibn e Battuta was a great explorer of all the times. He was born in 1304 and lived for around 64 years most of which was the time he spent away from his land Morocco. He published the accounts of his travels in book that was later translated into many languages. Ibn e Battuta was known for his urge to see the world and it was his passion for traveling and adventure that took him to several parts of the world and that he was able to cover 75,000 miles and visit and mingle with 44 different nations across the world (Ibn Battuta: The Man Who Walked Across the World, 2002). There are not too many Muslims known for tourism and travelling but Ibn e Battuta is not only one big name among Muslim tourists but also the great traveler of all the times. He travelled the world as jurist, pilgrim, trader, adventurer and writer too. There are too many aspects of travels of Ibn e Battuta that cannot be covered in one single sitting yet the summary of his visit to Spain is discussed here.

Travels of Ibn e Battuta

Covering thousands of miles on traditional transport in the fourteenth century was not easy. When the caravans were slow and routes were not secure especially while travelling through deserts, it required Battuta's courage and determination to travel. He visited North Africa, West Africa, East Europe, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, South East Asia and China. While there are a number of people who have followed Ibn e Battuta, Tim Mackintosh-Smith is one such famous person who is Yemen-based British scholar who is expert on the works and travels of Ibn e Battuta. Dunn (2006) mentions that Tim is rather obsessive with following the footsteps of Ibn e Battuta. Tim likes to walk where Battuta did and to eat what Ibn e Battuta might have eaten on his way. Ibn e Battuta became a symbol of traveling since he started the journey towards Mecca for Pilgrimage and returned after two decades to his land. However, his journey did not end rather restarted from there and he circled the Muslim world again from Africa in the west to China in the East.

Ibn e Battuta In Spain

There was a battle going on in Al Andalusia or the Spain when Ibn e Battuta went there. He thus experienced living in a country that was then considered to be very educated. Bartel (2012) says that when Ibn e Battuta returned Morocco at the age of 45 after absence of around 24 years, he heard that crusaders had attacked the Spain which was a neighboring country and part of Islamic world. Ibn e Battuta narrates that the country was under threat of invasions of Alfonso. He also says that the danger of deadly war was averted because there was plague and the armies at both sides were affected. The accounts of Ibn e Battuta help to understand that the Great land Spain also had some great enemies that had not forgotten their loss of land that took place centuries ago. While Ibn e Battuta had to travel in the new land for him, Spain, he had been offered many times to join different groups of travelers that he mostly denied.

Ibn e Battuta luckily avoided teams of many travelers that eventually met death or tragedies on their way to adventure. Ibn e Battuta, on the other hand, safely reached Granada that he called 'Shining Star of Andalusia'. He also observed some of very fine depictions of art in Spain. The Alhamra or the Red Fort was one of them. It was in Spain that Ibn e Battuta met Ibn Juzayy who insisted on writing his adventure stories. He mentions that the people of Spain were very keen in getting education and they were art lovers too (Grant, n.d.). From the ruler, Sultan, to the public, everyone seemed to be admirer of art and literature.

The economy of Spain was progressing. The people had gardens of fig and dates that earned them huge amounts. The mother of the sultan did not directly meet the traveler but she did send him a purse of gold coins. This does indicate that tourism was considered great effort although it was not very commonly practiced given the limitation of slow speed vehicles. Ibn e Battuta also mentions that it was not absolutely safe to go out alone. There were many dangers out too. There were still many looters despite the improving social and security conditions.

Ibn e Battuta mentions that Islam entered Spain through Tariq bin Ziyad who entered the country via Gibraltar. The Gibraltar is a mountainous area and so is the Sierra Nevada that Ibn e Battuta says lies behind the AlHamra fort. The land, he says has amazing geography where people can find beaches, mountains, hills and planes. The country is mostly green and the beautiful buildings speak of the taste of God as well as people of the area. The people were keen in learning skills and arts. Women were talented and they took special interest towards maintaining their houses.

About the status of women in society, Ibn e Battuta says that the women are highly respected in the Spain and they are also not allowed to go immodest outside house. Women as wives and also as consorts are a main part of lives of men and the women are assigned household tasks to that they can take care of homes for their family and men (Bartel, 2012). Ibn e Battuta himself is reported to have ten wives. The traveler however does not mention the political role of the women at that time and thus one can imply that women were politically inactive by then. Their role was not really great or direct outside the sphere of their families.

Islam was practiced in the Spain as a religion when Ibn e Battuta visited the land in fourteenth century. There was also religious tension between Spain and the neighboring countries including Italy, France and Germany. Jihad or the Holy war was being fought at that time for which Ibn e Battuta volunteered too although the war ended before he could actually participate. The foreign relations of the country can thus be called unfriendly on large because the country was at war with most of its neighbors. Ibn e Battuta is unable to offer a detailed account of wars in Spain and he does not mention the methods of war, the strategies that a Sultan would use or the main strength of Muslims during the war. In his account, one does find that the Spanish Muslims were interested in building forts and that the fall of fort was considered the fall of people of that area into hands of the enemy. The geography of the country offered many golden sites for the forts and Alhambra is located at one of these sites.

Comparison and Contrast

While Ibn e Battuta used to narrate the accounts of different places to the kings and Sultans, the jealous people in the royal session would warn the Sultan that he should not trust Ibn e Battuta because the king himself has not visited these places thus he can be misled. But reading today the accounts of West especially Spain, one can find that Ibn e Battuta was so right about the geography of the lands he visited (Grant, n.d). The areas that Ibn e Battuta visited including parts of Europe and Africa that were under Islamic rule were claimed by the European Christians and they had also started movement to regain their lands that were occupied by Muslims some 750 years ago.

The Muslim armies, that had most of Arab soldiers, invaded Spain and gained control of almost all the entire peninsula. The independent Muslim states were known as Al-Andalusia that were under minor or major attacks from the neighboring countries. The impact of Muslims over the Spanish culture was very eminent and even after Muslims were wiped out of country in the fifteenth century, the buildings and the language of Spain contains traces of era when Ibn e Battuta entered the land (Ibn Battuta: The Man Who Walked Across the World, 2002)). Ibn e Battuta does not talk much of the tension between different cities and states of Spain. The power of the country was though centralized at that time but many independent states also existed. The accounts traveler gives about the buildings of the country are correct. He mentioned the beauty and perfection of the buildings that can still be seen. The urban development started in the country after 11 nth century and the architecture of Sultans of Spain were made on historical and urban patterns that still stand today. The Sultan of Cordoba ordered to build the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the La Giralda, Seville and Alhambra that attract thousands of travelers even today.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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