GREAT EXPLORERS

by sarahartonsherkin

I am fascinated by great explorers who have traveled far and wide and made incredible journeys. Having an interest in the Middle East and three years of life experience in Egypt, i was drawn to the picture of the Moroccan explorer of Berber descent, Ibn Battuta (February 25, 1304 – 1368 or 1369).

Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa and Eastern Europe, and to the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Ibn Battuta is generally considered one of the greatest travellers of all time.

“…made a one-month journey through the mountains of Kamaru near Sylhet to meet the renowned Shah Jalal…tall and lean, fair in complexion and lived by the mosque in a cave, where his only item of value was a goat he kept for milk, butter, and yogurt….ascended theMount of the Hermit” and briefly visited a well-known Taoist monk in a cave.Hangzhou…the city sat on a beautiful lake and was surrounded by gentle green hills…floating through the Grand Canal on a boat watching crop fields, orchids, merchants in black-silk, and women in flowered-silk and priests also in silk…accompanied by a local Malian merchant…journeyed overland by camel to Timbuktu…first encountered a hippopotamus…journeyed down the Niger to Gao in a canoe carved from a single tree…”

Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta

Ar-Rihla, or, Riḥlah (الرحلة, literally “Journey”) is a Classical Arabic term of a quest, with connotations of a voyage undertaken for the sake of divine knowledge of Islam. It is also a form of travel literature based upon the experiences of the travelers.

The best known Rihla manuscript is “A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling”), or simply referred to as (رحلة ابن بطوطة Riḥlat Ibn Baṭūṭah, “Journey of Ibn Battuta”). The Journey of Ibn Battuta is a medieval book which recounts the journey of the 14th-century Moroccan scholar and traveler Ibn Battuta.

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