The Journey Begins

On June 14, 1325 (give or take), a 21 year old Morocccan man of the Lawata Berber tribe named Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Lawati Ibn Battuta set out from Tangier on what promised to be a 16 month journey to Mecca to make the Hajj.

Ibn Battuta wouldn’t see home again until 1349, after a journey that took him all the way to China. He then left again on a five year trek that took him north to al-Andalus and south to Mali. Please join me in recounting his remarkable travels.

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2 thoughts on “The Journey Begins

  1. I am sharing some comments and thoughts about an intersection between Ibn-e-Battuta’s journey into modern day Pakistan and India, and the path that my ancestors, from my Father’s side, took from Baghdad as they found a new home in northern India, near Dehli, in the town of Amroha. I am copying below an excerpt from the memoirs of my father that I am process of translating from Urdu into English. My father was born in Amroha, and read Ibn-e-Battuta’s travelogue, which he mentions in the excepts below. You can see the cities of Baghdad (Iraq), Multan (Pakistan) and Dehli(India) in the map above.

    About Ibn-e-Battuta’s visit to Amroha…

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    My family belongs to the town of Amroha, in present-day India, and
    still is one of the principal towns in the district of Moradabad. Amroha
    is approximately 80 miles due east from the capital city of New Delhi.
    It is situated on both the highway and railway lines that join New Delhi
    with the city of Moradabad. Amroha is an old settlement. Ibn-e-
    Batuta has mentioned it in his travelogue in these words – ”and then
    we reached Amroha. This is a small and beautiful town. Town leaders
    came out to greet us. The town’s Qazi, Syed Ameer Ali and the Sheikh of the town’s
    seminary were very gracious hosts..”

    ***************************

    About immigration into India..

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    Ibn-e-Batuta notes in his travelogue that whoever came to India from
    the west, was met by the Moghul sultanate‘s representatives in the
    city of Multan. There the perspective immigrant was interrogated to
    judge their condition, the news of which reached the king’s court
    in Dehli. Only those people were allowed through who intended to
    settle in India. The way it worked was that in Multan, a certain class of
    traders had sprung up that would size-up the perspective immigrants’
    skills, and present them with gifts to take to the King in Dehli. After
    having presented the gifts to the king, and obtained either a job or a
    land grant, the settler would be in a position to pay the traders for the
    gifts. Obviously, the merchants in Multan were shrewd, and made
    loans after carefully judging their clients’ ability.

    After the fall of Baghdad following the Mongol invasion, the
    immigration of the population from the Arab lands increased, and people
    belonging to all kinds of professions made their way from Baghdad to
    Dehli, where they were patronized. So much so, that Dehli came to be
    known as New Baghdad.

    ***************************

  2. A wonderful children’s book, with great illustrations as well, about Ibn-e-Battuta’s travels, is by James Rumford – “Traveling Man”.

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