Ibn Battuta


Ibn Battuta : biography

1304 – 1369

Ibn Battuta’s ship almost sank on embarking from Sri Lanka, only for the vessel that came to his rescue to suffer an attack by pirates. Stranded on shore, he worked his way back to Madurai kingdom in India. Here in Madurai, he spent some time in the court of the short-lived Madurai Sultanate under Ghiyas-ud-Din Muhammad Damghani,.http://books.google.co.in/books?id=ZF2spo9BKacC&pg=PA245&lpg=PA245&dq=Ibn+Battuta+madurai&source=bl&ots=W7dSHM5RWR&sig=hxz5dfpBPtIv-9igb_mpZEfT20o&hl=en&sa=X&ei=j0ImUaadD83HrQf484GQAw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Ibn%20Battuta%20madurai&f=false Jerry Bently, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century

By Ross E. Dunn (University of California Press, 1986),245. from where he returned to the Maldives and boarded a Chinese junk, still intending to reach China and take up his ambassadorial post. 

He reached the port of Chittagong in modern-day Bangladesh intending to travel to Sylhet to meet Shah Jalal, who became so renowned that Ibn Battuta, then in Chittagong, made a one-month journey through the mountains of Kamaru near Sylhet to meet him.[3] On his way to Sylhet, Ibn Batuta was greeted by several of Shah Jalal’s disciples who had come to assist him on his journey many days before he had arrived. At the meeting in 1345 CE, Ibn Batuta noted that Shah Jalal was 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. He observed that the companions of the Shah Jalal were foreign and known for their strength and bravery. He also mentions that many people would visit the Shah to seek guidance. Ibn Battuta went further north into Assam, then turned around and continued with his original plan.

In the year 1345, Ibn Battuta travelled on to Samudra Pasai Sultanate in persent day Aceh, Northern Sumatra, where he notes in his travel log that the ruler of Samudra Pasai was a pious Muslim, who performed his religious duties in utmost zeal. The madh’hab he observed was Imam Al-Shafi‘i, with similar customs as he had seen in coastal India especially among the Mappila Muslim, who were also the followers of Imam Al-Shafi‘i. At that time Samudra Pasai was the end of Dar al-Islam for no territory east of this was ruled by a Muslim ruler. Here he stayed for about two weeks in the wooden walled town as a guest of the sultan, and then the sultan provided him with supplies and sent him on his way on one of Sultan’s own junks to China. Ibn Battuta then sailed to Malacca on Malay Peninsula, Vietnam, the Philippines and finally Quanzhou in Fujian province, China.

On arriving in China in the year 1345, one of the first things he noted were the local artists and their mastery in making portraits of newly arrived foreigners. Ibn Battuta praised the craftsmen and their silk and porcelain; fruits such as plums and watermelons and the advantages of paper money. he described the manufacturing process of large ships in the city of Guangzhou,تحفة النظار في غرائب الأمصار وعجائب الأسفار,ابن بطوطة,ص 398 he also mentions Chinese cuisine and its usage of animals such as frogs. While in Quanzhou he ascended the "Mount of the Hermit" and briefly visited a well-known Taoist monk. From there he went north to Hangzhou, which he described as one of the largest cities he had ever seen, and he noted its charm, describing that the city sat on a beautiful lake and was surrounded by gentle green hills. During his stay at Hangzhou he was particularly impressed by the large number of well-crafted and well-painted Chinese wooden ships, with coloured sails and silk awnings, assembling in the canals. Later he attended a banquet of the Yuan Mongol administrator of the city named Qurtai, who according to Ibn Battuta, was very fond of the skills of local Chinese conjurers. He also described travelling further north, through the Grand Canal to Beijing, and along with his fellow countryman Al-Bushri, Ibn Battuta was invited to the Yuan imperial court of Toghan-Temür. Ibn Battuta also reported "the rampart of Yajuj and Majuj" was "sixty days’ travel" from the city of Zeitun (Quanzhou); Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb notes that Ibn Battuta believed that the Great Wall of China was built by Dhul-Qarnayn to contain Gog and Magog as mentioned in the Quran. Ibn Battuta then travelled from Beijing to Hangzhou, and then proceeded to Fuzhou. Upon his return to Quanzhou, he soon boarded a Chinese junk owned by the Sultan of Samudra heading for Southeast Asia, whereupon Ibn Battuta was unfairly charged a hefty sum by the crew and lost much of what he had collected during his stay in China.