Ibn Battuta and His Travels

Longer accounts | Shorter accounts | Tiny accounts | Influence and significance

Longer accounts

The Longest Hajj: The Journeys of Ibn Battuta by Douglas Bullis, Saudi Aramco World (July/August 2000). This article is worth about as much as all other material on the web, and something of a find as the search engine's don't think much of it yet.. This first link is the editor's excellent introduction to the three articles, which mix recitation, translation and commentary. The parts are:

Part 1: From Pilgrim to Traveler—Tangier to Makkah. Bullis discusses Ibn Battuta's unique, 58-page account of Mecca (Makkah), with a nice footnote on authorship problems pertaining to some of the sections.
Part 2: From Riches to Rags—Makkah to India. "All through the Rihla Ibn Battuta's personal character comes out in hints and fragments. Today he might be regarded as a bit of a fussbudget or a meddler, evidenced by the rather too generous outrage he expresses at minor lapses in others' behavior."
Part 3: From Traveler to Memoirist—China, Mali and Home. "[I]n China, his reliability is so maddeningly variable that one can argue for or against his having been there at all." Has good sections on Spain and sub-Saharan Africa.

Wikipedia: Ibn Battuta. This is an exemplary Wikipedia page, a lengthy, authoritative and hyperlinked recitation of Ibn Battuta's travels.

Editor's note: Wikipedia is a sort of "open source" encyclopedia. Anyone can contribute, or nix someone else's contribution. The process works, but bias and error can creep in, so some caution is in order. The Wikipedia project is carried on in many languages. See Foreign Languages, for Wikipedia entries on Ibn Battuta in French, German, Dutch, etc.

Amazon. The Adventures of Ibn Battuta : A Muslim Traveller of the 14th Century by Ross E. Dunn. This is a book about Battuta, not a translation, although passages are certainly quoted. (publisher's blurb)

Review by Pamela McCorduck, Global Business Network (2000). Plays up trade and the exchange of ideas.
Review by Robert Dankoff (University of Chicago) in the Bulletin of the Association for the Advancement of Central Asian Research. Scroll down or search for "Battuta."

The Travels of Ibn Battuta - A Virtual Tour with the 14th Century Traveler by Nick Bartel. Bartel goes stage by stage through Battuta's journeys, filling upwards of 15 pages with narrative. Images, maps and links are liberally sprinked throughout. (older mirror)

Excerpts on Turkey from the Ataman hotel, in G�reme (Cappadocia).

"Ibn Battuta - the great traveller" by A.S. Chughtai. Long review of his life and works, concluding with lament about his exclusion from geography books. Mirrors: Silkroad foundation, (partial) ummah.com.

Web Archive: "The Travels and Judgements of Ibn Battuta" by Mollie Anne Davis. Written for a World History Course at Shippenburg University of Pennsylvania. It won a prize (for Freshman writing) but could stand some editing.

Ibn Battuta - The Incredible Traveller lengthy account from FamousMuslims.com. Some hyperbole.

Shorter accounts

Ibn Battuta, Traveler from Tangier. Anonymous 1961 Aramco World article. Good, shorter article without much quoting.

To Travel the Earth by Frances Carney Gies, Aramco World Magazine article (1978). Good, medium-length article without much quotation.

Ibn Battuta: The Greatest Arab Traveler by Martin Nick, Al Shindagah (2003). Good short account. The containing magazine, Al Shindagah, contains vile 9-11 conspiracy theories, eg., "Why were Israeli spies caught videotaping the implosion of the Twin Towers allowed to go free?"

"The greatest traveler of all would ache for adventure these days " by Jim Molnar for the Seattle Times. Long article recounting Ibn Battuta's travels and meditating on their significance for today. registration required

Web Archive: "Ibn Battuta, the lone time traveller" from an "Arab Greats" feature on the Star (Jordanian newspaper).

"The Travels of Ibn Battuta" from Old World Contacts, a good site at the University of Calgary.

Web Archive: "A Great Trek of A Bygone Age" by Mr. Khaled Nusseibeh, short review of his travels attached to a page on Jerusalem and Islam. These two pages are only available on the Wayback machine, but the pro-Palestinian containing site jerusalemites.org is still available.

Map of Ibn Battuta's travels with some (edited?) excerpts from his Rihla, including description of ruined lighthouse in Alexandria, Great Mosque in Damascus, Syria (Worldbook)

Web Archive: The Spread of Islam (with much on Ibn Battuta), by Steve Muhlberger for his course History of Islamic Civilization at Nipissing University (previous year). See also his selection Travels in Asia and Africa.

Encyclopaedia of the Orient. Nicely hyperlinked pocket biography by Tore Kjeilen. I love Kjeilen's site, but the advertising is exceptionally intrusive.

The Travels of ibn Battuta by Kelsey Link and Sarah Beckstrom for the World History Chronology.

CheatHouse.com, a thoroughly repugnant outfit, has a paper for sale. It apparently got an A-, but the "teaser" text looks terrible. Don't start a paper misspelling the subject's name!

Tiny accounts

Studyworks. Better than average.

Web Archive: Mariner's museum with a map of sorts.



Enchanted Learning. Not enchanted.

Hutchinson encyclopedia. Ads ads ads!

Influence and significance

"Ibn-Batuta and Muslim Geography" by Andrew J. Mogensen, Valparaiso University. Explores the relationship between Islam and geographic study.

Columbus and Ibn Battuta: Was there an influence? Answered by "Les"—or rather not answered. I hate these "answer" services. "Experts" don't answer questions, Google-ers do. I once posted a highly-specific question, indicating what answers I wouldn't accept and making it clear I had exhausted the web—and as you can probably tell, I know how to exhaust it! Of course, I got an answer violating my conditions and citing none but web sources, which I was then forced to pay for. In that case, the person didn't know one of the relevant languages, and this is clearly the case here as well. Experts? Feh.

"The Voyages of Ibn Battuta: Exploring the Divergent Paths of Islam and the West" by Don Holsinger from Response: The Seattle Pacific University Magazine (Spring 2003). Uses Ibn Battuta as a spring-board to discuss the divergent paths of Islam and the West.

"Columbus: What If?" by Aileen Vincent-Barwood for Aramco World. Speculation on Columbus, Arab travelers and Ibn Battuta.

My Rihla by Bruce Sterling. Rambling meditations on Ibn Battuta, civilization, life and the Netherlands. I approached this with great trepidation, but it turned out to be enjoyable reading. [ mirror and another ]

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may also like my other sites:

Ibn Khaldun on the Web. Everything about the great 14th century Arab historian and philosopher of history.

Sir Richard F. Burton on the Web Guide to the explorer and translator of the Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra.

The Complete Petra. Comprehensive guide to Petra, the "lost" city of Jordan.