Abu Abdalla ibn Battuta (1304-1354) was one of the greatest travelers of pre-modern times. He traveled to Black Africa twice. He reported about the wealthy, multi-cultural trading centers at the African East coast, such as Mombasa and Kilwa, and the warm hospitality he experienced in Mogadishu.

He also visited the court of Mansa Musa and neighboring states during its period of prosperity from mining and the trans-Saharan trade. He wrote disapprovingly of sexual integration in families and of a “hostility toward the white man.” Ibn Battuta’s description is a unique document of the high culture, pride, and independence of Black African states in the fourteenth century.

This book is one of the most important documents about Black Africa written by a non-European Medieval historian.

The new appendixes include reports by contemporary Arab travelers who witnessed events described by Ibn Battuta, such as Ibn Khaldun, al-Maqqari, Ibn al-Dawadari and Al-Maqrizi.

Ibn Battuta visits the holy sites of Medina pp. 74-77.

That same evening [the third day after leaving al-Ula, on the route from Syria and Damascus] we entered the holy sanctuary and reached the illustrious mosque, halting in salutation at the Gate of Peace; then we prayed in the illustrious “garden” between the tomb of the Prophet and the noble pulpit, and reverently touched the fragment that remains of the palm-trunk against which the Prophet stood when he preached. Having paid our meed of salutation to the lord of men from first to last, the intercessor for sinners, the Prophet of Mecca, Muhammad, as well as to his two companions who share his grave, Abu Bakr and ‘Omar, we returned to our camp, rejoicing at this great favour bestowed upon us, praising God for our having reached the former abodes and the magnificent sanctuaries of His holy Prophet, and praying Him to grant that this visit should not be our last and that we might be of those whose pilgrimage is accepted.

On this journey, our stay at Medina lasted four days. We used to spend every night in the illustrious mosque, where the people, after forming circles in the courtyard and, lighting large numbers of candles, would pass the time either in reciting the Koran from volumes set on rests in front of them, or in intoning litanies, or in visiting the sanctuaries of the holy tomb.

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