IBN BATOUTA

وثيقة مترجمة من العربية إلى الإنكليزية من طرف الدكتور محمد الأمين ولد الكتاب

IBN BATOUTA

 Speaker 1:   Ibn Batouta is a well known Moroccan globe trotter

Speaker 2: I didn`t read much about him

Speaker 3:  a Moroccan explorer about whom we read in History while   we were still young

Speaker 4:  I don`t know what it is

Speaker 5:  Ibn Batouta?  Isn`t that so?

Speaker 6: No, I`ve never studied History

Speaker 7:  A Moroccan globe trotter who visited numerous towns and countries

Speaker 8:  he may be considered as a guiding light for the Moroccan Kingdom, he may even be a source of pride for all the Arab libraries

Speaker 9: Dr. Abdel Aziz Tweijry,the Director  General  of the ISESCO: Abou Abdellah  ben Abdellah Ellawati from Tangiers, Known as Ibn Batouta , this daring knowledgeable man who had seen various parts of the world and who worked,taught,learned  and recorded his observations as well as the events he witnessed in all the countries he traversed or lived in, this venerable scientist , is being celebrated  by the ISESCO this year which is labeled : Ibn Batout`s year. This has been inspired by the organization`s keen interest in the production of the Moslem Scientists and creators throughout history.

As we participate with this distinguished station in the production of this film about Ibn Batouta ,in cooperation with other stations  along with televisions from Arab and Moslem countries, we pursue the objectives enshrined in the charter of our institution as a specialized organization that operates within the frame work of the OIC as a forum wherein and around which flock all the civilizational and cultural symbols of our today Islamic World.

Speaker 10 : Mouhamed El Kaght :

In January 1353, Ibn Batouta left Fez as he was 50 year old. After a long journey that led him to countries as far away as 150 thousand km, and that indeed seems astonishing, if we consider the means of transportation available at that time, in the middle ages that is, all those means had been used by ibn Batouta. He namely went on foot, ridded on camel and horse`s backs, he resorted to Hindu carriers, to plain carriages in addition to small and big embarkations that ploughed the Indian, the Chinese and the African seas and   big rivers.

When he was back to Fez, he was requested   in 1355 by the Sultan Abou Inan El Meriny to write down the memories of his trip. To that purpose, the Sultan commissioned his secretary Ibn Jizzy El Kelbi to record in a literary style what our great globe trotter would dictate to him.

Ibn Jizzy:   You may start, Ibn Abdellah!

Ibn Batouta:  where am to start from! It`s hard for me to recall thirty years of  travels and sojourns  in various parts of the world as well as the names of the localities and personalities  I came across ,talk less of  my adventures and impressions, that is not an easy matter . Especially that I have lost all that I had recorded.

Ibn Jizzy; Just start, your memory won`t fail you, God`s willing

Ibn Batouta: I was born in Tangiers

Ibn Jizzy: What year?

Ibn Batouta:  on Monday the 17th of Rajab 730 Ano Hegira. Since my childhood I was yearning to accomplish the pilgrimage to Mecca. I left Tangiers ,my birth place, on Thursday the 2d  of Rajab725 A.H  hoping to perform the Hajj and to visit the mausoleum of the  profit Mouhamed  peace be upon him (…)

I then decided to part from my beloved ones, males and females. I tore myself, as it were, from my homeland as the birds may reluctantly leave their nests, I suffered a great deal from the separation of my parents. I was then only 22 year old.

Speaker 11 : Ahmed Badry, professor at Med V, Rabat

We dream of a young man from the vicinity of Tangiers, for instance when we cross the main avenue  of the town  we can see straight ahead of us  the Mediterranean, we quickly see Europe ,we see Spain. I imagine if you will, a very normal person who is asking logical questions as to what lays beyond that sea stretching before his  very eyes and what is  hidden  over there at the opposite side.

Soeaker 13: Nicolai Romissan

Professor-researcher at Bucharest University, Romania

Ibn Batouta seems to have started that exploration out of spiritual consideration than anything else but  he appears to have had subjective motivations consisting in his yearning to gain  firsthand knowledge of the World, the peoples and  the other things  and peculiarities related to the material an spiritual civilizations of the human communities of his time.

Speaker 13 : Mouhamed Hijji

Professor at the faculty of Arts, Md V University

It seems, he was a robust young man, this is of course because Islam prescribes the pilgrimage only for those physically capable of performing it, and the more so, in those circumstances where the vast distances to cover before reaching Mecca were so hard to cross. He therefore seems to have been strong enough to face such a feat. He no doubt was stronger than ordinary people who used to go to Hajj. Since he was able to cross over and over again distances much longer than those to be traversed for reaching Mecca .In addition to that, he was a charming person, he was a benevolent man.

All the people he had met or rubbed mind with, loved him. He was well accepted by those he encountered, he inspired them confidence and respect. He was not a passive person; instead, he was a hard working person and had always shown keen interest in scientific, ethical and social matters. He was a good humored man, an out spoken and trustworthy individual.

Ibn Batouta:  After a lonely trip that lasted a week, I reached Tlemcen, and then learned that the envoys of the Sultan of Tunis had left it, bound for Tunis, I therefore, decided to follow them. I caught up with them as they were delayed by an illness that had befallen them.

A man: peace be upon you

Ibn Batouta:  God`s peace, mercy and benediction be upon you

A man: have you got some water

Ibn Batouta:   yes, please get some

What happened?

A man: this is my father and this is his companion. They`ve got fever some days ago and it intensified today

Ibn Batouta: hand me blankets and wait for the shivering to stop

Ibn Batouta: their state is alarming; I think that we should stay here until they recover. I know that we will reach Tunis with some delay and thus we`ll spend some time together.

A man: Which houses are you going to in particular?

Mekka, God`s willing

Speaker 14: HashimAl Alawi Al Kassimi

Head of the History Department, Faculty of Arts Fez

There used to be economic supports provided by all the Islamic communities to help out the caravans. That was why caravans needed only an appointment decree from the Sultan to designate the Emir and the Cadi of the Caravan in question. The caravan sticks together until it returns. The caravan and the pilgrims’ cavalcades were well organized to the point that they hardly need any support or financial help. The companions need however to know one another. That was why there was an old saying that stipulates: know your companion before knowing your road.

The assistance : “they don`t believe that we have put chains round their necks  and set obstacles in front of them and behind them and  blindfolded their eyes so as they can`t see”.

They don’t heed what God says when he utters:  “Hail to thee Oh god of the glory you`re above their description of thee  and peace be upon thy messengers and praise be to Allah, lord of the universe”.

Ibn Batouta : After the demise of one of the two envoys, I got the fever  myself and I was advised to remain in Bejaya. The Sheikh advised me to stay until I totally heal.

I`ll resume my trip and if God almighty decides that I should die then I`ll die on my way to the holy land of Hijazz.

He replied to me

If you have made up your mind then sell the beast you ride as well as your heavy belongings and I`ll supply you with a new  riding beast and a couple of shoes.

Speaker 15: Hashim El Alawi Al Kassimi

Head of the history department, Faculty of Arts, Fez

Ibn Batouta didn`t need any financial backing but he was in need for moral support, faith. Physical fortitude and a strong will susceptible to heave him up to the requirements of his purpose.

Ibn Jizzy:  strange, you pursued the trip despite your sickness; one can say that it was a start with a bad omen.

Ibn Batouta:  it was not only that, but we had hardly settled down that we were hit by a strong stormy rain. We were compelled to leave our tents in the dead of the night to take refuge in some nearby houses. In the morning we were met by the governor of the town who was a worthy noble man. His name was Baby El Hassan. When he saw my mud stained clothes  that were not fit to start the hajj with, he had them washed in his house  and  instructed his secretary to buy me a Baalbek- made cloth      that is quite satisfactory              .

The first man:   God bestow his benevolence on you sir

The second man:  you gave us hospitality and you were kind to us may Allah preserve you

The Governor of the town:  thank God for your safety. We pray god to watch over you during your trip. Please take this Ihram Cloth it is for you. Peace be with you.

Ibn Batouta: the Ihram cloth I was given had one of its extremities knotted, in the knot were put two golden Dinars. They were the first asset I had to face my journey with.

After having crossed the towns of Constantine and Bonne on our way to Mecca, I, again had a severe fit of fever, I resisted until we reached Tunis. Some of its inhabitants came out to meet their relatives and siblings, they clung to each other as they met asking questions about one another`s health and situations. As to me nobody took stock of me  nor did any one  looked at me or smiled to me .Which made me very sad and my tears welled up  to  my eyes. That was an edifying experience for me to ponder upon. Some of the pilgrims, however, sympathized with me and showed some care for me.

Ibn Batouta:  Sometimes later the cavalcade resumed its trip to the holy land.

We left Tunis at the end of Zi El keeda, after Sfax and upon our arrival to Tripoli; I married the daughter of a prominent Tunisian man. As we passed the towns of Mislata, Misrata and Koussor we were threatened by some Arab highwaymen but the providence of God preserved us from their mischief. Subsequently a bitter dispute broke between me and my in- law which lead to my divorcing his daughter. Then, When we reached kasr Zaania,I married the daughter  of one of Fez students , and I organized  a wedding party that was talked about for some times by the pilgrims.

Speaker 16: Pascoual Condolio

Director of the Arab Cultural Center in Argentina

The realistic face of Ibn Batouta with the holistic dimension of its being, his heart, his feelings, his intellect, is, a stormy face, as it were. He is at the same time prudent, dynamic, sharp- minded, silent and keen to notice and take stock of the happenings that occur around him.

A man who had to overcome materially and physically all the hurdles and difficulties that besieged him in order to be able to undertake his wanderings that lasted a quarter of a century throughout a world plagued by wars and up risings.

In addition to these strong natural characteristics, he was a man who managed to reconcile a broad outlook of the reality and the occurrences it was made of , he was endowed with ,a deep feeling , an unshakeable faith and an awareness  of the  validity of all that is  righteous .

Speaker 17: Mouhamed El Kaghed

Then he entered Alexandria, he marveled at its architecture and its impressive castles. he made a special mention of the town`s lighthouse which was still standing at that time, although it was partly in ruines. Ibn Batouta gave a thorough description of it at that point in time.

Ibn Batouta: its building was square and elevated it included numerous rooms, there was a corridor inside it, and the width of the wall was ten inches whereas the width of the lighthouse per se was 440 inches. It was built on top of a hill ,one mile away from the town.

Speaker 18:  Mouhamed Kahlaoui

Professor, Faculty of Arts, University of Cairo

The visit of Ibn Batouta to Egypt is considered as a significant reference for whoever intends to conduct researches in the field of the architectural vestiges in general and in Islamic architecture in particular. Since Ibn Batouta supplied us with insightful indications on the Alexandria`s Lighthouse, especially the circumstances of the downfall of significant parts of the structure and how it became the shadow of what it once was.Ibn Batouta had actually devoted a part of his writing to this international vestige, which is regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world.

He was the only one whose writing at the time of his pilgrimage mirrored all the flaws that undermined already the building and threatened its very existence. After his return from his long journey around the world 25 years later, he indicated that the lighthouse had collapsed altogether and that the Sultan Mouhamed Ibn Al Kalamouni attempted to repair it but failed to do so. He then started the construction of a new lighthouse.Ibn Batouta informed us likewise about the Amer Ibn El Ass Mosque, he described to us the architecture of that mosque. He then moved to the description of the different quarters, the streets and various areas of the town of Cairo. He depicted to us the urban fabrics of both Cairo and Alexandria without omitting other Egyptian cities of that epoch, be they in the Saaid area or in the southern part of the country or in the delta region that is the northern districts of Egypt.

Ibn Batouta:  may god help you, Ibn Jezzy , where did we stop last night?

Ibn Jezzy: This was the last thing we recorded

Ibn Batouta:  it is said that there are in Egypt 12 thousand drink merchants that use camels to curry their drinks to the markets, Egypt also has 30 thousands hoggars . it is likewise said that the Nile is ploughed by 36 thousands embarkations  belonging to the king. The populace shuttle back and forth between Essaeed, Alexandria and Dimiat currying all kinds of goods and commodities. On the Nile shore opposite to Cairo exits the locality known as Rawda which is a resort for leisure and pleasure, for Egyptians are prone for mirth and amusements.

Lets curry on, Ibn Jezzy

Speaker 19: Fathi Abdel Fettah

Chairman of the Cairo Center of researches and information

With respect to Egypt, one may say that among the most accurate things written about it in that period was what Ibn Batouta wrote and which consisted in two main things namely his realization of the extreme importance of the Nile, as far as the shaping of the production rapports in Egypt goes, on the one hand, and on the other hand the specific way of life of what the anthropologists call the river communities. Ibn Batouta paid attention to  the conditions of life and the behavior of such a communities  as epitomized by the Egyptian one.

Ibn Batouta realized this important issue in Egypt as he spoke of the Nile, its intermittent floodings and their inherent dangers, its fails and their pernicious social consequences. He also spoke of the necessity of mutual help and hand joining  to face such consequences.Ibn Batouta Heeded all these issue not only as a casual observer  interested in recording crude events  but as a sharp-minded knowledgeable person keen on grasping the underlying factors behind the geographical and social phenomena he scrutinized .

Speaker 20:  Mouhamed El Keghad

Ibn batouta reached the town of Azab in High Egypt on the shore of the Red Sea Coast on his way to Hijjaz but he could not cross the sea because of the war going on between the Bujat Sultan and the Mamllooks. He was therefore compelled to go back and head for Syria via Palestine where he would visit Jerusalem.

Speaker 21: Minster of culture of Palestine

The visit of Ibn Batouta to Palestine carries more than one meaningful significance, for apart from the religious purpose of the visit that consists in beholding the holy places in Jerusalem, in Hebron, in Bethlehem and the like, other purposes had been served by the same token, since Ibn batouta had provided us with a thorough description of the state of these holy places and the overall situation prevailing therein.  Since he made conspicuous  the religious tolerance  that all and assundry  used to enjoy  and which materialized in the fact that most of the prophets and holy men’s tombs were preserved and taken good care of although Ibn Batouta sounded  to doubt  the existence of such a numbers of prophets  in a so small area .

As to Ibn Batouta `s description   of the holy places in Jerusalem in particular: the Rock Dom Mosque and the Aksa  Mosque,it was a very accurate description indeed . In fact it is hardly possible to come across a description as precise as the one he provided in his travels `book

I believe that the paragraphs, in which Ibn Batouta described the Palestinian sites, despite their shortness, carry a historic meaning and have a religious value that leaves nobody indifferent. Besides the penetrating and critical eye of Ibn Batouta had preserved for us, through ages, a vivid image of very important chunks of our heritage.

Speaker 22: Hashem Alaoui

He then moved along with Ibn Hajeej Ashamy  to the land of Hijazz via Al Akaba  .He crossed  west Jordan  in his way to Tabook then to Al  Medina Al mounawara.

His arrival to Medina Was mirrored in Touhfat Annadhar as the Author spoke extensively about the Mosque of the Prophet, the city of Mdina , its inhabitants and their  way of life.

And here appears the importence of the journey of Ibn Batouta and its stance vis- avis Medina AlMounawara.

Speaker 23; Mouhamed El Kaghed

After the accomplishment of the pilgrimage, ibn Batouta was urged by his passion for wandering about to leave Mekka for the eastern regions. He bequeathed to us in what he recorded concerning the towns he visited a very interesting testimony about the cities he visited ant that had disappeared altogether or lost a great deal of their past prestige and greatness as was the case of El Koufa  , Baghdad and Al basra .He pushed his wandering further north ,from Mossol he joined a group of pilgrims bound to Mekka, that was between October and November 1327.

He stayed over there three years; and this stability was strange on behalf of a restless traveler like ibn Batouta. In mid October 1330, the sea would intervene to determine the trajectory of Ibn  Batouta`s next trip , since he would be lead by the company  he was part of  from Jeddah to the African shores, from there he headed on camel`s back to  the harbor of Sawakin from which he went back to Yemen where he would visit: Zouba,Tiiz,Sanaa,Eden to name only these. From Eden he crossed to Zabila,Mogadishio ,Mossaba and Koudwa , that was  in the beginning of March 1331.

He once again backtracked one more time to Mekka in 1332. At the beginning of October of that year he left Djedda and here the   elements intervened once again to determine his itinerary.

Speaker 24: Mouhamed El Kaghed

At the opening days of March1334 Ibn Batouta sailed across the Black seas that sat in store for him a great deal of storms. On may the 6th 1334 he reached the town of El Karn where he visited the Sultan of the Turks “Kozdikane” . What he recorded for us during this visit may be considered of paramount importance with regard to the history of those Turkish tribes that were to open Constantine a century after that date.

Speaker 25: Mouhamed El Kaghed

As he habitually did when he visited any region or town or vestige, Ibn Batouta undertook to describe accurately the city of Constantine as it used to be in 1334.

Speaker26: Mouhamed El Kaghed

Ibn Batouta`s stay in Constantine lasted precisely a month and six days. In December 1334, Ibn Batouta would leave Constantine for Khawarism,Boukhara,Samarkand,Nishabour,Ghounk and Kabul. Two years from thence he would reach the Sind River where he would settle for six months in a costumes center on the boarders.

Speaker 27: Janish Mankrovina Iyir

Ambassador of India to Morocco

Thus one may infer that the practice of incineration was not largely in use in all the Indian regions but it was related to peculiar social traditions characteristic of some Indian areas in a given point in time in the Indian history.

Actually what was known then and what Ibn Batouta had reported was that one given king overrun a country, killed the men and speared women, and then these would burn themselves to avoid being captured and enslaved by the victorious conquerors.

This does not mean that this bad habit is acceptable or should be condoned with; on the contrary it should now be banned and outlawed as a criminal practice.

Mouhamed El Kaghed :  the stay of Ibn Batouta in Delhi would last from 1333 through 1342 and that was not usual on his behalf as a shiftless globe trotter. However this long stay provided us with precious pages of the history of the Delhi Sultanate as well as the costumes and habits of the Hindus, It also gave us insightful ideas about Ibn Batouta and his relationships with the Sultan Ibn Taghlek whom he served, as Ibn Batouta was able to record the strange and contradictory habits of that Sultan who was at the same time generous, humble and religious, but who also was peevish and brutal.

One day that the Sultan invited Ibn Batouta to his Palace located at 7 klm from Delhi

Ibn Batouta : the Sultan Halet Barka.

The Sultan: your arrival here is a benediction, I`ll satisfy you, I`ll give you a lot of livestock, so much that if your people learn about it, they would all come to me.

Where are you  from?

Ibn Batouta: from Morocco

Al kaghed

Evey time the Sultan told him a nice thing he would kiss his hand, receive from him a gift and leave. But what was certain was that Ibn Batouta could not imagine the grave decision that cruel sultan had in store for him.

After Ibn Batouta`s meeting with this queer Sultan in Delhi in 1355 and after having received numerous gifts from him, he ,the Sultan, one day, invited Ibn Batouta-Ibn Batouta was dictating his memories concerning the invitation extended to him by the Sultan with an astonishing precision-

Ibn Batouta: I entered and found the Sultan leaning on a bed while the Visir Khwadja was in front of him while the great chamberlain was standing near him. When I greeted him he said to the chamberlain: Work!

The man: greeting!  The king gives you the responsibility to take care of his administration in Delhi, he bestowed on you an annual allowance of 12 thousands Dinars from the treasury of the kingdom as of tomorrow he also gives you a saddled horse in addition to valuable clothes. The Sultan told me then:  do not believe that the profession of a judge is trivial in our land; on the contrary it is one of the highest responsibility one may be entrusted with.

Ibn Batouta: I responded to him, my lord I belong to the Malikit rite whereas these belong to Hanafit rite beside I don`t know the “litham”

He told me

The Sultan: I appointed both Baha Deen  El Mithany  and Kamal Deen Al boujemuny they would pay allegiance to you and consult with you and you would be responsible for the recording of the acts  and edicts . Furthermore we regard you as a son.

Ibn Batouta:  I said to him   out of gratitude and humility you are rather our lord and we are your servants.

Mouhamed El Kaghed: Days elapsed, then Ibn Batouta received a present from the Sultan . It consisted of a horse,  an attire and an amount of money. Then Ibn Batouta moved into a beautiful mansion in Delhi where he lived until 1342. He lived on the revenues yielded by the lands he was given. He was attended to by 40 servants, 20 concubines and a wife from the upper class. That was a wealth Ibn Batouta  did not expect . Yet the benevolence of the sultan would abruptly come to end.

Ibn Jizzy: after all this affection, this consideration and these gifts and presents the sultan would turn against you?

Ibn Batouta: The only reason to that was that I, one day, went to see the children of Cheikh Chihab  Eddeen who was one of the Sultan Opponents , when   the Sultan knew of this visit ,he ordered  four  slaves of his, to keep an eye on me. Usually when he adopts this attitude against somebody, that person  won`t live long. I then was scared to death for I was in high danger.

Ibn Jizzy:  How did you pull through that situation?

Ibn Batouta:  I renounced my wealth and the job I was invested with. I forsake everything: my concubines, my wife, my lands my job all my possessions.

Ibn Batouta: my lord  and dedicated Imam peace be upon you , I came here to t be at your service  and let myself be guided by the light of your knowledge , I come to follow your way, to pray and fast.

The hermit: that would be difficult for you

Ibn Batouta : look I kept nothing of all the possessions I had , I gave all I had to the needy, now I yearn to stick to you and stay in your company

The Hermit: climb up May God help you

Mouhamed El Kaghrd: When the Sultan Came Back to Delhi from which he was away for several months he learnt that Ibn Batouta renounced the pleasures of life here under. He then invited him in order to send him as an ambassador to the emperor of China as he knew the passion Ibn Batouta had for travelling around.

Ibn Batouta : the Sultan invited me in the most considerate manner and he interrogated me about the reason  for which I abandoned his service.

I wanted to forget everything and get closer to God almighty

Thus the Sultan furnished me with all that I may need  and entrusted me with precious presents  destined to the King of China namely: 100 harnessed horses , 100 slaves, 100 concubines chosen among the Indian Infidels , singers and dancers, 100   cotton  royal attires   and 100 silks pieces .

The narrator

We lived through the first part with Ibn Batouta and his adventures motivated by his passion for an incessant wandering around the world.

This globe trotter had travelled through distances much longer than the ones gone through by Marco Polo since they attained 150 thousand klm , for so doing he walked, rode on  camel and horseback and used ships. Such wandering had lasted over thirty years. They cause this traveler to be rated as the greatest explorer in humankind history. When the Sultan of India  Ibn Thaghlak sent him as an ambassador to the emperor of China he had  had a rough time  since he went through breathtaking adventures  and witnessed dramatic events. We indeed left him in the last session as he fell into the hands of an Indian armed gang which ransacked a village he happened to have stopped over in ,while bound for China.

Second part

Speaker 1: Janish Sankrvrina Ibir

Ambassador of India to Morocco

Ibn Batouta was Able to observe the situation prevailing in all the regions of the country from the social point of view as the Indian society involved diverse components  , Ibn Batouta was in fact able to embrace this multifaceted  context from the North to the South paying attention to the social, cultural and geographic  aspects of the Indian life. He did not fail to mention the existing religions and the various traditions .That was why the weightings of Ibn Batouta constitute important sources that facilitated the understanding of the context that prevailed then in the country. They also were cardinal for the wrighting of the history of India at that epoch.

Ibn Batouta:  they seized me and divested me from all my belongings except a trouser and a shirt, then conducted me into a forest and drugged me to their hideout which was  at the brink of a pond surrounded by trees. There were two Muslims with them, they spoke to me in Persian. I hided from them that I had anything to do with the Sultan. They told me this gang will kill you. They showed me their leader; I talked to him, entreating him to spare my life. He confided me to three men amongst them, an old man, his son and an expert. When they talked to me I understood that they were commissioned to kill me, I tried hard to ingratiate myself to the old man and implored his mercy, he ended up having pity on me and sat me free, I cut the two sleeves of my shirt and gave them to him so that the torn shirt be left to me to wear.

I walked for a long time before reaching a ruined village. I saw two naked black men who scared me so much so that I decided not to enter the village before darkness.

Speaker 2: ahmed Shtiak adholmy

Professor at the Islamic University of Beleekra ( India)

When we read the travels of Ibn Batouta and when we try to draw a picture of the man based on what he narrated, we find that that person who left his hometown, Tangiers, as a young man was a genius who enjoyed high capabilities and that he was very intelligent, knowledgeable and endowed with a notable faculty of adaptation with all circumstances.

Ibn Batouta was acquainted with all the civilizations and cultures, he was a high brow on account of his large knowledge that had prepared him to be an outstanding Judge, that competence was enhanced by his longstanding experience in royal palaces added to his dealings with top political and social leaders as well as the outstanding nobilities and all kinds of high ranking men all over the world.

Ibn Batouta:  I spent seven days in that situation,I then ,proceeded and entered a village of miscreants , having passed by a group of men ,I was called by one of them but I did not answer him, instead I sat down, he rushed to me with a drawn sward  but I didn’t heed him on account of the extreme fatigue I was suffering from. He searched me but found nothing in my possession except the shirt which he grabbed.

The next day as I was thirsty and having no water to drink, I started looking for a source of water, I came across a well overhung by a rope with no utensil tied to it. I tied a cloth I  had around my head at the end of the tether and send it down the well ,I sucked it dry from the water but that did not quench my thirst, I then used one of my socks  to draw some water, the rope broke, I used the second sock, got some water and drunk. I cut the sock in two pieces which I tied around my feet using to that effect the tether  I found . While busy doing that and trying to figure out what to do next I heard somebody greeting me.

A man:  peace be upon you

Ibn Batouta; upon you be peace, mercy and benediction

The man: who are you?

Ibn Batouta: I am a lost man

The man: me to

The man: there, what`s your name?

Mouhamed, and you?

The man: El Kadh Fareh, in the name of Allah, would accompany me?

Inb Batouta: yes

The man:  what`s your story?

Ibn Batouta: I was able to walk before encountering you, but after having met you I am no longer capable to walk

The man: strange, climb on my shoulder

Ibn B atouta: you`re weak, you won`t be able to curry me

The man:  Allah would give the necessary strength; you must get on my shoulder, and keep repeating that Allah is the best resort one can rely on

Ibn B atouta: allah is my best resort.

At the end I managed to catch up with the embassy that was waiting for the instructions of the Sultan of Delhi, we later on received the order to carry on our mission despite the unexpected difficulties that cropped up.

Speaker 3: Mouhamed El kaghed; the members   of  Delhi `Sulltan embassy to China `s Emperor  resumed their trip from the town of Kool  to that of Klikoza where from they sailed for china,the Sultan having  put at their disposal 13 embarkations to that effect. But as they were bracing to depart they were hit by a terrible storm that caused most of the embarkations to sink and their occupants to drawn. A great deal of people perished forthwith. It was only in the morning that the magnitude of the catastrophe was appraised. The embassy was wiped out. I survived as did the Sultan Kalkun and his servant who managed to keep the umbrella over the head of the sultan despite the misfortune that had befallen him.

Speaker4: Mouhamed Kaghed

Ibn Batouta first thought of going back to Delhi to inform the Sultan of what had happened to his presents to the emperor of China but when he remembered the peevishness of the Sultan  he feared for his life and fled.

During the four following years he visited Bingal,Mimbarand the Maldives Islands  where he sojourned  about a year and a half 1342-1344. There he married several times, lived happily assumed the function of judge and he learnt a lot about that land and the queer traditions and habits of its inhabitants

Speaker5: Ismat Dendesh

Professor of Islamic History in the faculty of Arts, Mouhamed V University, Rabat

Ibn Batouta spoke of various types of women belonging to all the social strata. He would speak of the servant, the maid, the concubine, the wife, the queen, in addition to the knowledgeable woman who taught and certified him. Each one of these model of women had its specificities that Ibn Batouta acknowledged and respected, for he looked at women from the human vantage point.

Speaker 6: Pascoual Condolio

Director of the Arab center of Argentina

Ibn Batouta left those islands  in the direction of China, he traversed Seylan , Bingal,Sumatra,Malesia  , he reached the Chinese town of Zaytoon where from he went deep into the hinterland going through  towns on the coast to finally reach Khan Yang which is the present day Beijing.

Speaker7: Mouhame Kaghed:

I am wandering what is the difference between Ibn Ba touta and Marco Polo, actually one  may say that they are two different figures but they are close to each other . We may consider one of them as  being more innovative than the other. Although the imitations characteristic of Marco Polo, had provided aspects that are lacking in Ibn Batou`s work.  Yet both of them  had allowed to unveil the distinctive features of the new societies they lived in and both of them deserve  for so doing our deep consideration.

If we seek common denominators, we would find them in this cultural attitude vis a vis the society and its system.Now  if we look for differences  we will find them in the fact that one of the two men  epitomizes  the Latin human behavior  whereas the second represents the Arab human behavior  where these distinct spaces merge  to translate into that dream which turns into reality as the travel  flags off.

Speaker 8: Mouhamed Hijji

Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences Rabat

With regards to the regions Marco polo had visited and the writings he left concerning them, one may indeed consider his work as an important exploration in relation to his epoch. Although the respective epochs covered by the two men are close to each other. Yet the circumstances of the two men differed  as Marco Polo  left Venice ,while it was one of the Mediterranean capital cities, one of trade, piracy and science since,  as  we know the Renaissance had  started in Italy ,whereas  Ibn Batouta left Tangiers without that background Marco Polo had.Actuually when he left Morocco,the country  was going through hard times  for many reasons ,one of which was  the death  of the Sultan Abou El Hacen and the turmoils that circumstance entailed for almost a century . Comparison may not be easy here. All that could be said is that both Marco Polo and Ibn Batouta were two intelligent, enduring and sensitive men. It remains however that Ibn Batouta was luckier in his travels than his Venetian counterpart.

Speaker9: Mouhame El Kaghed

This trip to China, although it did not stretch either in time or space ,contrarily to the trips that had lead Ibn Batouta to India,it all the same ,allowed a significant harvest of insightful information about this country. And the thing that seemed to have retained the undivided attention of our explorer was the Chinese mastery of the craft of ceramic as well as their inimitable capacity in the art of drawing.

He also noted with admiration the safety of the roads and the protection the travelers enjoyed as well as the facilities they could profit from during their stay in the country.

The trip undertaken in 1346 was restricted to four regions and capitals, these were: Chin Chin.Hanton.hichin and Beijing. These trips were undertaken aboard rivers embarkations. As to Islam, it concerned only a small minority lost in a large Buddhist landscape. That was a significant observation of Ibn Batouta as he was about to head for the town of Septon.

Speaker 10: Mouhamed Kaghed

On his journey back, Ibn Batouta revisited in quicker pace  the countries he had already seen .As a result what he recorded for a second times concerning them was shorter and more summery . It was understandable that he shunned India because of his fear from her Sultan. In 1348, he reached the middle east and he found most of his towns ravaged by the deadly plague. Yet ,that did not prevent him from visiting Damascus to enquiry about his son. To that end he went to see the religious leader of the malikit school Noordine Sqkhawi.

Ibn Batouta;  don`t you know me sir ?

I am Abou Abdellah Ibn Ibrahim Allouti Attangi. You were  the first one to open your heart and your house to me over 20 years ago when you hosted me  and treated me  from the sickness that befell me subsequently, and when  I expressed my wish to leave,  you hired camels for me  and gave me money and victuals .

The leader of the Malkit School: I remembered you now

Ibn Batouta: circumstances decided that I don`t see my son during all these years and the most urgent thing for me now is to set my eyes on him.

The Malikit school leader; God be praised for your return  as to your son ,may Allah have mercy on his soul, for he died 12 years ago, with respect to news concerning your parents  you could get them from a knowledgeable man from Tangiers who is presently dwelling in  El fatimia school.

Ibn Batouta:  we belong to Allah and we are returning to him!!

The knowledgeable man from Tangiers:  praise and submission to the almighty Allah who has the universe in his hand and to whom everybody is bound to return. Truthful are the words of our mighty lord, get in, make yourself comfortable.

Ibn Batouta: in the name of Allah. I was directed to you by Limam Sakhawi  to seek the news of my father Abdullah Mouhamed Ibn Ibrahim Allouty Al Tangi as well as those of my mother.

The knowledgeable man of Tangiers:  as far as your father is concerned we implore Allah`s mercy and pardon for him, as he passed away 15 years ago as to your mother we wish her good health and peace.

Ibn Batouta: Amen

Speaker  11:

Mister Ismat Dendesh, Professor of Islamic History in the Faculty of Arts ,Rabat

He experienced a deep sadness as h was eager to return to see his son and his wife. He began to feel  the stub on nostalgia for his father which is why he went to see a man from Tangiers who had just arrived the town in order to enquiry about his own father. The man informed him that his father had also died. He was plunged in a deep sorrow but those strong emotions never appeared in his writings he strove to conceal his feelings. The shock was softened a bit by the news of his mother being still alive, and that urged him to hurriedly go back to his country to, hopefully, see her before she dies.

Speaket12: Mouhamed Kaghed

When Ibn Batouta reached his hometown Tangiers, he visited the tomb of his mother, and all of a sudden his eye was caught by the sea. He gazed to it trying to see what lays beyond it that is the Spanish coastline and Gibraltar. The yearning for the travels and the exploration overwhelmed him anew. He decided to visit the Islamic kingdoms in Spain during the last half of the 14th Century.

Speaker13: mouhamed BenSherifa

Member of the Royal Academy

Ibn Batouta left for Al Andalus  from Ceuta . He told us that he embarked on a ship belonging   to people from Assila he made a stopover at Gibraltar that belonged then to the Moroccan Merinid Dynasty. From Gibraltar he went to the town of Rounda  which was a well protected town and was located on the top of a mountain , the way to it was   arduous ;he stayed  there for some time, he got acquainted with  its decision makers among whom  the town`s judge who happened to be a cousin of his.

Ibn Batouta: after a stay of 5 days in Rounda  I decided to leave for Malaga.  On my way to it I crossed Marbella. The way was very difficult. I stopped over for a short time in a farm in that town.

The man 1: Peace be on you

The man 2: welcome, welcome, come on in!  Please feel comfortable!

The man 1; how are you, get in, sit down!

The man 2: how was your trip?

The man1: difficult and tiresome!

Speaker 14: Mouhamed Ben Ahrifa

Member of  the Royal Academy of the Kingdom

From the town of Rounda he left for the town of Marbella which has kept that name till day, it is nowadays a tourists town . At that time it was a small town.

Ibn Batouta headed for it as starting block, as it were, for Malaga. In Marbella Ibn Batouta met learned people but he did not stay long in that town.

Why did Ibn Batouta travel to Andalusia?

Was it, as one may surmise, that he went on economic mission or did he go simply for tourism sake?

According to him he went there for the defense of the Islamic cause and jihad. But did he mean by that his intention to settle in Andalusia to accomplish Jihad in all its dimensions? Or did he only seek to derive some “Baraka” from this visit?

As a matter of fact it seems that the purpose of tourism and intellectual curiosity appear to have been the major motives behind that visit.

A man:  help, help the enemy has overrun the castle of Suhaib, help, help!

Ibn Batouta: they have all gone, I`ll be compelled to go alone to Malaga

Speaker15: Mouhamed Ben Sherifa

Member of the academy of the Moroccan Kingdom

Ibn Batouta entred Andalusia in a period where it was at war with Castille, the castillanos, under the leadership of their king Al fonso the 11th, were besieging Gibraltar, the ambition the king  harbored was to lay hand on Andalusia.

This state of war could be inferred from the description of the roads as being dangerous for the travelers .

In fact , on his way, Ibn Batouta Found evidences that  the  areas around the Town of  Souhaib  were attacked  as  four castillanos war ships had actually attacked Marbella and Souhaib and plundered  all the people who were near the coastline Ibn  Batouta mentioned that , on  his way he saw a dead body.

He narrowly escaped being captured as the companions he was about to go along with to Marbella were made prisoners. He awed this escape to an advice given to him by the responsible of Souhaib`s Castle who suggested that he should stay overnight in his company in Souhaib to be conveyed by him the next morning to Malaga.

Ibn Batouta : we pray  theAlmaghty Allah to be on his side.

Speaker 16: Mouhamed El Kaghed

After Malaga, Ibn Batouta travelled to Grenada ,the Capital city of Andalusia and the pearl of its towns on account of the Alhamra palace and the architectural wonders it possesd.Ibn Batouta could not meet the Sultan Abou Al Hajjaj  because the latter was sick.

Ibn Batouta however, met in Grenada outstanding people such as community leaders, intellectuals, poets and literati to whom he counted, in the most famous parks of the town, chapters of his long traves`reports.

Ibn Batouta: Great prince Khourty the king of kings of China, hosted us in his palace, he organized a big ceremony which they called “touah”.It was attended by the prominent people of the town. For the sake of Muslims he brought Muslim kooks who heeded the Muslims’ culinary habits and prescriptions. Despite his greatness that prince cut the meat and handed it personally to his guests. We enjoyed his hospitality for three days.

That night a prestidigitator who was a khan slave was brought in. The prince told him : show us some of your wonders.

He took a wooden ball with holes in it out of which strings sticked out. He threw it in the air and kept the string in his hand. When the ball disappeared in the air and only a short segment of the string remained in his had he made one of his assistant to climb it up. He kept climbing until he disappeared all together in the air. He called him thrice but he didn’t answer. He then took a knife; he, in his turn, climbed up the string until he disappeared. He then threw down the hand of his companion, then his second hand, then his two legs, then his head and the rest of his body. After that he climbed down panting and stained with blood.

The Cadi Afkhardine who was sitting by my side whispered to me: by Allah, there was no climbing, no descent no hands nor feet cutting.. There was nothing but hallucinatory illusions.

 

 

 

Speaker 17: Mouhamed el Kaghed

And now Ibn Batouta braced to undertake his last journey wherein he would explore the Niger, beyond the great Desert, to that end he had to compose a caravan. Thus he headed for Sijilmassa the hub of caravans in Southern Morocco.

Ibn Batouta: Peace upon you

Man1; upon you be peace, welcome, please be seated

Ibn Batouta:  Praise be to God,how are you?

Man 1:  thank god, can`t complain, I introduce to you my friend Abou Abdellah mouhamed Ibn Brahm Allouti

Man 2 : most welcome

Man1 : he spent his life travelling around the world paying no attention to any position or fortune

Ibn Batouta: I am not regretting that for a bit as I acquired without it a great deal of knowledge and experience. I spent 28 years travelling between the villages and towns of the Arab east, the Arab peninsula, Persia Turkey, India, the Maldives and China. If I were given a second life I would have done the same thing over again.

Man2: sir, it is a great pleasure for me to accompany you to Sudan, and it is a great gain for my caravan to include such a great explorer as your good self.

Ibn Batouta: let’s get ready to buy all that we may need

Speaker 18: Mouhamed Hejjy

Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, Rabat

Why was Abou Inan interested in that trip? And why did he request Ibn Batouta to undertake it?

Of course we do know the importance that Sudan had for Morocco. Since Morocco is well embedded in Africa and its trans Saharan trade with Sudan was time honored. It represented an main weight in the Moroccan economic life,In addition to the trade relations he entertained with Europe .In other words Morocco was an intermediary between Europe and Africa in terms of trade exchanges between the two continents. It was in this perspective that  the Sultan Abou Inan commissioned Ibn Batouta to undertake that journey, knowing that the year Ibn Batounat started his travel was the first year of AbouInan `s rein . Abou Inan who knew the extent of the wisdom and experience of Ibn Batouta had decided to entrust him with a mission near Sultan Monfie Souleiman so as to strengthen the brotherly bonds existing between the kingdom of Morocco and the Mali Empire.

 

Man 1: this man would lead us to his palace

Man2: what`s the matter with you? Do you fear for your life?

Man 1; I don`t fear only for my life but I do fear for the lives of all of us!

Man2: don`t you see that the guide is cock eyed

Man1: He is not only cock eyed but a lot more is the matter with him

Man2: strange, this man is to lead a caravan of this size

Man1; rest assured that none knows the way better that he does

Speaker 19: Hamah lah  old salam

Professor in Nouakchott University

Ibn Batouta indicated that the caravan he accompanied and the similar caravans, used to start their journey from the northern Saharan parts of the country , in particular the Azawad region in western part of the Sahara.

The caravan used to be organized in a precise manner, a vertical manner in fact, the camels were made to follow  one another in a long line .This structure of the caravan is paralleled by an administrative organization inside the caravan itself. There was the scout whose mission was to precede the caravan and determine where it has to settle overnight at each one of it advancing stages, to that effect he had to heed security and the suitability of the site and its closeness from sources of water. He had to know the most appropriate itinerary for the caravan in terms of practicality and security until it reaches its destination.   

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