That's sad on multiple levels. Does anyone know of a complete translation to English?
From ~30 years ago, by a member of the SCA: "There seems to be no complete and unabridged translation of his account of his travels. H. A. R. Gibb produced the first three volumes of one (The Travels of Ibn Battuta, by H.A.R. Gibb, Cambridge, 1958, 1962, 1971) before his death. He also produced an earlier abridged translation (The Travels of Ibn Battuta, London, 1929). There are partial translations by several others."
And about medieval Islam:
"Not all, not even most, Muslims were Arabs. Islam may have been the first world civilization; in period it stretched from Spain to Malaya. Muslims might be Arabs, Berbers, East or West African Blacks, Indians, Kurds, Mongols, Persians, Turks, ... . They were all united by a common religion and a common religious language, but divided by numerous religious factions, languages, and cultures"
For something along similar-ish lines, Canetti's Crowds and Power does a good job of weaving together some lessons from Battuta's account with many other primary historical sources.
The Travels of Ibn Battuta / A.D. 1325-1354 … / Volume IV / The translation completed with annotations by C. F. Beckingham / 1994.
Found that listed on the Hakluyt Society's website, which published a edition of the Cambridge volumes for their members. It appears they worked to complete the translation in the 90's.
Isn’t this all true today?
Some parts of the above are things which cannot change with time, if considered accurate. Like "[was] the first world civilization". Others can, and have, like Spain.
> Under Umar, the caliphate expanded at an unprecedented rate, ruling the Sasanian Empire and more than two-thirds of the Byzantine Empire. His attacks against the Sasanian Empire resulted in the conquest of Persia in less than two years (642–644). According to Jewish tradition, Umar set aside the Christian ban on Jews and allowed them into Jerusalem and to worship. Umar was assassinated by the Persian slave Abu Lu'lu'a Firuz in 644.
All of these civilizations will contribute to the Empire. Not much different than what's happening in the US right now.
I'm no historian or anything, but based on history, it was probably Omar who made up Islam in the first place as a way to conquer. The Wikipedia page has some info on that:
> Umar converted to Islam in 616, one year after the Migration to Abyssinia. The story was recounted in Ibn Ishaq's Sīrah. On his way to murder Muhammad, Umar met his best friend Nu'aym ibn Abd Allah who had secretly converted to Islam but had not told Umar. When Umar informed him that he had set out to kill Muhammad, Nu'aym said, “By God, you have deceived yourself, O Umar! Do you think that Banu Abd al-Manaf would let you run around alive once you had killed their son Muhammad? Why don't you return to your own house and at least set it straight?"
This story is probably BS. Omar influenced Muhammad and had him under his command. He then used him to propagate his rule. He was quite agnostic in his state building (he accepted both Jewish and Christians).
Baseless claim. Show us the history then.
>Omar influenced Muhammad and had him under his command.
Another baseless claim.
>He then used him to propagate his rule.
>He was quite agnostic in his state building (he accepted both Jewish and Christians).
What does "agnostic in his state building" even mean? Are all leaders who had subjects of other religions (with all the conditions that may or may not come with) "agnostic in their state building"?
There have been a number of revisionist histories of early Islam that have been floated by serious historians. Has any of them ever cast aspersion on that story, and if so, for what reason? Has any of them made the argument that it was Umar who was the motivating force behind Islam? (using God knows what evidence--seems like if one isn't inclined to accept the basics of the traditional accounts, there isn't a lot to go by period)
The diversity of Muslims can be seen as a compliment to Arabs.
Love or hate something, the objective fact that it appeals to people all over the world from many different cultures is significant.
Arabs don't have a special place, and the role that Persians played is very well known, BUT, a sentence like this usually comes from people who want to dismiss Arabs completely. And the problem feels undecidable too. There were a lot of scholars. A lot of them spoke Arabic better than most Arabs today. You could find a lot of them have mixed parents and were raised in Arabs culture. How will you decide exactly?
It is a useless debate.
China. A surveillance state since the 1300s.
/jk of course
Such a fascinating character. IIRC there is great scepticism that he went as far east as claimed, and that the China adventure may have been mostly fabricated. Echoes of Marco Polo. Anyone know more recent studies of the veracity of his claimed journeys?
Ibn Battuta and his adventure - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16687689 - March 2018 (38 comments)
> Turns out mainly because he was a scholar of fiqh and was therefore in considerable demand wherever he went. Ibn Battuta has stayed to work as a Qadi in several places along the way; this means that you really get a broad sense of the politics and the people in each destination.
> Other than that, it is likely because the Muslim faith inspired people to give money and gifts to travelers. And because Ibn Battuta was a student and eventually a famed traveler, he received many gifts and honors.
Like Marco Polo, he likely either fabricated portions of his travels or retold others' stories as his own.
Not that his works weren't immensely valuable to posterity.
The medieval version of "Pics or it didn't happen"
We have documented evidence that you never went there
Consider Zheng He, another famous extensive traveller born just after Battuta's death (with some scepticism of his travels too). He went to Africa from China and brought back a giraffe. Well worth a read.
It's a --shrug--.