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Awards for Excellence
||Ibn Battuta award for excellence in media
a gift of betel is a far greater honour than a gift of gold and silver
Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Battuta, born in 1304 CE, has been described as the greatest traveller of premodern times. He was more than that. His wanderlust was contained in a worthy pursuit: a quest for ideas and knowledge of Muslim and non-Muslim societies that took him eventually, in keeping with the Prophet's advice, to the gates of China.
In 1325, Ibn Battuta left his home in Tangier, Morocco, to make the pilgrimage to Makkah. He returned a year and a half later, having taken in North Africa, Egypt, Palestine and Syria. For the next ten years, his ever more ambitious itinerary would thwart the most hardened of today's backpackers.
Without the convenience of jet travel, or the paraphernalia of modern communication (faxes, phrase-books and biros), Ibn Battuta lived and corresponded in cultures distant and distinct: Iraq, Persia, Tanzania, Transoxania, Khurasan and Afghanistan, to name but a few. In September 1335, he arrived at the banks of the Indus.
In India, Ibn Battuta was employed as a judge by Muhammad Taghluq, the Sultan of Delhi. He was soon appointed to lead an ill-fated diplomatic mission to the court of the Emperor of China. But Ibn Battuta, unperturbed by disaster, seized the opportunity to visit South India, Ceylon and the Maldives. He resolved to visit China alone, which he did in 1345.
When finally Ibn Battuta returned to Morocco in 1356, his intrepid journey was recorded by Ibn Juzayy, a young scholar of Arabic literature. This impressive account of the traditions, thinking and news of people across three continents is commonly known as the Rihla. Almost seven centuries on, the chronicles of Ibn Battuta urge the modern reader to look deeper, enquire further, and learn more about each other.
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