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Ebook The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century, Revised Edition, with a New Preface by Ross E. Dunn read! Book Title: The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century, Revised Edition, with a New Preface
The author of the book: Ross E. Dunn
ISBN: 0520243854
ISBN 13: 9780520243859
Language: English
Format files: PDF
Loaded: 2208 times
Reader ratings: 7.6
The size of the: 455 KB
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Edition: University of California Press
Date of issue: December 9th 2004

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When I met Professor Dunn, he was already being called America's foremost authority on Ibn Battuta. As we discussed our mutually favored subject, I will never forget how he commented, "I believe I can say that I know just how a Maliki scholar in the 14th century would think."

Ibn Battuta's name should be as familiar to Near and Middle Eastern school children as Marco Polo's does to Western pupils. Born half a century after the Venetian traveler, Abu Abdallah ibn Battuta was in face more widely traveled: "Ibn Battuta traveled to, and reports on, a great many more places than Marco did, and his narrative offers details, sometimes incidental bits, sometimes in long disquisitions, on almost ever conceivable aspect of human life in that age, from the royal ceremonial of the Sultan of Delhi to the customs of women in the Maldive Islands. . . ." Ibn Battuta traveled for 29 years, only going home once briefly. The narration of these travels is known in Arabic by the literary term "rihla."

Anyone who is seriously interested in Muslim history should read this rihla, something else entirely than The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century by Ross Dunn. That latter book is the appropriate and recommended companion to Ibn Battuta's rihla. Ideally, both books should be open at once. Dunn has his own voice: his affection for the traveler pervades the book, in spite of tiny barbed witticisms, which are not always unwarranted.

Most importantly, there is a lot that the modern, Western reader will find not just exotic but strange. Dunn helps explain what is going on, and he does so without being pedantic or condescending. When I first read about Muhammad Tughluq,the ruler in whose court Ibn Battuta found himself for an extended period, he struck me as outrageous and horrifying. Wish I'd had my professor's book then. Dunn succinctly calls Tughluq the "odd duck of fourteenth century rulers." Tughluq was a religious scholar who learned Arabic in order to read religious texts; as a ruler he scandalized his subjects with "policies that were visionary, extreme, and unfathomable." Court subjects like Ibn Battuta lived under horrendous stress: skinning his critics alive was among the least imaginative methods Muhammad Tughluq had of keeping them in line. Dunn provides insight into this enigmatic psychotic as into the entire fabric of the world that was Ibn Battuta's destiny to explore.

If you love all that is exotic in the Muslim past, definitely pick up this book along with Ibn Battuta's rihla. Such a double read would be the mother of magic carpet rides.


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