Ibn Battuta’s Journey to Maldives

Ibn Battuta’s Journey to Maldives

Ibn Battuta’s Journey to Maldives
Ibn Battuta’s Journey to the Maldives

The small islands of Maldives are situated in the Indian Ocean, southwestern portion of Sri Lanka and India. The country is an archipelagic nation consist of 26 islets and rise just a few feet above the sea’s surface and extends to 475 miles of beautiful white sand.

During the medieval era, the country plays a vital role in exportation. Coconut fibers are utilized to produce ropes and cowrie shells which are made as Malaysia’s money as well as other parts of Africa.

In the middle of the 12th century, the locals of Maldives converted from Buddhism to Islam when a religious Muslim from North Africa got rid of the land’s bad spirits. When he arrived at the country’s capital Male, Ibn Battuta did not plan to stay longer. However, the leaders are looking for a chief judge, a person who knows Arabic and Qur’an. The leaders were happy to see a visitor that meet their requirements. To convince the traveler to stay, they have given him pearls, gold jewelry, and slaves. More so, they did something to make it impossible for him to leave by ship. He agreed to settle while giving them his conditions including being carried by a horse instead of walking.

He settled in the area with another wife who’s related to the queen, living together in less than 2 months. He’s now part of the royal family and the most important judge.

He worked on his role being a judge with keenness and strived to carry out the strict Muslim law and transform local practices. He commanded that if a man fails to appear during Friday prayer he will be whipped in public disgracefully and robbers will have their right-hand cut. He also ordered women who went “topless” to cover up. After horrible arguments and political conspiracies, he started to have opponents, Ibn Battuta chose to leave after living in the Maldives for 9 months.

Ibn Battuta resigned from his job as qadi, although he really would have eventually been dismissed. He brought his three wives with him, and after a brief period, he divorced them all where one of them became pregnant. He stayed on a different island, and there he wed 2 more women, but broken up with them, too.

When asked about marriage and divorce in the Maldives at the time, Ibn Battuta pointed out that it’s easier to marry in the Maldives due to small dowries and desires of societies which women propose. That’s why when ships dock, the crew members get wed then if it is time to leave, they simply divorce their wives. The set up is just like a temporary marriage because girls never leave the islands of Maldives.

What did Ibn Battuta eat in the Maldive Islands?

According to records, Ibn Battuta ate a lot of coconut products such as coconut milk, “meat”, juice, and sweet honey from the sap of the tree. He also consumes fish, rice, salted meat, quail, fowl, and some fruits.


Mohamed Dekkak

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