We all know Ibn Battuta, that bright young man with intelligence and enthusiasm, who, as soon as he reached his twenties, set out to perform Hajj and seek knowledge. Almost, he had tours, adventures and wonders, and escaped from perdition and death over and over again, which he wrote in his memoirs, which he titled “The Masterpiece of the Principal in the Oddities of the Cities and the Wonders of Travels,” which is the greatest literature of geography and Arab and Islamic travel literature at all.

Ibn Battuta "Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Tanji" (1304-1377) toured the continents of the ancient world;

Africa and Asia and approached Europe when he visited Anatolia in the thirties of the fourteenth century AD.

He performed pilgrimage and pilgrimage several times, and decided to dive deep into the Asian continent, exploring the wonders of India, the wonders of Malay, Indonesia, the fragrant China, its civilization and its ancient empire, before returning to the Arabian Peninsula again from its southern part, where the country of Oman, from which he set out to Iraq, the Levant and Egypt, then To perform Hajj again before returning to his country at last.

Despite the speed of Ibn Battuta’s passage through Oman, led by Dhofar, he kept notes of great importance for us about this strategic region in the trade and sea of ​​Arabs and Muslims at the time, as well as the most important countries that ruled the region, and some of its most famous cities.

From Africa to Dhofar

Ibn battouta

It is noticeable that Ibn Battuta visited Oman at least twice, once on his way to India and East Asia, and once upon his return. The first time was after performing the Hajj. He visited Yemen, and from there he headed to Eritrea and Somalia, where he visited Zeila and Mogadishu, and then to Tanzania, where the pilgrim landed at Zanzibar and Kilwa in its south. From there, Ibn Battuta resolved to visit India when he heard about its news and wonders, but he boarded a ship that took him to Dhofar in the western region of Oman. Ship world, trade and marine sciences.

After a month of wandering in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, Ibn Battuta landed in Dhofar, the city that was ruled by King "Al-Mugheeth bin Al-Malik Al-Faziz", and he was the cousin of the Sultan of Yemen, the Mujahid King "Omar Al-Rasouli".

It is clear from this that Dhofar was politically affiliated with Yemen in the first half of the fourteenth century AD, and that it fell under the rule of the Rasulid state, which arose as a state belonging to the Ayyubids in Egypt, the Levant and the Hijaz, and then became independent from them until the end of the ninth century AH. Battuta Dhofar “The last country of Yemen on the Indian Sea coast”[1].

Oddities and morals of the people of Dhofar

As usual, Ibn Battuta shows us his constant interest in the markets of the cities and the customs of their people and observing the traditions of the social classes in them. The Dhofar market was outside its walls, and was known as Al-Harja. The type known as sardines"[2].

The strange thing is that the presence of fish and sardines is caused by the fact that the people of Dhofar used to use them as fodder for their animals. Ibn Battuta says: “It is surprising that their animals fed them from this sardine, as well as their sheep, and I did not see that in others.”

Dr. “Hussein Munis” comments on this news from Ibn Battuta by saying: “I asked a biologist about the possibility of this, and he said: “It is possible, and that the herb eaters may be fed with meat in case of necessity for protein, and sardines in this case must be dried’” [3].

But Ibn Battuta enumerated many of the exploits and advantages that he saw among the people of Dhofar, from their first sultan to the general population. Its people used to honor strangers, especially merchants among them, in order to attract them to their country, so he says, praising them: “They are people of commerce who have no livelihood except from it. It is their custom that if a boat arrives from India or elsewhere, the Sultan’s servants go to the coast and board the boat with full clothing. To the owner of the boat or his agent and to the master.. Three mares are brought to them and they ride on them, and drums and trumpets are sounded in front of them from the sea coast to the Sultan’s house.. Hospitality is sent to everyone on the boat three times, and after the three they eat in the Sultan’s house, and they do this to attract the owners of the boats, and they are people of humility, good morals and virtue. And love for strangers, and their clothing is cotton.”[4]

Ibn Battuta also saw the manifestations of solidarity among the people of the city of Dhofar and noted it in some of their customs in the morning and afternoon prayers and after each Friday prayer, he says: “And among their good habits is shaking hands in the mosque after the morning and afternoon prayers. Friday prayer where they all shake hands” [5].

He also mentions that one of their beautiful habits is purity and cleanliness, and they put in "every mosque a lot of purifiers prepared for washing."

But he noted that "most of its people, both men and women, suffer from the disease known as elephantiasis, which is swollen feet."

It is known today that the reason for the existence of this disease is the large presence of a type of mosquito that transmits it, and perhaps the main reason for this is the large number of flies and mosquitoes resulting from throwing sardines and fish in excess of the need to beasts.

Ibn Battuta also mentioned the morals of the people of Sufism and religion among the men of Dhofar who honored his position because of their brilliance and knowledge, and we know that Ibn Battuta was not only a tourist in the land, but was also a jurist and judge, and even an ambassador for some of the kings of India, and he was always introducing himself With these matters, there is no doubt that he was honest in his claim because the scientific and literary dialogues as well as the conversations of morals and asceticism did not break between Ibn Battuta and the men of science and asceticism in every village or city he stayed in.

On this, the people of Dhofar and its ascetics knew Ibn Battuta’s position as a man of knowledge, religion, asceticism and morals before they knew him as a wandering traveler, and he says when he was a guest in the corner of some of the sheikhs of Dhofar at the time: The aforementioned Sheikh Abu Bakr, and I witnessed to them great favor, and when we washed our hands of food, Abu al-Abbas took that water with which we washed and drank from it, and sent the servant with the rest to his family and children, who drank it, and this is what they do with those who feel good from those who receive them, as well as her righteous judge Abu Hashem Abd added me Al-Zubaydi King, and he used to serve me and wash my hands himself, and he did not entrust that to anyone else.”[6]

Half a day away from Dhofar, Ibn Battuta visited the Al-Ahqaf area, which are the homes of the people of Aad, and there he found a corner. The real Hood's grave is in Al-Ahqaf, because this is his country.

Banana, nargile and betel

As for the most famous foods of this city and its cultivation, it was corn that they watered from far away wells, and they had wheat that they called “Al-Alas”, as the people of Dhofar at that time used to import rice from India, which is most of their food, and their money was made of copper and tin, and Ibn Battuta did not fail to point out the most important Other crops in Dhofar, which are still preserved to this day, are like bananas and coconuts, “the nargil,” which he describes as being like the head of the son of Adam. An ounce, which is a very sweet food item, and also contains betel and nargile known as coconut, and they are only available in the country of India and this city of Dhofar due to its resemblance to India and its proximity to it”[7].

As for the betel, this tree resembles grapes in its planting and cultivation, and has no fruit, but its benefit is in its leaves that resemble khat. And recent studies have proven that it causes cancer and death in high rates in areas where it is still used today [9] such as Burma, Bangladesh and Taiwan, as well as Yemen, where it is used as an alternative to qat or tobacco.

Ibn Battuta singled out a hadith and a detailed account of the betel plant that the people of Dhofar used to chew in abundance and the reasons for that. He says: “The betel is a tree that is planted as grapevines are planted.. and the people of India greatly venerate the betel, and if a man comes to his friend’s house and gives him five leaves of it, it is as if he gave him the world and what is Especially if he is a prince or an elder, and giving it to them is more important and more honorable than giving silver and gold! And how to use it is to take before it the betelnut, which is like a nutmeg, and it is broken until it becomes small limbs and the person puts it in his mouth and chews it, then he takes betel leaf. He chews it with betel nut, and its characteristic is that it sweetens the flavor, removes the smells of the mouth and digests food”[10].

These are the most prominent scenes of Ibn Battuta in the Omani city of Dhofar. The Arabs, as well as being a center for maritime transport between East Africa, India and Asia in those previous centuries, a feature that continues to characterize Oman until our modern times.



  • Ibn Battuta's Journey 123/2.

  • the previous.

  • Hussein Munis: The Travels of Ibn Battuta, p. 101.

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  • Ibn Battuta 2/124.

  • Ibn Battuta 2/126.

  • Ibn Battuta 2/127.

  • Ibn Battuta 1/28.

  • World Health Organization

  • the previous.

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