Introduction

Many thousands of years ago Greek philosophers recognized that the oceans and seas were crucial places for making journeys, and, thus, for social and cultural engagement. For instance, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean in the later days became the subject of study conducted by the Greek philosophers and this paved a way to learn history geographically, to evaluate how society, culture, and religion played worked as the main unity factors worldwide. The studies of modern researchers such as Ross1 remain significant since their works give us examples of how cultural studies and religion contributed to uniting people. The Indian Ocean during the medieval times was dominant as a worldwide economy with enabling traditional modalities that consisted of language, religion practices as well as trading activities2.Consequently, it has become the main region for journeys of Ibn Battuta, a famous traveler, whose travelling experience is examined and analyzed in the paper.

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Among the prominent personalities that witnessed the global economy of Indian Ocean and the aspect of culture and religion is one man called Ibn Battuta. He was born with a name Abu Abdullah Muhamad and later renamed himself. Ibn was born in a Muslim family and went to the best schools of his time and acquired good education which enabled him to become a professional lawyer. Battuta started travelling across the globe as soon as he became twenty years old, making his first religious trip to Mecca which took him five months. During his travel to Mecca, Ibn Battuta interacted with other Muslims whom he travelled with to reduce the risk of being robbed in the desert. He made his first stop at the port of Alexandria where he met Sheik Buhanudin who foretold his destiny saying that Battuta was ment to be a world explorer. In his narration Ibn cites a range of examples of how religion was used as a unifying factor in the places he visited. For instance, explorer said that he was pleased with the faithful Muslims who took care of their beggars thus fostering unity in their midst. In practice, some individuals could engage in a rivalry competition over being the kindest man of all. Furthermore, Ibn acknowledges that some of those people were holy men, respected individuals who performed ritualistic practices. Thus, he finds religiosity and faithfulness to be the signs of a good citizen. After Battuta left Alexandria, his next stop was Konia city where he met a philosopher, professor Muhyi. Battuta freely interacted with him and Muhyi engaged the traveler in the study of astrology. In the same city Ibn Battuta was taken to a place in Konia where an asteroid fell. Battuta was overexcited about the experience since he had seen such a thing before. As a result Battuta was happy with the social connection of the Konian people and hence that study strengthened his unity with them.

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To continue, Battuta explains that the interest of travelers also included the cultures of the people he met. For instance, he talked about the food he was served, the way of living of the people that hosted him, and the means of transport he used from one point to another. Moreover, he made comments in regard to the overall mindset of the nationalities of some specific cities. The anthropological theories that he suggested were both motivating and inspiring for education of that times and relevant to a current day traveler. He mentioned the cities of Damascus, Jerusalem, Mecca, and Basra which had the same culture of welcoming strangers. For instance, he said that in Damascus the citizens participated fully in providing endowment for the less fortunate members of the society. Battutas experience suggested that any time he arrived at a main religious landmark, the city around it would show its religious importance and a big number of residents who adopted the culture. This was again shown when he left Damascus for Medina where he went to visit the grave of Muslim prophet Muhammed for four days. After completing his visit there Battuta opted not to return back home and left for Iraq and Persia where he had similar experiences of warm and religious treatment and welcoming. As a result f sharing experience of his journeys, travelers like him were peaceful all along and were not xenophobic. In addition, during his travel in Iraq and Persia, Battuta described the cultures of the people he met, social relationships they practiced and how this helped in unifying people. Furthermore, these practices were similar at many points in different cities. For instance, he described how he happened to see humble respected women who behaved in a meek way that made him love their traditions. More or less similar occasions could happen in any city he visited. It is important to note that despite being an anthropologist he did not critique the traditions of different people in anthropological way. However, Ibn Battuta stated that the women he met were readily willing to get married to travelers3. In explaining his experience during travel, he examined the social norms in the Middle East where Islamic religion influenced social customs that its residents were expected to adopt. Moreover, Battuta was very passionate about Islamic religion and, therefore, he highly valued the role of faithful Muslims in uniting people through their powerful deeds. For instance, he was welcomed by Muslim leaders in places he visited such as Egypt and Middle East where the Islamic religion dominates.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the social status of the societies of many cities and places Ibin Battuta visited depicted unity due togetherness that was demonstrated in the day to day lives of the people that Battuta met. Their cultures and social behaviors were very similar due to the same beliefs and religion. He claimed that culture as well as social connection played significant roles in ensuring peaceful coexistence among people. The same situation emerged regarding Islamic religion that also played a vital role as a unity factor. In reality, good cultural religious practices as well as the societies he happened to see during explorations, made Battutas journey extremely remarkable and adventurous. Furthermore, after his travels he stated that it was recommendable for future explorers and travelers like him.

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