The Greatest Muslim Explorer Ibn Battuta vs. Marco Polo

The Greatest Muslim Explorer Ibn Battuta vs. Marco Polo

The hundred of daring explorers have mapped out and discovered the world. Those were the people who chose the adventurous journeys of exploring the whole world instead of sitting back and waiting for the global information to reach their region. Well, traveling at that time was not easy at all especially when there were no means of communication.

But the daring travelers such as Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo decided to leave their hometowns to influence the world greatly. Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo are same in the way that they both started traveling at an early age. Let’s know more about these two famous explores.

Marco Polo:

Marco Polo was born in 1254 into a family of wealthy Venetian merchants. He grew up in the family of traders, so he used to hear the stories of near East from his uncle and Father. When he was 17 years old in the year 1271, he traveled along the Silk Road with his father and uncle. It was a three years long journey. Think about how tough it would have been to travel from one place to another without any transportation.

The Mongol ruler Kublai Khan offered Marco Polo a job to the emperor. He accepted and took on various administrative and diplomatic rules. Later, the Mongol empire started declining. Polo was also captured in the prison where he met a writer and described his traveling experience to China. Marco Polo was the first European who recorded his travel tales. In 1295 Polo returned his home. One interesting thing to know is that when Christopher Columbus was looking for a route to China, he had a book “The Travels of Marco Polo” with him.

Ibn Battuta:

Next explorer we will be discussing here is Ibn Battuta. He is one of the famous Muslim explorers who traveled almost 75000 miles. He also started his journey at a very young age. Ibn Battuta was born to a Muslim scholar family in Tangier Morocco. He studied law and had to become a judge (Qadi) as it was the tradition in his family. But due to the lack of Madrasa and libraries, he was compelled to leave his hometown.  Ibn Battuta at the age of 21, decided to begin his traveling journey. He wanted to perform Hajj first, so he headed towards Mecca.

Ibn Battuta visited almost all the Islamic countries at that time. He visited India as well where he was appointed as a Qadi by the ruler. Ibn Battuta also visited some non-Muslims regions. Ibn Battuta learned about the difference in culture even among the Muslim countries. Upon returning to his hometown in Morocco, he served as a judge. The ruler of Morocco when he heard about his journey and the adventures he came across asked Ibn Battuta to record his travel tales.

Ibn Battuta asked his assistant Ibn Juzayy to write down his travel accounts. The book named “Rihla” tells us about the different countries and their cultures. Wherever Ibn Battuta went he welcomed by the locals and the rules as well. Ibn Battuta


Sometimes Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo both are compared to each other. Though there are a few similarities in them, they should not be compared at all. Marco Polo was a son of merchants so; he mostly talks about the prices and commodities. However, Ibn Battuta was a traveler and was keen to spot local culture and their habits. He describes everything about the lifestyle, food, clothing, and languages, etc., to the reader that increases the interest in his travel tales.