In the history of Islamic civilization, there are a number of Muslim figures known as explorers of the world. They crossed the borders to sail the oceans to explore the world.
They have traveled the world and gone through various difficulties to find knowledge. Their long journey and not always smoothness made them more obedient to God.
The new places they go to also open their eyes and hearts to always be humble and open-minded. Their stories can certainly bring inspiration to other Muslims.
Here are 7 Muslim figures who became the most recognized explorers in the world:
- 1 1) Ibn Battuta – Muslim Known as World Explorers
- 2 2) Admiral Cheng Ho – Muslim Known as World Explorers
- 3 3) Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas
- 4 4) Abu Al Hasan Al Masudi – Muslim Known as World Explorers
- 5 5) Ahmad Ibn Majid
- 6 6) Ahmad Ibn Fadhlan
- 7 7) Karima Binti Ahmad al-Marwaziyya – Muslim Women Known as World Explorers
1) Ibn Battuta – Muslim Known as World Explorers
Born in Tangier, Morocco in 1304, Abu Abdulla Muhammad or better known as Ibn Battuta was the most famous Muslim hiker in the world.
Ibn Battuta began his journey around the world at the age of 20.
Ibn Battuta, Moroccan explorer, in Egypt. Illustration by Leon Benett from Jules Verne’s 1878 book. During his 30 years of travel, he visited Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and China.
In total, the countries he has visited number 44 countries with a total distance of 75,000 miles or about 3 times around the world.
Not forgetting his duty as a Muslim, he also traveled Hajj 4 times.
Ibn Battuta only returned to Morocco at the age of 51. Ibn Battuta’s motivation to travel the world was to increase knowledge.
and find the best teachers and libraries in Alexandria, Cairo, and Damascus.
2) Admiral Cheng Ho – Muslim Known as World Explorers
Admiral Cheng Ho’s name is very familiar among indonesians. The evidence of his voyage is still clearly visible in nusantara.
His stopover in Semarang inspired the construction of a coffin of the Chinese Muslim explorer now known as Sam Poo Kong Temple.
Admiral Cheng Ho was born in 1371 in a Muslim community in Yunnan, China. His nickname is “Ma He”.
In China, “Ma” is a variation of the name for “Muhammad”. Little Ma He learned Arabic and Mandarin. His intelligence and courage led to Ma He being appointed admiral in the Yongie empire.
During his 28-year voyage (1405-1433), Admiral Cheng Ho became a diplomat visiting 37 countries and connecting the Chinese empire with the world.
3) Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas
Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas was a friend of the Prophet Muhammad SAW and was among the first to convert to Islam.
He was also the leader of major wars in Islamic history, such as Badr and Uhud. Nevertheless, he remained humble, honest, and sincere in his behavior.
Eighteen years after The Prophet Muhammad died, Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas was sent to China and met Emperor Tung (Yung-Wei).
According to historical records, the beautiful Huaisheng Mosque in Guangzhou was the first mosque in China built by Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas.
He died on the way and was buried in Guangzhou, China. But there are also those who argue that Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas died in Aqiq, about 18 miles from Medina.
4) Abu Al Hasan Al Masudi – Muslim Known as World Explorers
Known as “Herodotus of Arabia”, Al-Masudi was a historian and geographer.
He succeeded in incorporating history and geography into his encyclopedia The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems or in Arabic known as Muruj adh-dhahab wa ma’adin al-jawhar.
Al Masudi was born in Baghdad and spent most of his life traveling to East Africa, the Middle East, Persia, Russia, India, and China.
His approach to delivering historical research was considered “fresh” in his time. Not only does it combine cultural and social aspects, it also presents a political picture of a region through its conversations with locals.
5) Ahmad Ibn Majid
Ahmad Ibn Majid was an Arab navigator and poet who accompanied portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama across the sea.
Born to a family of sailors, Ahmad Ibn Majid was able to run the ship at the age of 17 years. He is also famous as the first Arab sailor to circumnavigate the globe.
Ahmad Ibn Majid wrote more than 40 poems and prose about conquering the sea. He also earned the nickname “The Lion of the Sea”.
His famous book is kitab al Fawa’id fi usul ‘Ilm al-Bahr wa ‘l-Qawa’id which contains information and principles of navigation.
This book is widely used as a reference for Arab sailors because it contains complete information about navigation instructions by looking at the sky, weather patterns, and dangerous areas for ships to pass through.
6) Ahmad Ibn Fadhlan
Ahmad ibn Fadhlan ibn al-Abbas ibn Rashid ibn Hammad was a 10th-century Arab Muslim writer and traveller who wrote a note about his travels as a member of baghdad’s Abbasid Caliph’s embassy to the Volga bulgars king, Kitab ila Malik al-Saqaliba.
Ibn Fadhlan was sent from Baghdad in 921 to serve as secretary of the ambassadorship of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir to iltäbär (follower of the king under the Khazar) of the Bulgarian Volga, Almis.
He left Baghdad on 21 June 921 (11 Safar 309 AH). To reach Bulghar on 12 May 922 (12 Muharram 310 AH), he went through many difficulties.
The journey took Ibn Fadhlan from Baghdad to Bukhara, to Khwarizm (south of the Aral Sea).
Despite being promised a safe passage by the warlord Oghuz, or Kudarkin, they were intercepted by Oghuz bandits but were fortunately able to bribe their attackers.
They spent the winter in Jurjaniya before travelling north across the Urals until they reached the town of Bulghar on three Volga lakes north of the Samara bend.
Upon arriving in Bolgar, Ahmad ibn Fadhlan traveled to Wisu and recorded his observations on trade between the Bolgar Volga and local Finnish tribes.
Much of Ibn Fadhlan’s account is dedicated to describing the man he called Rus or Rusiyyah.
Most scholars identify them with Rus’ or Varangians, which makes Ibn Fadhlan’s account one of the earliest Viking images.
7) Karima Binti Ahmad al-Marwaziyya – Muslim Women Known as World Explorers
It’s not just men who have been explorers in the past. Women are there, too. One of the outstanding female Islamic figures is Karima al-Marwaziyya, a passerby, hadith expert and brilliant student from Turkmenistan.
His perseverance in seeking knowledge led Karima al-Marwaziyya to travel far. He went with his father by land and sea from Turkmenistan to Iran and Jerusalem, until finally settling in Mecca.
There, he studied Sahih al-Bukhari and became one of the most respected learned people of his time.