What is a good thesis for a paper to be written on Ibn Battuta?

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Your thesis might be along the lines that Ibn Battuta was an Islamic version of Marco Polo who traveled far and wide in Islamic areas; but who came not so much to discover as to compare and contrast his own interpretation of the Koran and Sharia Law with others.

Ibn Battuta traveled throughout the Islamic World from his birthplace in Tangiers to Arabia, India, and possibly China.  Along the way, he not only recorded his observations (and frequent disapproval of what he saw) but also acted as a Qadi, or Judge of Sharia law.  On one occasion he had a man whipped who admitted to having drunk wine some seven or eight years previously.  He refused to eat a sea bird when he and others on the ship on which he was traveling were starving because the bird was not slaughtered according to Islamic tradition and was therefore unclean. He expressed shock at entering a bath house and finding men undressed in the presence of each other, and on another occasion at seeing women bare-breasted.  At other times, he complained about the gifts he received from dignitaries he visited when he considered the gifts beneath his dignity, and became so vexed at hearing church bells that he climbed into a minaret and began loudly wailing the Islamic call to prayer in response.  

An excellent source for a study of Ibn Battuta is The Adventures of Ibn Battuta by Ross Dunn.

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