The Importance of Kindness and Thankfulness in The Rihla
Throughout history, gratitude has always been a characteristic of good members of society. In The Rihla, Ibn Battuta shows much respect and gratitude towards the many different types of people that he meets along his journey. Even though many are not like him and have different customs and ways of life, he continues to be appreciative of their kindness and wishes them well for the future. This sense of humble indebtedness seems to allow Battuta to travel peacefully and prosperously, as he often received gifts from those that he met on his journey. For example, Battuta stayed with the Sultan of Birgi, who gifted him food, gold, clothes and slaves. In The Rihla, Battuta mentions this encounter, and wished the Sultan a happy future for all the service he had done, saying “may God reward him with good” (paragraph 9). He also expresses thanks to the friends he made in the city of Mali, and wishes God’s kindness upon them. Battuta also takes a particular interest in what he calls “The Pious Kindness of the People of Mecca,” saying that the people of Mecca are unfailingly amiable and generous, and will give away their possessions to help those in need. Battuta speaks about their actions with reverence, saying that they have “many excellent and noble qualities” about them (paragraph 4). Battuta seems to place high value on the kindness of others, and makes an effort to always be gracious for the things that others do for him. This trait seems to be common among the people of the time, as even the cannibalistic peoples were received with honour by the Sultans, who gave them a slave girl to eat. Giving and receiving with courtesy and admiration were clearly important to Battuta, and during his journey he acted in a way that would reflect these standards. ...
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