Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta

Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta

Journey to MeccaJourney to Mecca takes us back to 1325, when a young Moroccan law student, the real-life Ibn Battuta who is played by Chems Eddine Zinoun, sets out from Tangier, Morocco and on a 5000 mile journey to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. In a world of religious mistrust and defamation, this film does the exact opposite: it enlightens and engages.

Journey to MeccaImagine a larger-than-life journey, so great and exciting that it only makes sense to present it on a larger-than-life screen. Journey to Mecca takes us back to 1325, when a young Moroccan law student, the real-life Ibn Battuta who is played by Chems Eddine Zinoun, sets out from Tangier, Morocco and on a 5000 mile journey to Mecca to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. In a world of religious mistrust and defamation, this film does the exact opposite: it enlightens and engages.

It would take Ibn Battuta 18 months to travel the 5,000-mile route to Mecca. Battuta, who would eventually become the best-travelled person in antiquity, would not return home for 30 years. His journeys total three times those of Marco Polo. He would visit 40 countries and revisited Mecca five more times to perform the Hajj. Ibn Battuta sought out knowledge in his breathtaking journeys and eventually compiled his experiences in The Rihla, one of the most significant travel books ever written.

Ibn Battuta did not join a caravan, which was the normal way to perform pilgrimage 700 hundred years ago. At that time, there weren’t cars, airplanes, hotels, and air conditioning, luxuries afforded to today’s Hajj pilgrim. It was only you, the desert, and the sky above you.

Ibn Battuta decided to take the most difficult path to Mecca, as he had seen it in a dream. The voyage was not an easy one. Battuta sets out alone and is soon set upon by bandits who rob and almost kill him, until their leader recognizes his quest. “Pilgrim,” he says, “you may go.” He even offered to protect Ibn Battuta from additional bandits, however, for a fee. During his travels, the main character is attacked by bandits, dehydrated by thirst, rescued by Bedouins, and forced to retrace his route by a war-locked Red Sea.

As a viewer you will find yourself thrilled and enchanted by this beautiful piece of art. The detail, in everything from clothing to architecture, is meticulously researched. The re-creation of the storied Damascus camel caravan that took pilgrims across the desert to Mecca for centuries is so well researched that for a moment, it feels as if we too are there. The film runs for about 45 minutes, so don’t expect it to provide some groundbreaking insight into Islam; however, religious consultants ensured that the filmmakers accurately represented the Muslim faith.

In one of the final scenes, a close-up view of millions of pilgrims performing this year’s Hajj appears to be something similar to a human whirlpool so amazing and yet so intense. It’s at this moment we come to realize how much Journey to Mecca succeeds in capturing the everlasting wonder, pageantry, and beauty that are the symbols of any religion’s rituals and events. The true achievement of this film is that it takes us from the 14th century and ends up in modern times. The audience is able to live through his dream in a relatively short film, thanks to the aerial filming and profound dedication of the cast and crew of this film.

Islamic Insights Recommendation: This is a great movie that everyone regardless of his/her faith must see. The film’s main actor Chems Eddine Zinoun died in a car accident before the film was released, and in honor of his fantastic work, we should all see this film. The only complaint is that the film is too short and leaves you hungry for wanting more. Both history enthusiasts and your everyday popcorn lovers will enjoy this film.

The following two tabs change content below.

Huda Jawad

Latest posts by Huda Jawad (see all)

You might also like

Movies 3 Comments

Soldiers of Conscience

Although some Muslim- and Arab-Americans serve in the U.S. military, most Muslim- and Arab-Americans have not met a soldier who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan. The following two tabs

Movies 4 Comments

Obsession: the Radical Right’s War on Islam

Obsession is not an honest critique of violent radicalism. Instead, it is a propaganda piece that seeks to cast a wide net of suspicion against Muslims. The following two tabs

Movies 1Comments

Great Mystery

The movie also approaches the ability of the world's religious groups to work together and achieve long-lasting peace. Surprisingly, when asked about whether things could improve in the world, most

10 Comments

  1. hjawad
    April 08, 12:41
    Salaam,<br /><br />The film is currently being shown in IMAX theaters in the following countries: US, Canada, Germany, UAE, Kuwait, and Indonesia.
    • CinniM
      September 30, 05:46
      Salams, this movie is being shown in imax theaters in Australia's capital cities- just have a look in your closest city. I know it is def showing in melbourne
  2. jawad
    July 01, 15:46
    sallaam,<br /><br />can anyone tell me were i can watch this movie<br />plz can u tell me.<br /><br />jazakallah:-);-):D;-):sad::sad::o8):P:-*:cry:[quote][/quote]
  3. JTMSoCal
    October 24, 21:04
    Checkout the So Cal premiere screening of ‘Journey to Mecca: In the footsteps of Ibn Battuta’ on October 10, 2009 at the LA California Science Center IMAX theatre that was hosted by IslamiCity. The audience responded enthusiastically to the film. The Q&A session that followed with Jonathan Barker, the film producer (President and CEO of SK Films), was great too since people were curious to know more about the making of the film.<br />http://jtmgiantscreensocal.com/
  4. Ali K
    October 28, 01:07
    It's currently screening at the IMAX theater iun Australia aswell. http://www.google.com.au/movies?hl=en&near=Sydney&sort=1&theater=imax&ei=jDPoSuLWFMuSkQXuwrHSBg&tid=a27a21a65336a268
  5. maajija
    January 23, 07:59
    i reallly wanna watch this movie it sounds really interesting :-) ;-) :D
  6. Mohsin
    July 01, 02:46
    The film is showing in London South Bank IMAX from today as well for a one month period.
  7. O.Hamaoui
    October 20, 16:57
    salaam oe3alaikom,<br /><br />I am from Belgium could any one give mi tips to watch this glorious movie too? pls<br /><br />thnx, a lot ! ;)

Only registered users can comment.