It is no coincidence that the American director Bruce Neibauer chose the city-returner as the hero of his dramatic documentary film “Journey to Mecca.”
He is a traveler, historian and judge whose name is engraved in the memory of mankind through his book “The Masterpiece of the Oddities of the Cities and the Wonders of the Travels.” It has been translated into several languages, and his fame spread throughout the world.
We cannot, therefore, avoid the elements of excitement and suspense that the director bet on when he assigned the starring role to this traveler and explorer. Ibn Battuta visited 40 countries, traveling nearly 75,000 miles.
The Hajj Journey .. Elements of cinematic success
The documentary film is not concerned with all of Ibn Battuta’s journeys and what the narrator saw of wonders and strangeness, but it is limited to a specific trip, which is “a journey to Mecca”, which took 18 months, during which he traveled a distance of five thousand miles from Tangier to Damascus, and then to Medina and Mecca.
The story revolves around this long and arduous road, and was written by “Karl Nitson” with the British writer of Afghan-Indian origins, Tahir Shah. It should be noted that the duration of the film was 45 minutes, and despite that, it included the entire journey and absorbed most of the events and religious rituals required by the religious duty. Pilgrimage.
The strengths in this film are not only represented by the script and the director’s vision, but also extend to the voice over technique adopted by the well-known British star “Ben Kingsley”, who gave his venerable voice prestige and majesty to this duty that humbles souls and hearts at the same time.
The elements of success also extend to photography, performance and montage, in addition to the sound effects that accompanied the journey from Tangiers to Mecca, passing through Medina, which includes the tomb of the faithful Prophet and the seal of the messengers, Muhammad, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him.
Ibn Battuta’s mother bids farewell to her son and hands him the Ihram dress consisting of two pieces of white cloth for him to wear in Mecca
In front of the Kaaba.. Journey from Tangiers
Before the events of the film begin, there is a narrative premise narrated by the artist “Ben Kingsley” that prepares the viewer to enter the space of the film and introduces him to the Islamic atmosphere, and helps him to understand the cinematic story and its subject matter of the Hajj pilgrimage that urges Muslims in various parts of the world to go through the troubles of this journey in order to reach Mecca to perform the pilgrimage. Hajj rituals in sanctification of the shrine of the Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, which Jews, Christians and Muslims consider their father.
Since the events of the film take place in the year 1325 AD, and start from the Moroccan city of Tangiers, the dangers were waiting for the pilgrims at that time, exposing them to looting and killing at times, the pilgrims must find a way to protect themselves, such as traveling in large groups or hiring guards to secure the way for them to reach the city. Makkah.
Since its first clips, the film focuses on the story of the Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, who carried out the command of God Almighty to “dwell in an uncultivated valley” until his family was about to die of starvation and thirst, but God’s mercy, which encompasses everything, included this family and saved it from perdition. Abraham, peace be upon him, built the Holy Kaaba in gratitude to God, the One and Only, and standing in front of the Kaaba in every time and place changes hearts, as the movie story tells.
Ibn Battuta rides on his horse, which his father gave him before his departure to Mecca
On the wing of a giant bird.. an adventure to the east
Ibn Battuta bid farewell to his family and friends in Tangier in 1325 AD to see with his own eyes what he saw in his dreams.
His friend Hamza is trying to discourage him from doing this duty now, as long as he is a young man who is still in his twenty-first year, and he has to pay attention to his career in law, which he has just finished his studies, but the friend’s words are not heard by Ibn Battuta, as he is determined to leave Alone despite the dangers of the road.
When Hamza discovered the insistence of his owner to perform this duty, he handed him a letter to Ibn al-Muzaffar, a friend of the family in Cairo, who is a pious and pious man and a sign that he may help him in the arduous journey and explain his dream to him. on my way? The answer comes quickly and without hesitation: If I am destined to die, so be it on my way to Mecca.
The father gave him a strong horse and some gold, while the mother bought the Ihram dress consisting of two pieces of white cloth to wear in Mecca. Then he kisses his younger sister and bids farewell to everyone before he rides his horse and leaves behind his family that he loves and his homeland, which he will inevitably miss whenever the shrine wanders.
A questioner asks why Ibn Battuta did not travel in a protected caravan or on a sailing ship? Perhaps the answer is not far from his desire to be alone with himself and discover the paths by himself, for the sun guides him by day, while the stars lead him by night, and more than that, he believes that those who defy the greatest and most violent dangers will obtain the greatest and greatest rewards in this mortal life.
Three bandits raid Ibn Battuta in a remote mountainous area during his journey to Hajj
Rebekah on the way to Cairo .. the guard road brigade
After Ibn Battuta came a long distance on the back of his horse, he was attacked by three thieves who were about to kill him had it not been for the intervention of the fourth of them, so he stole his money and searched his pocket. Cairo for a sum of money after learning that he has well-to-do friends there.
Ibn Battuta agreed to this offer after they engaged in complex religious discussions, and as soon as they arrived in Cairo, they went to Ibn al-Muzaffar and Ibn Battuta told him his dream that he would fly over the deserts. Ibn Battuta watches the Nile River and a strip of the Red Sea, after which he reaches Mecca and continues his journey to the East, reminding us of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who said: “Seek knowledge even in China.”
Ibn Battuta enters into another argument with the bandit who provided him with protection along the road to Cairo. He told him of the necessity to go to Damascus and avoid the war erupting in the Red Sea, but Ibn Battuta insisted on going through the port of Aydab under the pretext that the pilgrimage would not wait for anyone, and that he The shortest way to Mecca.
But as soon as he saw the effects of the war near the broken port, he became sure of his miscalculation, so he changed his mind at once and went to Damascus with his bodyguard who returned his stolen money to him, and asked him to buy a group of sacrifices and distribute their meat to the poor and needy.
Part of the great caravan that shines of ten thousand people on its way to Medina
Damascus..a journey of the moving city
The pilgrimage caravan that set out from Damascus is called the Great Caravan, as it consists of ten thousand people of different ages, cultural and social levels, and some compare it to a moving city. The journey takes more than 40 days in the arid desert, which exhausted the majority of pilgrims, and even tired Ibn Battuta, the young man, and gave him a fever. But he will never give up, especially after he heard the voice of a man calling from above the camel’s back: “I saw Medina.” He meant the Prophet’s Mosque, which includes the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, and they had to reach Mecca within eight days.
The director does not need to stop at all the details of this religious obligation. Sometimes he suffices with an allusion that dispenses with a statement. When Ibn Battuta talks about the gift that his mother gave him, which consisted of the two pieces of Ihram, he remembers their symbolic meaning and indicates that everyone is equal as the teeth of a comb, and there is no difference between rich or poor Or between a prince and a large group, there is no preference between them and no privilege for one over the other, then the voice of the Talbiyah “Labbayk, O Allah, is your answer” rises above every hill and crosses every valley until they reach the reefs of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, the goal and destination of every pilgrim.
The movement of the circular circumambulation around the Kaaba is similar to the movement of the planets in the night sky
The circular process of circumambulation.. in harmony with the sky
The director navigates between the subject and the subject, at times allowing the self-loathing to take its role when Ibn Battuta speaks in an internal dialogue with himself broadcasted by all the intellectual wanderings in his soul and mind after this long journey that took him 18 months, during which he traveled five thousand miles, and he is now on Just steps away from the Kaaba, the holy place he dreamed of visiting.
He was eager to kiss the Black Stone laid by the Prophet of God Ibrahim Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, during the construction of this great and immortal edifice in the hearts of Muslims. It is as if the pilgrims are traveling back in time until we reach the beginning of creation.
Let us reflect on the nature of the feeling that Ibn Battuta had in that beautiful bright moment, in which he says: I felt that myself had become one of those souls surrounding me, with the souls that came before, and the souls that will come later.
The pilgrims of the Sacred House of God travel between Safa and Marwa for seven circuits between these two mountains
Between Safa and Marwa… The ordeal of Hajar and her son Ismail
The director focuses on the narrative aspect of the story of our Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, who built the Kaaba in a barren desert after the ordeal of his wife Hajar in her relentless quest between the mountains of Safa and Marwa in search of water after she and her son Ismail were suffocated by thirst, although his name was not mentioned in the film.
It also confirms that what the pilgrims do in quest for seven runs between these two mountains is a reminder of the path of Lady Hajar and in honor of her steadfast determination, which led to the miracle of the water surging and the flow of the spring near the feet of her infant child in response to her continuous calls in this desert that is devoid of everything but mercy. God, and His mercy extends to the heavens and the earth.
The director presents us with a number of pilgrims drinking water extracted from the well of Zamzam, as it is a life-giving person, and a savior for the imminent death of the Lady Hajar and her child. Her white dress as they stand side by side on the Day of Arafat and the Mount of Mercy upon which the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, delivered his last sermon in which he called all Muslims to remember the virtues of our master and Prophet Abraham, which are represented in charity, friendship and tolerance.
Pilgrims of the Sacred House of God throw pebbles at Satan, as an expression of resistance to satanic insinuations
Throwing the Jamarat.. The Battle of Prophet Ibrahim
The camera follows the pilgrims as they head to Muzdalifah to collect the Jamarat, they will need it for tomorrow when they stand in front of a stone pillar that represents the place where Satan appeared to our master Ibrahim, inciting him to disobey the orders of God Almighty, but he resisted Satan by stoning him with pebbles. Satanism that may tempt us from time to time. As for God Almighty’s reward for our master Ibrahim, who resolved to sacrifice his son Ismail; It is to redeem him with a great ram that he presents to the Almighty God as a token of thanks and gratitude.
Perhaps what the pilgrims do annually is a remembrance of that great sacrifice that they will give in charity to the poor and needy, and this is what Ibn Battuta did when he bought a number of sacrifices and distributed their meat to the needy who were narrowed down.
Ibn Battuta celebrates the New Year by shaving his hair in preparation for the final circumambulation around the Kaaba, and after completing all the rituals, he feels that his heart is full of faith, and that the calamities that he faced during his journey made him humble and insightful.
The book “The Masterpiece of Attention in the Oddities of the Cities and the Wonders of the Travels”, which has been translated into many languages and became famous throughout the world.
A volcanic crater on the surface of the moon… the greatest traveler in history
The caravans leave Makkah, including his caravan, which wanted to bring him back to the homeland, but the hadith of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, who said: “Seek knowledge even in China” dissuaded him from this return, and perhaps his frantic search for knowledge and knowledge is what brought him to India, China and other countries, and he did not return To his homeland, Morocco, only after 30 years, crossing three times the distance traveled by Marco Polo, the Italian merchant and explorer.
“Marco Polo” is the first to take the Silk Road to China, in addition to his father “Niccolo” and his uncle “Maffeo”. Ibn Battuta’s memoirs are also considered one of the greatest travel literature ever, despite some sharp criticism directed at the writer’s dependence on hearing rather than vision in writing Some of the strange and strange facts and information transmitted in his book “The Journey of Ibn Battuta”, and in appreciation of the tremendous efforts he made, a meteorite crater on the surface of the moon was named after him.
Moroccan actor Shams El Din Zainoun, who played Ibn Battuta in the movie “Journey to Mecca”
“In the footsteps of Ibn Battuta” .. a huge production
A questioner may ask: Why did the director not stop at all the rituals of Hajj according to the customary order? The answer is that the main story of the film and its main theme is “Journey to Mecca” and there is a subtitle that is “In the footsteps of Ibn Battuta” who made the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of God and we saw him performing some rituals and rituals such as standing on Arafat and circumambulating the Sacred House, and the quest between Safa and Marwa, and meeting in Muzdalifah, then throw the Jamarat, and return to Mecca to perform the Tawaf al-Ifadah, which is one of the pillars of Hajj.
What is striking is that the director has employed old footage and scenes of the stone figure of Satan, as he presented it to us with its modern construction, allowing the largest possible number of pilgrims to stone this demonic figure with small pebbles prepared for this purpose.
It must be noted that director Bruce Niebauer controlled the leadership of these large groups of people who participated in the great pilgrimage caravan, which included 500 people dressed in 14th century costumes, 320 camels, 660 horses, donkeys, sheep and goats, not to mention the use of the latest techniques in photography. Inside the Great Mosque of Mecca after obtaining official approvals from the relevant authorities.
The cost of the film amounted to 13 million US dollars. It remains to say that the American director “Neebauer” has completed eleven films, including “The Life of Jesus Christ”, “Lewis and Clark”, “The Great Western Journey”, “In Your Wildest Dreams” and Ghosts of Dickens’ Past.