He is Sultan Mehmed II (833-886 AH / 1429-1481 AD), and he is considered the seventh Ottoman Sultan in the family of Othman and is called “Al-Fatih” and “the father of good things”. After the death of his father on Muharram 16, 855 AH, corresponding to February 18, 1451 AD, when he was 22 years old at the time.
Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror was distinguished by an exceptional personality that combined strength and justice, and he excelled his peers since his youth in many sciences that he used to receive in the school of princes, especially his knowledge of many of the languages of his time, and his strong inclination to study history books, which helped him in the later to highlight his personality in Administration and battlefields, until he finally became famous in history with the title “Mehmed the Conqueror” for his conquest of Constantinople.
He worked on developing the administration of the regions, approved some former governors in their regions, dismissed those who appeared negligent or neglected, developed the royal court, and provided them with good administrative and military experiences, which contributed to the stability of the state and progress forward.
After he made fruitful strides in internal reform, he looked to Christian areas in Europe to open them and spread Islam in them. Several factors helped him achieve his goals, including: the weakness that the Byzantine Empire reached due to disputes with other European countries, as well as because of the internal disputes that pervaded all its regions. And its cities.
Sultan Mehmed was not satisfied with that, but worked hard in order to crown his victories by conquering Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and the important strategic stronghold of the Crusader moves against the Islamic world for a long period of time, which the Byzantine Empire in particular, and Christianity in general, had always cherished, and made it the capital of the Ottoman state, and to achieve What his predecessors, the leaders of the Islamic armies, failed to achieve.
First: the place of Constantinople in history
Constantinople is one of the most important global cities. It was founded in 330 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine I, and it had a unique global location, until it was said about it, “If the world were one kingdom, Constantinople would have been the most suitable city to be its capital.” Since its founding, the Byzantines have taken it as their capital. It is one of the largest and most important cities in the world.
When the Muslims entered into a jihad with the Byzantine state, this city had its own place in that conflict, and that is why the Messenger – may God bless him and grant him peace – preached to his companions to open it in several situations, including what happened during the Battle of the Trench, and that is why the Muslim caliphs and their leaders competed to conquer it through Different eras, in the hope that the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, had said in them, “Let Constantinople be conquered by a man.
Therefore, the hand of the struggling Muslim forces extended to it since the days of Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan in the first Islamic campaigns against it in the year 44 AH, and this campaign did not succeed, and other campaigns were repeated during his reign that achieved the same result.
The Umayyad dynasty made another attempt to conquer Constantinople, and this campaign is the most powerful of the Umayyad campaigns against it.
The attempts to conquer Constantinople continued, as the first Abbasid era witnessed intense jihadist campaigns against the Byzantine state, but it was unable to reach and threaten Constantinople itself, even though it shook it and affected events inside it, especially the campaign that took place in the days of Harun al-Rashid in 190 AH.
And at the beginning of the eighth century AH (14th century AD) renewed Islamic attempts to conquer Constantinople, and the beginning was when an attempt was made to conquer it in the days of Sultan Bayezid, the “Thunderbolt”, whose forces managed to besiege it forcefully in the year (796 AH / 1393 AD), and at the same time the Mongol armies, led by Tamerlane, arrived To the Ottoman lands, where the Ottoman forces were defeated and Bayezid captured the “Thunderbolt”, then he died in captivity in 1402 AD, and then the stage of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire followed, and we have discussed these two phases in previous articles.
As soon as conditions in the country stabilized, the spirit of jihad returned again. In the days of Sultan Murad II – who assumed power in the period (824-863 AH / 1421-1451 AD) – several attempts were made to conquer Constantinople, and the Ottoman armies in his days were able to besiege it more. One time, the Byzantine Emperor was working during those attempts to inflict strife among the Ottomans with the support of the outlaws of the Sultan, and in this way he succeeded in distracting him from his goal that he was keen on, so the Ottomans were not able to achieve what they were aspiring to except in the time of his son Muhammad the Conqueror in the future. .
Second: the early preparation for the conquest of Constantinople
The education of scholars contributed to the formation of Muhammad the Conqueror in the love of Islam, faith, work with the Qur’an, and the Sunnah of the Master of Anam. Therefore, he was brought up in a love of adherence to Islamic law, and was characterized by piety, piety, love of science and scholars, and the encouragement of spreading science.
His high religiosity is due to the rational Islamic education that he received since childhood under the guidance of his father, the efforts of the strong scientific figures who supervised his upbringing, the purity of those great professors who supervised his care, their reluctance from the world, their distance from vanity and their struggle for themselves.
Muhammad al-Fatih was influenced by the divine scholars since his childhood, and the most special of them is the divine scholar Ahmed bin Ismail al-Korani, who is known for his complete virtue. He was his teacher during the reign of Sultan Murad II, the father of the conqueror. A number of teachers, and their command did not comply, and he did not read anything until he did not complete the Holy Qur’an. So the aforementioned Sultan asked for a man of dignity and sharpness.
This sincere Islamic education and those honorable educators among whom was especially this virtuous scholar who tears apart the royal order if he finds in it a violation of the Sharia, or does not bow to the Sultan and addresses him in his name, shakes his hand and does not kiss his hand, but the Sultan kisses his hand. It is natural for great people like Muhammad to graduate from among its sides Al-Fatih, and that he be a believing Muslim committed to the limits of the Sharia, bound by orders and prohibitions, adhering to them, and defending the procedures of applying them to himself first, then to his flock, pious and righteous seeking supplication from the righteous working scholars.
The role of Sheikh Aq Shams al-Din emerged in the formation of the personality of Muhammad al-Fatih, and he broadcasted two matters in him from his early age:
- Double the Ottoman jihad movement.
- Always suggesting to Muhammad since his childhood that he is the prince intended by the prophetic hadith “Let you conquer Constantinople, so let the prince be its prince, and the army be blessed that army!” Therefore, the conqueror aspired to apply the aforementioned hadith of the Messenger of God – may God’s prayers and peace be upon him.
Third: planning to open
Sultan Mehmed II made his various efforts to plan and arrange for the conquest of Constantinople, and in that he made great efforts to strengthen the Ottoman army with manpower until its number reached nearly a quarter of a million mujahideen, and this is a large number compared to the armies of countries during that period, and he paid special attention to training those crowds in the arts The different fighting, and with different types of weapons that qualify them for the expected jihadist operation, as Al-Fateh took care to prepare them with a strong moral, instill the spirit of jihad in them, and remind them of the Messenger’s praise – may God bless him and grant him peace – for the army that conquers Constantinople, and hopefully they are the intended army, which gave them Unparalleled moral strength and courage, just as the spread of scholars among the soldiers had a great impact on strengthening the soldiers’ wills, and linking them to true jihad according to the orders of God.
The Sultan took care of establishing the “Rumeli Hisar” castle on the European side on the Bosphorus at its narrowest point opposite the castle that was established during the reign of Sultan Bayezid on the Asian mainland, and the Byzantine Emperor tried to dissuade the Conqueror Sultan from building the castle in exchange for financial commitments he undertook, but the Conqueror insisted On the construction, because of the military importance he knows of this site, until a high and fortified castle was completed, and its height reached 82 meters, and the two castles became opposite and only 660 meters apart. To Constantinople from the regions located to the east, such as the Kingdom of Trabzon and other places that can support the city when needed.
- A / The Sultan’s interest in collecting the necessary weapons:
The Sultan took special care in collecting the weapons needed to conquer Constantinople, the most important of which was the cannons that took special attention from him, as he brought a Hungarian engineer called “Urban” who was skilled in the manufacture of cannons, so he received a better reception and provided him with all financial and human capabilities. This engineer was able to design and implement Many of the huge cannons, on top of which was the famous Sultan cannon, which stated that its weight was hundreds of tons, and that it needed hundreds of strong bulls to move it, and the Sultan personally supervised the manufacture and testing of these cannons.
- B / Interest in the fleet:
In addition to this readiness, the conqueror gave special attention to the Ottoman fleet, as he worked to strengthen it and supply it with different ships, to be qualified to play its role in the attack on Constantinople, that sea city that does not complete its siege without the presence of a naval force to do this task, and it was mentioned that the ships that More than 400 ships were prepared for this order.
In subsequent articles, we will discuss the beginning of the attack on Constantinople, and the stages that interrupted it until the great conquest.