Throughout the world history, there was a stronghold that was believed as one of the greatest creation of human kind back in hundreds years ago. It was named as Constantinople which was founded by the Roman emperor, Constantine 1 on the site of already existing city, Byzantium, settled in the early days of Greek colonial expansion. He knew that he needed a tremendous place where emperor could sit, readily defended, with easy access to the Danube or the Euphrates frontiers. The site lay astride the land route from Europe to Asia and the seaway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean was just perfect and it was one of the main reasons why the famous, excellent and spacious harbor so-called Golden Horn had been developed. From the history, it also was stated that Constantinople was built over six years and consecrated on 11 May 1330. The expanded city was divided into 14 regions, like Rome and was ornamented with public work worthy of an imperials metropolis. The first known Prefect of the City of Constantinople was Honoratus who took office on 11 December 1359 and held it until 1361. After the construction of the Theodosian Walls in the early 5th century, it would be extended to the new Golden Gate, reaching a total length of seven Roman miles. There were some interesting facts about Theodosian Walls that make them the strongest fortress ever built. It was consisted of the main Inner Wall separated from the lower Outer Wall by a 15–20 m wide terrace, the peribolos. Between the outer wall and the moat there stretched an outer terrace, the parateichion, while a low breastwork crowned the moat's eastern escarpment.
Prophet Muhammad narrated “You will conquer Constantinople. Its commander is the best and its army is the best”. He was Sultan Muhammad Al – Fatih and in the west he was known as “Mehmet The Conqueror” for his achievement of conquer the Constantinople. He was born on 29th March 1432 corresponding to 27th Rejab in Edirn which was the capital city of Ottoman Empire. He was the son of Sultan Murad, the seventh Ottoman Sultan .He was known as The Conqueror because of his successful siege over Constantinople in the year of 1453.His mother was Huma Hatun, a princess descended from the Christians which is Abdullah daughter of Hum.
Muhammad Al – Fatih loved literature, monumental architecture, philosophy and science. He knew seven languages and he could speak fluently in Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Persian and Hebrew. His father handed over his throne for two years to Muhammad in order to prepare Muhammad for his future as the Sultan of Ottoman Empire. Muhammad claimed himself as the Caesar of the Rome as he has the blood lineage to the Byzantine royal family but the Pope of the Rome denied his title. Sultan Murad prepared Muhammad to shoulder responsibilities as he knew that great power comes with great responsibilities. Muhammad Al - Fatih was guided by the greatest scholar during that time, Sheikh Syamsudin al Wali. Muhammad was a sultan who coveted the strength of internal and external forces. He memorized the Al-Quran and learned more about Islam through hadith by the Prophet. Sheikh Syamsudin taught him more about Jihad especially to fight against the infidels and his teaching brought him to have a high ambition which was to conquer Constantinople. He was often accompanied by the scholars and scientists as guidance to him to become the best king. He learned on how to ride the horses and exposed himself to the archery and learnt how to use the sword in which all of these are the skills of the war. When Al – Fatih’s father was the king at that time, he became the governor in Magnesia. During his reign period when he was acting as the Sultan, he faced a war and he asked his father to lead the Turkish armies. He wrote to his father who was at Magnesia Island “If you are the Sultan, come and lead your armies. If I am the Sultan, I hereby order you to come and lead my armies and He managed to defeat the Christian armies by using his janissaries force and this elite team manage to win over the battle in 1446.This matter created a true character of the Turkish prince who could rule his country with full of wisdom and justice.
He had a strong and unquestionable faith and confidence that the hadith of Rasulullah that Constantinople will be conquered by the greatest of the leaders, with his greatest of armies, who had the greatest of his people, will come true. This is not to say that the previous Muslim leaders after Muhammad pbuh's death ,take Saidina Umar r.a. for example, who had also once tried to make this hadith true, was not the greatest leader. In this matter, Allah knows best. Muhammad Al-Fatih made that hadith as his source of motivation to pursue his mission.
In fact, the ulama’ at that time, who had deeper knowledge and understanding on Islam religion, had been given a special abilities by Allah to briefly predict the upcoming situation (in other words, "intuition"),were confident that Muhammad Al-Fatih is the one the world has been waiting for. Despite the confidence and the seemingly good news, Muhammad Al-Fatih did not want to make any unplanned and indiscrete actions to conquer the city. To make sure that the essence of the hadith becomes true, he first assured that he himself was a great ruler, his armies were of the great armies, and his people were also of the great people. Only then he managed to fulfill this requirement, he was able realize the hadith.
A Hungarian prisoner from Constantinople itself, named Orban, was hired by the sultan to make a canon that can shoot its ammo at very distant range. Orban, who was once held captive by the king of Constantinople, was badly treated and was forced to build one, but he was unwilling to do that. On the contrary, Orban was more than willing to help the Turkish sultan to help him to build the cannon because of the sultan's friendly and lovely hospitality as opposed of the king's cruel treatments. To make the best of the armies, he ordered all his soldiers to never neglect their 5-time obligatory prayers, and at the same time, trained hard in military practice.
His armies were among the strongest, the most pious, the most obedient, and the most loyal of soldiers the history of the Ottoman Empire could ever have. As for his people, he make also makes sure that they too will do the same, not to abandon their obligatory prayers. Prayer or commonly known as 'salah', in Islam, is indeed, the source of both inner and outer strength for Muslims. He sent troops of both land and sea armadas to conquer the city. He sent troops of both land and sea armadas to conquer the city. Briefly speaking, Constantinople is guarded by solid rock fortress that stretches around. There are a few major epochs that happened before the sultan conquered Constantinople, and after he succeeded in besieging the city.
1) The military plan that he used to besiege Constantinople.
2) Bringing the ships up the hill.
3) Land route-Muhammad al Fatih ordered his soldiers to bring up the ships outland pass the hills
on, which was first disputed by his soldiers
First, the sea route taken by the Ottoman navy soldiers made several failures.
The robust, bulky, heavy, and extremely strong chain that was assembled at the opening
One of the first steps Muhammad took was to take control of the Bosporus Sea so that he could take control of all the ships passing by bringing support and supplies from Europe into the city.
“The first step in achieving his dream was to take control of the Strait of Bosporus so that he could prevent any support or supplies that might come to Constantinople from Europe. So he built a huge castle on the European seashore of the Strait of Bosporus. Along with top senior officials, he personally participated in building the castle. It took three months to build this castle that came to be known as the Roman Castle. On the other bank of the Strait of Bosporus, there was the Castle of Anatolia. It then became impossible for any ship to cross unless it obtained permission from the Ottoman forces.”
In order to block the entrance to the city, a long chain called The Golden Chain was attached to the entrance of the city, where it is lowered only ships from Europe are allowed to enter Constantinople. The Ottoman fleet tried many times to get into the city through sea, but they face numerous failures. The soldiers even tried to secretly break the chain which was 4 to 5 feet below sea level, but got killed in the process.
Muhammad al-Fatih was one of the great generals who used one of the most outstanding military approaches and strategy in history. He ordered his armies to bring up the naval ships on land and pulled them over the hills at the eastern side of Constantinople. Over 70 ships were pulled on rails made by wood from the trees surrounding the hills and animal grease was spread on the woods to ease the transport of the ships. This intelligent and seemingly impossible task was completed by his soldiers for a distance of over 16 kilometers in only one night.
The next morning, the people of Constantine were shocked to see the Ottoman ships lined in front of their fortified fortress. The troops bombarded the stubborn walls for many consecutive days, day and night. Every day, Constantinople was taken aback by the different tactics he used to besiege the city until one part of the wall became weak enough for the infantries to rush into the city. The people of Constantinople saw the Islam flag being flagged for the first time.
This Turkish sultan had made a significant change not only in the Turkish history, but in the whole Islamic history as well, as he was the man described by the Prophet, may peace be upon him, as the greatest leader. His story is told from generation to generation as an inspiration and motivation to have high determination yet realistic goals well-planned organizations to realize dreams, and above all, the submission to Allah when all preparations have been made.