Conquest of Constantinople and Haya Sophia
Predictions of the Conquest of Constantinople:
One day, the beloved Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, was walking with his beloved Companions. Then suddenly, there was a gust of wind, and Rasul Dojahan sallallahu alayhi wasallam took a long breath and smiled. Seeing this incident, the Companions asked, O Messenger of God, why are you laughing? Then the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I smell victory; a time will come when my Ummah will have a large army, and they will conquer Kustuntunya. So how good will that ruler be, and how good will his victorious soldiers be? (Musnad Ahmad) And they will indeed be granted Paradise.
Hearing this message, every Sultan and soldier had only one dream: to conquer Kustuntunia or Constantinople.
Attempted Conquest of Constantinople:
This is the city whose conquest was impossible. Natural and artificial defenses surround the town. Millions of soldiers went out to conquer the city but did not return with the victory. The blood of thousands of Muslim warriors was outside the city.
But when the prediction of the conquest of this city was made, all the sultans had only one dream: to conquer the city. Many rulers tried to destroy this city, including Yazid (Lanatullah), but what an irony of fate; how will Paradise be determined for him who has Syedzad’s blood on his hands? As a result, he also failed in the said attempt.
In this way, it is said that to conquer that city, different sultans almost made more than 20 attacks alternately, but no one succeeded. However, the fate of destroying this city was written on the forehead of a young man who was only 21 years old. He is none other than Sultan Muhammad, who is remembered as Sultan Muhammad Al Fatih, i.e., the Conqueror.
Arrival of Sultan Muhammad II, Conqueror of Constantinople:
Sultan Muhammad II came to earth on March 30, 1432, in the future of the Beloved Prophet. He is the third and youngest child of Sultan Murad. He was stubborn and monotonous from childhood. He used to do whatever he thought. He dreamed of conquering Constantinople from childhood.
Throne of Sultan Muhammad Al Fatih:
In 1444, when Sultan Murad II suddenly decided to surrender his seat and sultanate, the then 12-year-old Muhammad II became Sultan and ordered all to conquer Constantinople. However, at that time, the Ottomans could not conquer Constantinople because Murad II had already failed to do so and suffered heavy losses. As a result, everyone considered Sultan Muhammad to be the bestubborn and incompetent Sultan, and when Thitan Murad II, h heard this, he declared himself Sultan again in 1446.
However, as fate would have it, Sultan Murad II died in 1451, and Sultan Muhammad II became Sultan again when he was only 19 years old. Everyone in Europe and Constantinople celebrated Sultan Muhammad II as Sultan because they thought Sultan Muhammad II was too small and unworthy of an Ottoman Sultan. But proving them all wrong, he again announced preparations for the conquest of Constantinople.
Lessons learned from father’s failure:
Learning from his father’s failure, Sultan Murad II’s conquest of Constantinople, he first established peace in the empire because his brother Mustafa rebelled under various instigations while Sultan Murad II was on a campaign to conquer Constantinople. As a result, the Sultan was forced to leave the campaign and was busy suppressing the rebellion. Learning from this incident, he established peace in the First Empire and made peace treaties with various European states. After making peace, the Sultan turned his attention to Constantinople.
Defense of the city of Constantinople:
Then, the only thing that concerned him was the Great Wall of Constantinople. This wall is the greatest weapon of Constantinople, as well as the various moats surrounding the city. The city is triangular, with the Golden Horn to the north, the Bosphorus Strait to the east, and the Sea of Marmara to the south. Another big problem was a massive chain from the Bosphorus Strait to the Golden Horn, which could easily block any ship.
But the city’s most important weapon was its walls, divided into three parts. The height of the wall was 40 feet, the width was 60 feet, and there was a watch tower every 50 meters. Also, the city’s security was natural because it was boiling here in the summer, so the soldiers were easily weakened, and in the winter, it was snowing, making it impossible to fight. It is only possible to think of attacking here in the spring. Moreover, there are more challenges than conquering the city in such a short time.
Sultan’s army and Byzantine army:
All these things made Sultan Muhammad II very worried. Still, the most significant good news for the Sultan was that the condition of Constantinople, i.e., the Byzantine Empire, was miserable because they had only 8 thousand soldiers, and the Sultan had 200,000 soldiers (here, Janissaries, skilled Turks from Anatolia). (including soldiers and unskilled Christian soldiers drawn from various places)
But due to all the advantages of the opposite side, those 8000 soldiers were overwhelmed by the vast army of the Sultan, and there was a danger of defeat by the Sultan at various moments. But fate was decided for the Sultan. Ironically, the name of the first Conqueror of Constantinople was Constantine, and the name of the last emperor was Constantine XI.
Preparation of Sultan:
The Sultan thought of building a powerful cannon against the city wall that would easily breach it, so he sought an engineer who could make this powerful cannon and quickly paid four times the salary he demanded to have it built, which was called the Vasilica which was 27 feet long and 30 inches wide round, which is considered to be the giant cannon in history. However, one problem was that this cannon could fire a single round for 3 hours. Finally, the Sultan completed all the preparations.
Sultan’s War Departure:
On March 23, 1453, at 22, he set out from the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Adrianople, to fulfill his childhood dream of conquering the impregnable city. Take thousands of scholars and Sayyads (descendants of the Prophet) for blessing. On hearing this news, Constantine 11 worried the able commander Justinian and the 700 able soldiers. At that time, the total number of Byzantine soldiers was about 9000.
Sultan Muhammad II set out with his 200,000 soldiers and 180 warships. As the war slowly began, time was the most significant advantage for the Byzantines and the biggest problem for the Ottomans. If the Ottomans wanted to win the war, they had to win within three months, and the Byzantines would be victorious only if they could stop the Ottomans for three months.
Ottoman War Manners and Letter of Sultan Muhammad Al Fatih:
Taking everything into account, he offered to surrender first, according to Ottoman custom, and the Sultan sent a letter to Constantinople in which he said, “I assure you that if you hand over this city to me, I am responsible for the safety of every life in this city. No torture will be done. Your houses, businesses, and wealth will remain where they were, no interference will be done, and no harm will be done to your churches and clergy. Your religious freedom will not be hindered. “
Start of battle:
Constantine 11 was so confident of his victory that he called on the Sultan to fight, and a fierce battle ensued. The battle began with a super cannon attack on the Basilica, which shook Constantinople. Still, with the Byzantines having the advantage of the city, they overpowered the Ottomans and killed many Ottoman soldiers.
The tragic situation of the Ottomans in the war:
As the Ottomans attempted to advance on the city, the Byzantines began to attack with their secret weapon of Greek fire (a fire that cannot be extinguished with water), making the situation worse for the Ottomans.
Along with this came another big bad news for the Ottomans. The news is that Hungary will break the peace treaty and extend help to the Byzantines. In addition, the more significant bad news is that the super cannon Vasilica exploded, and its maker died. Thus, the Ottomans became more threatened. The Ottomans also resorted to naval raids, causing further losses and demoralizing troops.
As a result, Sultan Muhammad II became more worried.
Historical dreams and morale of soldiers:
When the Sultan was engrossed in thought, suddenly his Sheikh Akba Shamsuddin came and said he saw Hazrat Ayyub Ansari Rahmatullahi Alaihi in a dream, Hazrat Ayyub Ansari Rahmatullahi Alaihi.
He was the flag bearer of the Holy Prophet. When an expedition was launched from Banu Umayya to conquer Constantinople, Ayyub Ansari (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) participated in the battle, who was in the throes of age.
However, he made his last wish before his death, that if he died, he would be buried as close to Constantinople as possible. Hearing this, the Sultan, with his three companions, searched for the grave of Hazrat Ayub Ansari Rahmatullahi Alaihi; when he found the grave, he found a letter in the hand of Hazrat Ayub Ansari Rahmatullahi Alaihi, and in that letter was written, “When you conquer Constantinople.” Then, take a handful of earth from him and put it in my grave.
Seeing that, the Sultan gathered all the soldiers. He told the story of Ayyub Ansari Rahmatullahi Alaihi. He also said that Hazrat Ayyub Ansari Rahmatullahi Alaihi would do so that he could give a handful of soil, even if the intention were to fight and bring victory. (There is much disagreement on this point) After these incidents, all the soldiers regained their morale.
Strategy of Sultan Muhammad Al Fatih :
The Sultan then began to show his actual tactics.
On May 26, he decreed that everyone should light two fires in front of their labor and that everyone should chant Allahu Akbar and Allahu Akbar Takbeer with loud music. As a result, the Byzantines felt that the Ottoman army was doubled, and their morale ended there.
Besides, the Sultan did not stop there but cut down a massive tree and smeared it with the lover’s fat. He started to attack from the opposite side with that enormous ship on the land, crossing the chain between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait. But this was only a ploy by the Sultan to distract the Byzantines; the fundamental idea was to attack the weakened walls with cannons from three sides and enter the city together, and the Sultan’s strategy worked and ended in a huge bloody battle, with the Roman commander Justinian on the run. He and Constantine XI died in battle.
Conquest of Constantinople and Haya Sophia:
On May 29, 1453, the gates of Constantinople were opened, and the Sultan entered Hagia Sophia, the main attraction of Constantinople. The call to prayer was given in Hagia Sophia, and he was mesmerized by the sound of the call to prayer around Hagia Sophia—the fulfillment of the great future prophecy made 700 years ago. Then, the Sultan made Aya Sophia a mosque. The city was named Istanbul (its current name has changed in different dialects).
However, in 1934, Mustafa Kalam Atatürk declared Hagia Sophia a museum, and it was converted into a mosque again in July 2020. This is how the Ottoman Empire, after losing the battle of Ankara during Sultan Bayazid’s time, rose again after the conquest of Constantinople and present-day Istanbul. As a result, the Ottomans became a superpower. Read more
After the conquest of this city, he got the title of Muhammad al-Fatih from Sultan Muhammad, i.e., Sultan Muhammad the Conqueror.
Byzantine doctrine about Haya Sophia:-
The Romans believed that when an enemy captured Constantinople, an angel would descend in front of Hagia Sophia and lead the Romans back to conquer the city. Also, although they held different doctrines, the conquest of Constantinople caused much damage to the religious beliefs of the Romans.
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