Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sultan Muhammad Fateh II

Introduction
Sultan Muhammad Fateh II
(Arabic/Persian/Urdu: (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) Turkish:Meḥmed-i s̠ānī, Turkish: II. Mehmet ),(also known as el-Fātiḥ (الفاتح), "the Conqueror" in Ottoman Turkish, or, in modern Turkish, Fatih Sultan Mehmet; Known as Mahomet II in early modern Europe) (March 30, 1432, Edirne – May 3, 1481, Hünkârçayırı, near Gebze) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Rûm until the conquest) for a short time from 1444 to September 1446, and later from February 1451 to 1481. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ), bringing an end to the Byzantine Empire. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) continued his conquests in Asia, with the Anatolian reunification, and in Europe, as far as Belgrade. Administrative actions of note include amalgamating the old Byzantine administration into the Ottoman state. Beside Turkish, he spoke French, Latin, Greek, Serbian, Persian, Arabic and Hebrew.

Early reign
Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) was born in Edirne, the then-capital city of the Ottoman state, on March 30, 1432. His father was Sultan Murad II (1404–51) and his mother Valide Sultana Hüma Khatun, born in Devrekani county of Kastamonu province, was a daughter of Abd'Allah of Hum (Huma meaning a girl/woman from Hum). When Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) was 11 years old he was sent to Amasya to govern and thus gain experience, as per the custom of Ottoman rulers before his time. After Murad II made peace with the Karaman Emirate in Anatolia in August 1444, he abdicated the throne to his 12-year-old son Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی).

During his first reign, Sultan Muhammad Fateh (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) asked his father Murad II (مراد الثانی) to reclaim the throne in anticipation of the Battle of Varna, but Murad II refused. Enraged at his father, who had long since retired to a contemplative life in southwestern Anatolia, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) wrote: "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." It was upon this letter that Murad II (مراد الثانی) led the Ottoman army in the Battle of Varna in 1444.
He married Valide Sultan Amina Gul-Bahar, of Greek descent of noble birth from the village of Douvera, Trabzon, who died in 1492. She was the mother of Bayezid II(بایزید الثانی) .

Conquest of Constantinople (فتح قسطنطنیہ )
When Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) ascended the throne in 1451 he devoted himself and preparations for the taking of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ). Reference is made to the prospective conquest of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) in an authentic hadith, attributed to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) "Verily you shall conquer Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ). What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!".

In the narrow Bosporus Straits, the fortress Anadoluhisarı had been built by his great-grandfather Bayezid I on the Asiatic side; Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) erected an even stronger fortress called Rumelihisarı on the European side, and thus having complete control of the strait. Having completed his fortresses, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) proceeded to levy a toll on ships passing within reach of their cannon. A Venetian vessel refusing signals to stop was sunk with a single shot.

In 1453 Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) commenced in early April, the siege of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ). The city was surrounded by sea and land; the fleet at the entrance of the Bosphorus was stretched from shore to shore in the form of a crescent, to intercept or repel any assistance from the sea for the besieged. The harbor of the Golden Horn was blocked by a boom chain and defended by twenty-eight warships. After the siege Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) sent his messenger to the king of Byzintia asking him to hand over the city giving him a full guarantee of safety for its residents, their wealth, their lives, their beliefs and their honour. The refusal of the king to do this and his declaration of war against the Muslims let to the bombardment of the city, leading to the demolishing of some of the outer walls, without reaching the inner walls. When King Constantine (قسطنطنیہ) realized the seriousness of the situation, he wrote to the pope who assisted him with five large ships filled with weapons, provisions, and soldiers, leading to the increase in morale of the defenders. Their joy did not last for long however, for the next morning, they were surprised with eighty ships inside their gulf which they had blocked with heavy chains and fortified with a large force. However, the Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) through his foresight brought the ships over land by paving a path for them of six miles of large tree branches which he had embalmed with oil so that the giant ships can slide over them with their tens of thousands of soldiers, until they were brought to the gulf waters behind the enemy defenses.

The siege of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) lasted for fifty-four days (25 Rabi I - 20 Jumada al-Ulaa 857H, falling on 7/6 April - 29 May 1453AD). On April 22, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) transported his lighter warships overland, around the Genoese colony Galata and onto the Golden Horn's northern shore; eighty galleys were transported from the Bosphorus after paving a little over one-mile route with wood. Thus the Byzantines stretched their troops over a longer portion of the walls. With the new morn, the Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) ordered the setting up of his secret weapon which he had invented himself, which is giant mobile tower, higher than the walls of the city accommodating hundreds of soldiers. This struck fear amongst the Byzantines leading them to believing that the Muslims were using demons in their battles. Muslims broke the middle walls, the resistance of the city began to weaken, while nightfall had left the Byzantines fill with fear leading them to spend their night in their churches praying their Lord to send to their aid the blue angels to save Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) from the Muslims. Whilst the Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) spent his night motivating his armies reminding them of the hadith of the messenger (S.A.W.) and praying for victory from Allah. As soon as the new morn came, the soldiers began their general attack. The Muslim army attacked and some of the mujahedeen were able to enter the city, the first to enter it was the Mujahid Hasan Ulu Badi with thirty of his companion, however, the arrows rained on them from every side, and they were all martyred. At this came the essential role of the leader in the battle as the Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) stood and spoke to his soldiers taking example from the messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) during the battle of Uhud giving an example of bravery in a few words, saying “my sons, here I am ready for death in the path of Allah, so whoever desires martyrdom, let follow me”. The Muslims followed their leader like the flood from the dam tearing down the obstacles for Kufr until they entered the city and raised therein the word of monotheism.

On 20 Jumada I/29 May to deliver a general assault on the city. In this manner a little over a month later Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) fell on May 29 following a fifty-seven day siege, the city of Heracle fell, which stood stubbornly in front of the Muslims for eight centuries. So they entered it erasing the byzantine government opening the doors of Europe for the call of Islam. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) allowed the return of those Greeks who had left the city before the siege, after the conquest. They paid ransom and were granted immunity from taxation for a certain time. They recorded a white page in history, realizing the promise of the messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) as when he was asked which of the two cities would be liberated first, Constantinople or Rome, he said “The city of Heracle (i.e. Constantinople قسطنطنیہ) would be liberated first”. After this conquest, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) moved the Ottoman capital from Adrianople to Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ).

It is said that when Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) stepped into the ruins of the Boukoleon, known to the Ottomans and Persians as the Palace of the Caesars, probably built over a thousand years before by Theodosius II, he uttered the famous lines of Persian poetry:
After the transfer of its capital to Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) in 330 AD and the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) also had a blood lineage to the Byzantine Imperial family, as his predecessors like Sultan Orhan I had married a Byzantine princess. He was not the only ruler to claim such a title, as there was the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe, whose emperor, Frederick III, traced his titular lineage from Charlemagne who obtained the title of Roman Emperor when he was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800 - although never recognized as such by the Byzantine Empire.
The spider weaves the curtains in the palace of the Caesars;
The owl calls the watches in the towers of Afrasiab.

Conquests in Asia
The conquest of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) allowed Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) to turn his attention to Anatolia. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) tried to create a single political entity in Anatolia by capturing Turkish states called Beyliks and the Greek Empire of Trebizond in northeastern Anatolia and allied himself with the Golden Horde in the Crimea. Uniting the Anatolian Beyliks was first accomplished by Sultan Bayezid I, more than fifty years earlier than Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) but after the destructive Battle of Ankara back in 1402, the newly formed Anatolian unification was gone. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) recovered the Ottoman power on other Turkish states. These conquests allowed him to push further into Europe.

Another important political entity which shaped the Eastern policy of Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) was the White Sheep Turcomans. With the leadership of Uzun Hasan, this Turcoman kingdom gained power in the East but because of their strong relations with the Christian powers like Empire of Trebizond and the Republic of Venice and the alliance between Turcomans and Karamanoğlu Tribe, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) saw them as a threat to his own power. He led a successful campaign against Uzun Hasan in 1473 which resulted with the decisive victory of the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Otlukbeli.

Conquests in Europe
After the Fall of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ), Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) would also go on to conquer the Despotate of Morea in the Peloponnese in 1460, and the Empire of Trebizond in northeastern Anatolia in 1461. The last two vestiges of Byzantine rule were thus absorbed by the Ottoman Empire. The conquest of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ) bestowed immense glory and prestige on the country.

Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) advanced toward Eastern Europe as far as Belgrade, and attempted to conquer the city from John Hunyadi at the Siege of Belgrade in 1456. Hungarian commanders successfully defended the city and Ottomans retreated with heavy losses but at the end, Ottomans occupied nearly all of Serbia.

In 1463, after a dispute over the tribute paid annually by the Bosnian kingdom, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) invaded Bosnia and conquered it very quickly, executing the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomašević.

In 1476, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) won a victory against Stephen at the Battle of Valea Albă and nearly destroyed all of the relatively small Moldovian army. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) invaded Italy in 1480. The intent of his invasion was to capture Rome and "reunite the Roman Empire", and, at first, looked like he might be able to do it with the easy capture of Otranto in 1480 but Otranto was retaken by Papal forces in 1481 after the death of Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی).

The Albanian resistance in Albania between 1443 and 1468 led by George Kastrioti Skanderbeg (İskender Bey), Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) eventually reversed the momentum of Skanderbeg, by creating an autonomous Albanian Muslims force under the leadership of Iljaz Hoxha, Hamza Kastrioti and the Albanian Janissary battalion, the new force eventually captured Kruje and was indeed loyal to the Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) and the entire Ottoman Empire.

Administrative actions
Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) amalgamated the old Byzantine administration into the Ottoman state. He first introduced the word Politics into Arabic "Siyasah" from a book he published and claimed to be the collection of Politics doctrines of the Byzantine Caesars before him. He gathered Italian artists, humanists and Greek scholars at his court, kept the Byzantine Church functioning, ordered the patriarch to translate the Christian faith into Turkish. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) also tried to get Muslim scientists and artists to his court in Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ), started a University, built mosques e.g. the Fatih Mosque, waterways, and the Topkapı Palace.

Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی)'s reign is also well-known for the religious tolerance with which he treated his subjects, especially among the conquered Christians, which was very unusual for Europe in the Middle Ages. However, his army was recruited from the Devshirme. They were split up: those regarded as more able were destined for the sultans court, the less able but physically strong were put into the army or the sultan's personal guard, the Janissaries.

Within the conquered city, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) established a "millet – "ملّت or an autonomous religious community, and he appointed the former Patriarch as essentially governor of the city, this excluded the Genoese and Venetian settlements in the suburbs, and excluded the coming Muslim and Jewish settlers entirely. This method allowed for an indirect rule of the Christian Byzantines and allowed the occupants to feel relatively autonomous even as Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) began the Turkish remodeling of the city, eventually turning it into the Turkish capital, which it remained until the 1920s.

Legacy
Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) spoke seven languages (including Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian and Latin) when he was 21 years old (the age at which he conquered Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ). After the fall of Constantinople (قسطنطنیہ), he founded many universities and colleges in the city, some of which are still active. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) is also recognized as the first Sultan to codify criminal and constitutional law long before Suleiman the Magnificent (also "the Lawmaker" or "Qanuni",”"قانونی) and he thus established the classical image of the autocratic Ottoman sultan (padishah).

Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) had laid the foundations of Ottoman rule in Anatolia and the Balkans, which were to remain unshaken for four centuries. He also gave their final form to the institutions of the empire and determined the course of its future political development.

Peace in the Balkans and Anatolia:
Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) led two expeditions into Serbia in 862/1458 and in 863/1459 Serbia was annexed to the Ottoman Empire. In 862/1458, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) defeated Palacologi princes and occupied Morea. In 867/1463, when the local Greeks surrendered the castle of Argos to the Ottomans, the Venetians launched a general offensive. The Ottomans then declared war on the Venetians, which lasted from 867/1463 to 884/1479. They also took over Bosnia in 867/1463 and this led to renewed hostilities with Hungary. Pope Pius II summoned the crusading armies to Ancona, where he went in person the following year.

The oath firman (فرمان), which has provided independence and tolerance to the ones who are from another religion, belief, and race was declared by Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) the Conqueror and granted to Angjeo Zvizdovic of the Franciscan Catholic Monastery in Fojnica, Bosnia and Herzegovina after the conquest of Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 28 of 1463. The firman has been recently raised and published by the Ministry of Culture of Turkey for the 700th anniversary of the foundation of the Ottoman State. The edict was issued by the Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) the Conqueror to protect the basic rights of the Bosnian Christians when he conquered that territory in 1463. The original edict is still kept in the Franciscan Catholic Monastery in Fojnica.
It is one of the oldest documents on religious freedom. Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی)'s oath was entered into force in the Ottoman Empire on May 28, 1463. In 1971, the United Nations published a translation of the document in all the official U.N. languages.

Reverse of the 1000 lira banknote (1986-1992) Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی)'s portrait was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 1000 lira banknotes of 1986-1992.

Death
On May 3, 1481, Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی) died in 886/1481 at the age of forty-nine, the expeditions in Egypt, Italy and the Mediterranean were left unfinished. He had fought the Ghaza war (Jihad i.e. Islamic War) without a break, to a degree that even a contemporary historian found excessive; as he claimed, he had become, within a space of thirty years, the tomb of master of two seas and two continents “Sultan Muhammad Fateh II (سلطان محمّد فاتح الثانی)” is located at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.

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