Our current crisis and the apparent lack of leadership throughout this nation's history always force us to ask why we can't have great leaders. Why can't we have another Omar bin Abdul-Aziz, Nourul-Deen Mahmoud, Othman the first or Saladin? Then the question comes to benefit this study: how can we get such a leader?
We should look at the moral structure of one of those great religious leaders. We will bypass the three centuries between now and then so that nobody says that 'the time was good, preparation was easier then' and that 'this is inapplicable in our bitter reality'.
The subject of our study is the sultan Muhammad Al-Fatih (Mehmet II). He is Muhammad Khan II son of the Ottoman Mourad II, the seventh sultan in the family of Al-Othman, called Al-Fatih (the conqueror) and Abil-Kheyrat (wealth bringer); he was born in 833 hijri. He was the second of his brothers; he had an elder brother called Alaa'din who was martyred in preaching.
Muhammad II was raised since his early childhood on the importance of heroicness, leadership, preaching and right house. The father of the sultan Mourad II used to raise his children to carry on his job after him. His father left him to a number of teachers and scientists to raise him on the Islamic manners and principles. His father noticed his desire to play and have fun and his inattention to his teachers, so he asked Mourad II for a teacher that could control this boy Muhammad. He was told that the scientist Ahmad 'ibn Ismail Al-kori was the best to do the job. Mourad II summoned him and gave him a rod to beat Muhammad with if he didn't learn from him. So Al-kori went to Muhammad -with the rod in his hand- and told him your father has sent me to teach you and beat you if you disobey me. Muhammad laughed, so he beat him severely until he was afraid of him and recited the whole Qur'an in a short period of time. He then taught him Islamic sciences and read to him books of history. Muhammad excelled beyond all of the other princes and managed to learn to speak three languages: Turkish, Persian and Arabic. Sultan Mourad II was keen to push his young child to leading positions, even though he was only twelve years old. When he saw his competence he promoted him to higher positions and gave him the Sultanate when he was fourteen years old. Mourad isolated himself to worship but he didn't leave his project, hopefully a great leader that can face the external enemies and internal protesters. He kept watching his project so that he could interfere if he had to. He interfered twice - once when Christian Europe declared war on the Ottomans because of their sultan's young age, causing Mourad come out of solitude and lead the Muslims to a glorious victory in the battle of Varna on 28th Ragab 853 hijri. The other occasion came when internal disturbances arose provoked by the soldiers of Al-Ankeshariea thinking their sultan wasn't strong enough, so Mourad II defeated them.
Preparing leaders is no easy matter. It cannot be left to circumstances without planning and consideration, nor is it a matter of individual geniality of one person who crosses the rows to attain leadership. It is a tiring and long procedure that starts from early childhood to enrich the talents, explore the skills and increase the powers in sequential procedures to raise the leader.
This preparation should not stop on the religious part. It is a matter of the complete construction of a leader that will lead a nation. He will lead the nation through its life, full of unknowns and new matters that join ancient and modern.
The practice of the leader's job reveals the suitability and seriousness of the leadership project, and the correctness of the proposed model. Some leaders do not show defects outside the government but when they are cast into the field their defects appear. That is why the father was keen to test his son Muhammad. He made him leader of a small estate first as practice, then leader of the whole country without leaving him. He stayed with him until he was strong enough, despite the many bitter experiences.
The scientist, Ahmad 'ibn Ismail Al-Kori:
He used to teach Muhammad to recite the Qur'an, he used to read him the religious books, he raised him to respect Allah's orders and to comply with the Shari'a laws and he taught him to fear Allah. This honourable teacher used to ignore the Governors' orders if they contradicted Allah's laws. He never knelt before a sultan, and he used to address them by name directly, and he used to greet them without kissing their hands. That is why we can see the great effect the man had on Muhammad, where we find him, as a governor, respecting the Shari'a, religious scientists, who killed one of his followers because he beat a judge and refused to execute his judgement. We find Muhammad Al-Fateh choosing his followers and friends from the scientists and good people. He never heard of a poor scientist without helping him. He would conduct a meeting in Ramadan after Zuhr (noon) prayer, assisted by the prominent scientists in tafseer (deciphering the meaning of Qur'anic verses), where each of them would speak about one verse and discusses it with the other scientists, and the Fatih shared this with them. When he defeated the chief Al-Turkuman Hassan Al-Taweel, a man who used to attack, betray them and ally with any group other than the Ottomans, Al-Fateh ordered to kill the captives except the scientists like the judge Muhammad Al-Shurehy, who fought unwillingly with Al-Taweel, and was one of the best scientists of his time. Al-Fateh was generous to him because of his knowledge despite his attack.
The second teacher was Al-Sheikh Muhammad bin Hamza al-Rrouhy, known as Ba'q Shams Al-din. This scientist had a great effect on the life of the leader Muhammad Al-Fateh as he instilled him on two great matters:
1- Increasing the Ottoman preaching movement
2- Convincing Muhammad that he can be the prince mentioned in the Hadith, "He who conquers Constantinople will be the best of princes and his army will be the best of armies." To make Muhammad sure he was meant by this Hadith the first thing he made him do in his government was to prepare to bring Islamic rule to Constantinople and he did it.
In fact, because of his influence, the historians call Shams Ad-din the spiritual conqueror of Constantinople. This Sheikh taught Muhammad the sciences, such as mathematics, astronomy, history, and methods of war, and he gave Al-Fatih a lesson in his childhood that he never forgot; a lesson that revealed how well this Sheikh understood the raising and upbringing of a religious leader. One day he called Al-Fateh and beat him so severely that Al-Fateh cried a lot and remembered that day when he was sultan in his father days. He called his Sheikh and asked him angrily, “Why did you beat me that day without me doing something that deserves beating?” His Sheikh told him, “I wanted to show how unfairness tastes, to prevent you from being unfair to anyone when you take leadership”, so Al-Fateh apologized to his Sheikh.After conquering Constantinople, Al-Fateh wanted to retire and devote himself to worship of Allah. When asked his Sheikh this, he replied, “if you went into solitude you will find a joy that exceeds the government in your eyes, and things will be confused. What you are doing is better than solitude.” This statement shows great understanding from the teacher.
Just like this religious scientist raised his student to take leadership, on great manners and held him to a noble aim, where he sought it and directed all his powers towards it, certainly this was for the welfare of the whole Ummah (nation).
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