By: Emad Hamdy
This is one of the interesting stories from our fascinating and great history. It is about one of the greatest kings of Islam, and the greatest Sultans of the world over the centuries. His state and kingdom were the biggest and the strongest in the history of mankind with the exception of the kingdom of the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him). He was the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the second Caliph of Islam in the Ottoman Empire. He was the greatest, the most just and the most struggling leader who did the best for the sake of Allah. His name is Suleiman I or Suleiman the Magnificent as he was known in the West.
Sultan Suleiman was born in the city of Trabzon in (900 AH = 1495 AD), when his father was its ruler. His father gave him a great interest, so he grew up loving knowledge, literature, scholars and writers and became famous for seriousness and calmness in the early years of his youth.
Sultan Suleiman assumed the authority after the demise of his father Sultan Selim I in the 9th of Shawwal 926 AH (22 September 1520), and he started managing the affairs of the state, and guiding its policy. Worth mentioning is that Sultan Suleiman used to begin his letters with the verse,
“It is from Sulaiman, and It (reads): In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful” (An-Naml 27:30)
He considered it a good omen from the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), until the historians described him as “The Solomon of his time” because of the large number of his soldiers, his attractive charisma, his capability of imposing his policy upon the other kings of the world ,and for his Jihad against Christians.
Sultan Suleiman has stayed over the top of the Ottoman Empire authority for forty six years. During his regime, the state reached its highest in power and sovereignty, and its borders extended in a way that has never been seen before. The state imposed its authority upon many states of the world in the three continents, and it became the mistress of the whole world. The systems and laws have been improved accurately, without being contrary to Islamic Shari`ah, because Ottoman Sultans were keen to respect and to be adherent to the Islamic Shari`ah laws throughout their state. Furthermore, the arts and literature were promoted, and the architecture and building were flourished. In addition, Sultan Suleiman has accomplished many of an effective and significant works.
During the first period of his reign, Sultan Suleiman succeeded in extending the prestige of the state, and frustrated the attempts of mutiny by the governors who were aspiring to independence, and who thought that the young age of the Sultan -who was in the twenty six of his age- is an opportunity to realize their dreams, but the firmness of the Sultan surprised them.
Then, he began to arrange the administrative affairs of the state through making laws which organize people’s life in his big state with the assistance of Sheikh Al-Islam Abu As-Su`ud Afandy, the author of the great explanation of the Holy Qur’an which is called “Guiding the Sound Mind to the Advantages of the Holy Book” or “the Qur’an Explanation of Abu As-Su`ud”. These laws were put in consideration of the particular circumstances of the state, and the general rules of the Islamic Shari`ah. These laws were known as the constitution of Sultan Suleiman and were applied until the beginning of the thirteenth century AH.
It is a matter of fact, that People didn’t give Sultan Suleiman the surname of Al-Kanuny (the man of law) because he not only enacted these laws; but also for applying these laws fairly.
Sultan Suleiman was an eminent poet, an inventive calligrapher, a precious stones expert, familiar with a number of oriental languages, including Arabic, and he was fond of building and construction
The impact of these skills have clearly appeared through his generosity in spending money for constructing the considerable and gigantic buildings such as mosques, cisterns, fortresses and archways across the state, especially in Damascus, Mecca and Baghdad, in addition to the capital city.
The most famous architect in the Islamic history was Sinan Pasha who was among those architects, who established these amazing buildings. Sinan was not only known for his mastery of the various architectural styles of his time but also he had his own style.
Sultan Suleiman was interested in building schools, he built four schools in Mecca to teach the Islamic studies, and he established in Damascus the Suleimanya school and hospice. Also, he constructed many of castles on the road of Mecca to protect the Muslim pilgrims.
As a result of his concern to construction and beauty, Istanbul or Constantinople, the capital of the Caliphate, was incomparable.
To be continued..
Emad Hamdy holds a bachelor of Islamic Studies in English from Al-Azhar University, faculty of Languages and Translation. Emad is an official Imam and teacher in Egypt, and currently he works as the Imam of “Othman bin Affan Islamic Center” in Cabramatta- NSW-Sydney –Australia.