Monday, February 7, 2011

7 Al-Fateh Values

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

Assalamualaikum. This is the continuation of my previous post "Al-Fateh Workshop: Mutiara Pengalaman Berharga". I decided to write in English as the key to the values themselves were created in English.

These values were created by Ustaz Syaari Abdul Rahman, who aspires to one day built his own al-fateh academy. Insya-allah Akademi al-Fateh will be built in Sepang, Malaysia.


A. A clear vision

Dearest friends,

Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh had a very clear vision. He knew what he wanted. What he really wanted. And that is to take Constantinople at all costs necessary. 

But why is he so persistent to conquer the previous Christian city? Why not just let the Christians rule the city in peace? Oh, how power-hungry Sultan Muhammad seemed to be!

In answering the question (which I presume is posed by Westerners who do not like how history turned out), ust Syaari says, " The christians imposed 40 000 gold dinars everytime an Ottoman (muslim) ship sails through Marmara sea. They also would not allow muslims to pass peacefully through Constantinople." 

Those were among the reasons Sultan Muhammad really wanted to take Constantinople, apart from opening the gates of Europe for Islam. (to spread Islam to Europe, for more understanding, refer to location of Constantinople, now Istanbul)

Allright, that is all history. It already happened a long, long time ago. So, what does Sultan Muhammad's vision have to do with US, today's generation? Huh, why do I have to care about some old vision?

My dear sahabahs,

A clear vision is what guides us. That is human nature; we need something to guide us along as we live our lives. 

That is why, I believe, we feel so enlightened when we receive hidayah (guidance) from Allah. For example, it is not our nature to give charity to people. One day, however, suddenly you could not help yourself from feeling so sympathetic to an old man, and you, out of the ordinary, donated some money to him. I believe, that initiative deep inside your heart, is hidayah from Allah swt.

A muslim's vision is crystal clear; to become abdullah - the servant of Allah.

The same thing can be applied when we are working in an organization. 

For example, you are the president of the Students Representative Council. You have the final say in almost any decision-making. Yes, you have power.

But the power to command a whole council, is pointless. Pointless when you don't have a clear vision, in which direction are you going to command your crew. 

What is the function of SRC?
What does SRC want to achieve at the end of one year? At the end of one month? At the end of one week? At the end of the day? 

How do we want the public to see us? What image do we want to portray? What changes are we going to bring this tenure?

Ust Syaari stresses the importance of having a crystal clear vision with this example;

"One day, I would like to sit together with the rector...and have a cup of coffee."

The statement is so simple. Yet it holds a very deep meaning

Imagine, the rector is a very busy man, and not everyone has the opportunity or the honour of meeting him. Being able to sit with such a man, in a relaxing atmosphere..shows that you too, at that time, is someone extraordinary

So, it is important to be able to visualize your goal, where you are in let's say, 10 years time, what exactly you are doing, what colour is your shirt, what are you feeling at that detailed ad you can. The more detailed it is, the clearer your vision will be. 

A clear vision leads to definite action. Knowing where to go will help you determine which action to take. The right ones.

With a clear vision, you can even drive your car (live your life) blindfolded...

L. Law of teamwork

My dear friends,

A leader needs his team. A leader is just one person. Without his team, his visions are merely dreams.

Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh did not conquer Constantinople on his own. He succeeded while fighting alongside his chosen 250 000 men.

Our beloved prophet saw (pbuh) did not build the first Islamic city alone. He had his companions (sahabahs). It was by sending his companions to various places all over the world that Islam manages to spread. 

Therefore; the Law of Teamwork comes into play.

It is a law. You need to follow it to succeed. If you don't, your efforts will just crumble down like marie biscuits' crumbs (haha).

F. Focus

Once you have a vision, and you have assembled a committed team, then it is time to f.o.c.u.s.

Focus on the task at hand, at present time.

A. Always be prepared

Always. Always. Always be prepared.

Always think of a back-up plan in case something goes wrong.

During the al-Fateh workshop, there was this session where we had to build a tower from cards. As we were in the midst of planning how the tower must be built, we were lost in our thoughts...then suddenly...


We were attacked!

Oh, the 'devils' threw sumi jelly bombs at our beloved came crashing down. We were totally unprepared. We didn't expect it.

Aha...but that;s how life is, isn't it? It's full of the unexpected. Full of surprises. 

That's why we should always - be - prepared.

T. Think out of the box

Sometimes, when all other methods have failed, we need to think crazy. Yeah, we need to throw away rational and embrace Einstein! Wahahaha(Well, Einstein was later known to be the most genius person on the planet)

This part of Sultan Muhammad's story will always be my favourite part. The part when Sultan Muhammad became 'crazy'.

Allright, now let's all imagine a ship

Titanic maybe? Okey, titanic, but let's modify it a bit..make it a wooden titanic..

Now, imagine there are 70 of the same ships. Done? imagine them sailing...sailing...on a hill...

On a hill????

Oh yes, on a hill!

70 ships traveled on LAND...9.5 kilometers...and it was all done in one night.

Because the muslims could not cross into the Golden Horn through sea (because of a super invincible gate), Sultan Muhammad says...

"If I cannot sail my ships by sea...then I shall sail them on land!"

(well I'm not sure if he did say these words, I just imagined them)

I knew this part of the story. But what Ust Syaari said later never struck my mind at all...

"Did you know what season it was during that war? It was winter. And winter nights are...
shorter than its days."

shorter than its days

shorter than its days

shorter than its days

It kept ringing in my head...even until this moment.

In one night, one of the shortest nights on earth, a leader and his team of 250 000 men, cut down the trees, made them into logs for the ships to slide on, and carried all 70 ships across 9.5 km of hilly land with the help of just animals and men power...and on dawn (subuh) the very next day, all 70 ships have arrived at the Golden Horn... All that done during the war, when all men were very much exhausted...

Can we imagine that? 

Can we think of such a feat?

Can we even follow such a feat?

Subhanallah walhamdulillah wala ilaha illallah wallahu akbar.

E. Emotional quotient

Nowadays, its no longer about IQs, its more about EQs. Emotional quotient.

Why is emotion more discussed now? Is intelligence no longer important to this era of information and technology?

Well, yes. Yes of course! But, the problem is, we are humans. And humans have both; aqal (intelligence ) and heart (emotion).

One example I have always remembered, when I watched a video on ESQ.

It tells the story of a very successful and brilliant engineer (if i'm not mistaken). He is really smart...smarter than you, me and most people. Really, super smart.

One day, he visited the house of a person, who was about to become his partner in business. In his house were many antiques. Suddenly the brilliant engineer said, "How ugly is that piece of vase! How could you keep it? bla3.." The owner said nothing in reply. However his reply came later, in the form of rejection of the business offer.

The engineer was brilliant, exceptional in brains, but when it comes to matters of the heart, he is clueless. He did not understand the need to be polite and courteous at his friend's house. To him, it is nothing and will not affect his life. In the end, he was proved wrong, as his partner struck out the deal, because obviously, he was offended by the engineer's remarks, even though he did not say so.

A good leader needs to have a good EQ, the ability to empathize with his team. Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy means the ability to understand what the other person is feeling. Like being in other people's shoes, you know? It's not your shoe (situation) but you can understand it all the same.

Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh, is a great man, because of this. 

Not because he succeeded in doing something his forefathers failed in, but because of his ability to empathize with his soldiers.

When he asked his soldiers to build a protective wall along the borders of Ottoman empire facing the enemy territories, he was the first to join the construction work. So much so, that when enemy messengers wanted to deliver a message to the Sultan, he did not know which one is the Sultan, as the Sultan was wearing the same clothes with everyone else. 

He knew his men must be tired in constructing the wall. So, in order to be in the same 'shoes', he subjected himself to the exact same work, no more no less. 

Isn't that what true leaders act like?

Empathy my friends..empathy. the best quality.

H. Hasbunallahu wa nikmal wakil

Last but not least, is Hasbunallahu wa nikmal wakil which roughly means "Allah is our best and only protector" or "To Allah alone do we place our hopes".

After every effort has been done, it is time to do this - tawakkal. Tawakkal, leaving everything in Allah's power and hoping for the best outcome, after we have struggled to give our best.

Did you know, that even after the historic "sailing on land", Sultan Muhammad was not yet victorious?

I only knew when Ust Syaari told me.

I knew what Sultan Muhaamd was especially famous for. The story of sailing his ships on land.

What I didn't know was that he didn't win because of that.

The final attack came on May 28th 1453. It was devised of 3 stages.
Stage 1 - Using the Anatolian army or the sipahis - the foot soldiers.
Stage 2 - Using soldiers wearing mail. Keep on pushing.
Stage 3 - Sending Janissaries, the elite team.

Wow, so, Sultan Muhammad won because of the Janissaries then, the elite squad?

(shakes head) no my friends. That was not the reason.

The reason was, on May 27th 1453, one day before the final attack, Sultan Muhammad declared it a holiday.

(smiles weakly) Yes...a A day when he asked his army to perform tahajjud that night...asking for Allah's help one last a solat...

And I believe, as Ust Syaari believes, that is the reason why Allah Subhanahu Taala allowed Sultan Muhammad to win the war.

Not because of that particular May 27th 1453's 

That last tahajjud was a sign, of a servant's dedication towards his Lord...showing how much he depended on his Lord for His Mercy and help. It was like a signal..."Oh Allah, please grant me this win. Verily you ar ar-Rahman war Rahim." 

In the end, Sultan Muhammad won, because he placed his trust on his Lord Allah swt. Because he believed only Allah can deliver him the win, with Allah's will, not by his (Sultan Muhammad's).


A clear vision
Law of teamwork
Always be prepared
Think out of the box
Emotional quotient
Hasbunallahu wa nikmal wakil

My dear friends,
what can be said about these values?

Yes, they are good values. Good values based on one good and outstanding character, Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh. 

But values will remain values, if we just talk about them, write about them in our blog, instead of walking the talking. 

The hardest part is not understanding them, it is about implementing them.

And last but not least, all these values are nothing without the last value - the H value. 

Hasbunallahu wa nikmal wakil...

We may be smart, and we may be strong, but all these are nothing...believe me, they are nothing...when our heart is arrogant. Then Allah will leave us...and so will His hidayah...and so will His blessings...and our arrogant heart will die...

So the final touch, always remember the "H value"...May success follow us wherever we go, whatever we do, as long as we put Allah near...

Assalamualaikum wbt.

note: thank you very much, thanks are not enough for all the knowledge and understanding that I got from Ust syaari on that fateful day 9th January 2011. Jazakallahu khairan kathiran ustaz. (smiles)

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