It was narrated by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak and others, on the authority of Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-As, who said, بَيْنَمَا نَحْنُ حَوْلَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَكْتُبُ إِذْ سُئِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَيُّ الْمَدِينَتَيْنِ تُفْتَحُ أَوَّلاً قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةُ أَوْ رُومِيَّةُ؟ “When we are around the Messenger of Allah ﷺ writing, the Messenger of Allah was asked, which of the two cities will be opened first, Constantinople or Rome?” فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «مَدِينَةُ هِرَقْلَ تُفْتَحُ أَوَّلاً – يَعْنِي قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةَ». RasulAllah ﷺ said, “The city of Heraclius will be opened first, meaning Constantinople.”
A well-known, authentic (Saheeh) hadith that many Muslims have heard and still hear, and became popular among scholars, and many wrote about it. I wanted to address this hadith in terms of its implications beyond the mere good tiding.
The question has an ideological connotation, since in terms of linguistic formulation it is remarkable, indicating the unparalleled depth of belief within the questioner. At a time when the questioner deals with a metaphysical issue, it may come to mind first of all that the formulation of the question must be: Will the two cities, or one of them be opened, O RasulAllah? Or in other words, are we going to be strong until we open one or both cities? Or other formulas that are affected by reality and hasty fatalism. The truth is that the question is in the form of affirming the occurrence of the conquest, so he does not ask about the capability, the possibility, or the manner. Rather, he asked about the fact that both cities are inevitably open, but he wants to know which one opens first. And this by Allah is the attainment of the highest degrees of certainty of the truthfulness of what the honorable Prophet ﷺ said.
The question also has a political connotation that shows the extent to which Muslims are aware and interested in the situations of the world around them, and their awareness that these two cities constitute two Roman fortresses, if they are opened, then the victory will be achieved and this Deen will spread, and no one will ever stand before it. This is evidence of Muslims’ love of their Deen, their desire to spread it, and their understanding of their duty to communicate its message to the far corners of the earth.
The hadith gives not only one but rather several glad tidings, and Allah Almighty knows best of His message, and a stronger connotation than that has been proven in the Book of Allah when the Almighty said: هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ “It is He Who has sent His Messenger ﷺ with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it dominate over all other ways of life.” [At-Tauba: 33]
In this verse there is a proof of the supremacy of Islam over other religions, and this text is in the form of informing but it also indicates a request, i.e. requesting Muslims to make this Deen dominant, which is in itself an eloquence in the way of giving good tidings, to reassure the hearts of Muslims and to inspire hope and urge action and non-dependence. And this is what the first companions, then the followers, and those who followed them until the Day of Judgment understood. So, there were among them those who initiated the invasion and besieged the city from the beginning of the era of the Khilafah (Caliphate) until Allah appointed for it that Ameer who RasulAllah ﷺ praised in his hadith as narrated by Imam Ahmad and Al-Hakim that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: «لَتُفْتَحَنَّ الْقُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةُ، وَلَنِعْمَ الْأَمِيرُ أَمِيرُهَا، وَلَنِعْمَ الْجَيْشُ ذَلِكَ الْجَيْشُ» “You will open Constantinople, its Amir is the best Amir, and the best army is that army.”
Constantinople was conquered during the reign of Sultan Mohammed II, and was nicknamed Al-Fateh (the Conqueror), more than 800 years after RasulAllah ﷺ informed us; yes, and certainly the first conquest of Constantinople has taken place. And the second conquest of Rome – Italy – will be achieved, Allah willing, as it is inevitable, truly and certainly, and we will surely know the truth of its information even after a time. However, the fulfillment of the second conquest requires the establishment of the second Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided caliphate) on the method of the Prophethood in the Islamic Ummah, and this is also what RasulAllah ﷺ gave us its glad tidings by his saying in the hadith: «تَكُونُ النُّبُوَّةُ فِيكُمْ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ خِلَافَةٌ عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ النُّبُوَّةِ فَتَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكاً عَاضّاً فَيَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكاً جَبْرِيَّةً فَتَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ خِلَافَةً عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ النُّبُوَّةِ ثُمَّ سَكَتَ» “Prophethood will last with you as long as Allah wants it to last. Then there will be Khilafah according to the method of Prophethood, and it will last for as long as Allah wishes, then He will lift it if He wishes. Then there will be hereditary rule, and it will last for as long as Allah wishes, then He will lift it if He wishes. Then there will be an oppressive rule, and it will last for as long as Allah wishes, then He will lift it if He wishes. Then there will be Khilafah according to the method of Prophethood.” Then he ﷺ fell silent”.
We still feel the importance of these glad tidings, especially in our days in which the nations summon one another to attack us as people when eating invite others to share their dish, and by Allah we are now like the foam on the sea, and the situation will soon change with the effort of the sincere workers until the true promise of succession is fulfilled. Al-Sadiq al-Masdooq ﷺ said: «إِنَّ اللَّهَ زَوَى لِي الْأَرْضَ فَرَأَيْتُ مَشَارِقَهَا وَمَغَارِبَهَا وَإِنَّ أُمَّتِي سَيَبْلُغُ مُلْكُهَا مَا زُوِيَ لِي مِنْهَا» “Indeed, Allah (swt) folded for me the earth, so much so that I saw its easts and wests (i.e. the extremities). The kingdom of my Ummah will reach as far as the earth was folded for me.” And RasulAllah ﷺ said: «لَيَبْلُغَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ مَا بَلَغَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَلَا يَتْرُكُ اللَّهُ بَيْتَ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ إِلَّا أَدْخَلَهُ اللَّهُ هَذَا الدِّينَ بِعِزِّ عَزِيزٍ أَوْ بِذُلِّ ذَلِيلٍ عِزّاً يُعِزُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْإِسْلَامَ وَذُلّاً يُذِلُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْكُفْرَ». “This matter will reach all places reached by day (light) and night; Allah will not leave a house of mud or hair/fur, without making this Deen enter it, by the glory of a powerful or humiliation of the humiliated. A glory that Allah will give to Islam and humiliation He (swt) will give to the Kufr…”
Hizb ut Tahrir, in gathering its determination to revive this occasion, it revives the Ummah’s resolve once again to regain its glory and regain its plundered authority, so it returns as Allah described it: the best nation ever to be raised for humankind.
We ask Allah to cherish us by giving glory to Islam and its people, and to humiliate the Kufr by the humiliation of its people, and that is no great matter for Allah.
Engineer Yousef Salameh – Germany