Sunday, November 28

Laghari Hassan Shalaby.. the Muslim Ottoman who rode the first missile to the sky

“My authority…I entrust you to God, I am ascending to heaven to speak with the Prophet of God, Jesus.”

(Laghari Hassan Shalabi before his launch with the missile, addressing his speech to the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV)

Since the beginnings of its expansion and inception, the Ottoman state has been interested in science and education, an interest that traces its roots back to Sheikh “Edeh Bali”, the Sufi mystic, and the Hanafi jurist, who married his daughter to Othman I, the grandfather of the Ottomans and the founder of their state in the late seventh century AH / thirteenth century AD. He is most credited with the early Ottoman interest in science and knowledge.

After that, the scientific and educational institutions in the Ottoman Empire developed with the development of its conquests, the expansion of its territory, and the integration of new peoples into its body. The Ottoman schools/colleges had a great degree of perfection and perfection, with the establishment of the Al-Fateh School during the reign of Sultan Muhammad bin Murad II (The Conqueror).

Al-Fateh School was called “The Eight Courts” or “The Eight Schools”; In reference to their courtyards located in the north and south of the Al-Fateh Mosque, which are four in the north and four in the south. These schools were university in the contemporary sense, and the student in them was called the Danshmand, meaning the student of knowledge/adviser, the assistant professor, the teaching assistant, and the professor, the teacher. Eight other schools were established to prepare students for the eight bowls, which were called “the bowl of the bowl” or “the sequel”.[1].

Then Bayezid II Ibn Muhammad al-Fatih (886-918 AH/1481-1512AD) built several schools, initially devoted to the study of jurisprudence. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (926-974 AH/1520-1566 AD) followed the same approach, building the Sulaymaniyah Mosque, and attached a group of schools to it. These schools have produced school scholars, judges, muftis, and sometimes writers who agree in state departments, and in them halls were designated for teaching students, and others for their residence, and third rooms were attached to them for those in charge and servants, and in Sulaymaniyah schools we found the study of medicine as a branch of the main study for the first time[2].

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent organized education in those schools into twelve grades, each grade having its own name, and each student must obtain a “certificate/certificate” before moving to the next grade, and when he reached the sixth grade “eighth plate” he was allowed to work as an assistant For teachers in the first grades, and he returns with the students what they had taken from their teachers, and it is called a teaching assistant. But if the student wanted to reach the position of “teacher”, he had to continue his education in the remaining six higher grades, and obtain their “accredits”, and he would not become a candidate for the position of “mullah” or “great judge” until after reaching the ninth degree of teaching. at least[3].

In the vicinity of these schools, which focused their attention on forensic sciences, astronomy, and medicine, industries were making their way, and crafts and types were taught their secrets from generation to generation. No wonder, then, that at the height of the glory of the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century AD, and years before the Industrial Revolution, one of the sons of the Ottomans dreamed of flying and flying into space, like the Andalusians Abbas bin Firnas and Poppy bin Said, who tried a few centuries before him to achieve this dream by hand They failed at that.

That Ottoman Turkish craftsman or master who wanted his action to be a happy surprise to Sultan Murad IV (reigned between 1612-1640 AD) and those with him among the senior men of the Ottoman Empire was called Lagari Hasan Shalabi, the first Ottoman Muslim to build a missile and fly it over the Bosphorus nearly Four centuries later, Ahmed Shalabi “Hazarfen”, who is considered the first to fly paragliding, was followed shortly afterwards. Who is Laghari Hassan? And how was he able to fly through the first missile in human history? And how was Ahmed Shalaby able to fly 7 kilometers from European Istanbul to Asian Istanbul before the invention of engines and modern technological systems?

Usta Hassan

Laghari Hassan ShalabyLaghari Hassan Shalaby

Historians of Ottoman history tell us that the knowledge available about the mathematical and industrial sciences that were taught in the Ottoman schools centuries ago was not enough to establish private institutes to teach “engineering.” However, this knowledge continued to be inherited and developed in order to meet the need for specialists in military and civil affairs at the time until The emergence of modern institutions during the eras of renewal in the nineteenth century.

This process was carried out through the relationship between the teacher and the novice, or through the relationship between the master and the boy, and in this way, the gun experts “Topgeller” and the experts in casting and plumbing “Dokugler” were raised inside the “Tobkhana” i.e. the cannon-making house, then they were tested and sent to various plumbing houses. Dokumkhaneh and castles all over the country, and there is no doubt that education for this type of craft was also present in the naval arsenal and the Qambarjian (cannon-shooters), and among the educated in those or barracks were those who revealed their ingenuity in constructing ships and manufacturing Weapon and featured in it a lot[4].

There is no evidence for this from what we know today that the development of artillery since the beginning of the fifteenth century, and the success of the Ottomans in making the largest cannon in Europe in the middle of the fifteenth century AD, was one of the important reasons for the demolition of the forts of Constantinople at the hands of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in April 1453. Later on, the Ottomans’ progress through the Balkans, central Europe, the Levant, Egypt, North Africa, Iraq, even the Caucasus and northwestern Iran was all based on the “Topjiyeh”, i.e. artillery and its men. For centuries, the artillery of the Ottoman land forces and the navy supplied their needs of gunpowder and ignition materials. The dates of the Ottomans prove the existence of the first “gunpowder khana” next to the horse yard in Istanbul in the era of Sultan Murad II, and it was burned and moved to another area of ​​the city in the late fifteenth century AD.[5].

In these institutions, Usta Lagari Hassan Shalabi learned many secrets of gunpowder workmanship and his ability to throw projectiles into the sky, and from here his story and his dream of flying began. Lagari Hassan took advantage of the occasion to celebrate the Aqeeqah “Qaya” the daughter of the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV in 1633 AD and decided to manufacture the first manned missile to be launched into the sky by designing its base, which contained seven arms (small rockets) filled with gunpowder paste. The famous Ottoman traveler Evliya Shalabi recorded the details This incident was a contemporary of her.

The first Ottoman missile

Laghari Hassan prepared his missile, and wore wings like the wings of an eagle that looked like a parachute for landing. Then he approached the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, saying and jokingly: “My Sultan, I entrust you to God, I ascend to heaven to speak with the Prophet of God Jesus.” The audience was amazed at this confidence, and Lagary Hassan mounted his rocket, then ordered his assistants to light a wick of gunpowder in some of the seven arms at his base, each arm of which had put 50 ounces (1.4 kg) of gunpowder paste, in the courtyard of the Sultan’s Palace in Saray. Borno in Istanbul, Europe. In the evening of that day, the missile set off, igniting the sky of Istanbul, attracting tens of thousands of people to watch it from the public and private, and when the missile reached its highest estimated height and began the process of landing, Hasan Shalabi decided to ignite some other arms so that the missile began heading straight parallel to the waters of the Bosphorus.

When the gunpowder ran out and the missile began to fall, Lagari Hassan threw himself and opened his wings or umbrella, which the traveler Evliya Shalabi described as the wings of an eagle, and then he was able to land in the waters of the Bosphorus close to its Asian shore, close to the palace of Sinan Pasha, the Grand Vizier, who swam. From there, he turned to the crowd of attendees, led by the Sultan in his palace, saying, jokingly: “My Sultan… the Prophet of God, Jesus, sends peace upon you.” The Sultan was very impressed by this experience, and decided to gift Lagary Hassan a box full of money, and then decided to appoint him in the cavalry (knights) in the Ottoman army, but Lagary Hassan Shalabi soon left Istanbul for the Crimea, where he spent his last years before to die by it[6].

It is worth mentioning here the testimony of the Norwegian scientist “Mauritz Roffavik”, director of the Norwegian Aviation Museum, in an interview with the newspaper “Weekly World News” on December 15, 1998, in which he said that the first attempt of a man to climb To space, it was not Russian or American, but rather Turkish, and it belonged to Laghari Shalaby, who rode a missile and flew 900 feet from the surface of the Earth, or more than 275 meters. The Norwegian scientist added that the missile consisted of two parts, the lower part is a base in which 6 small rockets were installed so that the rocket could launch into the sky, and the second part is the part that is pushed to the top by the previous six missiles[7].

Hazarfen and the first successful test of paragliding

Hazarfen Ahmed ChalabiHazarfen Ahmed Chalabi

The experience of the first missile launch – albeit primitive – had an impact on the souls of the contemporaries of Al-Agari Hassan Shalabi. Another Ottoman man named Ahmed Shalabi, known as “Hazarfen”, tried to launch attempts to fly, which initially numbered nine attempts for short distances in “At Maidan” – a square. Horses in Istanbul – and he succeeded in all of them, in 1045 AH / 1636 AD, then he began preparing for the great flight, from above the “Galata” tower on the European side to the “Uskdar” area on the Asian side of Istanbul, a distance of no less than seven kilometers.

On that memorable day, the people of Istanbul gathered on the coast, accompanied by Sultan Murad IV, the Grand Vizier and the ministers in the “Saray Borno” Palace, watching and waiting, where Ahmed Shalabi decided to jump from the top of the “Galata” tower, which is more than 60 meters high; Heading towards the Bosphorus with the wings that he installed around his body and taking advantage of the wind that blew in the same direction, crossing the strait, to finally land in “Doganciler” in the Uskudar region.[8].

These were the first attempts to manufacture missiles or projectiles in the history of Islamic civilization and the Ottoman Empire, as well as the first experiment with gliding, and according to the descriptions of historians and travelers who witnessed these accidents and were familiar with them, both experiments succeeded in a success witnessed by even some specialists in aviation and flight sciences in our time.



  1. Ahmed Aq Konduz and Saeed Azturk: ​​The Unknown Ottoman Empire, pg. 628.
  2. Laila Al-Sabbagh: Milestones of Intellectual Life in the Arab States in the Ottoman Era, Within the Ottoman Empire, History and Civilization, 2/312.
  3. Previous 2/312.
  4. The Ottoman Empire, History and Civilization 2/474.
  5. MÜBAHAT S. KÜTÜKOĞLU, BARUTHÂNE-i ÂMİRE, islamic encyclopedia
  6. Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatnâme, I, 670-671.
  7. Ahmed Aq Konduz: The Unknown Ottoman Empire, p. 309.
  8. Previous pp. 307, 308.

More article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *