01 September 2009

300, David And Goliath

Salam w.b.t.

As I'm writing this entry, I feel really sleepy and tired. 5 hours drive to and from Gerik in a hot sunny fasting day wasn't really a pleasant one, but I enjoy whatever I do for my family because I love them so much. Nevermind, I'll try to pen down what I've read, seen and learnt before.

I've learnt a lot about Greek Empire when I visited Turkey on March, especially when I went to Necropolis and Hierapolis in Pamukkale. Since then, I became interested in studying history involving several great Empires before.

At some of the remnants of the ancient buildings of the East Roman Empire, Hierapolis

In the film 300, during two full days of battle, the small force led by King Leonidas of Sparta blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Aware that they were being outflanked, Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the Greek army, and remained to guard the rear with 300 Spartans, the vast majority of whom were killed, including the great King Leonidas himself. However, before the small army came to encounter the Persian, Leonidas orders a reluctant Dilios to return to Sparta to tell the Council of their sacrifice.

Not long after the defeat of the 300, Dilios declares that the Persian army, depleted by desertions out of fear the heavy casualties they suffered at the hands of a mere 300 Spartans, now faces 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 Greeks. Although still outnumbered, Dilios declares that the Greeks shall have victory. Praising Leonidas' sacrifice, Dilios leads the brave Greeks in a charge against the Persian army, resulting in the great Battle of Plateae.During two full days of battle, the small force led by King Leonidas of Sparta blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Aware that they were being outflanked, Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the Greek army, and remained to guard the rear with 300 Spartans, the vast majority of whom were killed, including the great King Leonidas himself. However, before the small army came to encounter the Persian, Leonidas orders a reluctant Dilios to return to Sparta to tell the Council of their sacrifice.

Ancient Greece

I've learnt a lot about ancient Greece when I visited Turkey earlier this year. I found out that they are civilised and have quite outstanding technologies during that time. The difference between Greek and Ancient Greek is the Greek are Christians, while ancient Greek believes in many Gods and heroes, such as Zeus, Apollo, Ares, Hermes and others, some of which are used as character in some computer games.

the Empire of Ancient Greece
Why 300?

I searched in the internet, and I found that the actual last army of Leonidas was actually 1400 - 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans. Why it's mentioned 300 in this story I'm not sure, but probably they wanted to stress the Spartans in this story.

I don't want to argue about the number, however the number reminds me of a verse in the quran which says:
"How often, by Allah's will, Hath a small force vanquish a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere. (2:249)
The verse was delivered when Allah tells the story about Thalut and Jalut. The already small number of Thalut's men was further reduced to just 300.

Thalut vs Jalut

The 300 people of Thalut were his true warriors who were clearly perform the jihad in the way of Allah swt. They gallantly fought the thousands from Jalut's forces. They only have two choices: victory and obtaining success or shaheed and straight way fly towards Allah's paradise which was full of infinite bliss. There were no doubts in their steps, no more skepticism in their hearts.

Amongst the forces of Thalut, there was a youth who had a noble akhlaq. He was Daud (David), before he was taken as a Rasul of the Bani Israel: Daud attacked Jalut valiantly and in the end, he succeded in killing the cruel king. The success of David in killing Jalut had become a sign of victory they had been waiting for. The forces of Jalut then ran away helter skelter. This historical story had become very famous and it is widely known by the title David and Goliath. David was Daud as a protagonist who defeated Goliath or Jalut the evil.

Thus the story was ended in the Qur'an. Daud soon became a Rasul and inherited the rule of Thalut and was filled by Allah swt with wisdom and noble teachings.
"By Allah's will they routed them; and Daud slew Jalut (Goliath); and Allah gave him power and wisdom and taught him whatever (else) He willed. And did not Allah Check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief: But Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds. these are the Signs of Allah. We rehearse them to thee in truth: verily Thou art one of the apostles." (2:251-252)
The story of the great warriors of Thalut has lots of wisdom, especially in the leadership, togetherness, tawakkal, and many others which I'm not going to touch in this entry.

But, indeed, they are true warriors, the real servants of Allah, that the story is told in the Quran. We should know that Allah will not mention a name in the quran unless the person is a very good servant of Allah or the other way round.

The story of Thalut and Jalut isn't the only example of small number of Muslims defeating large numbers. The battle of Badr is another example of how small number of people can defeat those with larger number, if they have the QUALITY. Those people are extra-ordinary people. They are even much better than the soldiers in the film '300', who finally get killed in the battle.
Today, we often watch the Hollywood films, which shows the greatness of some group of people, that we forget, that the Muslims were once actually better than those in the films.

It's quality, not quantity that matters the most

The Muslims today

The story of Thalut should actually increase our morality, that we can actually gain success if we have the quality and if we obey the God. When I was in Pangkor recently, I spent lots of time at the beach. While joking with my friends, I was touched when looking at the water at the beach. I remember the Muslims today, which is pictured as bubbles. The bubbles come out when the wave hits the beach, and they disappears when new wave comes. They are not static. They move to the front and the back. Sometimes they are a lot, but when we step on it, we feel nothing. I recalled the situations of the Muslims today, who are too weak. They are a lot. But large number doesn't necessarily mean that they are strong. That brings us back to the verse 2:259 as I've mentioned above:
"How often, by Allah's will, Hath a small force vanquish a big one? Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere. (2:249)
Unfortunately, today, the history has been reversed. Today we can see the verse written by the Jews on the wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque, to tell the Muslims, that they cannot defeat the Jews, even though the illegal Jewish state is surrounded by billions of Muslims around it.

What's the formula to succeed? I'm sure every one would give different answers, but I just would like to share another verse in the quran, still, regarding the numbers :-) Allah give us math calculation in surah al-Anfal 8: 65 and 66. If there are real Muslim, then 10% can easily beat 100% and if lose little iman and little scare 10% can beat only 20%:
"...If among you there are 20 who are steadfast, they shall defeat 200. If there are 100 (patient) people among you, they shall defeat 1000 of those who disbelieve, because they are people who do not understand" - (8:65)

"...If there are 100 of you who are steadfast, they shall overcome 200, and if there be 1000 of you, they shall defeat 2000 by the command of Allah. And Allah is with those who are steadfast" - (8.66)
There are actually many other good examples given by Allah in the quran, but sometimes, we forget and we tend to admire those who are depicted in films or books.

It is our responsibility to develop ourselves and the people around us so that we have the quality to be respected by other people. Let's make full use of the holy month of Ramadhan to increase our iman and 'amal.

Before I finish, I would also like to wish HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to all Malaysians who come across this blog. May the freedom that we have doesn't seperate our heart with our brothers and sisters at other places. May the wealth that we enjoy allows us to help other people more.

Special message to my colleagues who are on the other side of the globe: all the best in your exams, and enjoy fasting in the long summer days :-p


Note: the entry this time probably isn't so well-organised and might have some spelling mistakes as I'm too tired to check what I've typed. It's time to go to bed now.. zzzZz

2 comments:

lenepawida said...

baru baca balik post ni..after almost a year..tp bacaan kali ni lebih bermakna :)

jazakallah.

muhammad noor ismail said...

thanks, lenepawida.. terharu sebab sudi bace balik :-)

yep.. menarik, kan.. kehebatan thalut jauh lebih hebat dari 300.. kisah2 dlm quran semua hebat2 belaka, but we always forget that..