Sayyedina Da'wud was descended from Judah, one of twelve sons of Sayyedina Ya'qub - who was otherwise known as Israel. Sayyedina Da'wud - who is known by the Jews and the Christians as the Prophet David - was one of the many Prophets who were sent to the Tribe of Israel after Sayyedina Musa in order to keep his teachings alive, blessings and peace be on all of them:"Those of the Tribe of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Da'wud and of 'Isa son of Maryam - that is because they rebelled and exceeded the limits. They did not forbid each other the wrong they were doing - and what they used to do was certainly awful."
Indeed Sayyedina Da'wud was a Messenger as well as a Prophet, since he was given a revelation to supplement the Torah of Sayyedina Musa, which was called the Zabur, and which is also known by the Jews and the Christians as the Psalms:"And your Lord knows best about whatever is in the heavens and the earth; and We certainly favoured some Prophets more than others; and We gave Da'wud the Zabur."
The references to Sayyedina Da'wud in the Qur'an do not describe his childhood, but the ayah from Surah Al-Baqarah which follow do describe his killing the champion of the Philistines, Jalut, who is more commonly known by the Jews and the Christians as Goliath. The passage begins by describing the appointment of Talut - who fought and, with Sayyedina Da'wud's help, overcame the Philistines - as the king of the Tribe of Israel by a Prophet of that time.
Although this Prophet is not named in the Qur'anic account he has been identified with the Prophet who is known by the Jews and the Christians as the Prophet Samuel, while Talut has been identified with King Saul, the first king of the Tribe of Israel, who was descended from Benyamin (Benjamin) the son of Ya'qub, and who, it has been estimated, lived during the 11th century BC. Allah knows best:
"Have you considered (what happened) when the leaders of the Tribe of Israel after Musa asked a Prophet of theirs, 'Choose a king for us and we will fight in the way of Allah.'
"He said, 'Is it possible that if you are commanded to fight, you will not fight?'
"They replied,'And why should we not fight in the way of Allah, when we and our children have been driven out from our homes?' But when they were commanded to fight, they turned away - except for a few of them - and Allah is aware of those who do wrong.
"And their Prophet said to them, 'Surely Allah has chosen Talut to be your king.'
"They replied, 'Why should he have dominion over us when we have more right to the dominion than him, since he has not been given very much wealth?'
"He said, 'Surely Allah has preferred him to you, and He has increased him abundantly in knowledge and in stature.' And Allah gives dominion to whomever He wishes - and Allah is All-Encompassing, Knowing.
"And their Prophet said to them, 'Surely the sign of his (right to) dominion will be that the Ark - in which there is tranquillity from your Lord, and the relics which the family of Musa and the family of Harun left behind - will be brought to you, carried by the angels; surely in that there will certainly be a sign for you,if you are indeed believers.'"
(The Ark, which is said to have contained, inter alia, the tablets on which the Torah was first inscribed, the staff of Sayyedina Musa and the staff of Sayyedina Harun, had been captured by the Philistines years earlier. When the angels returned the Ark, the Tribe of Israel finally accepted Talut as their king, even though he was not descended from either Levi or Judah.)
"And when Talut set out with the army, he said, 'Surely Allah will test you at the river: for whoever drinks from it is not with me, and whoever does not taste it is surely with me - except for whoever only takes a handful in his hand.'
"And all but a few of them drank from it. And when they had crossed over it, he and those who believed with him said, 'We will not be able to overpower Jalut and his forces today.'
"But those who knew that they would surely be meeting Allah said, 'How often has a small army overcome a large army by the permission of Allah - and Allah is with those who are patient!'
"And when they advanced against Jalut and his forces, they said, 'O our Lord, pour out patience on us, and make our foothold sure, and help us against the people who disbelieve.'
"And they routed them by the pennission of Allah, and Da'wud killed Jalut, and Allah gave him dominion and wisdom and taught him what He wished - and if Allah had not opposed some men by means of others, the earth would certainly have been corrupted, but Allah is Lord of generosity over all the worlds."
Sayyedina Da'wud, peace be on him, succeeded Talut as king of the Tribe of Israel, and during his rule all the tribes of the Tribe of Israel who had become divided were united again.
As well as being given the ability to link the twelve tribes of Israel together, Sayyedina Da'wud was also given the knowledge of how to make chain-mail:
"And We indeed gave Da'wud favours from Us, (saying), 'O you mountains and birds sing your praises with him!' And We made iron supple for him, so as to, 'Make long coats of mail and measure the links well - and do good - surely I am watching what you do.'"
It has been transmitted by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with himiia to his riding'beast, let it loose and finish his recitation be-may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said that recitation was made easy for Sayyedina Da'wud, peace be on him - so that he could give a command to his riding beast, let it loose and finish his recitation before his animal went off - and that he would only eat from what he had earned with the work of his own hands. [Al-Bukhari]
It has been transmitted by Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
"The prayer which Allah loves most is the prayer of Da'wud. The fast which Allah loves most is that of Da'ud. He used to sleep for half of the night, stand up in prayer for a third and sleep for a sixth. He would fast every other day. He wore wool and slept on hair. He ate barley bread with salt and ashes. He mixed his drink with tears. He was never seen to laugh after his error nor to look directly at the sky because of his shyness before his Lord and he continued to weep for the rest of his life. It is said that he wept until plants sprang up from his tears and until tears formed ridges in his cheeks. It is said that he went out in disguise to learn what people thought of him, and hearing himself praised only made him more humble."
The 'error' to which the above quotation from Ash-Shifa' of Qadhi 'Iyad refers, concerns what is said to have happened between Sayyedina Da'wud and the wife of Uriah - who is known by the Jews and the Christians as Bathsheba - and whom Sayyedinaa Da'wud married after the death of Uriah, and who was the mother of Sayyedina Sulayman - who is known to the Jews and the Christians as the Prophet Solomon - peace be on them. The following ayat from Surah Sad refer to whatever it was that happened:
"Be patient with what they say, and remember Our slave Da'wud, lord of might - surely he was always turning in repentance (to Allah).
"Surely We subdued the mountains to glorify (Allah) with him at nightfall and at sunrise - and also the birds gathered together - all of them turned to Him in praise.
"And We made his kingdom strong, and We gave him wisdom and sound judgement.
"And have you heard the account of the litigants - how they climbed over the wall of the citadel and came in to Da'wud, frightening him, and they said, 'Do not be afraid - we are two litigants, one of whom has wronged the other, so judge between us with truth, and do not be unjust, and guide us to the right way:
"'Surely this brother of mine had ninety-nine ewes, and I had one ewe, and he said, "Let me look after her," - and his proposal got the better of me.'
"He (Da'wud) said, 'He has indeed wronged you by asking for your ewe in addition to his ewes, and surely many of those who bargain together certainly wrong each other, except for those who believe and do good - and how few they are!'
"And Da'wud thought that We had surely been testing him, so he asked his Lord for forgiveness and fell down, bowing - and he repented.
"And so We forgave him that - and surely he certainly has a near place in our presence and a good destiny.
"(And Allah said), 'O Da'wud, surely We have chosen you as a khalif in the earth, so judge between people in with truth, and do not follow any desire that may lead you away from the way of Allah - surely those who go astray from the way of Allah will have an intense punishment because they forgot about the Day of Reckoning.'"
In referring to this passage, Qadhi 'Iyad states:
"While the Prophet Da'wud was being ascetic and eating from the work of his own hands, he had ninety-nice wives and he completed the hundred by marrying Uriya's wife. Allah mentions that in His Mighty Book when He says, 'This brother of ours had ninety-nine ewes...' [Al-Qur'an 38:23]."
"As for the story of Da'wud, one only has recourse to what the traditionist have written about him which has been taken from the People of the Book who have altered and changed things. Allah does not give a text for any of it and it has not come down to us in any sound hadith.
"What Allah says about the matter is contained in His words, 'Da'wud thought we had tested him; therefore he asked his Lord for forgiveness and fell down, bowing, and he repented. Accordingly We forgave him that, and he has a near place in Our Presence and a fair resort.' [Al-Qur'an 38:24-25] In it, Allah says that he was 'repentant'. The meaning of Allah's testing him is to try him. According to Qatadah, repentant here means obedient and this is the better interpretation.
"Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud said that Da'wud only told the man to leave his wife so that he would be able to see that she was provided for. Allah censured him for that, warned him and objected to his preoccupation with this world. This cannot be relied on. It is said that he proposed to her when another man had already proposed to her. It is said that in his heart he wanted her husband to be killed.
"As-Samarqandi said that his wrong action for which he asked forgiveness was his statement to one of the protagonists, 'He has wronged you,'so that he considered him wronged merely by the statement of his adversary. It is said that he was fearful, thinking of the trial that had been opened up in front of him, of his kingdom and this world.
"Ahmad ibn Nasr, Abu Tammam and other precise scholars believe that what these traditions ascribe to Da'ud should be refuted.
"Ad-Da'wudi has said that there is no confirmed report about the story of Da'wud and Uriah (Uriya') and that it is not permissible to suppose that a Prophet would want to kill another Muslim.
"It is said that the two adversaries who argued before him really were arguing about a ewe, taking the ayat literally."
"One of the 'ulama' has said that the Prophets were punished for the slightest thing because of their position with Allah, while these things are ignored in the case of all other creatures since other people lack concern about them because of the extent of their bad behaviour. Those who argue that the Prophets are protected from all wrong actions say what we say, namely that the Prophets are taken to task for oversight and forgetfulness while others are not punished for it. They have a higher station, so their state in such matters is more reprehensible than the state of others.
"However, you should know that the kind of punishment referred to here is not punishment as it is defined by others. We say that the Prophets are punished for their lapses in this world so that it will increase their degree. They are tested in this way so that their awareness of it will be a means for the raising of their degree as in the words of Allah, 'Then His Lord chose him and He turned to him and guided him.' [Al-Qur'an 20:122]"
"One of the theologians said that the errors of the Prophets are outwardly errors, whilst in reality they are marks of honour and acts that bring nearness. This is like what we have already stated. Other people learn from the mistakes of the Prophets and those who do not have their degree take note of their punishment for what they did and are increased in awareness and caution and concern for taking account of their actions, so as to remain thankful for blessings and steadfast in afflictions by seeing what happened to the people of this high, protecte level. This is why Salih al-Murri said that the case of Da'wud has been mentioned as a means of expansion for those who turn in repentance."
As well as being one of the Prophets who is mentioned by name in the passages from Surah An-Nisa and Surah Al-An'am which have already been quoted in Chapter Two, Sayyedina Da'wud is also referred to in Surah Al-Anbiya, where Allah again refers to his and his son Sayyedina Sulayman's ability to give judgement, peace be on both of them:
"And (remember) when Da'wud and Sulayman both gave iudgement concerning the field into which some people's sheep had strayed and grazed at night - and We witnessed the judgement they gave and We gave Sulayman understanding, of it - and We gave each of them wisdom and knowledge.
"And We subdued the mountains and the birds to glorify (Allah) with Da'wud - and it was We Who were doing it!
"And We taught him the art of making coats (of mail) for you, to protect you from being hurt - so will you be grateful?"
It is said that in this case Sayyedina Sulayman improved on the judgement of his father, even though he was only eleven years old at the time. Whereas Sayyedina Da'wud initially decided that the sheep should be given to the owner of the field as compensation for the damage that they had caused, Sayyedina Sulayman decided that the owner of the field should be allowed to keep the sheep until he had received full compensation from the flock - in the form of offspring, milk and wool - after which the sheep should be returned to their original owner.
It has also been transmitted by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, gave the following account of a case in which Sayyedina Da'wud and then Sayyedina Sulayman gave different judgements:
"There were two women, each of whom had a child with her. A wolf came along and took away the child of one of them, and so her companion said, 'It has taken your child!' The other one said, 'No it has taken your chlld!' So they both presented their case to Da'wud, who judged in favour of the older woman. Then both of them went to Sulayman ibn Da'wud, peace be on them, and told him about it. He said, 'Bring me a knife so that I can cut the child in half and share it between them!' The younger woman said, 'Don't do it! May Allah have mercy on you - it is her child!' So he judged in favour of the younger woman."
Another person to whom Allah gave wisdom during the lifetime of Sayyedina Da'ud was Luqman. It is said that he was given the choice between being a Prophet and being a wise man, and that he chose to be a wise man. It is said that he became the counscllor of Sayyedina Da'wud, peace be on them. It is also said that Aesop's fables can be traced back to Luqman. Allah knows best. In the surah named after Luqman, Allah says:
"And We indeed gave Luqman wisdom, (saying), 'Be grateful to Allah!' - and whoever is grateful is surely grateful for his own good, and as for whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is All-Sufficient, Worthy of Praise!
"And (remember) when Luqman said to his son, as he was giving him advice,'O my son do not associate partners with Allah - surely associating partners (with Him) is certainly a great wrong.'
"And We have commanded man concerning his parents - his mother carries him in weakness, and his weaning is within two years - to, 'Be grateful to Me and to your parents, and to Me is the journeying, and if they try to make you associate partners of whom you know nothing with Me, then do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world with kindness, and follow the path of those who turn to Me, and then you will return to Me, and I will tell you about what you were doing.
"O my son, establish the prayer, and command what is good, and forbid what is evil, and be patient whatever happens to you - surely that is at the very heart of things - and do not make faces at people, and do not walk insolently in the land - surely Allah does not love anyone who is arrogant and conceited - and be moderate in your bearing, and lower your voice - surely the most hideous sound of all is the braying of an ass!"
It has been related that Sayyedina Luqman said, "My son, gold and silver are tested by fire and the believer is tested by affliction." [Ash-Shifa' of Qadhi 'Iyad 3:2:9]