Prophet David is among the Prophets cited in the Qur’an. He is David the son of Isha. He is from the branch of Yahudha, the son of Jacob. Prophet David was the youngest son.
Once, David went to his father and told him, “Each time I sling a stone from my slingshot I hit my mark.” Another time, he went to his father and told him, “I went between mountains and found a lion there. I rode that lion holding him by his ears. The lion did not attack me.” Another time, he went to his father and told him, “O father, I walked in the mountains and said ‘Subhanallah’ (God is free of all imperfections), and not a mountain was left except that it said ‘Subhanallah’ with me.” Each time his father would tell him, “Await the good news, for these are good signs.”
Once Prophet David was walking on a road. He saw three stones. The stones spoke to him and said, “Take us. You will use us to kill Goliath (Jalut).” Goliath was a blasphemous tyrant. David took the stones and kept them in a bag that he carried. David, his father and brothers went out with Saul (Talut), the king of the Children of Israel, along with the rest of the Children of Israel to fight Goliath, the tyrant.
THE EVIL GOLIATH IS KILLED AND DAVID BECOMES KING
Goliath was among the strongest and tallest of the people. Despite that, David came forward to fight Goliath. When Goliath saw David, he became fearful. He told him, “You are a young man. I do not want to kill you.” David told him, “No, it is I who will kill you!” David placed the stone in his slingshot and slung it. The stone hit Goliath between the eyes. The stone struck in such a strong manner that it killed Goliath.
When David killed Goliath, Saul gave up the reign over the Children of Israel to David. He said, “You will be the king in my place.” The Children of Israel gathered around him and David became a Prophet that was also a king. God revealed the book Az-Zabur to Prophet David that did not have new rules, but contained wisdoms.
Prophet David worked to earn his money. God gave Prophet David a special endowment of being able to bend metal with his bare hands. With this endowment, Prophet David made the armor called “mail”. Prophet David did not need to heat the metal, nor did he need to pound it; he used his bare hands only. Prophet David ate from what he earned from his own work. Prophet David sold these armors and lived from this money, despite the fact that he was a king.
God ordered the mountains and birds to say “Subhanallah” (Praise to Allah) when David said “Subhanallah.” It did not take Prophet David long to recite the Zabur. He would complete its recitation while preparing his animals for riding.
When David recited the Zabur, the beasts were very overwhelmed and attentive to the recitation, to the extent that one could take them by their neck and lead them. This was due to the beauty of the recitation of David. Prophet David had a beautiful voice and produced overwhelming beautiful tones.
THE PIETY OF DAVID
David was extremely diligent in worship. He cried a lot. Prophet David is described in verse 17 of Suratu Sad as being strong and endeavoring in worship, soft in his heart, and extremely merciful.
He used to stay up at night and perform prayers. He fasted every other day. He ruled with the Torah. He, who is like this, is definitely not one who would send the leader of his army to the battlefield in order for him to get killed, so that he could marry his wife. This is what some misguided people say about Prophet David. They are clearly liars.
Some misguided people misinterpret verses 23-24 in Suratu Sad. These verses refer to lambs. However some say they really refer to “women.” They say that it means that Prophet David did some tremendous sin concerning women. This is false.
In this chapter of the Qur’an, the verse is really referring to lambs. The real chain of events, concerning these lambs is as follows:
Two people who were adversaries had a dispute about a matter and came to Prophet David through the back door. One man told Prophet David, “This is my brother. He has 99 lambs and I only have one lamb. Despite this, he wants to take my one lamb from me, and unjustly add it to his flock!” When David heard that from the first man, he believed he was truthful. Due to this, Prophet David ruled that the second brother did injustice to the first, before listening to the second brother. A judge is supposed to listen to both parties before passing a judgment. It is cited in the Qur’an that David repented of his action. It was a small sin that was not mean.
Those evil misguided people claim that “lambs” mean women, and that the story is meant to symbolize that Prophet David wanted the wife of his general. Al-Halimiyy, As-Subkiyy, and other Islamic scholars exposed the falsehood of those who lied about the honorable Prophet David.
THE OPINION OF DAVID’S SON, SOLOMON
Prophet David had a son named Solomon (Sulayman). When Solomon became a man, Prophet David sought his opinion about several matters.
Once two disputing men came to Prophet David. One had an orchard of grapes and one had a flock of sheep. The owner of the orchard complained to Prophet David that the flock of the other came into his orchard at night, ate from his grapes, and ruined his orchard. It is an obligation on the owner of a flock of sheep to prevent his flock from escaping at night and ruining people’s orchards. He must contain his flock at night. Prophet David passed the judgment that the owner of the flock should give his sheep to the owner of the orchard, in replacement for the crop of grapes that was ruined.
Solomon told his father, “O Prophet of God, another judgment would be more suitable.” David asked, “What would that be?” Solomon told him, “It would more suitable to let the owner of the flock take care of the orchard and repair it, while the owner of the orchard takes the sheep and benefits from them at that time, taking the milk. When the orchard is back to its original state, then the sheep go back to the original owner.” Prophet David liked the opinion of his son, and ruled as his son suggested.
THE STORY OF THE SATURDAY PEOPLE
The village of Aylah was by the Red Sea and the story of its people was cited in the honorable Qur’an. Some people in that village committed a major sin and as a punishment God turned them into monkeys and pigs. These people were called Ashabus-Sabt, the Saturday People.
Before Prophet Muhammad received Revelation about this event, the Jews concealed this story. They did not want people to know that God had turned some of the Children of Israel, who were before them, into pigs and monkeys, and then destroyed them. God however, exposed them in the Qur’an when He revealed this story to Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him.
This story was revealed, warning the Jews not to be arrogant, and stubborn. They should have accepted the truth and believed in Prophet Muhammad. The Revelation of this story was to remind those Jews of what had happened to those who were before them from the village of Aylah.
During the time of Prophet David, the Muslim Children of Israel were prohibited from working, trading, crafting goods, or fishing on Saturdays, because this was a day of rest for them. This was a test from God, making evident to the people who would follow the orders of God, and who would disobey Him.
Each Saturday fish and whales would come close to the shore, to the point that one could catch them by hand. This was because the fish and whales had an instinct that they would not be harmed that day. The fish would come to the shore in great numbers gathering there and no one would frighten them. During the rest of the week, the fish would remain in the depths of the ocean and the Children of Israel would not see them until the following Saturday.
It is easy however for the devil to lead the wicked soul to wrongdoing and sinning. One of the people of the village craved some of the fish that came on Saturday. The devil made the fish seem so tempting that the man made a plan to get what he desired.
One Saturday, he came to the shore and saw a big fish swimming close to it. He took the fish’s tail and tied it with a rope. Then he tied the other side of the rope to a stake and anchored it into the sand. At the end of the day (with Saturday passing at sunset), he came back to the shore, took the fish, went home, cleaned it and barbecued it. The smell of fish surrounded his house, so his neighbors came asking about the smell.
The man denied having fish. After they insisted on an answer he said, “It is the skin of a fish that I found, so I brought it home and barbecued it.” The next Saturday he did the same thing, and again the neighbors came by asking him about the smell of barbecued fish. This time, however he said, “If you want you can do as I am doing.” “What are you doing?” they asked. He told them what he was doing, and they imitated him.
Then, they became inventive in their ways to catch the fish. On Fridays they would make small pools which were easy to block and were connected to the ocean through small tunnels. The fish would enter these tunnels on Saturday and get stuck in the pools.
Some went even further and they would ride their boats out to the open sea and force the big fish back towards the shore until these fish got stuck in the tunnels. They would then close the openings to the pools and the fish would be stuck there unable to get out until it was Sunday, when the Children of Israel came and took what they had caught. Many people did this. Eventually it reached the point where people were openly fishing on Saturdays, then selling what they caught in the market. This of course was a weighty disregard for the orders of God.
When the major sinners sinned publicly, the scholars among the Children of Israel forbade them from doing this. The scholars told them to fear God, reminding them of the torture that was awaiting them, if they did not repent. The major sinners however did not listen. As a result, the scholars built a wall in the village that separated them from the major sinners.
During the night, God punished those sinners by turning the younger ones into monkeys and the older ones into pigs. In the morning, the good people among the Children of Israel (who had ordered with the good and forbade the wrong) went to their jobs, mosques, and other places in the community, but they did not see any of the major sinners. They were shocked and surprised at this and wondered about what happened to them. One of them put a ladder on the wall to take a look. When he looked over to the other side he was astonished to find monkeys jumping over each other and pigs making ugly noises.
They opened the doors of the wall and entered into the side of the major sinners. The monkeys came close to the humans, smelt their clothes and cried. The humans would say, “Didn’t we forbid you from doing that sin.” The monkeys shook their heads indicating, “Yes, you forbade us.” It is said that 70,000 were changed into monkeys and pigs. Twelve thousand people forbade them from doing that sin.
Before the sinners were changed into monkeys and pigs, the people in that village were of three groups. One group sinned and fished; they were around 70,000. They were changed into animals. Another group were the ones who did not fish and forbade the others from fishing. They were around 12,000.
The last group neither fished nor did they forbid others from fishing. This group used to say to the group who forbade fishing, “Why do you forbid these people who are sinners while God will destroy and punish them?” They expected God to punish those sinners relying on stories of past nations who had sinned, and consequently had been punished and destroyed by God. The ones who forbade the sinners said, “We are forbidding them as a reminder to them of the sin they are doing. Perhaps they will fear God and stop.” God saved the group who forbade the sinners and the group who did not sin but did not forbid the sinners. The only group that turned into monkeys and pigs was the one who fished on Saturday.
Those people who were changed into animals were only alive for three days. During that time they did not eat, drink, or produce any offspring. Their story became a great lesson for the people who had known them and knew what happened to them. Similarly, their tale was a great lesson for the nations that came after them who did not see them but only heard about them.
Prophet David lived for 100 years as was cited in the hadith of Al-Bayhaqiyy, and others. We ask God to enable us to hear the beauty of the voice of Prophet David.