The story of Daud AS started with the story of Talut and Jalut. After Daud AS killed the tyrant Jalut in single combat, with his sling, the Israelites achieved victory and were freed from the oppression of Jalut’s rule. Daud AS, previously an unknown young lad, became famous overnight.
Many of the stories of Daud AS and his son Sulaiman AS are recorded in the Israeli traditions. However, many of these narratives have been distorted and fabricated, creating vicious lies against both Prophets. The general rule of interpretation is that if these Israeli traditions conflict with Muslim reports, then the Muslim reports will take precedence. If the Israeli accounts are not contradictory to Muslim narratives, then we are neither to believe nor disbelieve in them, in that we should not confirm nor deny the accuracy of such reports. Also to bear in mind is that Prophets and Messengers are the chosen ones, and are protected against committing major sins such as adultery, murder and black magic (some of which the Israelite traditions accuse Prophets of doing). If any reports put the Prophets’ and Messengers’ characters in disrepute, such reports are to be rejected entirely. It is impossible that Allah would choose people of evil character to be Prophets and Messengers and be the spiritual and moral leader of their people.
After leading his people to victory in the short but decisive face to face combat, the Israelites loved Daud AS. The lands of the Bani Israel, previously confiscated by the tyrant ruler, was restored to them, and their status of abject humiliation was lifted. Allah then chose Daud AS to be the king of his people to succeed Talut. This was the first time that prophethood and kinghood came together in one individual. Daud AS was also unique in that he was one of the very few prophets to be granted wealth (the other two are Ayyoub AS and Daud’s AS son and heir in kingship and prophethood, Sulaiman AS.
Allah SWT says:
So they defeated them by permission of Allah, and Daud killed Jalut, and Allah gave him the kingship and prophethood and taught him from that which He willed. And if it were not for Allah checking [some] people by means of others, the earth would have been corrupted, but Allah is full of bounty to the worlds. (Al Qur’an 2:251)
THE UNIQUE STATUS OF DAUD AS
Each Prophet and Messenger has his own unique attributes, and was gifted by Allah to perform miracles specific to them. Daud AS possessed plenty of magnificent characteristics.
As a ruler and a judge, he was extremely just to his subjects. Despite his mighty kingdom, he was always accessible to the general public who wanted him to preside and judge over their personal grievances. Allah SWT granted him the wisdom and intelligence to issue judgments which were fair and insightful. He was courageous, and Allah strengthened his kingdom, and bestowed upon him wisdom and sound judgment.
Daud (AS) was also granted the scriptures in the forms of the Zabur (the Psalms of David). Allah the Almighty tells us:
Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Nuh and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishaq, Yaqoub, the descendants, Isa, Ayyoub, Yunus, Harun, and Sulaiman, and to Daud We gave the book [of Psalms]. (Al Qur’an 4:163)
By the power of Allah, iron became malleable in his hands, and he could shape this metal without the need for a kiln or a hammer. He was also the first to know the skills of making armour from iron – a knowledge that was taught to him by Allah.
Of these gifts and abilities, the most outstanding one which was unique to him was his golden voice. Whenever he sang from the Zabur or in glorification of Allah, his melodious voice resonated though the air and the birds would stop in the air to join his singing. Even mountains would join in praising and glorifying Allah every morning and evening. It is reported that his voice was so hypnotic that if he did not stop singing, birds would die of hunger because they were too enraptured in singing praises of Allah with him to eat.
Be patient over what they say and remember Our servant, Daud, the possessor of strength; indeed, he was one who repeatedly turned back [to Allah]. Indeed, We subjected the mountains [to praise] with him, exalting [Allah] in the [late] afternoon and [after] sunrise. And the birds were assembled, all with him repeating [praises]. And We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and discernment in speech. (Al Qur’an 38:17-38:20)
THE DEVOTION OF DAUD AS
Despite his kingship, Daud AS led a humble life. He only ate from what he earned with his own hands, in that he never helped himself to the state coffers for his personal benefit.
He constantly glorified Allah at all times, always remaining thankful and humble despite his high station amongst the people. He was not dazzled or enslaved by his material belongings nor his status as a ruler, and always realised that he was a slave to Allah. He often shed tears out of love and devotion to his Creator. He was in constant prayer and remembrance of Allah, and spent every alternate day fasting, such that Allah says that his was the best prayer:
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The best prayer to Allah is the prayer of Daud, and the best fasting to Allah is the fasting of Daud; he slept for the first half, then woke up for one-third of the night and prayed, and then he slept for the rest of the one-sixth. He fasted with the gap of one day, and whenever he met his enemy, he never backed off.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
LESSONS TO BE LEARNT
Lessons for the wealthy
The stories of the Prophets and Messengers, when understood in their entirety, has a situation that matches everyone’s circumstances. Most of the Prophets and Messenger that we had talked about did not come from a high strata in society, nor were they wealthy. In fact, most of them were exceedingly poor. In this, the message to us is that the lack of money should not be an impediment to being a worshipper of Allah, and one cannot blame his lack of status or wealth as an excuse.
What if the person is wealthy? The story of Daud AS teaches us that even in wealth, we are to worship Allah and devote ourselves to Him. Daud AS was extremely wealthy, but that did not prevent him from fasting every other day, or worshipping Allah devoutly every night. His heart was not clouded by materialism, and his actions were not motivated by greed and the love of accumulation. In fact, he remained humble, earned his own keep, and spent his assets on aiding the poor and the needy.
Wealth should not make us arrogant, nor neglect our worship – if anything, living in comfort should be a means of increasing our worship to Him, both because there are no obstacles in the form of hardship, and also as praise and thanks to Him for all His bounty upon us.
Original source: Muslim Footsteps