Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And mention in the Book, Maryam…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 641 :
Narrated by Said bin Al-Musaiyab
Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “I heard Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saying, ‘There is none born among the off-spring of Adam, but Satan touches it. A child therefore, cries loudly at the time of birth because of the touch of Satan, except Mary and her child.” Then Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu) recited: “And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from the outcast Satan” (3.36)
Chapter: “And (remember) when the angels said: ‘O Maryam (Mary)! Verily, Allah has chosen you…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 642 :
Narrated by ‘Ali (radiallaahu `anhu)
I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saying, “Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran, was the best among the women (of the world of her time) and Khadija is the best amongst the women. (of this nation).”
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “When the angels said: O Maryam! Verily, Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 643 :
Narrated by Abu Musa Al-Ashari (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The superiority of ‘Aisha to other ladies is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. meat and bread dish) to other meals. Many men reached the level of perfection, but no woman reached such a level except Mary, the daughter of Imran and Asia, the wife of Pharaoh.”
Narrated Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu):
I heard Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saying, “Amongst all those women who ride camels (i.e. Arabs), the ladies of Quraish are the best. They are merciful and kind to their off-spring and the best guardians of their husbands’ properties.’ Abu Huraira added, “Mary the daughter of Imran never rode a camel.”
Maryam bint Imran, the mother of Prophet Isa, was no ordinary lady. Allah had chosen her for the extraordinary and miraculous birth of Isa. Studying her life as described in the Quran and Hadith, we see how pious and dedicated she was. Her belief in Allah was so strong that it also inspired her guardian, Prophet Zakariya, to ask Allah for a righteous child. A dua and faith in Allah can go a long way! You’ll see when you read the story of the birth of Maryam.
The Story of Maryam’s Birth
The wife of `Imran mentioned here is the mother of Maryam, and her name is Hannah bint Faqudh. Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned that Hannah could not have children and that one day, she saw a bird feeding its chick. She wished she could have children and supplicated to Allah to grant her offspring. Allah accepted her supplication, and when her husband slept with her, she became pregnant. She vowed to make her child concentrate on worship and serving Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Masjid in Jerusalem), when she became aware that she was pregnant. She said,
﴿رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ﴾
(O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.) meaning, You hear my supplication and You know my intention. She did not know then what she would give birth to, a male or a female.
﴿فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّى وَضَعْتُهَآ أُنثَى وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ﴾
(Then when she gave birth to her, she said: “O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child, ـ and Allah knew better what she bore.)
﴿وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالاٍّنثَى﴾
(And the male is not like the female,) in strength and the commitment to worship Allah and serve the Masjid in Jerusalem.
﴿وَإِنِّى سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ﴾
(And I have named her Maryam,) thus, testifying to the fact that it is allowed to give a name to the newly born the day it is born, as is apparent from the Ayah, which is also a part of the law of those who were before us. Further, the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah mentioned that the Prophet said,
«وُلِدَ لِيَ اللَّيْلَةَ وَلَدٌ، سَمَّيْتُهُ بِاسْمِ أَبِي إِبْرَاهِيم»
(This night, a son was born for me and I called him by my father’s name, Ibrahim.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim collected this Hadith.
They also recorded that Anas bin Malik brought his newborn brother to the Messenger of Allah who chewed a piece of date and put it in the child’s mouth and called him `Abdullah. Other new born infants were also given names on the day they were born.
Qatadah narrated that Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, that Samurah bin Jundub said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«كُلُّ غُلَامٍ رَهِينٌ بِعَقِيقَتِهِ، يُذْبَحُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ سَابِعِهِ، وَيُسَمَّى وَيُحْلَقُ رَأَسُه»
(Every new born boy held in security by his `Aqiqah, until his seventh day, a sacrifice is offered on his behalf, he is given a name, and the hair on his head is shaved.)
This Hadith was collected by Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan, and was graded Sahih by At-Tirmidhi. We should mention that another narration for this Hadith contained the wording, “and blood is offered on his behalf,” which is more famous and established than the former narration, and Allah knows best.
Allah’s statement that Maryam’s mother said,
﴿وِإِنِّى أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ الرَّجِيمِ﴾
(“…And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Shaytan, the outcast.”) means, that she sought refuge with Allah from the evil of Shaytan, for her and her offspring, i.e., `Isa, peace be upon him. Allah accepted her supplication, for `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ يُولَدُ إِلَّا مَسَّهُ الشَّيْطَانُ حِينَ يُولَدُ، فَيَسْتَهِلُّ صَارِخًا مِنْ مَسِّهِ إِيَّاهُ، إِلَّا مَرْيَمَ وَابْنَهَا»
(Every newly born baby is touched by Shaytan when it is born, and the baby starts crying because of this touch, except Maryam and her son.)
Abu Hurayrah then said, “Read if you will,
﴿وِإِنِّى أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَـنِ الرَّجِيمِ﴾
(And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Shaytan, the outcast).” The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith.
Maryam Grows Up; Her Honor is with Allah
Allah states that He has accepted Maryam as a result of her mother’s vow and that He,
﴿وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا﴾
(made her grow in a good manner) meaning, made her conduct becoming, her mannerism delightful and He made her well liked among people. He also made her accompany the righteous people, so that she learned righteousness, knowledge and religion.
(And put her under the care of Zakariyya) meaning, Allah made Zakariyya her sponsor. Allah made Zakariyya Maryam’s guardian for her benefit, so that she would learn from his tremendous knowledge and righteous conduct. He was the husband of her maternal aunt, as Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Jarir stated, or her brother-in-law, as mentioned in the Sahih,
«فَإِذَا بِيَحْيَى وَعِيسى، وَهُمَا ابْنَا الْخَالَة»
(I saw John and `Isa, who are maternal cousins.)
We should state that in general terms, what Ibn Ishaq said is plausible, and in this case, Maryam was under the care of her maternal aunt. The Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah decided that `Amarah, the daughter of Hamzah, be raised by her maternal aunt, the wife of Ja`far bin Abi Talib, saying,
«الْخَالَةُ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الْأُم»
(The maternal aunt is just like the mother.)
Allah then emphasizes Maryam’s honor and virtue at the place of worship she attended,
﴿كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا﴾
(Every time he entered the Mihrab to (visit) her, he found her supplied with sustenance.)
Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Ash-Sha`tha, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi and As-Suddi said, “He would find with her the fruits of the summer during winter, and the fruits of the winter during summer.” When Zakariyya would see this; d
﴿قَالَ يمَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَـذَا﴾
(He said: “O Maryam! From where have you gotten this”) meaning, where did you get these fruits from
﴿قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ إنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَآءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ﴾
(She said, “This is from Allah.” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.)
Chapter: The (story of the) Dwellers of the Town (V.36:13)
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “(This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariya (Zechariah)”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 640 :
Narrated by Malik bin Sasaa (radiallaahu `anhu)
That the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) talked to them about the night of his Ascension to the Heavens. He said, “(Then Gabriel took me) and ascended up till he reached the second heaven where he asked for the gate to be opened, but it was asked, ‘Who is it?’ Gabriel replied, ‘I am Gabriel.’ It was asked, ‘Who is accompanying you?’ He replied, ‘Muhammad.’ It was asked, ‘Has he been called?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ When we reached over the second heaven, I saw Yahya (i.e. John) and Jesus who were cousins. Gabriel said, ‘These are John (Yahya) and Jesus, so greet them.’ I greeted them and they returned the greeting saying, ‘Welcome, O Pious Brother and Pious Prophet!’ “
The hadith mentions Prophet Yahya who was the son of Prophet Zakariya.
The Story of Prophets Zakariya [Zechariah] and Yahya [John]
The years had taken their toll on the Prophet Zakariyah (pbuh). He was now old and bent with age, in his nineties. Despite his feebleness, he went to the temple daily to deliver his sermons.
Zakariyah was not a rich man, but he was always ready to help those in need. His one disappointment in life was that he had no children, for his wife was barren. This worried him, for he feared there was no one after him to carry out his work. The people needed a strong leader, for it they were left on their own, they would move away from Allah’s teachings and change the Holy Laws to suit themselves.
During one of his visits to the temple, he went to check on Mary, who was living in a secluded room of the temple. He was surprised to find fresh out of season fruit in her room. Besides him, no one had entry to her room. When he inquired, she told him that the fruit was from Allah. She found it every morning. But why was he so surprised, she asked him. Did he not know that Allah provides without measure for whom He wills?
This noble girl had opened this eyes to a startling idea. Could he not ask his Lord to bless him with a child in his old age? Even if his wife was past childbearing age, nothing was impossible for his Gracious Lord!
Allah the Almighty revealed: ‘Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ain, Sad, (These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah Alone knows their meanings). This is a mention of the Mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariyah. When he called out his Lord (Allah) – a call in secret, saying: “My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and gray hair has spread on my head, and I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord! And Verily! I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, – who shall inherit me, and inherit also the posterity of Jacob (inheritance of the religious knowledge and Prophethood, not the wealth, etc.) And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are Well-pleased!”
Allah said: “O Zakariyah! Verily, We give you the glad tidings of a son. His name will be Yahya (John). We have given that name to none before him.”
He said: “My Lord! How can I have a son, when my wife is barren, and I have reached the extreme old age.”
He said: “So (it will be). Your Lord says, It is easy for Me. Certainly I have created you before, when you had been nothing.”
Zakariyah said: “My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.”
He said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.”
Then he came out to his people from Al Mihrab (a praying place or a private room, etc.), he told them by signs to glorify Allah’s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon.
It was said to his son: “O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child, and made him sympathetic to men as a mercy or a grant from Us, and pure from sins (John) and he was righteous, and dutiful towards his parents, and he was neither an arrogant nor disobedient (to Allah or to his parents). And Salamun (peace) on him the day he was born, the day he dies, and the day he will be raised up to life again! (Ch 19:1-15 Quran)
Almighty Allah also said: At that time Zakariyah invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”
Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al- Mihrab ( a praying place or a private room), saying: “Allah gives you glad tidings of John confirming (believing in) the Word from Allah (“Be!” – and he was! (i.e. the creation of Isa (Jesus), son of Mariam (Mary), noble keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous.”
He said: “O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old, and my wife is barren?”
Allah said: “Thus Allah does what He wills.” He said: “O my Lord! Make a sign for me.” Allah said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak to mankind for three days except with signals. And remember your Lord much (by praising Him again and again), and glorify Him in the afternoon and in the morning.” (Ch 3:38-41 Quran).
John (pbuh) was born a stranger to the world of children who used to amuse themselves, as he was serious all the time. Most children took delight in torturing animals whereas, he was merciful to them. He fed the animals from his food until there was nothing left for him, and he just ate fruit or leaves of trees.
John loved reading since childhood. When he grew up, Allah the Exalted called upon him: “O John! Hold fast to the Scripture (The Torah).” And We gave him wisdom while yet a child. (Ch 19:12 Quran).
Allah guided him to read the Book of Jurisprudence closely; thus, he became the wisest and most knowledgeable man of that time. Therefore, Allah the Almighty endowed him with the faculties of passing judgments on people’s affairs, interpreting the secrets of religion, guiding people to the right path, and warning them against the wrong one.
John reached maturity. His compassion for his parents, as well as for all people and all creatures, increased greatly. He called people to repent their sins.
There are quite a number of traditions told about John. Ibn Asaker related that one time his parents were looking for him and found him at the Jordan River. When they met him, they wept sorely, seeing his great devotion to Allah, Great and Majestic.
Ibn Wahb said that, according to Malik, grass was the food of John Ibn Zakariyah, and he wept sorely in fear of Allah. A chain of narrators reported that Idris Al Khawlawi said: “Shall I not tell you he who had the best food? It is John Ibn Zakariyah, who joined the beasts at dinner, fearing to mix with men.”
Ibn Mubarak stated that Wahb Ibn Al-Ward narrated that Zakariayah did not see his son for three days. He found him weeping inside a grave which he had dug and in which he resided. “My son, I have been searching for you, and you are dwelling in this grave weeping!” “O father, did you not tell me that between Paradise and Hell is only a span, and it will not be crossed except by tears of weepers?” He said to him: “Weep then, my son.” Then they wept together.
Other narrations say that John (pbuh) said: “The dwellers of Paradise are sleepless out of the sweetness of Allah’s bounty; that is why the faithful must be sleepless because of Allah’s love in their hearts. How far between the two luxuries, how far between them?”
They say John wept so much that tears marked his cheeks. He found comfort in the open and never cared about food. He ate leaves, herbs, and sometimes locusts. He slept anywhere in the mountains or in holes in the ground. He sometimes would find a lion or a bear as he entered a cave, but being deeply absorbed in praising Allah, he never heeded them. The beasts easily recognized John as the prophet who cared for all the creatures, so they would leave the cave, bowing their heads.
John sometimes fed those beasts, out of mercy, from his food and was satisfied with prayers as food for his soul. He would spend the night crying and praising Allah for His blessings.
When John called people to worship Allah, he made them cry out of love and submission, arresting their hearts with the truthfulness of his words.
A conflict took place between John and the authorities at that time. A tyrant king, Herod Antipas, the ruler of Palestine, was in love with Salome, his brother’s daughter. He was planning to marry his beautiful niece. The marriage was encouraged by her mother and by some of the learned men of Zion, either out of fear or to gain favor with the ruler.
On hearing the ruler’s plan, John pronounced that such a marriage would be incestuous. He would not approve it under any circumstance, as it was against the Law of the Torah.
John’s pronouncement spread like wildfire. Salome was angry, for it was her ambition to rule the kingdom with her uncle. She plotted to achieve her aim. Dressing attractively, she sang and danced before her uncle. Her arousing Herod’s lust. Embracing her, he offered to fulfill whatever she desired. At once she told hi: “I would love to have the head of John, because he has defiled your honor and mine throughout the land. If you grant me this wish, I shall be very happy and will offer myself to you.” Bewitched by her charm, he submitted to her monstrous request. John was executed and his head was brought to Salome. The cruel woman gloated with delight. But the death of Allah’s beloved prophet was avenged. Not only she, but all the children of Israel were severely punished by invading armies which destroyed their kingdom.
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 638 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Verse: ‘Those who believe and mix not their belief with wrong.” was revealed, the companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Who amongst us has not mixed his belief with wrong?” Then Allah revealed: “Join none in worship with Allah, Verily joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 639 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Verse: ‘Those who believe and mix not their belief with wrong.’ was revealed, the Muslims felt it very hard on them and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who amongst us does not do wrong to himself?” He replied, “The Verse does not mean this. But that (wrong) means to associate others in worship to Allah: Don’t you listen to what Luqman said to his son when he was advising him,” O my son! Join not others in worship with Allah. Verily joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed.” (31.13)
Was Luqman a Prophet?
Ibn Kathir discusses this in his Tafsir of Surah Luqman where Allah mentions the advice Luqman gave to his son:
The Salaf differed over the identity of Luqman; there are two opinions: was he a Prophet or just a righteous servant of Allah without the prophethood? The majority favored the latter view, that he was a righteous servant of Allah without being a Prophet.
Sufyan Ath-Thawri said, narrating from Al-Ash`ath, from `Ikrimah, from Ibn `Abbas, “Luqman was an Ethiopian slave who was a carpenter.”
`Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr said, “I said to Jabir bin `Abdullah: `What did you hear about Luqman’ He said: `He was short with a flat nose, and came from Nubia.’”
Yahya bin Sa`id Al-Ansari narrated from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib that “Luqman was from the black peoples of (southern) Egypt, and had thick lips. Allah gave him wisdom but withheld prophethood from him.”
Al-`Awza`i said, “`Abdur-Rahman bin Harmalah told me; `A black man came to Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib to ask him a question, and Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said to him: “Do not be upset because you are black, for among the best of people were three who were black: Bilal, Mahja` the freed slave of `Umar bin Al-Khattab, and Luqman the Wise, who was a black Nubian with thick lips.”
Ibn Jarir recorded that Khalid Ar-Raba`i said: “Luqman was an Ethiopian slave who was a carpenter. His master said to him, `Slaughter this sheep for us,’ so he slaughtered it. ﴿His master﴾ said: `Bring the best two pieces from it,’ so he brought out the tongue and the heart. Then time passed, as much as Allah willed, and ﴿his master﴾ said: `Slaughter this sheep for us,’ so he slaughtered it. ﴿His master﴾ said, `Bring the worst two morsels from it,’ so he brought out the tongue and the heart. His master said to him, `I told you to bring out the best two pieces, and you brought these, then I told you to bring out the worst two pieces, and you brought these!’ Luqman said, `There is nothing better than these if they are good, and there is nothing worse than these if they are bad.”’
Shu`bah narrated from Al-Hakam, from Mujahid, “Luqman was a righteous servant, but he was not a Prophet.”
Read more about his story here.
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And to Dawud, We gave Sulaiman (for a son). How excellent (a) slave he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to us)” (38.30)
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 634 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “A strong demon from the Jinns came to me yesterday suddenly, so as to spoil my prayer, but Allah enabled me to overpower him, and so I caught him and intended to tie him to one of the pillars of the Mosque so that all of you might see him, but I remembered the invocation of my brother Solomon: ‘And grant me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me.’ (38.35) so I let him go cursed.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 635 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Solomon (the son of) David said, ‘Tonight I will sleep with seventy ladies each of whom will conceive a child who will be a knight fighting for “Allah’s Cause.’ His companion said, ‘If Allah wills.’ But Solomon did not say so; therefore none of those women got pregnant except one who gave birth to a half child.” The Prophet further said, “If the Prophet Solomon had said it (i.e. ‘If Allah wills’) he would have begotten children who would have fought in Allah’s Cause.” Shuaib and Ibn Abi Az-Zinad said, “Ninety (women) is more correct (than seventy).”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 636 :
Narrated by Abu Dhaar (radiallaahu `anhu)
I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Which mosque was built first?” He replied, “Al-Masjid-ul-Haram.” I asked, “Which (was built) next?” He replied, “Al-Masjid-ul-Aqsa (i.e. Jerusalem).” I asked, “What was the period in between them?” He replied, “Forty (years).” He then added, “Wherever the time for the prayer comes upon you, perform the prayer, for all the earth is a place of worshipping for you.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 637 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “My example and the example of the people is like that of a person who lit a fire and let the moths, butterflies and these insects fall in it.” He also said, “There were two women, each of whom had a child with her. A wolf came and took away the child of one of them, whereupon the other said, ‘It has taken your child.’ The first said, ‘But it has taken your child.’ So they both carried the case before David who judged that the living child be given to the elder lady. So both of them went to Solomon bin David and informed him (of the case). He said, ‘Bring me a knife so as to cut the child into two pieces and distribute it between them.’ The younger lady said, ‘May Allah be merciful to you! Don’t do that, for it is her (i.e. the other lady’s) child.’ So he gave the child to the younger lady.”
The Story of Prophet Sulaiman [Solomon]
By Ibn Kathir
Solomon inherited David’s prophethood and dominion. This was not a material inheritance, as prophets do not bequeath their property. It is given away to the poor and needy, not to their relatives. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The prophets’ property will not be inherited, and whatever we leave is to be used for charity.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
And indeed We gave knowledge to David and Solomon, and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing slaves!”
And Solomon inherited (the knowledge of) David. He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and on us have been bestowed all things. This, verily, is an evident grace (from Allah).”
And there were gathered before Solomon his hosts of jinns and men, and birds, and they were all set in battle order (marching forwards). (Ch 27:15-17 Quran).
After his father’s death, Solomon became king. He begged Allah for a kingdom such as none after him would have, and Allah granted his wish. Besides wisdom, Allah had blessed Solomon with many abilities. He could command the winds and understand and talk to birds and animals. Allah directed him to teach both men and jinns to mine the earth and extract its minerals to make tools and weapons. He also favored him with a mine of copper, which was a rare metal in those days.
During his time horses were the common mode of transportation. They were very essential for defense, to carry soldiers and cart provisions and weapons of war. The animals were well cared for and well trained. One day Solomon was reviewing a parade of his stable. The fitness, beauty and posture of the horses fascinated him so much that he kept on stroking and admiring them. The sun was nearly setting, and the time for the middle prayer was passing by. When he realized this, he exclaimed: “I surely love the finer things of life than the service of my Lord! Return them to me.”
Almighty Allah revealed:
And to David We gave Solomon. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft returning in repentance (to Us)!
When there were displayed before him, in the afternoon, well-trained horses of the highest breed (for jihad in Allah’s cause). And he said: “Alas! I did love the good (these horses) instead of remembering my Lord (in my ‘Asr prayer)” till the time was over, and the sun had hidden in the veil of the night. Then he said: “Bring them (horses) back to me.” Then he began to pass his hand over their legs and their necks (till the end of the display).
And indeed We did try Solomon and We placed on his throne Jasadan (a devil, so he lost his kingdom for a while) but he did return (to his throne and kingdom by the Grace of Allah and he did return) to Allah with obedience and in repentance. He said: “My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me. Verily, You are the Bestower.”
So, We subjected to him the wind, it blew gently to his order whithersoever he willed, and also the devils from the jinns including every kind of builder and diver, and also other bound in fetters. (Saying of Allah to Solomon): “This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked.” And verily, he enjoyed a near access to Us, and a good final return Paradise. (Ch38:30-40 Quran).
One day Solomon gathered his army, which had different battalions of men, jinns, birds, and animals. He marched them to the country of Askalon.
While they were passing through a valley, an ant saw the approaching army and cried out to warn the other ants: “Run to your homes! Otherwise, unaware, Solomon and his army might crush you!” Solomon, hearing the cry of the ant, smiled. He was glad that the ant knew him to be a prophet who would not intentionally harm Allah’s creation. He thanked Allah for saving the ants’ lives.
Allah the Almighty narrated:
And there were gathered before Solomon his hosts of jinns and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forwards). Till, when they came to a valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you, while they perceive not.”
So he (Solomon) smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I maybe grateful for Your Favors which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.” (Ch 27:17-19 Quran).
In Jerusalem, on a huge rock, Solomon built a beautiful temple to draw the people to worship Allah. Today this building is known as “The Dome of the Rock.” From there, a large band of followers joined Solomon on pilgrimage to the Holy Mosque in Mecca. After they had completed their hajj, they traveled to Yemen and arrived in the city of San’a. Solomon was impressed by their clever method of channeling water all over their cities. He was keen to build similar water systems in his own country but did not have enough springs.
He set out to find the hoopoe bird, which could detect water under the ground. He sent signals all over the hoopoe to call on him, but it was nowhere to be found. In anger, he declared that unless the bird had a good reason for its absence, he would punish it severely.
The hoopoe eventually came to Solomon and explained the reason for its delay. “I have discovered something of which you are not aware. I have come from Sheba (Sab’a) with important news.” Solomon became curious, and his anger subsided. The bird continued: “Sab’a is ruled by a queen named Bilkis (Bilqis), who has plenty of everything, including a splendid throne. But in spite of all this wealth, Satan has entered her heart and the hearts of her people. She rules their minds completely. I was shocked to learn that they worship the sun instead of Allah the Almighty.”
To check the hoopoe’s information, Solomon sent a letter to the queen with the bird. He instructed the bird to remain hidden and to watch everything.
The hoopoe dropped the letter in front of the queen and flew away to hide. She excitedly opened and read it:
“Verily! It is from Solomon, and verily! It reads: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, and Most Merciful; be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims (true believers who submit with full submission).'” ( Ch 27:30-31 Quran).
The queen was very disturbed and hurriedly summoned her advisors. They reacted as to a challenge, for they felt that there was someone challenging them, hinting at war and defeat, and asking them to submit to his conditions.
They told her that they could only offer advice, but it was her right to command action. She sensed that they wanted to meet Solomon’s invasion threat with a battle. However, she told them: “Peace and friendship are better and wiser; war only brings humiliation, enslaves people and destroys the good things. I have decided to send gifts to Solomon, selected from our most precious treasure. The courtiers who will deliver the gifts will also have an opportunity to learn about Solomon and his military mighty.”
Solomon’s reconnaissance team brought him the news of the arrival of Bilkis’ messengers with a gift. He immediately realized that the queen had sent her men on a probing mission thus, he gave orders to rally the army. The envoys of Bilqis, entering amidst the well-equipped army, realized that their wealth was nothing in comparison to that of the kingdom of Solomon’s palace floors, which were made of sandalwood and inlaid with gold.
They noticed Solomon surveying his army, and they were surprised at the number and variety of soldiers, which included lions, tigers, and birds. The messengers stood in amazement, realizing that they were in front of an irresistible army.
The envoys marveled at the splendor surrounding them. They eagerly presented their queen’s precious gifts and told Solomon that the queen wished that he would accept them as an act of friendship. They were shocked by his reaction: he did not even ask to open the covers of the containers! He told them: “Allah hagiven me plenty of wealth, a large kingdom, and prophethood. I am, therefore, beyond bribery. My only objective is to spread the belief in Tawheed, the Oneness of Allah.”
He also directed them to take back the gifts to the queen and to tell her that if she did not stop her kind of worship he would uproot her kingdom and drive its people out of the land.
The queen’s envoys returned with the gifts and delivered the message. They also told her of the wonderful things they had seen. Instead of taking offense, she decided to visit Solomon. Accompanied by her royal officials and servants, she left Sheba, sending a messenger ahead to inform Solomon that she was on her way to meet him.
Solomon asked the jinns in his employ whether anyone among them could bring her throne to he palace before she arrived. One of them said; “I will bring it to you before this sitting is over.” Solomon did not react to this offer; it appeared that he was waiting for a faster means. The jinns competed with each other to please him. One of them named Ifrit said: “I will fetch it for you in the twinkling of an eye!”
No sooner had this one – who had the knowledge of the Book – finished his phrase than the throne stood before Solomon. The mission had, indeed, been completed in the blinking of an eye. Solomon’s seat was in Palestine, and the throne of Bilqis had been in Yemen, two thousand miles away. This was a great miracle performed by one of those sitting with Solomon.
When Bilqis arrived at Solomon’s palace, she was welcomed with pomp and ceremony. Then, pointing to the altered throne, Solomon asked her whether her throne looked like that one. She looked at it again and again. In her mind she was convinced that her throne could not possibly be the one she was looking at, as hers was in her palace; et, she detected a striking similarity and replied: “It is as if it were the very one, and resembles mine in every respect.” Solomon judged that she was intelligent and diplomatic.
He then invited her into the great hall, the floor of which was laid in glass and shimmering. Thinking it was water, as she stepped on the floor, she lifted her skirt slightly above her heels, for fear of wetting it. Solomon pointed out to her that it was made of solid glass.
She was amazed. She had never seen such things before. Bilqis realized that she was in the company of a very knowledgeable person who was not only a ruler of a great kingdom but a messenger of Allah, as well. She repented, gave up sun worship, accepted the faith of Allah, and asked her people to do the same.
It was finished; Bilqis saw her people’s creed fall apart before Solomon. She realized that the sun which her people worshipped was nothing but one of Allah’s creatures.
The sun eclipsed within her for the first time, and her heart was lit by a never fading light, the light of Islam. Almighty Allah told us this story in the Quran: He inspected the birds, and said:
“What is the matter that I see not a hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees? I will surely punish him with a severe torment, or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.”
But the hoopoe stayed not long, he came up and said: “I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Sheba with true news. I found a woman ruling over them, and she has been given all things that could be possessed by any ruler of the earth, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Satan has made their deeds fair seeming to them, and has barred them from Allah’s Way, so they have no guidance.”
Al-La (this word has two interpretations) [As Satan has barred them from Allah’s Way} so that they do not worship (prostrate before) Allah, or so that they may worship (prostrate before) Allah, Who brings light to what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!
(Solomon) said: “We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are one of the liars. Go with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them, then draw back from them, and see what answer they return.”
She said: “O chiefs! Verily! Here is a delivered to me a noble letter. Verily! It is from Solomon and verily! It (reads): ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful; Be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims (true believers who submit to Allah with full submission).”
She said: “O chiefs! Advise me in this case of mine. I decide no case till you are present with me.”
They said: “We have great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command; so think over what you will command.”
She said: “Verily! Kings, when they enter a town (country), they despoil it, and make the most honorable amongst its people low. And thus they do. But verily! I am going to send him a present, and see with what answer the messengers return.”
So when (the messengers with the present) came to Solomon, he said: “Will you help me in wealth? What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you! Nay, you rejoice in your gift!” (Then Solomon said to the chief of her messengers who brought the present): “Go back to them. We verily shall come to them with hosts that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there is disgrace, and they will be abased.”
He said: “O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience?”
An Ifrit (strong) from the jinns said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place (council). And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.”
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” then when Solomon saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord, to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for the good of his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself. Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful!”
He said: “Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided (to recognize her throne), or she will be one of those not guided.”
So when she came, it was said to her: “Is your throne like this?”
She said: “It is as though it was the very same.”
And Solomon said: “Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we were submitted to Allah (in Islam as Muslims before her).”
And that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her from Islam, for she was of a disbelieving people.
It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh” (a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace, but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she tucked up her clothes, uncovering her legs.
Solomon said: “Verily, it is Sarh paved smooth with slab of glass.”
She said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit (in Islam), together with Solomon, to Allah, the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinns, and all that exists).” (Ch 27:20-44 Quran)
Solomon’s public work was largely carried out by the jinns. This was a punishment for their sins of making people believe that they were all-powerful, knew the unseen, and could foresee the future. As a prophet, it was Solomon’s duty to remove such false beliefs from his followers.
Solomon lived amidst glory, and all creatures were subjected to him. Then Allah the Exalted ordained for him to die. His life and death were full of wonders and miracles; thus, his death harmonized with his life and glory. His death, like his life, was unique. The people had to learn that the future is known neither by the jinns, nor by the prophets, but by Allah alone. Solomon’s effort in this direction did not end with his life, for even his death became an example. He was sitting holding his staff, overseeing the jinns at work in a mine. He died sitting in this position. For a long time no one was aware of his death, for he was seen sitting erect. The jinns continued with their sand toil, thinking that Solomon was watching over them.
Many days later, a hungry ant began nibbling Solomon’s staff. It continued to do so, eating the lower part of the staff, until it fell out of Solomon’s hand, and his great body fell to the ground. People hurried to him, realizing that he had died a long time ago and that the jinns did not perceive the unseen, for had the jinns known the unseen, they would not have kept working, thinking that Solomon was alive.
Allah the Exalted revealed:
And We caused a fount of molten brass to flow for him, and there were jinns that worked in front of him by the Leave of his Lord, and whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We shall cause him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire.
They worked for him what he desired, (making) high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (making) cauldrons fixed (in their places). “Work you, O family of David, with thanks!” But few of My slaves are grateful.
Then when we decreed death for him (Solomon), nothing informed them (jinns) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept slowly gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the jinns saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment. (Ch 34:12-14 Quran).
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And ask them about the town that was by the sea…”
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And to David We gave the Zabur…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 628 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The reciting of the Zabur (i.e. Psalms) was made easy for David. He used to order that his riding animals be saddled, and would finish reciting the Zabur before they were saddled. And he would never eat except from the earnings of his manual work.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 629 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was informed that I have said: “By Allah, I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I live.” On that, Allah’s Apostle asked me. “Are you the one who says: ‘I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I live?’ ” I said, “Yes, I have said it.” He said, “You cannot do that. So fast (sometimes) and do not fast (sometimes). Pray and sleep. Fast for three days a month, for the reward of a good deed is multiplied by ten time, and so the fasting of three days a month equals the fasting of a year.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I can do (fast) more than this.” He said, “Fast on every third day. I said: I can do (fast) more than that, He said: “Fast on alternate days and this was the fasting of David which is the most moderate sort of fasting.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I can do (fast) more than that.” He said, “There is nothing better than that.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 630 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to me, “I have been informed that you pray all the nights and observe fast all the days; is this true?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “If you do so, your eyes will become weak and you will get bored. So fast three days a month, for this will be the fasting of a whole year, or equal to the fasting of a whole year.” I said, “I find myself able to fast more.” He said, “Then fast like the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days and would not flee on facing the enemy.”
Chapter: The most beloved Salat to Allah was the Salat of (the Prophet) Dawud, and the most beloved Saum was the Saum of Dawud
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 631 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to me, “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.”
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “… And remember Our slave Dawud, endued with power…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 632 :
Narrated by Mujahid
I asked Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu), “Should we perform a prostration on reciting Surat-Sad?” He recited (the Sura) including: ‘And among his progeny, David, Solomon..(up to)…so follow their guidance (6.84-91) And then he said, “Your Prophet is amongst those people who have been ordered to follow them (i.e. the preceding apostles).
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 633 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The prostration in Surah Sad is not amongst the compulsory prostrations, though I saw the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) prostrating on reciting The Statement of Allah: and to David We gave Solomon (for a son). How excellent (a) slave he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to us) (38.30) And His Statement: He said: My Lord Forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me.’ (38.35) And His Statement: ‘And they followed what the Devils gave out (falsely), of magic in the life-time of Solomon.’ (2.102)
The Story of Prophet Dawud [David]
By Ibn Kathir
When the two armies faced each other, Goliath challenged any soldier from King Saul’s army to single combat, as was the custom of battle in those days. Goliath also wanted to show off his strength. The men were terrorized, and no one had enough courage to volunteer. The king offered the hand of his pretty daughter in marriage to the man who would fight Goliath, but even this tempting offer did not change the deadly silence among his soldiers.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, a youth stepped forward. A roar of laughter echoed from the enemy’s side, and even Saul’s men shook their heads.
The young man was David (Dawud), from the city of Bethlehem. His elderly father had chosen three of his sons to join Saul’s army. He had instructed the youngest one, David, not to take part in the fighting but to help the army in other ways and to report to his father daily on what was happening on the war front.
Although Saul was very impressed by the youth’s courage, he said: “I admire your courage, but you are no match for that mighty warrior. Let the strong men come forward.” David, however, had already decided and was willing to meet the challenge. Proudly, he told the king that only the day before he had killed a lion which had threatened his father’s sheep, and on another occasion he had killed a bear. He asked Saul not to judge him by his appearance, for he feared no man or wild beast. Saul, surprised by young David’s brave stance, agreed: “My brave soldier, if you are willing, then may Allah guard you and grant you strength!”
The king dressed David in battle armor and handed him a sword, but David was not used to wearing battle dress. He felt uncomfortable in it, and it obstructed his movements. He removed the armor, then collected a few pebbles and filled his leather pouch with them. He slung it over his shoulder next to his sling. With his wooden staff in hand, he began to walk towards the enemy. Saul was worried and asked him how on earth, with a sling and a couple of stones was he going to defend himself against the giant? David replied: “Allah Who protected me from the claws of the bear and the fangs of the lion will certainly protect me from this brute!”
When Goliath set eyes on the lean young man who looked like a boy, he laughed loudly and roared: “Are you out to play war with one of your playmates, or are you tired of your life? I will simply cut off your head with one swipe of my sword!”
David shouted back: “You may have armor, shield, and sword, but I face you in the name of Allah, the Lord of the Israelites, Whose laws you have mocked. Today you will see that it is not the sword that kills but the will and power of Allah!”
So saying, he took his sling and placed in it a pebble from his pouch. He swung and aimed it at Goliath. The pebble shot from the whirling sling with the speed of an arrow and hit Goliath’s head with great force. Blood gushed out, and Goliath thumped to the ground, lifeless, before he had a chance to draw his sword. When the rest of his men saw their mighty hero slain, they took to their heels. The Israelites followed in hot pursuit, taking revenge for their years of suffering at the hands of their enemy, killing every soldier they could lay hands on. In this battle the Israelites regained the glory and honor that had been lost for a long time.
David became a hero overnight. Saul kept his word and married his daughter Michal (Miqel) to the young warrior and took him under his wing as one of his chief advisors.
Almighty Allah declared:
So they routed them by Allah’s Leave and David killed Goliath, and Allah gave him (David) the kingdom (after the death of Saul and Samuel) and wisdom, and taught him of that which He willed. And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of Bounty to the Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exist). (Ch 2:251 Quran).
David became the most famous man among the Israelites. However, he was not inveigled by this; he was not a prisoner of fame or leadership but a prisoner of Allah’s love.
Therefore, after killing Goliath he went out into the desert in the company of nature, glorifying Almighty Allah and contemplating His favors. Verily, We made the mountains to glorify Our Praises with him (David) in the Ashi (after the mid-day till sunset) and Ishraq (after the sunrise till mid-day). And (so did) the birds assembled: all with him (David) did turn (to Allah, glorified His Praises). We made his kingdom strong and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision. (Ch 38:18-20 Quran)
Creatures such as the plants, birds, beasts, and even the mountains responded to his voice glorifying Allah. Allah had chosen David to be a prophet and revealed the Psalms to him. As He the Almighty said: And to David We gave the Psalms. (Ch 17:55 Quran).
David recited his scripture and glorified Allah while the mountains joined him praise and the birds rallied around him. Almighty Allah directed: Be patient (O Muhammad) of what they say, and remember Our slave David, endured with power. Verily, he was ever oft-returning in all matters and in repentance toward Allah. (Ch 38:17 Quran).
David’s sincerity was not the only factor responsible for the birds and beasts joining with him in glorifying Allah, nor was the sweetness of his voice. IT was a miracle from Allah. This was not his only miracle, for Allah also endowed him with the faculty of understanding the languages of birds and animals.
David (pbuh) fasted every other day. Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-As narrated: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said to me: “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of the Prophet David, who used to fast alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David, who used to sleep the first half of the night, and pray for one third of it and again sleep for a sixth of it.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-As also narrated: “The Prophet (pbuh) said to me: ‘I have been informed that you pray all the nights and observe fast all the days; is this true?’ I replied: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘If you do so, your eyes will be weak and you will get bored. So fast three days a month, for this will be the fasting of a whole year. (Or equal to the fasting of a whole year).’ I said: ‘I find myself able to fast more.’ He said: ‘Then fast like the fasting of (the Prophet) David (pbuh) who used to fast on alternate days and would not flee on facing the enemy.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Allah granted David great influence. His people had a great number of wars in their time, but they had a problem in that the iron armor was too heavy for the fighter to move and fight as he wished. It is said that David was sitting one day, contemplating this problem while toying with a piece of iron. Suddenly, he found his hand sinking in the iron. Almighty Allah had made it flexible for him: And We made the iron soft for him. (Ch 34:10 Quran)
The people praised and loved David. However, the hearts of men are fickle and their memories short. Even great men can feel insecure and become petty-minded. One day David found Saul in a worried state. He sensed something strange in Saul’s attitude towards him. That night, when he shared his feeling with his wife, she started to weep bitterly and said: “O David, I will never keep any secrets from you.” She told him that her father had become jealous of his popularity and feared that he would lose his kingdom to him. She advised him to be on his guard.
This information shocked David very much. He prayed and hoped that Saul’s good nature would overcome the darker side of his character. The following day, Saul summoned David to inform him that Canaan had gathered its forces and would march on the kingdom. He ordered David to advance on them with the army and not to return unless victory was gained.
David sensed that this was an excuse to get rid of him; either the enemy would kill him, or in the thick of battle, Saul’s henchmen might stab him in the back. Yet he hastened with his troops to meet the army of Canaan. They fought the Canaanites brav, without thinking of their own safety. Allah granted them victory, and David lived to return to Saul.
Unfortunately, this only increased Saul’s fear, so he plotted to kill David. Such is jealousy that not even a daughter’s well-being mattered. Michal learned of her father’s plan and hurried to warn her husband. David gathered some food and things, mounted his camel and fled. He found a cave in which he remained hidden for many days. After a time, David’s brothers and some citizens joined forces with him. Saul’s position became very weak, for he began to rule with a heavy hand. He ill-treated the learned, tortured the reciters of the Talmud, and terrorized his soldiers. This worsened his position, and his subjects began to turn against him. He decided to go war against David. Hearing this news, David marched to confront Saul’s army.
The king’s army had traveled a great distance and was overcome by fatigue, so they decided to rest in a valley, where they fell asleep. Quietly, David crept up to the sleeping Saul, removed his spear, and cut off a piece of his garment with the sword. David then awakened the king and told him: “Oh king, you come out seeking me, but I do not hate you, and I do not want to kill you. If I did, I would have killed you when you were asleep. Here is a piece of your garment. I could have hacked your neck instead, but I did not. My mission is that of love, not malice.” The king realized his mistake and begged for forgiveness.
Time passed and Saul was killed in a battle in which David did not take part. David succeeded Saul, for the people remembered what he had done for them and elected him king. So it was that David the Prophet was also a king. Allah strengthened the dominion of David and made him victorious. His kingdom was strong and great; his enemies feared him without engaging in war with him.
David had a son named Solomon (Sulaiman), who was intelligent and wise from childhood. When the following story took place, Solomon was eleven years old.
One day David, was sitting, as usual, solving the problems of his people when two men, one of whom had a field, came to him. The owner of the field said: “O dear Prophet! This man’s sheep came to my field at night and ate up the grapes and I have come to ask for compensation.” David asked the owner of the sheep: “Is this true?” He said: “Yes, sir.” David said: “I have decided that you give him your sheep in exchange for the field.” Solomon, to whom Allah had given wisdom in addition to what he had inherited from his father, spoke up: “I have another opinion. The owner of the sheep should take the field to cultivate until the grapes grow, while the other man should take the sheep and make use of their wool and milk until his field is repaired. If the grapes grow, and the field returns to its former state, then the field owner should take his field and give back the sheep to their owner.”
David responded: “This is a sound judgment. Praise be to Allah for gifting you with wisdom. You are truly Solomon the Wise.”
Prophet David was a just and righteous ruler who brought peace and prosperity to his people, and whom Allah honored as a messenger. He delivered Allah’s message to the people through the precious gift of his melodious voice. When he recited the Psalms (Zaboor), it was as if the rest of creation chanted with him; people listened as if in a trance. The messages David delivered are famous and well remembered. They are known in the Bible as the Psalms or Songs of David.
David divided his working day into four parts: one to earn a living and to rest, one to pray to his Lord, one to listen to the complaints of his people, and the last part to deliver his sermons. He also appointed deputies to listen to his subjects’ complaints so that in his absence people’s problems might not be neglected.
Although a king, he did not live on the income of his kingdom. Being well-experienced in the craft of weapon-making, he made and sold weapons and lived on that income.
One day, as David was praying in his prayer niche, he ordered his guards not to allow anyone to interrupt him, but two men managed to enter and disturb him. “Who are you?” he asked. One of the men said: “Do not be frightened. We have a dispute and have come for your judgment.” David said: “What is it?” The first man said: “This is my brother, has ninety nine sheep, and I have one. He gave it to me but took it back.” David, without hearing from the other party said: “He did you wrong by taking the sheep back, and many partners oppress one another, except for those who are believers.”
The two men vanished like a cloud, and David realized that they were two angels sent to him to teach him a lesson. He should not have passed a judgment without hearing from the opposing party.
Almighty Allah told us of this incident:
And has the news of the litigants reached you? When they climbed over the wall into (his) Mihrab (a praying place or a private room). When they entered in upon David, he was terrified of them, they said: Fear not! (We are) two litigants, one of whom has wronged the other; therefore judge between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, and guide us to the Right Way.”
“Verily, this is my brother (in religion) has ninety nine ewes, while I have only one ewe, and he says: ‘Hand it over to me,’ and he overpowered me in speech.”
David said immediately without listening to the opponent: “He has wronged you in demanding your ewe in addition to his ewes. And, verily, many partners oppress one another, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and they are few.”
And David guessed that We have tried him and he sought Forgiveness of his Lord, and he fell down prostrate and turned to Allah in repentance. So We forgave him that, and verily, for him is a near access to Us, and as good place of final return Paradise.
O David! Verily! We have placed you as a successor on earth, so judge you between men in truth and justice. And follow not your desire for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah. Verily! Those who wander astray from the Path of Allah shall have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning. (Ch 38:21-26 Quran).
David worshipped Allah, glorified Him and sang His praise until he died. According to traditions, David died suddenly and was mourned by four thousand priests as well as thousands of people. It was so hot that people suffered from the intensity of the sun. Solomon called the birds to protect David and the people from the sun, and they did so until he was buried. This was the first sign of his dominion to be witnessed by the people.