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David (a)

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Prophet David (a)
Name in
the Qur'an:
Dawud دَاوُود
Name in
the Bible:
Place(s) of
Name of People: Israelite
Before: Solomon (a)
Book: Zabur
Well known
Solomon (a)
Religion: Monotheism
Repeat in
the Qur'an:
16 times
Enemies: Goliath
Conquering Jerusalem

David or Dāwūd (Arabic: داوود) was an important Israelite prophet, who was also a king. Famously, David (a) had a good singing voice and was endowed the skill of armor making by God. He also undertook the position of judgeship. The book, Zabur, was revealed to him by God. David (a) conquered Jerusalem for the Israelites.

David (a) is considered as a high-ranking figure for the Jews. However, there are accusations against him in the Torah.

Lineage and Family

David (a), the son of Jesse,[1] was from the progeny of Judah, the son of Jacob (a) the Prophet.[2] David (a) was reportedly a short person, with brunette face and sparse hair.[3] He was already circumcised when he was born.[4] The Prophet Solomon (a) was David's son as well as his successor.[5]

Prophethood and Kingdom

David (a) was a great Israelite prophet.[6] God revealed Zabur to David (a).[7]

After the Prophet Moses (a) and Joshua (a), the leadership of people was undertaken by so-called "judges". The last judge was Samuel, who was asked by the Israelites to select a king for them. Saul (Talut) became the king.[8] In the period of Saul, a big battle took place. Saul announced that he would give half of his possessions, and marry his daughter, to the person who kills Goliath—the champion of the enemy.[9] In that battle, David (a) killed Goliath.[10] Thus, he received half of Saul's possessions and married his daughter.[11]

The progeny of Prophet Jacob (a) were either prophets or kings. However, God bestowed both positions to David (a).[12] After Saul's death, David (a) became the king of Israelites.[13]

Imam al-Baqir (a) referred to David (a) as one of the few prophets who were rulers as well.[14] David (a) was contemporaneous with Luqman. David (a) praised Luqman when he advised him.[15]

Jerusalem was conquered by David (a).[16]


Main article: Zabur

According to the Qur'an and hadiths, Zabur was revealed by God to David (a). The book is a collection of advice, aphorisms, and supplications. The word, "Zabur," appears three times in the Qur'an in suras al-Nisa', (Qur'an 4)[17] al-Anbiya' (Qur'an 21),[18] and al-Isra' (Qur'an 17).[19]

Prominent Characteristics

Many characteristics have been attributed to David (a) in Qur'anic verses and hadiths. According to the Qur'an, David (a) could understand the language of animals[20], he was bestowed the rule and wisdom by God, and he was taught by God whatever he wanted to learn.[21] David (a) was reportedly a person who worshiped God very frequently and cried out of the fear of God.[22]

There are many hadiths regarding David's worships.[23] The Prophet Muhammad (s) admired David's fasting and prayer.[24] David (a) fasted every other day.[25]

According to the Qur'an, mountains and birds exalted God together with David (a).[26] There are different accounts of what the exaltation of mountains and birds means.[27]


God gave David (a) wisdom and discernment in speech and commanded him to adjudicate people's disputes.[28] Cases of David's adjudications are cited in the Qur'an.[29]

There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) according to which, after his Reappearance, Imam al-Mahdi (a) will adjudicate people's disputes, similarly to David (a).[30]

The Qur'an cites a mistaken judgment by David (a). Two people went to David (a). One of them said that his brother had ninty nine sheep, whereas he only had one sheep. However, he complained, his brother wanted to seize his only sheep.[31] David (a) ruled in his favor, without hearing the response by the other party of the dispute.[32] He soon learned that this was a Divine test, in which he failed. He asked God to forgive him for the wrong judgment. He prostrated and repented to God.[33]

Armor Making

According to the Qur'an, God taught David (a) to make armors.[34] According to sources of hadiths, God admired David (a) and told him that he was a good servant, but He was displeased that David (a) had no job and was dependent on the public treasury for his living. David (a) was saddened by this and cried. Then, God taught him to make armors. David (a) made and sold armors. Thus, he could make a living in this way and was no longer dependent on the public treasury.[35]

Good Voice

David (a) is widely believed to have a good voice[36] and it is held that no one was given such a good singing voice by God. It is said that when David (a) recited Zabur, all animals approached him and listened to his voice.[37]

According to the Jews

The Prophet David (a) is of high significance for the Jews. There are many stories in the Bible regarding David (a). Many such stories entered Islamic sources and are known as Isra'iliyyat,[38] some of which are not compatible with Islamic principles.


There is a relatively long story cited in the Bible, according to which David (a) committed adultery with a married woman.[39] Part of the story was cited in Islamic sources as well. However, the story is incompatible with Islamic beliefs. The accusation was rejected in Shiite hadiths.

Imam 'Ali (a) said: "if someone is brought to me, who had said that David (a) committed adultery with the wife of Uriah, I will enforce two hadds (punishments) on him: one for disrespecting the position of prophethood and another for the invalid accusation to David (a)."[40]

Star of David

The Star of David (a) is a hexagon consisting of two triangles, and in fact, it consisted of two pyramids—one upwards and the other upside down. There is a disagreement about when the symbol was originated. The Star of David (a) is believed by some people to be the shield of David (a), but by others as tracing back only to the sixth or seventh century, with different values in accordance with the Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah).


David (a) died at the age of hundred, after forty years of reign.[41]


  1. Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh Ibn Khaldūn, vol. 2, p. 110.
  2. Dīnawarī, al-Akhbār al-ṭiwāl, p. 18.
  3. Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 1, p. 223.
  4. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 10, p. 77.
  5. Burūjirdī, Tafsīr-i jāmiʿ, vol. 5, p. 106.
  6. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 19, p. 236.
  7. Qurʾān, 4:163.
  8. Tawfīqī, Āshnāyī bā adyān-i buzurg, p. 86.
  9. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 17, p. 81.
  10. Qurʾān, 2:251.
  11. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 17, p. 83.
  12. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 2, p. 10.
  13. Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 1, p. 223.
  14. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 12, p. 181.
  15. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 163.
  16. Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʿ, vol. 12, p. 356.
  17. Qurʾān, 4:163.
  18. Qurʾān, 21:105.
  19. Qurʾān, 17:55.
  20. Qurʾān, 27:16.
  21. Qurʾān, 2:251.
  22. Ibn Athīr, al-Kāmil, vol. 1, p. 223.
  23. See: Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 17, p. 86.
  24. Ibn Māja, Sunan, vol. 1, p. 546.
  25. Ḥimyarī, Qurb al-isnād, p. 90.
  26. Qurʾān, 21:79.
  27. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 14, p. 3.
  28. Qurʾān, 38:26.
  29. Qurʾān, 21:78-79.
  30. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 2, p. 632.
  31. Qurʾān, 38:23.
  32. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 19, p. 236.
  33. Qurʾān, 38:24.
  34. Qurʾān, 21:80.
  35. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 9, p. 539.
  36. Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʿ, vol. 4, p. 207.
  37. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 14, p. 14.
  38. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 2, p. 13.
  39. Samuel, 12.
  40. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 14, p. 26.
  41. Ṣadūq, Kamāl al-Dīn, vol. 2, p. 524.


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