Is it true that Hazrat Dawud (David) (PBUH) was the master of the ironmongers? How did He learn this? What were His other qualities?

The Details of the Question

Is it true that Hazrat Dawud (David) (PBUH) was the master of the ironmongers? How did He learn this? What were His other qualities?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hazrat Dawud (David) (pbuh) comes from the descent of Hazrat Noah) (Nuh) (pbuh) (al-An’am, 6/84) and he was sent as a prophet to the Sons of Israel. It is stated in the Quran that Dawud was given both sovereignty and wisdom (prophethood) after slaying Goliath (al-Baqara, 2/251). In the history of the Sons of Israel, Dawud was the first person to whom prophethood and sovereignty were given together. (Ibn Kathir, Qisasu’l-Anbiya, p. 248). The Quran states that Dawud (pbuh) was given some other things that were not given to other people apart from prophethood and Psalms as a grant and miracle. Hazrat Dawud was a messenger of Allah. The things that were given to him are both evidence for his prophethood and the reward of thanking and worshipping Allah properly. Allah rewards people who thank Him properly.

Apart from a large sovereignty, Hazrat Dawud was given wisdom, understanding, ruling justly, knowledge about what to do and how, knowledge about doing things properly and in time, sticking to what is useful and producing nice things. He decorated his sovereignty with this wisdom; he always did good and beneficial deeds, defined as amal salih by the Quran (2/al-Baqara, 251). 

It is possible to list the characteristics of Hazrat Dawud in the Quran as follows:    

He processed the Iron and made Armor:  

Allah taught Hazrat Dawud to make armor in order to protect Sons of Israel from the intensity of war, and told him to make large armor by softening the iron and to process it in a very nice way.

“It was We Who taught him the making of coats of mail for your benefit, to guard you from each other’s violence: will ye then be grateful? (al-Anbiya, 21/80) “We bestowed Grace aforetime on David from Ourselves: "O ye Mountains! sing ye back the Praises of Allah with him! and ye birds (also)! and We made the iron soft for Him. (Commanding) "Make thou coats of mail, balancing well the rings of chain armor, and work ye righteousness; for be sure I see (clearly) all that ye do." (Saba’, 34/10-11)

When the phrase, " We made the iron soft for Him" is interpreted, it is stated in many tafsir books that that the iron became like candle or mud in the hands of Hazrat Dawud thanks to the grant of Allah and that he shaped iron without using any tools like hammer, etc. ( Tabari, Ibn Atiyya, Radi, interpretation of the relevant verses) 

Doubtlessly, Allah, who imposed the laws of nature, can let some extraordinary things happen when He wishes. Therefore, if those details in the tafsir books had been expressed in the Quran or hadith books, it would have been possible to accept them as true. Besides, it is also regarded appropriate to interpret the verse as Allah encouraging Hazrat Dawud to process the iron and giving him sufficient power and a special skill to do it.  (Kur’an Yolu, Heyet, interpretation of the 10th verse of the chapter Saba’)

In Islamic resources, it is reported that Hazrat Dawud wandered in disguise among people after becoming the ruler and found out about the thoughts of people regarding the activities of the state. Once, when an angel who was in the shape of a man said Dawud (pbuh) was a good person for himself and for his ummah but he made his living through the Treasure, Dawud (pbuh) prayed Allah to show him a way of earning his keep; thereupon, he was taught the art of making armor. According to a narration, he is the first person to make armor and to wear it. In a hadith, Hazrat Prophet said, “Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one's own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David never ate anything but the earnings of his manual labor” (Bukhari, Buyu’ 15).

The Quran states clearly that Hazrat Dawud is the master of the ironmongers and that he used this skill to make armor in order to protect human blood from being shed. Dawud (pbuh) could have used his skill to make swords. However, he produced a defense weapon not an assault weapon. (Elmalılı, Hak Dini, interpretation of the relevant verses) Besides, the expression, “taught him the making of coats of mail for your benefit, to guard you from each other’s violence” in the chapter of al-Anbiya explains that the wisdom behind teaching how to make armor was to protect man from other men.

The subtlety here is very clear: A prophet can be occupied with good and beneficial works only. Hazrat Prophet encouraged people to work and gave them examples from the history of prophets. To work and to make one’s own living have an important place in Islam. It is a shame and a sin not to work, to sit lazily and to beg although one can work. Hazrat Prophet expressed it in the hadith that has a great social and economic importance. (Bukhari, Buyu’ 15). It is understood from that hadith that Dawud (pbuh) was a skilled artisan that earned his living by working with his hands and without being a burden for anybody.

Mountains and Birds Glorified Allah together with him: 

Allah put mountains and birds under the command of Hazrat Dawud and they joined him in glorifying Allah day and night.  (al-Anbiya, 21/79; Saba’, 34/10; Sad, 38/18-19) According to what is reported in Islamic resources, the voice of Hazrat Dawud was both sonorous and beautiful. When Dawud started to read the Psalms with his sonorous and beautiful voice, wolves and birds stopped and listened to him; his voice resonated on the mountains. According to a hadith reported by Hazrat Aishs and Abu Hurayra, when Hazrat Prophet heard the voice of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, he said,“Abu Musa was given from the Psalms of Dawud.” (Ahmad bin Hanbal, II/354) In another narration reported by Abu Musa, the Prophet said: “O Abu Musa! You were given one Psalm from the Psalms of Aal-i Dawud.” (Bukhari, Fadailu’l-Qur’an 31) Hazrat Dawud was known for the beauty of his voice as well as his speedy reciting. According to a hadith reported from Abu Hurayra, the Messenger of Allah said,“The reciting of the Psalms was made easy for Dawud. He used to order that his riding animals be saddled, and would finish reciting the Psalms before they were saddled. And he would never eat except from the earnings of his manual work.” (Bukhari, Anbiya 37; Tafsir 17/6)

Allah granted Dawud (pbuh) the ability to melt iron with his hand and the miracle of softening the hearts with his voice like iron. The fact that mountains glorified Allah with Hazrat Dawud was a grant and gift of Allah to him. No other slave of Allah was granted such a gift. 

He was very keen on Worshipping: 

It was stated in the Quran that Hazrat Dawud avoided committing sins, that he mentioned the names of Allah a lot and that he was very keen on worshipping and doing good deeds. (Sad, 38/17) Hazrat Prophet praised his prayer and fasting as follows: “The prayer (salah) that Allah loves the best is the prayer of Dawud and the fasting that He loves best is the fasting of Dawud.” (Bukhari, Tahajjud 7) The Messenger of Allah told Abdullah bin Amr, who said that he was going to fast every day and that he was going to perform prayers all night, to fast for three days; when he considered it insufficient, the Messenger of Allah told him to fast one day and to eat two days; when he did not accept it, the Prophet said, “Fast one day and eat one day. It is the fast of Dawud and it is the most virtuous kind of fasting; there is no fasting more virtuous than it.” (Bukhari, Sawm 55-57, 59, Anbiya 37, Fadailu’l-Qur’an 34, Adab 84, Isti’dhan 38) On the other hand, Hazrat Prophet said that Dawud (pbuh) slept half of the night and slept during one-third of the night and slept again during the remaining one-sixth of the night. (Bukhari, Tahajjud 7, Anbiya 38)

Fasting of Dawud: 

To fast every other day, that is, to fast one day and to eat the next day was described as the “fasting of Dawud” by the Prophet and it was stated that it was virtuous to fast like that. The Prophet said the following about that kind of fasting:  “The most virtuous fasting is the fasting of Dawud; he fasted one day and ate the next day.” When Abdullah bin Amr, one of the Companions, said, “I can fast more”, the Prophet told him that the fasting of Dawud was a virtuous kind of fasting and advised him not to fast more. (Muslim, Siyam 187-192) Therefore, to fast every other day is considered as the most virtuous supererogatory fasting.   

He was given the Psalms: 

In the Quran, it is stated that Hazrat Dawud was given the Psalms(an-Nisa, 4/163; al-Isra, 17/55); its content is mentioned briefly (al-Anbiya, 21/105) but detailed information is not given. In other Islamic resources, it is stated that the Psalms given to Hazrat Dawud (pbuh) were sent down in the month of Ramadan, that it contained sermons and words of wisdom and that Hazrat Dawud (pbuh) usually recited it accompanied by a melody and a musical instrument.  

Hazrat Dawud was appointed as the Vicegerent on Earth: 

Dawud (pbuh) was appointed as the Vicegerent on Earth, his sovereignty was strengthened and he was ordered to judge justly: “O David! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth: so judge thou between men in truth (and justice): nor follow thou the lusts, (of thy heart), for they will mislead thee from the Path of Allah: for those who wander astray from the Path of Allah, is a Penalty Grievous, for that they forget the Day of Account. (Sad, 38/26) It is stated that in the Bible that Sons of Israel started a settled civilization and strengthened the state, that Hazrat Dawud put his house and his kingdom into an order, that he systemized worship and that he established a regular army in his period. Accordingly, Dawud fulfilled the duty he received from Allah faithfully, expanded his kingdom in the way that Allah promised to the generation of Ibrahim (Abraham); his kingdom expanded from the coast of Euphrates to the coast of the Red Sea. (I. Samuel 8/3; I. Chronicles 18/3).

Hazrat Dawud was a real head of state and a qualified ruler. He centralized his power and developed the military organization by making Jerusalem the capital. When he ruled the state, he himself applied justice and made judgments about the lawsuits. (II. Samuel, 8/15; 14/4-22; 15/2-6; I. Chronicles, 18/14; see  TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Davud aleyhisselam item)
He was given Sound Judgment: 

" We strengthened his kingdom, and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision."(Sad, 38/20) Hazrat Dawud was given sound judgment, that is, the ability to settle the conflicts definitely and justly and the ability to explain every aim through speech. (Qurtubi, al-Jamiu li-Ahkami’l-Qur’an, 15/107) Thanks to this ability, he settled the lawsuits that were brought to him and assured justice on his land. Wisdom means knowledge that is in accordance with the truth. Sound judgment means to explain the views that come to the mind. It also means speaking nicely, understanding the essence of things, to settle lawsuits with in a just and convincing way.  One of the characteristics of Dawud (pbuh) is his ability to speak nicely and to settle the conflicts among people in a nice way.   

To sum up, Hazrat Dawud is a prophet that is mentioned in the Quran by addressing the Prophet:“…and remember Our Servant David, the man of strength: for he ever turned (to Allah)”, who is mentioned by the attribute of (turning to Allah and praying him a lot) (Sad, 38/17); made the hills declare, in unison with him (Sad, 38/18), And the birds gathered (in assemblies): all with him did turn (to Allah) (Sad, 38/19); " gave him wisdom (Sad, 38/20); it is stated that he was "righteous" and he enjoyed, indeed, a Near Approach to Us, and a beautiful place of (final) Return (Sad, 38/25);We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth .(Sad, 38/26)

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