Is what is told about Hz. Dawud (Dawud) and Uriya true?

The Details of the Question

Someone told me about the Prophet Dawud and Uriya. According to what he said, the Prophet Dawud deliberately sent Uriya to war and then married his wife. Will you clarify the issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are some wrong information and features that Jews and Christians put forward as religion. One of them is the aspersions cast on some prophets. It is stated in the Old Testament that the Prophet Dawud had Uriya, one of the commanders of his army, killed and married his wife. [Old Testament, 2. Samuel, Chapter: 11, Verse: 2-26]

How can a book that attributes such a vile deed, which even the meanest people would repent if they saw it in their dreams, to a prophet, about whom the Quran says, “...How excellent in Our service...” (Sad, 38/30), be a divine book? Thinking that it is even slightly probable means not knowing the prophet and prophethood.

The Prophet Dawud was a person whose tears made marks on his face. He always wept and made others weep. He was Awwah. He always said “Ah!” and groaned. He was Munib. He never took his face away from his Lord. Continuous worshipping became his distinguishing feature. His fasting was appreciated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as the most virtuous fasting. The Messenger of Allah recommended the fasting of the Prophet Dawud to the Companions who persistently sought the most virtuous nafilah fasting. The Prophet Dawud performed fasting every other day. (Bukhari, Tahajjud 7; Sawm 59; Muslim, Siyam 182)

He was a king. The state treasury was always at his disposal. However, he never thought of spending even a bit from the state treasury. He made his living with manual labor and met the needs of his house with his own personal income. (Bukhari, Buyu’, 15; Tabarani, al-Mu’jamul-Kabir, 20/267)

See how the distorted book attributes a mean and disgusting deed to a prophet who was so sensitive about even the morsel that went into his mouth and whose worshipping was one of his distinguished characteristics. The imagination of the Prophet Dawud will be disturbed by hosting such a deed in his spirit even for a moment, and he is free and away from such thoughts.

The narration above and similar ones included in some history books are completely false and fabricated; they are Israiliyyat (coming from Jewish sources).

This incident, attributed to the Prophet Dawud, is a deliberate murder and shedding the blood of an innocent person. How can a person who is a messenger of Allah do it? How can it be reconciled with the attributes of the prophets?

Allah praises the Prophet Dawud with at least ten or fifteen attributes in the verses of the Quran:

1) God Almighty orders the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to follow the Prophet Dawud.

Have patience at what they say, and remember our servant Dawud, the man of strength.” (Sad, 38/17)

If the Prophet Dawud had been a person who could not control his lust and could shed blood to fulfill his desire, would Allah, who is ‘Ahkamul-Hakimin (the wisest of the all wise ones)’, have ordered the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the most virtuous of the prophets, to follow him?

2) God Almighty says “our servant” for Dawud in the same verse. It contains the meaning of “obeying Allah’s commands completely and fully, avoiding His prohibitions”. If the Prophet Dawud had done such wrong deeds, he would not have been a perfect person, and Allah would not have used that expression about him. In that case, Dawud would have been a man controlled by his desires and lusts.

3) The phrase “the man of strength” is used for the Prophet Dawud in the Quran; he is praised with that phrase.

It is said that this strength means “strength in religion and worship”. (Razi, Tafsir, XXVI/190) For, unbelievers also have strength and power in their bodies or worldly affairs. The “strength” of someone who covets a believer’s wife and goes to extremes to shed blood for it is not worth praising.

4) Dawud is also referred to as “awwab” (=turning to Allah a lot, begging). (Sad, 38/17) How can this attribute be given to someone whose heart is always busy with sins and murder?

5) It is stated in a verse that the mountains were at the disposal of Dawud and they glorified Allah with him (Sad, 38/18). It is a virtue. A sinful person cannot be honored with such a virtue

6) It is stated that while he was reading the Psalms, the birds that gathered around him coming from all sides were also at Dawud’s disposal. (Sad, 38/19) According to a narration, it was haram to hunt birds and the birds approached him in safety. (Razi, Tafsir, XXVI/190) The fact that a believer could not protect his life and chastity against someone in whose presence animals and birds felt secure is an issue that is difficult to explain!

7) A verse states that “wisdom” was given to Dawud (Sad, 38/20). Wisdom is a word that expresses the good things that are necessary for human beings as knowledge and deeds. A prophet to whom Allah states that He gave “wisdom” cannot do such things.

8) The Qur’an states that Dawud was a “righteous” person; it is stated that he was “close” to Allah and that “his end was good” (Sad, 38/25). Such a person is definitely superior to angels and is free from any doubt.

9) Allah states the following:

“O Dawud! We did indeed make thee a vicegerent on earth.” (Sad, 38/26.)

The aspersions cast on him cannot be reconciled with being a vicegerent. (see Razi, Tafsir, XXVI/189-190)

Those statements and praises of the Quran about the Prophet Dawud show that the story attributed to him is false. It is not halal for any believer to narrate those things randomly.

What is said about the Prophet Dawud in some history books is Israiliyyat and is never true.

To sum up:

- Ibn Kathir states in his interpretation of the verse in question that the majority of the stories related to the issue are Israiliyyat, that a hadith narration reported by Ibn Abi Hatim regarding the issue is not sound, and that that there is no sound narration from the Prophet (pbuh) about the issue. Undoubtedly, Tabari’s narrations are also included in those statements of Ibn Kathir.

- While interpreting the verse in question, Razi includes some expressions in the verses and hadiths praising Dawud. He points out that the stories in question cannot be reconciled with those expressions and that even the most sinful man would not resort to do such a vile deed.

- Stating that those stories are completely fabricated, Qadi Baydawi and Alusi include the following statement of Hz. Ali regarding the issue: “If anyone narrates those stories about the Prophet of Dawud in my presence, I will whip him a hundred and twenty times.”

- When we view the issue in the light of all those explanations, we think that those stories - in some of the tafsir books mentioned in the question - are never compatible with prophethood, and that a prophet like Dawud, who is praised in the Quran and hadiths especially for his worship and piety, cannot have any relation with such an incident by any means.

Footnotes:

- For evaluations regarding the issue, see Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, VI, 53; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, II/14; al-Qurtubi, Tafsir, XV/166, note.l; Ibnul-Jawzi, Tafsir, VII/114, not.l; al-Qasimi, Tafsir, XIV/5089.

- For Yazid Ibn Aban ar-Raqqashi included in the chain of narrators of the information in history books, adh-Dhahabi, Mizanul-Itidal, FV, 418; Ibn Hajar, Tahdhibut-Tahdhib, XI/309 v.d.

- For Abdullah Ibn Lahia, who is included in the chain of narrators of the narration and is criticized a lot by imams, see Ibn Abi Hatim ar-Razi, Kitabul-Jarh wat-Ta’dil, V/145 ff.; adh-Dhahabi, Mizanul-Itidal, II/475 ff; Ibn Hajar, Tahdhibut-Tahdhib, V/373 ff

- see Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Aydemir, İslâmî Kaynaklara Göre Peygamberler, Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı Yayınları: 157-161. Footnotes:

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