Who invented war armor?

The Details of the Question

- Who invented armor, the Prophet Dawud (David) or, according to historians, the Celts in the 3rd century BC?
- It is written in 34:10-11 in the Quran that Allah taught Prophet Dawud how to make armor.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is known from the chapters of al-Anbiya and as-Saba of the Quran that the Prophet Dawud made armor and from other different parts that the Prophet Adam was a farmer, Nuh (Noah was a carpenter), Idris was a tailor and that Musa (Moses) was a shepherd.

It means that prophets led their ummahs and humanity both spiritually and materially.

In addition, based on the information in the Quran, it can be said that prophets worked hard to make a living for themselves and their families when they served as the messengers of Allah, that they were not a burden to their people in this respect, and that they set an example for them with this philosophy of life.

As a matter of fact, the Prophet Dawud was a practicing blacksmith, a king, and a prophet. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith, “The best thing a person eats is what he earns himself. The Prophet Dawud would not eat anything but what he earned with the labor of his own hands.” (1)

The translation of verses 10 and 11 of the chapter of Saba is as follows:

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 coast of mail, balancing well the rings of chain armor, and work ye righteousness; for be sure I see (clearly) all that ye do.

When the expression “We made the iron soft for him” in the verse is explained in several tafsirs (2), it is stated that iron became like wax or mud in the Prophet Dawud’s hands without being melted in the fire by the grace of Allah and that he could give iron any shape he wanted without the need to use tools such as hammers. In addition, the miracle of “softening the iron in the palm of his hand” given to the Prophet Dawud and the armor mentioned in the verse “made by adding small iron rings together” are perhaps another way of telling humanity that they can melt iron and give it the desired shape. As a matter of fact, humanity melted iron before Dawud and shaped the iron they melted after Dawud; they transformed it into steel and used it in industry.

In terms of the power of Allah, it is possible for the Prophet Dawud to cast iron into any shape he wished like wax, without heating and forging it. Elmalılı, the tafsir scholar, states the following regarding the issue:

It seems that iron softens and dissolves so much in the fire that it becomes like ink used in writing. Then, who, among sane people, regards it as impossible for to divine power?

Some people reached the conclusion that what was meant by it was to say that he found and discovered melting iron by using fire and tools but it is not true. The discovery and smelting of iron must have occurred before. However, applying sensitive technology to weave it like clothes by putting it in any shape like wax was an art granted to the Prophet Dawud. (3)

Researchers say that iron smelting (processing) was discovered in the Middle East in early 2000 BC. According to sources, that science gradually spread to Egypt, and then to the Mediterranean countries, where iron was believed to be a rare metal and weapons were made of shiny copper. Ironworking techniques reached the Upper Euphrates basin in 900 BC, and were transferred to France and the Iberian Peninsula in the west, to Germany and the British Islands in the northwest, via the Celts who migrated from there. (4)

That is, the issue of processing the iron and making armor given to Dawud is a miracle; his putting iron into any shape he wished like wax, without heating iron or forging it is not and should not be compared to what others do.

References:

1) Bukhari, Buyu, 15.
2) For detailed information on the issue, see Tabari, Ibn Atiyya, Razi, Ibn Kathir, the interpretation of verses 10 and 11 of the chapter of Saba.
3) Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, Hak Dini, the interpretation of verses 10 and 11 of the chapter of Saba.
4) Norman J. G. Pounds, “The Geography of Iron and Steel”, Hutchinson University Library, Co (Publishers) LTD, London, p. 11.

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