Prophet David (Dawud, peace be upon him) succeeded King Saul after his death. He reigned for about forty years (1000 to 962 BC), he established a united kingdom over, all the Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital. The Jews and Christians consider him a king, despite clear indications of him being a king, messenger of God and Muslim [Muslim: who will do all My (God’s) will] in the Bible: “.. the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart; and the LORD has appointed him to be prince over his people ..(1Sameul;13:14);“..he raised up David to be their king; of whom he testified and said, `I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.”(Acts;13:22);“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”(1Samuel;16:13). David communicated with God (2 Samuel;2:1) and God to him (1Chronicles;28:3). The last words of David were: “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and his word was in my tongue.”(2Samuel;23:2).
According to the Islamic traditions he was a prophet (Qur’an;6:84,17:55) and a king, who was given scripture: “..unto David We gave the Psalms.”(Qur’an;17:55). God made him a vicegerent in the earth: “We said: “O’ Dawud! We have made you a vicegerent in the earth, so rule among the people with justice and do not follow your own desires lest they mislead you from the Way of Allah. As for those who go astray from the Way of Allah, they shall surely have a severe punishment because of forgetting the Day of Reckoning.”(Qur’an;38:26); “We strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision.”(Qur’an;38:20); Allah says: “And We verily gave knowledge unto David and Solomon, and they said: Praise be to Allah, Who hath preferred us above many of His believing slaves!”(Qur’an;27:15). Prophet David (peace be upon him), was a worthy and successful king, who, against great odds, founded the Judean dynasty and carved out an empire from the border of Egypt to the Euphrates River. He was the shepherd, warrior, king, wise man, prophet and poet.
He was tested, (details not mentioned) repented and forgiven by God, the incidence is allegorically narrated in Qur’an, Allah says: “Have you heard the story of the two litigants who made an entry into his private chamber through climbing over the wall? When They entered the presence of David, and He was terrified of them, They said: “Fear not: we are two disputants, one of whom has wronged the other: decide Now between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, but guide us to the Even Path. “This man is My brother: He has Nine and ninety ewes, and I have (but) one: yet He says, ‘commit Her to My care,’ and is (moreover) harsh to me In speech.”(David) said: “He has undoubtedly wronged Thee In demanding Thy (single) ewe to be added to His (flock of) ewes: truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong Each other: not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and How few are they?”…and David gathered that We had tried him: He asked forgiveness of His Lord, fell down, bowing (in prostration), and turned (to Allah In repentance).So we forgave Him This (lapse): He enjoyed, indeed, a near approach to us, and a beautiful place of (final) return.”(Qur’an;38:21-25).
Prophet David (peace be upon him) was Israel‘s first successful king. He united all of the Israelite tribes, became the effective ruler over all of them, and was the founder of an enduring dynasty. Thus, he succeeded where King Saul had failed and attained a unique place in Israel’s history and tradition. He established the city of Jerusalem as the centre both of Israel’s political power and of its worship. David as a youth killed the giant Goliath with three pebbles and a slingshot: “So they routed them by Allah’s leave and David slew Goliath; and Allah gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of that which He wills. And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted. But Allah is a Lord of Kindness to (His) creatures.”(Qur’an;2:251). Used as a paradigm as his story shows the faith, determination, and God’s blessing are more important than size and strength: “And assuredly We gave David grace from Us, (saying): O ye hills and birds, echo his psalms of praise! And We made the iron supple unto him”(Qur’an;34:10).
The Biblical account of the era of Prophet David (peace be upon him) is covered in the First and Second Book of Samuel. The Book of I Kings, chapter 1, to chapter 2, verse 11 cover the last years of David and Solomon’s succession to the throne. The biblical account is distorted, tarnishing the image of David, as normally done by the Israelites with the messengers. A shameful story is ascribed to David whereby he commits adultery (2 Samuel;11:4) with Bathsheba, the wife of David’s Hittite general, Uriah and then wickedly caused the death of her husband (2 Samuel;11:6-25). She bore Prophet and King Solomon. David is also accused of shamelessly dancing naked: “How glorious was the king of Israel (David) to day, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovers himself”(2 Samuel;6:20).
In Israel’s religious tradition the royal line, or ‘House of David’ became a primary symbol of the bond between God and the nation; the king was the mediator between the deity and his people. The English word messiah is derived from hameshiach (“the anointed one”), the title of the kings of the line of David. Thus, in later times of disaster, Israel began to wait for a messiah, a new mediator of the power of God that would redeem the people and its land. By designating Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) as the son of David (peace be upon him), Christianity adhere to the conviction that this hope had been fulfilled. David lived in the memory of his people in a double way: as the great founder of their political power and as the symbol of a central facet of their religious faith. He was succeeded by his son Solomon who was also an obedient servant and prophet of God.
Prophet & Great King: Prophet Solomon (Suleiman, peace be upon him), was heir to his father Prophet David (peace be upon him) as prophet (Qur’an;6:84) and king, he had been endowed with the speech of birds (Qur’an;27:16). The biblical traditions project him as a king, who ruled the united kingdom of Israelites from 961 to 922 B.C. His name ‘Solomon’ is derived from Hebrew word; ‘Shalom’ means ‘peace’. Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) was put on trial, then he turned to God in repentance, and prayed for forgiveness and grant of unique kingdom unmatched in history (Qur’an;38:34). Allah granted his wish. Allah says: “We bestowed knowledge (spiritual insight) on David and Solomon. They both said: “Praise be to Allah Who has exalted us above many of His believing servants.”(Qur’an;27:15). He is also traditionally regarded as the greatest king of Israel, renowned for his wisdom, and builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa Mosque, highly revered by Muslims as the 2nd holiest site after Ka’ba at Makka).
He maintained his dominions with military strength and established Israelite colonies outside his kingdom’s borders. He inherited both his father’s kingdom and his spiritual insight and prophetic office. Legend makes much of a romance between the Queen of Sheba and Solomon, for his granting her “all that she desired, whatever she asked”(1Kings;10:13) has been interpreted to include an offspring. No one in the history has been blessed with the Kingdom like his. God had given him command even over the special creatures like jinns, the animal world, winds and molten copper.(Qur’an;34:12-13). Palestine was destined to be an important centre because of its strategic location for trade by land and sea. Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) fulfilled the commercial destiny of Palestine and brought it to its greatest heights. The nature of his empire was predominantly commercial; it served him and friendly rulers to increase trade by land and sea. The joint merchant-marine expeditions of Solomon and the Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre, sailed practically to the ends of the known world. The demand for fortresses and garrison cities throughout his homeland and empire made it necessary for Solomon to embark on a vast building program; the prosperity of the nation made such a program possible. He was especially lavish with his capital, Jerusalem, where he erected a city wall, a construction called the Millo, the royal palace, and the famous First Temple.
The construction of the FirstTemple was started during the reign of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him), and completed in 957 BC. He also employed jinns in this construction. After building the House of Worship of God, as fulfillment of desire of his father David, Solomon said: “..I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel”(1Kings;8:20), “Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;” (1Kings;8:22), he prayed: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before thee this day; that thy eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which thou hast said, `My name shall be there,’ that thou mayest hearken to the prayer which thy servant offers toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant and of thy people Israel, when they pray toward this place; yea, hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive.”(1Kings;8:27-30). Solomon’s Temple which was to assume an importance far beyond what its dimensions might suggest, for its site became the only central shrine for Judaism, early Christianity and sacred to Islam being the first Qibla (prayer direction) and starting point for the mystic night journey (maira’j) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to heavens.
Wisdom and Justice: Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) also became famous as a sage. Allah says: “at that time We gave Suleiman insight to arrive at the right decision, although We had given wisdom and knowledge to both of them (David and Solomon)…” (Qur’an;21:79). There are numerous traditions which highlight his sense of wisdom and justice. Solomon was deemed wiser than all the sages of Egypt and the Middle East even wiser than some ancient paragons of wisdom. Solomon was also famed as a poet who composed 1,005 songs. The Biblical ‘Song of Solomon’ is attributed to him: “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.”(Song of Solomon;1:1). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon,: “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is Muhammad-im (altogether lovely, im is added for respect in Hebrew). This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”(Song of Solomon; 5:16). [In Hebrew:”Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammad-im Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem.”].
Distorted Biblical Account: The Bible narrate the reign of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) especially in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chronicles 1-9. The biblical account of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) has inherent distortions, which tarnish the image of this great prophet and king, as normally done by the Israelites with their messengers. A shameful story is ascribed to Solomon whereby he is blamed to have committed idolatry by worshiping other gods. Consequently the dismemberment of the united monarchy was to be brought about by God: “For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ash’toreth the goddess of the Sido’nians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.”(1 Kings;11:4-7); And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.” (1 Kings;11:9-11). Solomon is cleared of any evil acts by Qur’an: “And follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind magic and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babylon, Harut and Marut…”(Qur’an;2:102). He was an obedient servant of God, he prayed: “My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be 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 servants.”(Qura’n;27:19).
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