The Bani Israa'eel, who had been brought out of Egypt by Prophet Moosa (AS), had settled in the land of Palestine . However, they were constantly engaged in war against the Philistines who finally managed to banish them from their homes.
In the last battle, the Sacred Casket containing the original Tablets of the Taurat was lost, and this greatly demoralized the Bani Israa'eel. They spent many gloomy years in exile before they approached Prophet Samuel (AS) and asked him to appoint a strong king for them so that they could regain their land.
On the command of Allah, Prophet Samuel (AS) appointed Taaloot (Saul) as their king. The Bani Israa'eel protested at this choice, saying that Taaloot was a poor and unknown man. However, Prophet Samuel (AS) informed them that Taaloot had been chosen because of his knowledge, wisdom and strength, and he would undoubtedly lead them to victory.
It took Taaloot 20 years to relocate the Sacred Casket and once it was restored to the people, they marched to Palestine . The Philistines were led by a fearsome commander, a huge man by the name of Jaaloot (Goliath). The sight of Jaaloot filled the Bani Israa'eel with dread and none dared to fight him.
Prophet Dawood (AS) was present in the army of Taaloot. He was only a young man at the time, and had not come to fight. His job was to attend to his three older brothers who were soldiers, and to bring news of the war back to their father.
When Taaloot saw that Jaaloot had terrified his army, he tried to encourage his men by promising them great rewards if they faced Jaaloot. He promised that he would marry his daughter to the man who killed Jaaloot.
Drawn by the commotion at the battlefront, Prophet Dawood (AS) left his post and came to find out what was going on. He had never fought a duel before, but when he saw the scene, he approached Taaloot and said, "I am fit to fight this devil because I have killed a tiger and a bear that attacked my father's sheep."
Bravery of Prophet Dawood (AS)
The brave words of Prophet Dawood (AS) touched Taaloot, who dressed him in a coat of armor and warned him to be careful. Before Prophet Dawood (AS) approached Jaaloot, he removed the heavy armor which was restricting his movement. He stood before the enemy, armed only with a catapult and the staff with which he used to guide his sheep.
Before Jaaloot could react to this challenge, Prophet Dawood (AS) had shot a stone from his catapult. The stone struck Jaaloot's forehead with terrible force and brought him to the ground in a daze. Prophet Dawood (AS) then drew Jaaloot's heavy sword and cut off his head. The sight of their champion dead crushed the Philistines, who deserted the battlefield in panic. In appreciation of the extraordinary courage of Prophet Dawood (AS), Taaloot married him to his daughter Mikaal.
The Holy Qur'an says: Through Allah's Will, they defeated their enemy. Dawood slew Jaaloot and Allah granted him the kingdom and wisdom... (Qur'an 2:251)
Prophet Dawood (AS) was made commander-in-chief of Taaloot's army and his close friendship to Taaloot's son Yunathaan, made him very powerful and popular in the land. After Taaloot's death Prophet Dawood (AS) became the king. Allah gave him wisdom and the Divine Book, Zaboor (Psalms), which he used to recite in a melodious voice to attract the people to the words of Allah.
Blessings bestowed upon Prophet Dawood (AS)
Prophet Dawood (AS) was given many blessings by Allah. When he used to praise Allah, the mountains and the birds would also join him. Iron was like wax in his hands, and he used to design and mould special, lightweight battle armor made of iron ringlets joined together. By selling these to the army, he earned his livelihood.
The Holy Qur'an says: Indeed We granted Dawood a favor, saying, "O Mountains! Recite the praise of Allah along with him, and O Birds!, you too." And We made iron soft for him. (Qur'an 34:10)
Prophet Dawood (AS) used to allocate different duties for each day. He set aside one day for the worship of Allah, one day for hearing people's complaints, one day for giving sermons, one day for rest and so on. On the day set for his rest, Prophet Dawood's (AS) guards did not allow anybody to enter his house. On one such day, two angels in human form entered his house from the roof, startling Prophet Dawood (AS).
The Holy Qur'an says: When they climbed into the prayer room and entered upon Dawood he was frightened of them. They said, "Do not be frightened, the two of us are disputing a wrong that one has done the other. So decide between us with justice and do not act unjustly; and guide us on the straight path. This is my brother. He has 99 ewes and I have but a single ewe, but he says, Make me the owner of that one also, and he has overcome me in arguing." (Qur'an 38:22,23)
Prophet Dawood (AS) heard the complaint and at once he said that the man demanding the only sheep his brother possessed was being unjust. At that moment Prophet Dawood (AS) realized that this was a test of Allah and he regretted his hasty decision without demanding proof from the complainant and hearing both sides of the story. He realized that in his position as judge amongst the people, he could not make rash decisions and he turned to Allah, begging His forgiveness for this mistake.
The Holy Qur'an says: We forgave him that (lapse) and indeed for him with Us is a closeness and an excellent reward. (Qur'an 38:25)
Prophet Dawood (AS) ruled wisely for many years and was succeeded by his youngest son, Prophet Sulaymaan (AS).