Born10th century BCE
Died9th century BCE
Other namesHebrew: דָּוִד, romanizedDāwīḏ
romanized: Dāwīḏ Syriac: ܕܘܝܕ, romanizedDawīd
Koine Greek: Δαυίδ, romanizedDauíd
Known forDefeating Jalut; being the King of Israel; receiving the Zabur; prophesying to and warning Israel; being highly gifted musically and vocally

Dawud (Arabic: دَاوُوْد, romanizedDāwūd [daːwuːd]), or David, is considered a prophet and messenger of God (Allah) in Islam, as well as a righteous, divinely-anointed monarch of the United Kingdom of Israel.[1] Additionally, Muslims also honor David for having received the divine revelation of the Zabur (Psalms).[2][3]

Dawud is considered one of the most important people in Islam. Mentioned sixteen times in the Quran, David appears in the Islamic scripture as a link in the chain of prophets who preceded Muhammad.[4] Although he is not usually considered one of the "law-giving" prophets (ulū al-ʿazm), "he is far from a marginal figure"[according to whom?] in Islamic thought.[2] In later Islamic traditions, he is praised for his rigor in prayer and fasting. He is also presented as the prototypical just ruler and as a symbol of God's authority on earth, having been at once a king and a prophet.

David is particularly important to the religious architecture of Islamic Jerusalem.[1] Dawud is known as biblical David who was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, reigning c. 1010–970 BCE.[citation needed]


The Quranic Arabic form of David is Dāwud or Dāwūd, differing from Koine Greek: Δαυίδ and Syriac: ܕܘܝܕ, romanizedDawīd (which follow Hebrew: דָּוִד, romanizedDāwīd). These forms appear in the Quran sixteen times.[1]

Narrative in the Quran

David's narrative in the Quran, in many respects, parallels that given in the Bible. He is named a prophet (nabī) and also a messenger (rasūl), David is included in lists of those who received revelation (waḥy; Q4:163) or guidance (hudā; 6:84) from God. In both lists his name appears next to that of his son Solomon. Elsewhere, the Quran explains that God gave to both of them the gifts of "sound judgment" (ḥukm; 21:79) and "knowledge" (ʿilm; 21:79; 27:15). Yet the Quran also ascribes to David merits that distinguish him from Solomon: David killed Goliath (2:251) and received a divine revelation named "the Psalms"[5] (Quran 17:55 uses an indefinite form, while 21:105 uses the definite form al-Zabūr),[5] presumably a reference to the Psalms or the Psalter (the term Zabūr is perhaps related to the Hebrew term mizmōr or Syriac mazmūrā, "psalm"). The mountains and the birds praised God along with David (21:79; in 34:10 God commands them to do so; cfr. Psalm 148:7–10). God made David a "vicegerent" (khalīfa; 38:26), a title that the Quran otherwise gives only to Adam (2:30). This title suggests that, according to the Quran, David was something more than a messenger: he was a divinely guided leader who established God's rule on Earth.[1] This role is also suggested by 2:251: "God gave him authority (mulk) and wisdom (ḥikmah) and taught him what He willed. If God did not drive back some people by others, the earth would become corrupt."[2]

Among the things taught to David was the ability to make armour (21:80, 34:10–11), a suggestion that David's military exploits were the act of God. It is also important that the Quranic reference to David's "wisdom" was sometimes explained by the classical exegetes as the gift of prophecy.[6] The Quran also connects David and Jesus, by insisting that both cursed Jews against their prophecy who did not believe (5:78). Moreover, according to the Quran, David was given the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood when dispensing justice (faṣl al-khiṭāb, 38:20). Furthermore, there is the allusion to a test David was put through, wherein he prayed and repented and God forgave him (38:24-5). Surat Sad (the 38th chapter of the Quran) is also called "the sūra of David"[7] Exegetes explain that since David prostrated when asking God to forgive him, Muhammad was ordered to imitate him and to perform a prostration when reading this chapter.[8]

Religious significance

David is one of the few Islamic Prophets who received Kingship as well. While other prophets preached during the reign of kings, David, in his time, was the king. Thus, he received an extremely large task, of making sure that the people of Israel were not only held in check spiritually but that the country itself remained strong as well. His place as both leader and prophet is revered by all Muslims as one of extremely high rank. The figure of David, together with that of his prophetic son, Solomon, are iconic of people who ruled justly over their land. God frequently mentions David's high rank as a prophet and messenger in the Quran. He is often mentioned alongside other prophets to emphasize how great he was. For example, God says:

And We gave him Isaac and Jacob and guided them, as We had guided Noah before them, and of his descendants, David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Moses and Aaron. Thus We reward those who are upright and do good.

When the Caliph 'Umar visited Jerusalem, the Patriarch Sophronius accompanied him on the Temple Mount, while he searched for the Mihrab Dawud (David's prayer-niche) to perform a prayer. Later commentators identified this site with the Tower of David. In a hadith, the prayer and fasting of David is mentioned to be dear to God.

Narrated Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As: The Apostle of Allah told me, "The most beloved prayer to Allah is that of David and the most beloved fasts to Allah are those of David. He used to sleep for half of the night and then pray for one third of the night and again sleep for its sixth part and used to fast on alternate days."

— Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari[10]

The Book of David

Main article: Zabur

The Zabur is the holy book attributed to David by God, just as Musa (Moses) received the Tawrat (Torah), Isa (Jesus) received the Injil (Gospel) and Muhammad received the Quran. In the current Hebrew Bible, the Zabur is known as the Psalms. However, like other scriptures of the past, the Psalms are believed to have been corrupted over time, with some of the original message now gone. Nonetheless, Muslims are told to treat the present Psalms with immense respect because, Muslims believe it was a book from God (Book of God). The Quran states:

Your Lord knows whoever is in the heavens and the earth. We exalted some of the prophets over the others; and to David We gave the Book of Psalms.




See also


  1. ^ a b c d Reynolds, Gabriel Said (2012). "David". In Fleet, Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Vol. 3. Leiden: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_25921. ISBN 978-90-04-22545-9. ISSN 1873-9830.
  2. ^ a b c Hasson, Isaac (2006). "David". In McAuliffe, Jane Dammen (ed.). Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. Vol. I. Leiden: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQCOM_00047. ISBN 90-04-14743-8.
  3. ^ Quran 4:163; 17:55.
  4. ^ Quran 4:163; 6:84.
  5. ^ a b Reynolds, Gabriel Said (2020). "The Qur'an's Relationship to the Bible". Allah: God in the Qurʾān. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 36–37. doi:10.2307/j.ctvxkn7q4. ISBN 978-0-300-24658-2. JSTOR j.ctvxkn7q4. LCCN 2019947014. S2CID 226129509.
  6. ^ e.g. Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, i, 559
  7. ^ Hibat Allāh b. Salāma, al-Nāsikh wa-l-mansūkh (in the margin of Wāḥidī, Asbāb), Cairo 1316/1898-9, 262
  8. ^ Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ, vi, 155
  9. ^ Quran 6:84
  10. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 2:21:231
  11. ^ Quran 17:55