Shared Prophets


Shared ProphetsDavid’s story in the Koran is short, mostly contained in Surah 38 with a title of three symbolic letters, ‘Sâd’, about which Fakhry is silent. David is famous in the Bible for sleeping with the wife of a soldier in his army and, when she becomes pregnant, arranging for her husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle. This is not mentioned in the Koran.

In Allah’s revelations about the prophets, they are all, not unlike the Pope, considered infallible in matters of faith. His Messengers are also mostly free from any sin, although, as in the story of David, God would forgive them for minor transgressions which were mainly in their own minds.

The story of David begins shortly after the Meccan audience, to whom Muhammad was speaking, taunt him with a specious request that God hasten their share of the punishment.

38:16 They say (the Meccan unbelievers): “Our Lord, hasten for us our share before the Day of Reckoning.”

38:17 Bear patiently (Muhammad) with what they say and remember Our Servant, David, the mighty one; he was a true penitent.

38:18 We have subjected the mountains together with him, to glorify in the evening and at daybreak;

38:19 And the birds were mustered; all obedient to him (David).

38:20 And we strengthened his kingdom and gave him wisdom and the decisive speech.

Two brothers, labelled enemies by Allah but claiming to want to be guided “to the Straight Path” (Revelation 38:22), raided David’s sanctuary for the sole purpose of getting him to settle a dispute about ewes that even the densest, but morally aware, individual could have resolved.

38:21 Have you heard the news of the enemy when they scaled the sanctuary?

38:22 When they entered upon David and he was afraid of them. They said: “Do not fear. We are two adversaries, one of us encroached on the other unjustly; so judge between us with justice and do not transgress, and guide us to the Straight Path.

38:23 “This is my brother, who has ninety-nine ewes and I have only one. So he said; ‘Let me take charge of it,’ and he overcame me in the argument.”

Was the owner of ninety-nine ewes within his rights? The answer is obvious, but David worried it was a test from God. Not taking any chances, he begged forgiveness from Allah after giving the correct answer.

38:24 He (David) said: “He has wronged you by asking for your ewe on top of his ewes. Indeed, many partners have encroached one on the other, except for those who believe and do the righteous deeds; and how few they are?” David thought that We had tried him, so he asked forgiveness from His Lord and fell down on his knees and repented.

Even if it was all in David’s head, God, of course, forgave him, perhaps because of their close relationship.

38:25 So, We forgave him that. Indeed, he has a close relationship with Us and a fair recourse.

A close relationship or not, Allah had a warning for David.

38:26 O David, We have appointed you a vicegerent on earth; so judge justly among men and do not follow your fancy, lest it lead you away from the Path of Allah. Indeed those who lead others away from the Path of Allah will have a terrible punishment, because they have forgotten the Day of Reckoning.

The Psalms

It is difficult to imagine that the same deity is the inspiration for both the Psalms and the Koran since the style and tone are so different. Allah mentions the Psalms on at least three occasions. The first is part of a trio of verses where He reminds Muhammad of all the Messengers who came before him and that he is not guardian of the people He intends to torture.

4:163 We have revealed to you, as We revealed to Noah and the Prophets after him. And We revealed to Abraham, Isma‘il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes; and to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron and Salomon; and We gave David a Book (the zabûr, i.e. the psalms).

4:164 And [We sent forth] some Messengers We have already told you about, and some We have not told you about. And Allah spoke to Moses directly.

4:165 Messengers, who were bearers of good news (for the believers) and warners (to the unbelievers), so that mankind will have no plea against Allah, after the Messenger’s coming. Allah is Mighty and Wise!

You may find the juxtaposition of revelations about the Psalms and Allah’s casual attitude to torture to be significant.

17:54 Your Lord knows you best. If He pleases, He will have mercy on you, and if He pleases He will torture you. We have not sent you (Muhammad) to be their guardian.

17:55 And your Lord knows best what is in the heavens and on earth. We bestowed on some of the Prophets more gifts than on the others, and We gave David the Psalms.

Allah revealed that, in the Psalms, He bequeathed life on Earth to His "righteous servants”; this is a promise He intends to keep upon restoring it—in other words, making Earth habitable once again after completely destroying it on Judgement Day.

21:104 The day when We will fold heaven like a scroll of writing, just as We began Our First creation, We shall bring it back – a promise [binding] on Us that We shall fulfil.

21:105 We have written in the Psalms that, after the Reminder, My righteous servants shall inherit the earth.

21:106 Surely, there is in this (Qur’an) a Message to a worshipping people.

The Psalms was not the only bounty Allah bestowed on David.

34:10 We have given David a bounty from Us; “O mountains, proclaim the praise with him, and you birds”, and We softened the iron for him.

34;11 “Fashion ample coats of arms and measure well the links; and do you all the righteous deeds. I am fully observant of what you do.”

David and Solomon Together

21:78 And David and Solomon, when they gave judgement, regarding the tillage, when the people’s sheep wandered therein by night; and We bore witness to their judgement.


There is no mention of this event in the Bible nor in the Jewish literature. According to the Muslim commentators, it happened like this: The goats of one person entered into the field of another person at night. The latter brought his complaint to Prophet David who decided that the strayed goats should be given to the owner of the field. Prophet Solomon, however, differed with this and opined that the goats should remain with the owner of the field up to the time that the former tilled and prepared the field as before. In regard to this Allah says, "We led Solomon to the right decision" (revelation 21:79). As regards the legal aspect of the matter we cannot say with certainty what is the Islamic law in such a case nor is there any Tradition of the Holy Prophet to explain or support it. That is why the jurists have differed about it.

21:79 And so We made Solomon understand it, and to each We gave judgment and knowledge. And with David, We subjected the mountains and the birds so as to glorify God (instead of Me?); and that We accomplished.

21:80 And We taught him the craft of making coats of mail for you, so as to protect you from your own might. Are you, then, thankful?

21:81 And to Solomon We subjected the stormy wind blowing at his command towards the land which We have blessed, and We have knowledge of everything.

21:82 And some of the devils dived for him and did other work besides that and We were watching them.

(See Chapter Saul for the encounter with Goliath.)