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Part VII. Dāwîd - David - Dāwūd (17) and šēlōmōh - Soloman - Sulaymān (18) and associated prophets and their sacred Books.

 

 

 

17. Dāwūd (= Heb.           , dāwîd = David (fl. 11th -10 cent. BCE/ c. 1037?-c.961(7) BCE?) in Qur'anic-Islamic prophetology David is considered a Nabī (prophet) as well, it seems as a sent Messenger (mursal). He was the biblical youngest son of Jesse (I Sam. 16:1, etc.).  As  a nabī he is mentioned six times in nine sūras of the Qur'an (= Q.). The Q. twice states that God revealed the zabūr (Book, Psalter) to David (Q 4:163;17: 55). God is is said to have taught him `ilm (knowledge) and ḥikma (`wisdom’ Q. 21:78f) as well as how to make armour and soften iron (Q. 21:80; 34:10). David in the Q. is considered God’s just khalīfa on earth (Q. 38:35–38 cf. 2 Sam 11-12 cf. Q. 21:78). His victory over Jālūt (Goliath) is specifically mentioned (Q. 2:251) as are a few other episodes in his unusual and ultimately pious life. Abrahamic religious traditions picture David as a type of both the eschatological messiah and his enemy the latter-day anti-messiah, the  Dajjāl (>Syriac. Deceiver).

David is a figure of great importance both for the Bāb and Baha'-Allah as, among other things, the revealer of the Zabūr (Psalter). In this respect he has a sweet singing voice. Just after the divine his claim  "I am al-bahā’ (the Glory/Beauty), the Bāb, addressing the "Concourse of Lights" (malā’ al-anwār) in QA 108 claims,

"This is the Bird (al-ṭayr) which singeth in the firmament of heaven with the elevated
accent of David (`alā laḥn al-dāwūd)" (108:433).

This same prophetological motif is utilized by Baha'-Allah in the eighth couplet of his early proclaimatory Halih, Halih, Halih, Yā Bishārat (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad-Tidings! c. 1862 CE):

This sweet Davidic voice (naghmih-yi dāwūdī) came from the Divine Lote-Tree (sidrih-yi lāhūtī), with the messianic Spirit (rūḥ-I masīḥhā) ... (Baha'u'llah Ganj, 34).

Though the troubled, apparently far from `iṣmat (infallible) personal life of David spelled out in the Bible would seem to ill-befit his occupying an elevated position, the Islamic David is often represented as an extra pious penitent, a major prophet whose shortcomings were forgiven by God. Though not now regarded by Bahā’is as a maẓhar-i ilāhī (Manifestation of God) David is given high rank by Baha'u'llah. In his Kitab-i īqān, for example, he refers to David son of Jesse as being among the "greatest of prophets" (anbiyā’-yi a`ẓam ; Baha'u'llah, KI:39/51).

An earlier pre-David son of Jesse David.

Most probably as a result of Shī`ī Irfānī or Ahl-i Ḥaqq influence, the prophetology of the Bāb and certain Babi-Baha'i primary sources recognize a David prior to David the son of Jesse (the Bab Ar. Dala'il. Per. Dala'il-i sab`ah., TBA. Ms. 6007C: [189-197], 195; K.Panj.S 424ff; cf. Nuq. Kāf, 27; Muḥadarāt, 1:371f). This second, earlier pre-Mosaic David is most probably the Dāwūd exalted by the Ahl-i Ḥaqq faction known as the Dawūdīs("Davidites") whom the Bāb encountered in Ādhirbayjān and elsewhere (Fr. Anastase the Carmelite, al-Dāwūda aw al-Dāwūdiyyūn in al-Mashriq VI [1903], 60-67).

Sulaymān,     a Qur'anic Nabi  (= Heb.    , šēlōmōh) Solomon (fl. 10 cent. c. 961-922 BCE?) was the son and successor of David (and Bath-Sheba, 2 Sam 12:24f; cf. Q.27:1b,16) as the Israelite king. In the Q. he is a nabī mentioned 17 times in 7 sūras. He is a faithful servant of God (Q.38:29) and another important antitype of Muhammad. Solomon is credited with esoteric knowledge including the speech of animals and birds (Q. 27:16,19) as well as great powers of magic and divination. In Islamic and other magical sources he is reckoned to have been privy to the secret of the ism al-a`ẓam, (mightiest Name of God).
Rooted in the biblical text and Jewish traditions, the tale of Solomon and the variously named Bilqīs, the Queen of Sheba, is recounted in Q. 27 : [16] 20-45).

Like David, Solomon son of David is greatly revered in Bābī- Bahā’ī sources. The Bāb knew of Solomon as a paragon of knowledge and one universally accepted (K. Panj.S:28). In his chronologically Islamo-biblical Lawh-i Ḥikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), Baha'u'llah, like Shaykh Aḥmad and others (JK 1/2:96), refers to Pythagoras (6th cent. BCE?) as a contemporary of Solomon (c. 986-930) and one who "acquired wisdom (al-ḥikmah) from the treasury of prophethood (ma`dan al-nubuwwah), Empedocles [c.493-433], who distinguished himself in philosophy (al-ḥikmat), was a contemporary of David (Ar. fī zamān dāwūd) (c.1037-967 BCE), while Pythagoras [6th cent. BCE.?] lived in the days (fī zamān) of Solomon [c. 986-930 BCE], son of David, and acquired al-ḥikma ("wisdom) from the treasury of prophethood [ = Solomon?] (ma`dan al-nubuwwa). (TB 45/ tr.145)

Bahā’ī attempts to resolve the chronological disparities in the above passage originate with AB* and SE*.1
`Abd al-Baha' in a letter to the British Bahā’ī Ethel Rosenberg held that histories prior to Alexander the Great (d. 323 BCE) were "very confused", adding that statements in the Lawh-i.Ḥikma (Tablet of Wisdom of Baha'u'llah) were in accordance with eastern historical records (see Mā’idih 2:65-7). Shoghi Effendi, on the other hand, indicated that Bahā’īs need not take too literally the reference to the contemporaraneousness of Pythagoras and Solomon since the meaning of fī zamān (lit. "in the time") may be "far more elastic" than the English word "contemporary" implies (Letter written on behalf of SE* dated 15 February 1947).

In his analysis of this data Cole has argued that the chronology of the L.ḥikmat is indebted to Sunnī historical works, most notably the al-Milal wa’l-niḥal of al-Shahrastānī and the al-Mukhtaṣar fī akhbār al-bashar of Abū al-Fidā’ (d.1331) which might (directly or indirectly) have been available to BA* himself (Cole, WO 1979:30). This may indeed have been the case through the Acre located library of the al-Jazzār Mosque. It may be though that other Ishrāqī, Shī`ī `school of Isfahan’ or Shaykhī sources lie behind this chronology.

The Mūriṣtus [Mūriṭūs? = "Martos" [sic.] of the Lawh-i Hikmah.

The notice regarding the somewhat enigmatic Mūriṣtus [Mūriṭūs?] (= "Martos" [sic.] in Holley, ed. Scriptures :198 [333]) in the same section of the Lawh-i Ḥikma of Baha'u'llah (41/150) may, as Juan Cole also asserts, be (indirectly) derived from al-Qifṭī’s (d. 1248) Tārīkh al-ḥukamā’ (ed. 322 through `Abū al-Fiḍā’?). It was Mūriṣtus (spellings vary, pointing uncertain) who, as detailed in his (?) Ṣan`at al-urghin al-būqī ("On the construction of the flue-pipe organ"), invented a hydraulic organ which could produce very loud, terrifying sounds and be effectively utilized in warfare. Its inventor is mentioned in numerous sources including, for
example, the early (Muntakhab) Ṣiwān al-ḥikma (ed. Dunlop, 82) of Abū Sulayman al-Sijistānī (4th/10th cent.) and the much later Persian Nāsikh al-tāwarīkh (vol. II:15) of Sepher.2

2 See further, Ibn Nadīm [Dodge], Fihrist II: 643; Cheiko, Thālath maqā lāt `Arabiyya... in al-Mashrīq IX (1906), 18ff (21-28); Carra De Vaux, `Le Invention de L-Hydraulis’ REG 21 (1908), 326-340; Farmer, 1931:16ff, `Muriṭus’ EI2 VII:610-11; Rosenthal, 1975 [92]:235-8); Shiloah, 1979: 286-7 (nos. 200-201).