Faith and Leadership

Shaykh Ahmad El Azhary explores the Lessons from the Live of the Prophets in the Quran. He unlocks their aim, which is to direct us towards Allah Almighty and the Day of Judgement. This is the fourth article in the series.

The scholars of Quranic exegesis mention that the stories of the Quran have purposes. One of the ways of instilling benefit in one’s mind is not to give too many details. The Quran gives us what we need to learn and do from the life of every Prophet.

The Quran even directs our attention to not ask too many questions about the details that we are not going to benefit from. Allah says:

فَلَا تُمَارِ فِیهِمۡ إِلَّا مِرَاۤء ظَـٰهِرا  

“So argue not over them, but debate of little depth” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 18:22]

One of the indications of the soundness of your faith is leaving what doesn’t concern you. 

When we look at the story of Prophets Dawud and Sulaiman(upon them be peace), there is not much mention of things other than what is of direct benefit to us. 


Prophets Sulaiman and Dawud called to Allah from the position of Kingdom. They were Kings. They were people of power. 

One of the first lessons here is that Allah’s bounty and grace are not restricted to a group of people. There is no link whatsoever between being poor and righteous or being rich and evil. 

You will find the story of Dawud and Sulaiman (upon them be peace) in Sura Al-Baqara, Sura al-Anbiya, Sura al-Naml, Sura Saba’ and Sura Saad. 

After Musa (upon him be peace)

Allah gave Dawud and Sulaiman (upon them be peace) prophethood and leadership of Bani Israel. So they lived after the time of Musa (upon him be peace). Allah says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلْمَلَإِ مِنۢ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ مِنۢ بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰٓ إِذْ قَالُوا۟ لِنَبِىٍّۢ لَّهُمُ ٱبْعَثْ لَنَا مَلِكًۭا نُّقَـٰتِلْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ هَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَـٰتِلُوا۟ ۖ قَالُوا۟ وَمَا لَنَآ أَلَّا نُقَـٰتِلَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَـٰرِنَا وَأَبْنَآئِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوْا۟ إِلَّا قَلِيلًۭا مِّنْهُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌۢ بِٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

“Or can you have not regarded the very nobles of the children of Israel, just after Moses himself—when they said to a prophet of theirs, ‘Send us a king, and we shall fight in the path of Allah.’ He said, ‘Or would you haply not fight, even were fighting blindingly prescribed upon you?’ They said, ‘And why should we not fight in the path of Allah, when we have been expelled from our homes and from amongst our own sons?’ So no sooner had fighting been prescribed them than they turned round, all but a few of them; And Allah well knows wrongdoers” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 2:246]

The Bani Israel refused to enter the Holy Land in the time of Prophet Musa (upon him be peace). Allah punished them by letting them lose their track in the diaspora.  They lived in the land of Sinai, belonging to no land, for 40 years. 

The scholars mentioned that these forty years were needed for some generations to disappear and some generations to be born. The new generations have the mentality of sacrifice for the sake of Allah. They are to fulfill the mission. 


A king came to them. His name was Talut. He was endowed with wisdom, physical power, and knowledge, and he was given the kingdom.

Bear in mind that the inheritor of Talut was Dawud, even though he was not his son. Some commentators remarked that Dawud married the daughter of Talut, and this is where it all started.


A good father is the root of a good son. If you want your children to be good, be good. The Quran informs us:

وَلْيَخْشَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَوْ تَرَكُوا۟ مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّةًۭ ضِعَـٰفًا خَافُوا۟ عَلَيْهِمْ فَلْيَتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَلْيَقُولُوا۟ قَوْلًۭا سَدِيدًا

“And let those who in charge have fitting dread, – who if they themselves were about to die and leave behind young ones unable to fend for themselves, they would be apprehensive for them – So let them fear Allah, and say to orphans what is fitting and correct.” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 4:9]

If you are fearful about your children and progeny, and you are concerned, Fear Allah. This is the key to success.

A Trial

Our Master Dawud (upon him be peace) himself grew up in a very good atmosphere. He was one of the fine elite that remained with Talut in his army. 

فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِٱلْجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُبْتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٍۢ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنْهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّى وَمَن لَّمْ يَطْعَمْهُ فَإِنَّهُۥ مِنِّىٓ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱغْتَرَفَ غُرْفَةًۢ بِيَدِهِۦ ۚ فَشَرِبُوا۟ مِنْهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلًۭا مِّنْهُمْ ۚ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُۥ هُوَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مَعَهُۥ قَالُوا۟ لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا ٱلْيَوْمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ ۚ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـٰقُوا۟ ٱللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٍۢ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةًۭ كَثِيرَةًۢ بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

“And when Saul set out with his hosts, he said, ‘Verily Allah shall try you with a river: So whosoever drinks of it is not of me; While whoever does not taste it is of me, other than to take a single scoop of it with his hand.’ But they all drank their fill of it, save very few of them. And when they had crossed beyond it, he and the obedient few who believed with him, they said: ‘We have no strength this day to face Goliath and his hosts.’ But those who well judged they were certain to meet Allah said, ‘How many a small fighting force overthrew a great one by leave of Allah; And Allah is with the steadfast.’” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 2:249]

It is mentioned that the army of Talut was seventy-nine thousand strong and only four thousand remained after the river test. 


Allah says:

فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُۥدُ جَالُوتَ وَءَاتَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْمُلْكَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُۥ مِمَّا يَشَآءُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍۢ لَّفَسَدَتِ ٱلْأَرْضُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

“And they smashed and routed them by leave of Allah; And David slew Goliath, and Allah gave him kingship and wisdom, and taught him of everything He willed. Did Allah not repel some people with others, the earth had been laid waste, But Allah is of limitless bounty to all peoples of the world.” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 2:251]

Allah gave Dawud kingdom and wisdom. He did not run for it. Allah says:

تُؤْتِى ٱلْمُلْكَ مَن تَشَآءُ وَتَنزِعُ ٱلْمُلْكَ مِمَّن تَشَآءُ

“You give power to whomever You will, and wrest power from whomever You will” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 3:26]