18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

Death of Dawood

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Prophet Dawood (alaihis salam) possessed a great sense of modesty. So when he went out, he locked the door behind him so that nobody could enter his house until he returned. One day he went out and locked the door (as usual). Suddenly, his wife observed a man in the middle of the house. She said to those in the house, ‘From where did this man enter the house while it is locked. By Allah, Dawood will feel very bad about it.’

“When Dawood came back, he found the man standing in the middle of the house and asked him, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I am he who does not fear any king and no obstacle can bar me.’ Dawood said, ‘So, by Allah! You are the angel of death, surely. Welcome to the command of Allah!’

“Dawood was bathed and shrouded at the very place where his soul was taken out. And when they had finished (washing and shrouding him), the sun rose shining. So, Sulaiman said to the birds, ‘Shade Dawood.’ And they cast their shadows over him until the land became pitch dark for them. So Sulaiman again commanded every bird to contract one of its wings.”

Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) then said that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) showed them with his hands how the birds contracted their wings. [Imam Ahmed, Majma’ az-Zawa’id]

Dawood (alaihis salam) was a prophet who enjoyed choice favours of Allah. The heavenly book Zaboor was revealed to him. Thus, he was given a distinct Shariah. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) made his son, Sulaiman, a prophet and a king, just as he had been. In addition, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) ordered the mountains and the birds to join Dawood (alaihis salam) in his recital of the Zaboor and remembrance of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). [Quran 34:10]

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) had also gifted Dawood (alaihis salam) with a tremendous sense of modesty and to prevent anyone from looking at the female members of his family he would lock his house from the outside so that no one may enter. Nevertheless, one day his wife encountered a stranger in the middle of the house. As she worried about the offensive situation Dawood (alaihis salam) returned. On questioning him, Dawood (alaihis salam) understood that he could be no other than the angel of death, Izraeel (alaihis salam), in human form. So he submitted willingly to the decree of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

Death spares no one – not the pious and not the evil, not a prophet nor his follower, not the rich nor the poor, not the scholar nor the ignorant.

Since Sulaiman (alaihis salam) had command over the birds he ordered them to shade the body of his father from the sun. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) tells us to treat the bodies of the deceased with respect and care till they are buried.

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