The Story of Daawood 'alayhis salaam
Dawood and his son, Sulaiman were not only prophets, but also kings of the people of Israel. They were both known for their strength, wisdom, judgement, and devotion to Allah.
Before Dawood became king, Talut (Saul) was the king of Israel. When he set out with his army to fight Jalut (Goliath) and his forces, he tested his soldiers by telling them not to drink from a river which they were crossing. Only a small sip of water out of the hand was allowed. But only a very few men passed the test. With that small band of obedient soldiers, Talut prepared to meet the larger and stronger army of Jalut. The men put their faith in Allah, knowing that size and numbers were no match for a steadfast faith in the power of Allah. Dawood , who was a very young man in Talut's army, killed Jalut. After that, Jalut's army fell apart, and the small band of Israelites was victorious.
Dawood , besides being brave and wise, was known for his wonderful voice, which he used to sing the praises of Allah. When he sang, the mountains and valleys and all of nature seemed to join in. It was to him that the holy book, Zabur, was given by Allah. It is a book of songs praising Allah.
Allah also showed Dawood the art of making iron, so that he was able to make suits of armor to protect his soldiers.
The prophet Muhammad used to say, according to the traditions of Sahih al-Bukhari (Vol. 4: 631), that the most beloved fasting to Allah was that of Dawood , who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer was that of Dawood . He would sleep the first half of the night; then he would pray for one-third of the night, before going back to sleep for the remaining one-sixth of the night.
Dawood was a wise and just judge of disputes which arose in his kingdom, but his son Sulaiman surpassed him in the ability to provide a fair judgement.
In one tradition (Bukhari, Vol.4; 637), there were two women, each of whom had a child. One child was stolen and devoured by a wolf. Each woman claimed that it was the other woman's child who was taken. They brought the case to Dawood and he judged that the older woman should have the remaining child. Then they went to Sulaiman . He called for a knife, so that he could cut the child in half and give half to each woman. But the younger woman, who could not bear to see her child cut in half, cried out that the child belonged to the other woman. Sulaiman then gave the child to the younger woman.
In another story, referred to in the Quran (21: 78) a man's flock of sheep strayed into a farmer's field at night, destroying the crops that had been growing there. The case was brought before Dawood , who awarded the flock of sheep to the farmer as restitution for damages. But Sulaiman suggested another solution, which would repay the farmer without ruining the herdsman. Sulaiman ruled that the farmer would keep the sheep and use their milk and wool, until the herdsman had restored the damaged field to its original condition. When that had been done, the flock would be returned to the herdsman.
Both Dawood and Sulaiman , although powerful and rich, never ceased to acknowledge that all their gifts were from Allah. They remained obedient to Allah and used their power to follow Allah's will. Insha Allah in the next story we shall relate how Sulaiman led a powerful queen from idol worship to Islam.
You can read about Dawood and Sulaiman in the Quran 2:249-251; 21: 78-82; 34: 10-14; 38: 17-26, 30-40.