Talut and Jalut story in Islam
Bani Israel as we all know has been the most stubborn nation of all times. Despite witnessing numerous miracles of the Prophets back to back, they rejected faith and became stingy and ignorant. ALLAH SWT sent many Prophets who tried hard to get them back to the oneness of ALLAH SWT but the Bani Israel turned very ill-mannered, unjust, ignorant after they were relieved by ALLAH SWT from any trials faced.
To teach them a lesson and to remind them of the greatness of Almighty ALLAH SWT and to teach them humility, ALLAH SWT punished them again by appointing an arrogant, and one of the worst tyrants named Jalut (Goliath) as their commander. Jalut was a huge and cruel man who tortured them and oppressed them with humiliation very badly.
There were continuous wars and destruction in the kingdom of Jalut. Bani Israel got tired of the humiliation and defeats in the wars. They lost their families and homes and faced many other losses. They were completely shattered with no peace.
Finally, after losing all hopes, Bani Israel pleaded Prophet Samuel alaihissalam (The Prophet during their time) for help. They requested Prophet Samuel alaihissalam to ask ALLAH SWT to help them get rid of Jalut and send a righteous and humble king for them. Bani Israel promised Prophet Samuel alaihissalam that they would fight for the sake of ALLAH SWT and be obedient.
This conversation is mentioned in the Quran:
Have you not thought about the group of the Children of Israel after (the time of) Musa (Moses)? When they said to a Prophet of theirs, “Appoint for us a king and we will fight in Allah’s Way.” He said, “Would you then refrain from fighting if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “Why should we not fight in Allah’s Way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as captives)?” (Qur’an 2:246)
Samuel alaihissalam prayed to ALLAH SWT and Almighty ALLAH appointed Talut as their new king. Talut was a noble farmer and a humble man. Prophet Samuel alaihissalam then informed the Bani Israel about Talut as their King. When Bani Israel heard it, they were not ready to accept Talut as their king as he was an average farmer who was not rich like kings. Talut was from the tribes of Binyamin (Binyamin was son of Prophet Yaqub alaihissalam and brother of Prophet Yusuf alaihissalam).
Prophet Samuel said to them: “Indeed Allah has appointed Talut (Saul) as a king over you.” They said, “How can he be a king over us when we are better fitted than him for the kingdom, and he has not been given enough wealth.” He said: “Verily, Allah has chosen him above you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah grants His Kingdom to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Qur’an 2:247)
ALLAH SWT chose Talut as King as he was of great strength and wisdom. Also, ALLAH SWT demonstrated to Bani Israel that ALLAH can grant honor to whoever he wants and to be a king/leader wealth or status is not important.
But, out of their stubbornness, Bani Israel refused to accept Talut as their king as asked for more proof from Samuel alaihissalam. Samuel alaihissalam them informed them about the Ark of the Covenant that will be brought back to them by Talut.
And Samuel alaihissalam said to them: “The sign of his kingship is that the Ark shall come to you, carried by the angels, having therein tranquillity from your Lord, and the remains of what the House of Musa and the House of Harun (Aaron) had left. Surely, in it, there is a sign for you, if you are believers.” (Quran 2:248)
When they came to know about the casket /tablet(Tribute-sakina) which was lost during the time of Samuel alaihissalam, they agreed and accepted Talut as their king.
As per some narrations, Talut possessed an army of around 33,000 men and had very few arms and weapons.
The army of Talut went for a battle with Jalut and his army who was a giant, strong man with a huge and fully equipped army.
And when they were to leave for the fight, ALLAH SWT put them in a trial to test obedience and sincerity.
They were tested with a river. ALLAH SWT commanded them not to drink from the river even if they are very thirsty however, they can consume just a handful of water if they are extremely thirsty.
Quran mentions this incident in surah baqarah.
When Talut set out with his forces, he said to them, ‘God will test you with a river. Anyone who drinks from it will not belong with me, but anyone who refrains from tasting it will belong with me; if he scoops up just one handful [he will be excused].’ But they all drank [deep] from it, except for a few. When he crossed it with those who had kept the faith, they said, ‘We have no strength today against Goliath and his warriors.’ But those who knew that they were going to meet their Lord said, ‘How often a small force has defeated a large army with God’s permission! God is with those who are steadfast.’(Quran 2:249)
When they reached the battlefield and witnessed the strength of Jalut and his army, many of them stepped back saying they have no strength to fight Jalut. However, those who have firm faith in ALLAH SWT were ready to fight in the name of ALLAH without any fear and they prayed to the ALLAH SWT
“And when they faced Jalut and his forces they said, Our Lord! Pour down upon us patience, and make our steps firm and assist us against the unbelieving people”. (2:250)
The fight commenced with both the armies facing each other. Jalut said arrogantly to send somebody to start the fight but no one was ready to go because they all feared the strength of Jalut. Talut then said that whoever kills Jalut will get married to his(Talut’s) daughter.
A young, skinny boy came forward and said I can Jalut. Talut refused at first because he was very young but the boy insisted to send him. That boy was Prophett Dawud alaihissalam. Dawud alaihissalam said I killed a tiger who attacked my herd of sheep. Talut agreed and sent him forward to fight Jalut. Dawud alaihissalam prayed to ALLAH SWT for help and was all set to kill Jalut. He took out one of his pebbles that he used to carry with him and put it in his sling and aimed at Jalut. The pebble hit in the middle of Jalut’s forehead and entered directly into his brain. Jalut fell on the ground immediately with blood gushing and was straight dead.
Hence, an army of limited people got victory over a massive army with the help and permission of ALLAH SWT.
ALLAH SWT granted Prophet Dawud alaihissalam kingship and Prophethood.