The Zabūr (also Zaboor, Arabic: الزَّبُورُ, Arabic plural Zubur, Arabic: زُبُرٌ) is, according to Islam, the holy book of Dawud (David), one of the holy books revealed by Allah before the Quran, alongside others such as the Tawrat (Torah) of Musa (Moses) and the Injil (Gospel). Zabur is the Arabic word for Psalms.
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The Christian monks and ascetics of pre-Islamic Arabia may be associated in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry with texts called zabūrs, which in other contexts may refer to palm leaf documents. This has been interpreted by some as referring to psalters. Among many Christians in the Middle East and in South Asia, the word Zabur (Urdu: زبُور (Nastaʿlīq), ज़बूर (Devanagari)) is used for the Book of Psalms in the Bible.
Much of Western scholarship sees the word zabūr in the sense "psalter" as being a conflation of Arabic zabūr, "writing", with the Hebrew word for "psalm", mizmōr (Hebrew: מִזְמוֹר) or its Aramaic equivalent mazmūrā (Syriac: ܡܙܡܘܪܐ). An alternate, less accepted origin for the title zabūr in this sense is that it is a corruption of the Hebrew zimrah (Hebrew: זִמְרָה) meaning "song, music" or sippūr (Hebrew: סִפּוּר), meaning "story."
Mention in the Quran
In the Qur'an, the Zabur is mentioned by name only three times. The Qur'an itself says nothing about the Zabur specifically, except that it was revealed to Dawud and that in the Zabur is written "My servants the righteous, shall inherit the earth".
Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], as We revealed to Noah and the prophets after him. And we revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Descendants, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the book [of Psalms].
And your Lord is most knowing of whoever is in the heavens and the earth. And We have made some of the prophets exceed others [in various ways], and to David We gave the book [of Psalms].— Qur'an 17:55 , Sahih International Translation
And We have already written in the book [of Psalms] after the [previous] mention that the land [of Paradise] is inherited by My righteous servants.
Connection to Psalms
No books are known to have been written by King David of Israel, either through archeology or biblical accounts. However, the majority of the psalms collected in The Book of Psalms are attributed to David, suggesting that the Qur'an might be referring to Psalms. The Quran 21:105 says that in David's Zabur there is a quote "the land is inherited by my righteous servants." This resembles the 29th verse of Psalm 37 which says, "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever," (as translated in the King James Version of the Bible).
Ahrens supports the view that Al-Anbiya 105 is quoting from the Psalms (1930). He says that the verse in the Qur'an reads "We have written in the Zabur after the reminder that My righteous servants shall inherit the earth." His conclusion is that this verse represents a close and rare linguistic parallel with the Hebrew Bible and, more pointedly, with Psalm 37 ascribed specifically to David (see wording in verses 9,11,29).
Many Muslim scholars think that it also has reference to Exodus 32:13, which reads "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever."
One hadith, considered valid by Muhammad al-Bukhari, says:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The reciting of the Zabur (i.e. Psalms) was made easy for David. He used to order that his riding animals be saddled, and would finish reciting the Zabur before they were saddled. And he would never eat except from the earnings of his manual work."
Christian apologist Karl Gottlieb Pfander suggested that the Qur'an's reference to Zabur actually refers to the third division of the Hebrew Scriptures, known as the Writings or Ketuvim, a broader grouping of Jewish holy books encompassing the Psalms and other collections of Hebrew literature and poetry.
- Horovitz, Josef (1999). "Zabūr". In Bearman, P. J. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Islam. XI (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. pp. 372–373.
- Shahîd, Irfan (1989). Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century. Dumbarton Oaks. p. 520. ISBN 9780884021520.
- Lane, Edward William (1868–1893). An Arabic-English lexicon. London: Williams and Norgate. pp. 1210–1211. OCLC 248351096.CS1 maint: date format (link)
- Jeffery, Arthur (1938). The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur'ān. Baroda, India: The Oriental Institute. pp. 148–149. OCLC 28304469.
- Psalms 37:29
- Quran 21:105 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
- Quran 4:163 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
- Quran 17:55 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
- K. Ahrens, Christliches im Qoran, in ZDMG , lxxxiv (1930), 29
- Exodus 32:13
- C. G. Pfander, The Balance of Truth, pg. 51