Having mentioned the blessings with which He favored Dawud, Allah follows this by mentioning what He gave to Dawud's son Sulayman (Solomon), may peace be upon them both. He subjugated the wind to him, so that it would carry his carpet one way for a month, then back again the next month. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "He set out from Damascus in the morning, landed in Istakhar where he ate a meal, then flew on from Istakhar and spent the night in Kabil." Between Damascus and Istakhar is an entire month's travel for a swift rider, and between Istakhar and Kabul is an entire month's travel for a swift rider.
وَأَسَلْنَا لَهُ عَيْنَ الْقِطْرِ
(And We caused a fount Qitr to flow for him,) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be plased with him, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Malik from Zayd bin Aslam, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others said, "Qitr means copper." Qatadah said, "It was in Yemen." Allah brought forth all the things that people make for Sulayman, peace be upon him.
وَمِنَ الْجِنِّ مَن يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ
(and there were Jinn that worked in front of him, by the leave of his Lord.) means, `We subjugated the Jinn to work in front of him,' by the permission of his Lord, i.e., by Allah's decree and subjugation, they built whatever constructions he wanted, and did other work as well.
وَمَن يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِنَا
(And whosoever of them turned aside from Our command,) means, whoever among them tried to rebel and disobey,
نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ
(We shall cause him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire.) which means, burning.
يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَآءُ مِن مَّحَـرِيبَ وَتَمَـثِيلَ
(They worked for him as he desired on Maharib, Tamathil,) Maharib refers to beautiful structures, the best and innermost part of a dwelling. Ibn Zayd said, "This means dwellings." With regard to "Tamathil," `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi said that Tamathil means pictures.
وَجِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَسِيَـتٍ
(large basins like Jawab and Qudur Rasiyat.) Jawab, the plural form of Jabiyah, refers to cisterns or tanks in which water is held, and Qudur Rasiyat are cauldrons that stay in one place and are not moved around because of their great size. This was the view of Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and others.
اعْمَلُواْ ءَالَ دَاوُودَ شُكْراً
(Work you, O family of Dawud, with thanks!) means, `We said to them: Work with thanks for the blessings that We have bestowed upon you in this world and the Hereafter.' This indicates that thanks may be expressed by actions as much as by words and intentions. Abu `Abdur-Rahman Al-Hubuli said, "Prayer is thanks, fasting is thanks, every good deed that you do for the sake of Allah is thanks, and the best of thanks is praise." This was recorded by Ibn Jarir. In the Two Sahihs, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
«إِنَّ أَحَبَّ الصَّلَاةِ إِلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى صَلَاةُ دَاوُدَ، كَانَ يَنَامُ نِصْفَ اللَّيْلِ، وَيَقُومُ ثُلُثَهُ، وَيَنَامُ سُدُسَهُ، وَأَحَبَّ الصِّيَامِ إِلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى صِيَامُ دَاوُدَ، كَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمًا وَيُفْطِرُ يَوْمًا، وَلَا يَفِرُّ إِذَا لَاقَى»
(The most beloved of prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawud. He used to sleep for half the night, stand in prayer for a third of it and sleep for a sixth of it. The most beloved of fasting to Allah is the fasting of Dawud. He used to fast for a day then not fast for a day, and he never fled the battlefield.) Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Fudayl said concerning the Ayah:
اعْمَلُواْ ءَالَ دَاوُودَ شُكْراً
(Work you, O family of Dawud, with thanks!) Dawud said, "O Lord! How can I thank you when thanks itself is a blessing from You" He said: "Now you have truly given thanks to Me, for you have realized that it is a blessing from Me."
وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِىَ الشَّكُورُ
But few of My servants are grateful. This is a reflection of reality.