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I need help regarding a supposed historical “error”. It is claimed that chain mail armor was produced and utilised by Prophet Dawud AS. The Prophet AS is said to have lived in the 10th century BCE while chain-mail armor was not invented until the 5th century BCE by the Celts. You can read the tafsir of the verse by ibn Kathir along with others here.

The word in question is ٱلسَّرْدِ (al-sard) which commentators including ibn Abbas RA had interpreted to mean coats made of rings. It is here where the confusion arises. Is this interpretation attributed to the Prophet SAW? If that's the case would it prove the critics' point?

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    Please note that ibn 'Abbas is a knowledgeable Sahabi but he was very young when the prophet died many of his interpretations are ijtihad. – Medi1Saif Oct 15 '20 at 20:41
  • It is theorized that celts were the ones to invent it, it is not certain. It is quite possible that it was used before in certain other parts of the world but its knowledge had been lost later. – UmH Oct 16 '20 at 6:52
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It was probably a scale armour, bond together with lacing made out of leather thongs. However, David refused it:

1 Samuel 17:34-39

And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!" Then Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a helmet of bronze on his head, and clothed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword over his armor, and he tried in vain to go, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I am not used to them." And David put them off.

By the way, the era of the King David was the beginning of the iron-age; maybe «We made the iron soft for him» refers to this?

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  • It may as well be lamellar armor. Wikipedia states that this armor was first used by ancient Egyptians but was spearheaded and popularised by the Persians/Sassanids in 10th/9th century BCE. That's contemporaneous to Dawud AS and Sulayman AS. Either it was the former who popularised the armor and the Sassanids adapted it for their own use or it's the other way around. Wallahualam – Afiq Oct 16 '20 at 5:02
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If the Qur'an is accepted as accurate, the only logical conclusion is that "coats of mail" made from "rings of chain armour" existed at the time of David and, as UmH has intimated in their comment, it was therefore not invented by the Celts.

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