In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.
Love for All, Hatred for None.
The first Ijma of the Companions set its seal on his death. For, in the recorded Traditions we find that when the Holy Prophet died, the Companions became stupefied with grief. They could not move. Nor utter a word. Some were so deeply affected that they died a few days later, unable to bear the pangs of separation. Omar, of all persons, was so afflicted by grief that he made up his mind not to believe the Prophet had died. He unsheathed his sword and declared that whoever said the Prophet was dead would lose his head. He began to say the Holy Prophet had disappeared temporarily from their midst, even as Moses had disappeared on a Call from God. Moses returned to his people after forty days, so would the Holy Prophet. On return, the Holy Prophet would hold to account all those who had said unworthy things about him and had behaved hypocritically towards him. He would even put them to death or order their crucifixion. Omar was solemn and determined. None of the Companions dared to resist and deny what he said. Some were even persuaded by Omar's declaration. They began to think, the Prophet had not died. Because of this, their dejection changed to delight. The signs of it were on their faces. Those, who had their heads bowed with grief, who could also see far into the future, sent out one of them to fetch Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr was not in Medina when the Holy Prophet died. The Holy Prophet had permitted him to go, because his condition seemed to have improved. This Companion had hardly left the town when he saw Abu Bakr coming. On seeing Abu Bakr, the Companion could not contain himself. Tears rolled down. No word was necessary. Abu Bakr understood what had happened. He asked the Companion,
"Has the Prophet died?"In reply, the Companion not only confirmed the sad news but also told Abu Bakr what Omar had been saying that `whoever should say the Prophet had died would lose his head!' Abu Bakr heard this and at once made for the place where the Holy Prophet's dead body lay. He lifted the mantle from over him and knew at once that he had died. The pain of separation from his beloved friend and leader made his eyes wet. He bent low and kissed the Prophet's forehead and said:
"By God, you will not suffer more than one death. The loss mankind have suffered by your death is greater than the loss they have suffered by the death of any other prophet. You need no praises, and mourning cannot reduce the pangs of separation. If we could but avert your end, we would have done so, with our lives."Abu Bakr said this, and covered the Prophet's face; then went to the spot where Omar was speaking to the Companions. Omar, of course, was telling them that the Prophet had not died; but had only disappeared temporarily. Abu Bakr asked Omar to stop for a time and let him speak to the assembly. Omar did not stop but went on. Abu Bakr turned to some of the Companions and started telling them, the Holy Prophet had really died. Other Companions turned to Abu Bakr and began to listen to him. Omar also was compelled to listen. Abu Bakr recited from the Holy Quran:
"The Holy Prophet was but a prophet. There had been prophets before him and they had all died. If he also should die or be put to death, would they turn back upon him?" (Al-Imran: 145)
"Thou (O Muhammad) are surely going to die and they surely are going to die." (Al-Zumar: 31)
"O ye men, whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever amongst you worshipped Allah, let him know that Allah is Living, there is no death for Him." (Bukhari, Volume 2, Chapter Manaqibe Abu Bakr)When Abu Bakr recited the verses of the Holy Quran and pointed to their meaning, the Companions realised what had happened. The Prophet had died. They began to cry. Omar is reported to have said that when Abu Bakr recited the verses out of the Holy Quran, and when their meaning suddenly dawned upon him, it seemed as though the verses had been revealed on that day, at that moment. His legs could no longer support him. He staggered and fell down in a paroxysm of grief.
This account of what passed between the Companions at the Holy Prophet's death proves three important things:
Firstly, it proves that the first formal and collective expression of opinion upon which the Companions resolved after the death of the Holy Prophet was that all prophets before the Holy Prophet had died. There was no exception. If the Companions present on this solemn occasion thought that some earlier prophets had not died, they would have stood up and pointed to the exceptions. They could have said that at least Jesus had been alive in Heaven for 600 years. It was wrong to say that all the earlier prophets had died. If some could remain alive, why not the Holy Prophet?
Secondly, it proves that the belief of the Companions that the earlier prophets had died was not a matter of opinion with the Companions. It was a truth recorded in the Holy Quran and taught clearly by the Holy Book. When Abu Bakr recited the verses, the Companions received them without demur. If the truth of the death of the earlier prophets was not contained in these verses, they could have said that, although the earlier prophets had really died, the verses recited by Abu Bakr were not relevant. The fact, therefore, that Abu Bakr recited the verse, "And there had been (other) prophets before him," to prove the death of earlier prophets, and the fact that the Companions, who heard this verse and heard Abu Bakr's argument based upon the verse, not only remained silent but began to rejoice over it and went about the town reciting it, proved beyond doubt that the Companions agreed entirely with Abu Bakr's interpretation of the verse.
Thirdly, it proves that whether or not the Companions believed in the death of other prophets, they had no idea at all that Jesus was alive in Heaven. All accounts of this important incident and the important speeches made on the occasion show that even Omar, in the height of excitement, threatening to kill those who should say that Prophet had died, could cite the analogy only of Moses who disappeared for forty days from amongst his people. Even Omar did not cite the analogy of Jesus. If the Companions had any idea whatever that Jesus was alive in heaven, could not Omar, or the Companions who thought like him, have cited the analogy of Jesus? The fact that they cited only the analogy of Moses proves that they had not the slightest idea that Jesus had not died, or that he had even had an experience similar to that of Moses.