The news of the Prophet’s death fell like a thunderbolt on his companions. All were stunned because of the ardent love and esteem they had for him. Such was their reliance on his loving care as the children are assured of the protection of their parents. Their distress was not at all surprising, for Allah speaks of the Prophetʹs concern for
“There hath come unto you a Messenger, (one) of yourselves, unto whom aught that ye are overburdened is grievous, full of concern for you, for the believers full of pity, merciful.”
[Soorah At‐Taubah 128]
The Prophet peace be and blessings upon him was so gracious and considerate that his every companion believed himself to be the closest to him and never had any misgivings about his love and confidence. It was the reliance born of absolute trust mingled with devotion that had made it difficult for some of them to think of the day when the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him would depart from this world leaving them alone. One of these was ‘Umar, who had been one of the closest to the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him, and when he was told that the Messenger of Allah peace be and blessings upon him was already dead, he protested violently. He went so far as to address the people in the Prophet’s mosque and told them that Allah’s Prophet peace be and blessings upon him would not quit this world until Allah had destroyed the hypocrites.
(Ibn Kathir, Vol. IV, pp. 544‐46)
THE COURAGEOUS PROCLAMATION BY ABUBAKR - may Allah be pleased with him.
A man of determination and courage was needed at this difficult hour. And, this man was Abu Bakr, the most senior of the Prophet’s companions, who had been selected by Allah to take over the legacy of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him with a firm hand. When the news reached him, he hurried back from his house. For a moment he stopped at the door of the mosque where ‘Umar was resolutely speaking to the people, without paying heed to anybody, he proceeded to Aisha’s room where the dead body of the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him lay covered with a mantle. He uncovered the Prophetʹs face and kissed it. Then, he proceeded to say:
“My father and mother be your ransom. You have tasted the death Allah had decreed for you, a second death will never overtake you.”
Replacing the mantle on the Prophetʹs face, he then went out to the Mosque. ‘Umar was still making a harangue to the people, so he said gently, “Umar, keep quiet.” But ‘Umar was too excited to listen to Abu Bakr.
Now, Abu Bakr realized that ‘Umar was not in a mood to terminate his speech. So he stepped forward and called out to the people, whereupon they came round to him leaving ‘Umar.
Abu Bakr praised Allah and then said: “O Men, if any one of you worshipped Muhammed, let him know that Muhammed is dead. But if anyone worships Allah, then Allah is alive and He will never die.”
Then he recited the Qur’anic verse:
“Muhammed is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels?” He who turneth back doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful.”
[Soorah Aali‐ʹImraan 144]
All those persons who were present on the occasion later on stated on oath that when Abu Bakr recited the verse, it seemed as if it had just been revealed. ‘Umar said:
“When I heard Abu Bakr reciting that verse, I was taken aback and fell down as if I did not have a leg to stand on. I felt as if I had then come to know of the Prophet’s death.”