36.10 Umar's Reaction
Umar ibn Al-Khattab stood brandishing his sword, saying he would kill anyone who told him that Mohamed was dead. He said to the bewildered crowd that the Prophet had gone to speak to his Lord and would soon be back to punish those who said he was dead. Umar ibn Al-Khattab was a most powerful personality, a formidable man, courageous and indomitable, just and severe. But this great man had found in Mohamed an even greater spirit, greater vision, greater justice tempered by mercy, and greater will-power and perseverance for the sake of truth. For seventeen years Umar had bowed to him in love and esteem, for nothing else could control the dauntless Umar; seventeen years he had fought under his banner and struggled by his side to uphold the word of Allah. Now he could not face the fact that Mohamed was dead - the leader like no other, the king like no other, the friend like no other. Umar, this brave man who had faced so many adversaries, overcome so many hardships, could not face this one fact because it was a matter of the heart. He had loved Mohamed dearly and, as he did everything else, passionately. Now he was ready to kill any man who told him Mohamed was no more. As a shield to his heart against this terrible reality, Umar had invented the idea that Mohamed would consult his Lord and then return to them. Many of the men believed him for they felt the same, but the women inside Mohamed's house continued to cry and moan.
According to material fact, Umar was mistaken, but according to higher truth he was not far wrong. The spirit does not die. Mohamed was more alive, happier, and freer than he ever was in this world of cares, but to mortal men living in this world of cares he was gone, separated forever by impassable barriers.