We must stop talking about men as if their greatness comes from themselves, as if they are unique in the annals of history. We worship men for articulating ideas commonly held, who delve into tradition and present the old as new. Where is mashallah and subhanallah as we fall about in awe, praising men for their eloquence and penetrating insight? Where is our balance and sense of perspective?
So many men we make messiahs and mahdis, projecting onto them all of our fears and hopes. We ourselves are mere sinners we mutter despondently, hopeless to ever reform and rise above what holds us back, but these men: these men are our vanguard, our armour, our buttress against the impious realm that would overwhelm and suffocate us. Hence our eulogies, praising these men far beyond their due.
Men become great by the will of their Lord. The same men He can make ascend, He can also bring low. The same men subsumed in sin can, by His mercy, repent and reform and rise to starry heights. The same men that stand before vast crowds, preaching to the multitudes, bamboozling them with poignant rhetoric, can, if the Lord of the Worlds wills, lead and be led astray.
None of us is independent, standing alone on our own two feet. None of us is great the way we think we are. Only the worship of men leads us to such conclusions. Alas, if we are not careful, one day we will stand before the One who is truly great and lament, “Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the right way.”
So return to the One who is greater than all things.