Essay No. 211:
We Might Not All Be Great Men But We Can Become Better Men: They saying is of great importance in human life. According to it all men do not have the potential of becoming great men. As talents differ from man to man. Talents are not evenly distributed among men by God. Some are more talented than others, capable of making their name in history for one significant contribution or the other.
Great men are those, who by virtue of their contribution in different realms, are able to create a niche for themselves in the annals of history. Warriors and emperors, kings though were able to build huge empires, of course, through the waging of wars, but their victories were temporary, which faded with the passage of time. Their names do seek entry in history, but their greatness if any, becomes a thing of the past.
On the other hand, thinkers, philosophers, poets, dramatists, novelists, leaders who brought about a change in the human thinking for man’s betterment are remembered with sheer reverence, and can be considered great. Their works confer greatness on them. Their names, in views of their rich contribution of the different realms of human thought, would ever shine on the firmament of time.
Time dare not dim their glory. Time is a great enemy as it devastates anything comes within its debilitating range, but it cannot obliterate their names. Who can forget the names of Socrates, Jinnah, Gandhi, Shakespeare, Iqbal and a host of their ilk, who enriched human thought, struggle for independence, poetry, drama in their own way? They shed greatness indeed.
As all men are not richly gifted, they appear on the stage of the world for some time. After playing their role—positive or negative, they depart from the scene of life. History does not remember a vast ordinary multitude of human beings. It recognizes only the exceptions.
Hence if we cannot leave permanent marks on the footprints of time, we can at least try to enrich our dividend in the world and hereafter by doing good deeds. Love, sympathy, affection and a passion to share each other’s weal and woe can make ourselves better human beings. If we live only for ourselves, we rightly betray the cause of our existence.
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Allah created man to share the problems of human beings otherwise there was no dearth of angles to worship him. The purpose of life is not to eke our existence like animals, but to develop love, sympathy for our fellow beings. If man is guided purely by economic consideration, then the world becomes an ‘economic man’ solely influenced by selfish motives.
The philosophy of ‘Zakat’ clearly underlines the role of man to help the needy, the orphan; alleviate their economic wretchedness in life. We can thus make ourselves better by looking after the depraved section of the society, by parting without hard earned wealth. It’s rather unfortunate that owing to the dominance of material values, people have become self-centered.
In the end it may be pointed out that being Muslim believers, we can follow the Quranic recipe of rehabilitating the poor and making them productive citizens of the society, by creating different avenues of employment. In short, we can earn the gratitude of Allah by loving His creatures, lying in a low position. The following verse of Long man is relevant to quote:
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our live sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time
It costs little to become better, provided we have the will to do so ‘Think big, act big’ is the way of following the footprints of great men, to scatter happiness among the frustrated, the downtrodden by means of making a personal sacrifice in the form of giving love, commiseration, financial succor to the crest-fallen in life.