Malcolm X didn’t become the Malcolm X we know just because of his political rebellion or his bravado (or his fine self 😉 ) . He became a permanent fixture in our history because he stood for his beliefs when people hated it. He suffered for his beliefs when people attacked him for it. He gave up his freedom for his beliefs when he was threatened with imprisonment.
Ibn Taymiyya didn’t become the Ibn Taymiyya we so often reference today just because he was a prolific writer. He became ‘Shaykhul Islaam’ because of the lengths he went for the knowledge he acquired. He internalized the knowledge so much so that it became fused with every iota of his being. And any threat to his principles, he’d lay out his body to be punished instead.
Albert Einstein wasn’t born into the legacy he’s left’. He went against the tide of his time and had to rely on little more than his hunch in developing the theory of relativity, and contributing largely to quantum theory and revolutionizing modern physics. His theories were controversial at times. And because he chose to believe in his hunches more than the established science at the time, he took us to new planes.
These people are seared into the collective memory of humanity because they created their own paths in life, and expanded our minds into new, previously un-imagined dimensions.
When you want to bring your imagination into this world, be it a new make-up technique or a political paradigm shift, you’re birthing something absolutely unique that humanity has never experienced before. You are required to build the path you’re going to take and that is going to be an immense undertaking, a great spiritual struggle. You won’t have the advantage of being well-liked or the protection of the herd or the security you get from walking a path that has already been paved and trodden. You’ll have to wing it. Alone.
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ
Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested.
And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allâh will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allâh knows all that before putting them to test).