"Oh! Ahmad! Don't you see, how can he be wrong! Do you know that Shehu finished the whole Qur'an at the age of 7 and its memorisation at age 9. Big people from far and near come to him for one thing or other: So and so's daughter that wandered off, he single-handedly prayed for her peaceful return ... So he cannot be wrong. Ya Shehu!"
This is a typical example of hero worship. Hero worship is the act of worshipping admired individual (s) (i.e. heroes). By worshipping is meant taking to (following) the manners and ideas of these heroes. Heroes are people who because of one achievement or the other stand out from the generality of people. As long as there is mankind there will always be heroes. This is a fact that has been proved over and over again.
Generation after generation, people have always admired and regarded highly those who have made great achievements be it in the field of science (Issac Newton), politics & power (Napoleon), religion (Budha) etc. From time also, mankind has made the same mistake over and over again.
This is the mistake of worshipping these heroes. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) knew very well about tills mistake of hero worship and warned:
"Do not praise me, like the Christians praise the son of Maryam, for verily I am a servant of Allah; call me a servant of Allah and His Messenger" (Razin),
when a man was over praising him. For, from excessive praising comes worshipping.
Hero worshipping comes in different forms; some obvious and some not too obvious. A common type is ascribing to these admired individuals attributes of Allah For example, a particular Shaykh's prayer is immediately assumed as answered, because it is that particular Shaykh that prayed. This is wrong for it is only Allah that answers prayers. Also praying through or at the graves of Shehus, Alfas etc. is another form of worshipping heroes.
A leader is worshipped by followers who see him as the all in all. Thus they respect him too much and cannot even disobey him when he is wrong By this, these followers ignore Allah's permission to disobey people when they disobey Him, Allah(Q31:15).
Often, because of this respect which grows into love, manners of heroes are copied At times, such manners are contrary to those of Rosululloh (PBUH) who is the best example for us (Q33:21).
In summary, hero worship is a form of shirk and hence Haram. Over praising (Faltery) certainly leads to it. If you must praise, say:
"I take such-and-such a person as such, and Allah knows him better, and let him not justify any one against Allah, - but say, I take such-and-such a person as such if he knows that in him" (Bukhari) advised Prophet Muhammad(PBUH).
Islam forbids hero worshipping. This is because hero worship (whether they know it or not) amounts to associating partners with Allah (i.e. shirk), which Allah frowns at:
''Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him, but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases… "(Q4:48)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited