In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Creation [i.e. Humans and Jinns] Find Themselves Within Two Types of Neediness
The first type of neediness is inevitable. It is a type of neediness that applies to everyone – the righteous and the wicked. It neither necessitates praise nor dispraise, neither reward nor punishment; rather it is solely due to the fact that the creation are created beings [i.e. absolutely in need and completely dependent on their Creator in every way].
The second type of neediness is one based on choice from which emanates two noble aspects of knowledge. The first one is the servant’s knowledge and awareness of his Lord and the second is knowledge and awareness of oneself in reality. As soon as one acquires these two types of knowledge, it brings about a type of neediness that becomes a person’s distinguished and most precious source of wealth, the means to success and happiness in [this life and the next]. The people’s different stations in this type of neediness depends on their different stations in these two affairs of knowledge.
Whoever knows that his Lord is the only One Who is Self-Sufficient [absolutely free from all wants and to Whom everyone and everything depends, and cannot do without in the twinkling of an eye], then he will know that he is completely in need.
Whoever knows that his Lord alone is the Possessor of Perfect Ability [possessor of All-encompassing Ability and able to do all things], he will know that he is completely unable [cannot do anything in the twinkling of an eye without the help of] his Lord.
Whoever knows that his Lord is The All-Mighty, he will know that he is one completely in a state of [complete poverty, weakness and want unless his Lord provides for him etc]. Whoever knows that his Lord is the possessor of All- Encompassing knowledge and Wisdom, he will know that he is ignorant.
Allaah brought the servant out of his mother’s womb whilst he knew nothing, not able to do anything and owned nothing; neither able to give nor take; neither able to harm nor benefit. This state of neediness until he reached a more perfect state is something witnessed and tangible for everyone [to see], and i is well known that this is the very essence of the human being and he remains upon that state. He does not move from this state and enters into a state of Lordship – a state in which he becomes absolutely self-sufficient and not need of anyone and anything; rather he does not cease being a slave, a needy one to his Rabb [Allaah the Creator, All-Provider and the Only One Who Controls and Sustains Everything] and His Faatir [Allaah, The Originator and Creator of Everything].
However, after the human being was granted blessings, shown mercy, granted the means to reach a more perfect state, and Allaah -out of His Perfect Kindness and Generosity- granted him apparent blessings [i.e. to recognise the Messengers who were sent with Islamic Monotheism, granted him the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and the hidden blessings [i.e. granted him the innate disposition to recognise his Lord when the Messenger calls him to Eemaan, and granted him knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.], granted him hearing, sight and a heart, and taught him [i.e. gave him the means to knowledge], granted him ability, subjugated things to him, granted him [the desire and enthusiasm to pursue what is beneficial, and take action], enabled him to receive the service of those of his kind [i.e. gave him authority over other humans], subjugated to him horses and camels, gave him the ability to capture the animals in the sea, drop birds from the sky, subjugate wild animals, dig wells [irrigate water etc], plant trees, dig the earth, learn how to build, acquire the things that are of benefit to him, guard against and protect himself from that which is harmful to him; then the Miskeen [i.e. this absolutely poor, dependent human being] thinks that he has a share of authority and claims – for himself – a kingship [or authority] similar to that of Allaah [Glorified be Allaah and free is Allaah from all imperfections, partners, coequals, similarities etc], and begins to see himself in a manner other than what he was at first, forgets his [prior] state of non-existence, poverty and neediness, until he becomes as if he was not that poor and needy thing. [Ref 1]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:
The difference between the desire for righteous leadership as opposed to merely desiring leadership: It is the difference between exalting the command of Allaah and being sincere to Allaah as opposed to love of exalting oneself and hastening towards the fulfilment of desires. Indeed the one who is sincere to Allaah and exalts Him, he loves that his Lord is obeyed and not disobeyed; [loves that] Allaah’s Word should be uppermost and that all affairs of the religion should be established sincerely for the sake of Allaah, and [that] the servants should obey Allaah’s commands and keep away from what Allaah has forbidden. He is sincere in his servitude to Allaah and sincere to Allaah’s creation in calling them to the path of Allaah. So he loves to be [an upright] leader in the religion; rather he asks his Lord to make him from the leaders of the righteous people who are followed, just as he is a follower of the righteous.
Therefore, if this servant -[i.e. this person] who calls to Allaah- loves that he is considered dignified in the eyes [of the people], revered and beloved in their hearts and is one followed amongst them, so that he is trusted by them and they follow the example of the Messenger through him, then this [desire of his] does not harm him; rather he is praised for it. That is because the caller to Allaah loves that Allaah is obeyed and singled out in worship. He loves to be a means by way of which [people] are aided to [obey Allaah, single out Allaah in worship and follow the Messenger]. And due to this, [when] Allaah mentioned those chosen slaves of His- whom He praised in His revelation and will grant the best of reward on the day they meet Him- He mentioned them with the best of their deeds and characteristics, and then said: [ وَٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ أَزۡوَٲجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعۡيُنٍ۬ وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا – And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun]. (pious) 25:74
So they ask Allaah to grant them the comfort of the eye by making their wives and offspring obedient to Allaah, and to grant them happiness in their hearts due to being followed by the righteous in obedience and servitude to Allaah. That is because a trustworthy leader in the religion co-operates with [others] upon obedience [to Allaah and His Messenger], and that is to call them to [sound] leadership in the religion, whose foundation is patience and certainty, as Allaah [The Most High] said: [ وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ يَہۡدُونَ بِأَمۡرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُواْۖ وَڪَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ – And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). [32:24]
Therefore, in their supplication -[in Soorah Al-Furqaan Ayah 74]- to Allaah that He makes them leaders of the righteous people, is that Allaah guides them, grants them success, bless them with beneficial knowledge and righteous actions–outwardly and inwardly–without which [sound] leadership in the religion cannot be achieved. This is different from [merely] seeking leadership, for indeed its seekers hasten to obtain it in order to achieve their goals, [such as] exaltedness in the earth; enslavement of the hearts to them, attachment to them and aiding them in all their goals, whilst they are exalted and everyone subservient to them. This pursuit of leadership brings about corruption-which none can enumerate except Allaah- such as rebellion, envy, transgression, enmity, oppression, trials, being ardent in defending oneself at the expense of violating the rights of Allaah, exalting those despised by Allaah and belittling those honoured by Allaah. [Ref 2]
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Tareequl Hijratayn- By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahulaah). Pages 9-10. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: Source: An Excerpt from ‘Ar-Rooh’ pages 487-489’. slightly paraphrased]