The last century marked the great divide between the old world and new. The speed of the pedestrian would be accelerated to the speed of sound and, for many purposes, to the speed of light. Geographical distances between cultures would be rendered insignificant, globalisation would become a reality. Man’s faculties and capacities would be multiplied. Rivers would be diverted, the planets would be reached, the sky would be laid bare. Man would discard the worship of idols of wood and stones and would take up the worship of new gods fashioned by science and technology. The mind and the intellect would be supreme, the moral and the spiritual would be suppressed. The light of science would be fierce, the darkness of the soul would be profound. The concept of God would be repudiated, religion would be relegated to the periphery.
Religion has also suffered in the face of the traumatic experiences of the last century. Colonialism, nationalism, industrialisation, revolutions, world wars and social transformations have not left faith unaffected and have drawn on religious and anti-religious forces to reshape our world from one where religion, which once played a central role in society, is forced to retreat and adopt a progressively diminishing role. Politics, economics, social policy and education are no longer predominantly informed by religious values.
Immorality, indiscipline, the mad pursuit of pleasure and lack of responsibility, which thrive so naturally and so exuberantly under such conditions, have become the hallmark of our social environment.
As members of the Community of the Promised Messiah of the Latter Days, we are the last people of God. If salvation is to come to mankind it has to come from this humble and resourceless Community. If religion is once again to become the predominant influence in societal affairs, it would be as a result of the efforts of this Community of believers. If the concept of God is to become the central beam in this global village, it would be due to the sacrifices, striving and supplications of this Community of the Promised Messiah (as). Therefore, having accepted the Messiah of the Age, the responsibilities on our shoulders are immense and manifold.
We should, therefore, strive to perfect our worship and devotion to Allah. Remember the words of the Promised Messiah (as) when he said:
“So all ye people, counted as members of my Community! In heaven you shall be counted members of my following only when in all truth you actually begin to advance on the paths of righteousness. Offer your five daily obligatory prayers with such concentration and awe of mind as though you were seeing God in front of you, with your physical eyes.”
(Our Teachings, p.7)
May Allah enable us to live up to the lofty expectations of the Promised Messiah (as). May He so ordain that we leave all darknesses behind and be illumined with His light. May Allah strengthen our faith and characterise it with sincerity and devotion and may He ever enable us to adhere to the paths of righteousness. Ameen.
President Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK