As the world immerses itself in festive celebrations, a stark and harrowing contrast unfolds in the Holy Land. Here, there are no holidays, no family gatherings, only the relentless reality of conflict — a new year dawning much like the last. This scene of strife is not isolated; as we witness the turmoil in Ukraine, where the echoes of war reverberate, and the protracted suffering in Yemen, it becomes clear that the shadows of conflict are cast wide across our world.
While the West bedecks its streets with lights and nativity scenes, reimagining the ancient town of Bethlehem, the true Bethlehem endures a far different story. It is a narrative not of joy but of survival amidst unyielding strife. The shadow of the Israel-Hamas conflict looms large, with peace remaining an elusive hope.
In these trying times, the words of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, ring with profound resonance. He has solemnly warned time and again that the emerging political and economic landscape is pulling us towards another World War, underscoring the urgent need for nations to recognise their Creator and fulfil His rights and the rights of His creation to avert such a calamity.
More recently, in his Friday sermon of 15 December, he urged Ahmadis:
“Continue to pray for the Palestinians. The extent of the oppression they are facing is reaching new heights, and it is, in fact, increasing day by day. May Allah Almighty create the means to seize the oppressors and bring relief to the oppressed Palestinians. May Allah Almighty also grant wisdom and understanding to the Muslim countries, so that their voices may unite and they strive to fulfil the rights of their Muslim brethren.” [Amin.]
Then again, in his Friday sermon on 22 December 2023, he said:
“As I have been urging prayers for the Palestinians, pray that Allah the Almighty grants the world the ability to take genuine practical steps against oppression. Some voices have started to rise, and people are acknowledging and saying, ‘[…] This is indeed oppression.’ However, it seems that everyone is intimidated by the Israeli government or perhaps the Western world is inherently opposed to Muslims. Due to this hatred, they wish that the oppression of Muslims does not end, or perhaps the efforts that should be made are not being made in the right manner. They fail to see the innocent children, the oppressed women, and the elderly who are suffering under this tyranny. We cannot place much trust in them, but we should continue our efforts, keep advising them, and persist in our prayers.”
Thus, Huzooraa continues to advocate for Muslim nations to unite and amplify their voice against the Israeli government’s oppression. This path to unity is complex yet crucial, mirroring the struggles in other regions worldwide, where internal and external conflicts, from the Caucasus to the Horn of Africa, from the Great Lakes of Africa to the streets of Haiti, challenge communities and nations alike. A concerted effort from Muslim countries on the global stage could markedly shift the discourse towards justice and peace, in line with Islamic teachings.
In these tumultuous times, Huzoor’saa continuous guidance serves as a vital beacon for us Ahmadis, emphasising the necessity of steadfast prayer and a strong commitment to justice, not only for the Palestinians enduring oppression but for all those suffering under the shadow of conflict worldwide. His words are also an impetus for active engagement in raising awareness about the plight in the Holy Land and beyond. Hence, as Ahmadis, it is our responsibility to continue our fervent prayers as well as educate others through dialogue and outreach.
As the festive season ensnares many in the allure of consumerism, our focus as Ahmadis turns towards a more reflective path, especially as the New Year approaches. With this issue published on 29 December, we are on the cusp of a familiar and cherished tradition in our Jamaat—the congregational tahajjud observed on New Year’s morning across the jamaats the world over. As we enter the New Year, amidst these reflections, our hearts also turn towards the upcoming Jalsa Salana Qadian 2023, a spiritual gathering echoing the same message of peace, unity, and devotion. Let this congregational prayer and our participation in events like Jalsa Salana fortify our resolve to not only raise awareness about the challenges in the Holy Land but also to actively contribute towards creating a world where the names of Allah and His Holy Messengersa reign supreme in every heart and where justice and tranquillity are not mere aspirations but tangible realities for all.