Sarmad Naveed, Canada
If you’re on social media or have a smart phone, you’ve probably gotten a notification prompting you to take a look at a montage of your activity over the past year. Whether it’s your posts or pictures, it’s an opportunity to reflect and rekindle memories.
Then, there are the new year’s resolutions which many seem to make, but hardly fulfil, as studies show that80% of New Year’s resolutions end up failing.
Regardless, New Year’s represents a time of reflecting, and looking forward.
So first, let’s reflect.
For the past few years, we’ve been enduring what feels like an unending pandemic. Just when it looked like the world was finally beginning to move past it, the virus took what seems to be the ‘new year, new me’ approach and developed a variant that has resulted in cases skyrocketing once again.
As we reflect, and having experienced this pandemic, what have we learned?
Exactly one year ago, the world was in the same situation, as the pandemic continued to rage on. It was on New Year’s day that His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) prayed:
‘May the rest of the world also recognise the purpose of their creation and fulfil the rights of God and instead of usurping the rights of one another, may they fulfil the rights of one another whilst adhering to the commandments of Allah the Almighty.’
He then said:
‘For the past year, we have been enduring a very dangerous pandemic… it seems that the vast majority of the world does not wish to pay heed to the fact that perhaps this pandemic is from Allah the Almighty in order to draw their attention towards fulfilling their duties and responsibilities.’
So the task looking forward at this time last year was simple; the world must realise it’s true purpose of establishing a connection with God, and people must realise the importance of doing good to one another.
Where do we stand a year later? On 26 December 2021, His Holiness (aba) said:
‘Indeed, not even the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the entire world shaken, has managed to remove the animosities harboured within the hearts of people or purged nations of their pride and arrogance over one another. People are not paying heed to this warning of Allah the Almighty.’
The truth is that this can’t just be another one of the 80% failed resolutions, because there’s too much at stake. Lives are being lost, families grieving far too early, people facing financial strife, yet people still aren’t turning to God, or simply being kind to one another and fulfilling each other’s rights.
To some, this may seem like a bleak outlook, but the reality is that these are simple ways in which, if we were to live our lives, then our societies, and the world at large would become a safe haven and abode of peace. This way, the whole world could work together in safely moving past the pandemic. This isn’t just a New Year’s resolution, but it’s a life-long resolution.
So now, how do we move forward into 2022? His Holiness’ (aba) message for this New Year is simple, but profound. He said on 31 December 2021:
‘Enter the new year with prayers’.
As the duties which His Holiness (aba) outlined for the world last year still stand, His Holiness (aba) advised the world to recite the following prayers going into the new year; a reflection of the task and responsibilities at hand:
‘Our Lord, let not our hearts become perverse after Thou hast guided us; and bestow on us mercy from Thyself; surely, Thou alone art the Bestower.’ (3:9)
‘Our Lord, forgive us our errors and our excesses in our conduct, and make firm our steps and help us against the disbelieving people.’ (3:148)
So as we move on to 2022, let’s not simply say ‘Happy New Year’, let’s truly make it a happy, new year.
About the Author: Sarmad Naveed is an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who graduated from the Ahmadiyya Institute for Languages and Theology in Canada. He serves on the Editorial Board of The Review of Religions and coordinates the Facts from Fiction section. He has also appeared as a panelist and host of programmes on Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) such as ‘Ahmadiyyat: Roots to Branches.’