Contemporary and Social Issues

The Doomsday Clock Says ‘It is 100 seconds to midnight’


Sarmad Naveed, Canada

Imagine someone told you that existence as we know it will end in 100 seconds. 

According to the Doomsday Clock, that’s all the time we have left.

The Doomsday Clock was established in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an organisation founded by Albert Einstein and a group scientists from Chicago who played a role in building the first nuclear weapons in the Manhattan Project.

The purpose of this clock is to signify the world’s vulnerability to nuclear threats, climate change, and other emerging threats. With midnight representing the apocalypse, every year, the organisation’s Science and Security Board determines how close the clock’s hands will be to midnight, based on the current situation of the world. 

The hope is that through this imagery, awareness and a sense of urgency will come about, thus putting pressure on world leaders to make the necessary changes in order to preserve our world and existence.

In 2015, the Science and Security Board determined that the world was three minutes away from Doomsday. Now, on 20 January 2022, we find ourselves in dangerously worse shape, as it was announced‘At dooms doorstep: It is 100 seconds to midnight’.

The Threats to Our World

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cites the various reasons causing the world to seemingly be so close to its destruction. For example, increasing international tensions between major superpowers, coupled with rapid advancements in the development of nuclear weapons make the outbreak of a massive nuclear war that much more imminent. 

It also highlights the fact that the threats posed by climate change are very real. Part of the determination that the world is so close to destruction is the fact that we are nowhere near the level of reduction in greenhouse gas emission required to sustain our planet, both in the short and long term.  

Of course, as it has been with seemingly everything, the Covid-19 pandemic is impacting the future of our world as well. A large part of this has to do with vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, and discrepancies in equal distribution. In order to come out of this pandemic, the international community must work together in an equitable fashion, which unfortunately, has not been the case. 

With all these factors and various others, ‘the world remains stuck in an extremely dangerous moment’, which is why we find ourselves closer to doom.

A Wakeup Call for the World

This certainly is a grim state of affairs, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sends a clear message:

‘Leaders around the world must immediately commit themselves to renewed cooperation in the many ways and venues available for reducing existential risk…The doorstep of doom is no place to loiter.’

This message is quite familiar to those who have been paying attention to the words of a global leader, who has been calling for the world to cease its self-destructive and inevitably catastrophic ways for the past many years. This of course is none other than the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba). 

He has unwaveringly stood before world leaders and policy makers around the world, highlighting the very same objectives which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists hopes to achieve with its Doomsday Clock – to protect our world, humanity and its future.

While addressing Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the Caliph (aba) said:

We must leave aside our personal and national interests for the greater good and instead we must establish mutual relations that are based entirely on justice. Otherwise…it is not unlikely that disorder will continue to increase in the world, which will ultimately lead to a huge destruction.

Whilst addressing the threat of global nuclear warfare, the Caliph (aba) said at a Peace Symposium in the UK,

‘What causes great fear is the knowledge that such nuclear weapons could end up in the hands of such people who either do not have the ability or who choose not to think about the consequences of their actions…Thus, it is my ardent wish and hope that the leaders of all major nations come to understand this dreadful reality, and so instead of adopting aggressive policies and utilising force to achieve their aims and objectives, they strive to adopt policies that promote and secure justice.’

His Holiness (aba) also highlights the impact of warfare on the climate,

A major focus of the international community is climate change and a desire to keep the air that we breathe clean. Is there anyone who thinks that heavy bombardment has no effect on the atmosphere? Furthermore, if peace ever does prevail in the war-torn countries, their towns and cities will have to be rebuilt from scratch, and this in itself will be a huge industry that will cause an increase in harmful emissions and pollution. Thus, on the one hand, we are trying to save the planet, yet with our other hand, we are senselessly destroying it. In light of all of this, I firmly believe that world powers are being blinded by short-sightedness and tunnel-vision.

Then, in a letter to world leaders, in which he urged them to act equitably in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Caliph (aba) said,

‘Your government should strive to ensure the peace and security of society, both within your country and at a broader, international level. I sincerely request that you uphold the demands of justice and integrity by seeking to fulfil the rights of your own people and of all other nations…If history teaches us anything it is that when governments selfishly prioritise their own national interests over and beyond the collective interest the results are invariably catastrophic.’

So, the Doomsday Clock is ticking. It’s time that the world heeds the words of the Caliph, Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) so that we can save our world and very existence from destruction. We have no other option; we must turn back the hands of time. 

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.’ 


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