Few contemporary definitions of globalisation explain this in terms of diversity and intensity of the social connections. In general economic theory, “globalisation is defined as increasing trade interdependency and investment integration” (Hirst & Thompson, 2019). Globalisation is expected to provide growth, raise standards of living of every citizen of the society. This is not a novel concept. Trans-world communications and trade existed for centuries throughout the history of mankind. Researchers argue that the ideological basis of globalisation is due to the promotion of capitalist views and lassiez faire (economic system in which market demand, supply and price are free to float without any government regulations). In fact, organisations like IMF, World Bank and WTO actively propagated the capitalist policies (Igwe, 2019). The only differentiating feature in the modern concept of globalisation from the primitive one is the “quantity, frequency, scope and intensity of trans-planteory links” (Scholte, 2008).
It is interesting to note that extensive connectivity beyond national boundaries not only affects the extent of the trade but also the society as a whole which involves culture, new technology, religious beliefs and politics (Pieterse, 2019). In reality, globalisation gave rise to the economic interdependence after 1970s. The global growth indicators in this era revealed that the world GDP was in the range of 2%-4% up till the financial crisis of 2009 (Petri & Banga, 2020). However, strong arguments exist challenging the effectiveness of interdependence equally for the participating nations. The current model of globalisation focuses on the free capital movement and liberating the trade regulations in the sectors and industries in which developed nations like the US have a competitive advantage. Yet, these countries discourage local protectionist measures by the developing nations (Hirst & Thompson, 2019). This model is therefore believed to be inclined more towards “westernisation” rather than “globalisation” (Igwe, 2019). It has created injustice and increased the inequality gap between developed and developing countries. The term interdependence was used in order to achieve the benefit of competitive advantage (in terms of efficiency, cost and quality) each nation has in a particular skill, product, trade or technology. However, it is often used in exploiting the developing markets in the current capitalist climate. (Wallerstein, 1980).
Apart from the economic complexities explained above, globalisation has also created a challenge of international governance. These challenges have been addressed by the world through the formation of international organisation and forums such as WTO and UN, having an internationally recognised constitution. Though these forums can be effective in bringing the world closer but as a matter of fact, these forums have failed in favour of the political and economic interests of the developed nations. Whether it is to do with providing agricultural subsidies of $47 billion to the richer nations producing cotton, to facilitate developing countries with differential arrangements or the issue of climate change, international platforms have collapsed miserably (Walker, 2011). This is due to the lack of the commitment from the world leadership to lead the world in the right direction with justice and fairness.
This injustice by the world leaders and the regulatory organisations has therefore created mistrust in various nations and cultures such as Muslim world. Research related to Islam and globalisation highlights this injustice by differentiating westernisation from globalisation (Miasami, 2003). The Islamic world (Ummah) is conscious about their political and cultural identity and considers the current globalisation model as a threat to this (Nurullah, 2008). The cultural differences were in fact never acknowledged by the current globalisation model.
The world is currently facing probably one of the most severe pandemics in the history which has brought the world nations down to their feet. The situation has reminded the world that the adopted globalisation idea, despite having benefits, requires serious scrutiny as the pandemic exposes the weaknesses and fragility of the international supply chain and inability of world leadership (Farrell & Newman, 2020). The world certainly expects, though not been expressed openly, some kind of holy and divine guidance in the current scenario (Culliford, 2018; Flurry, 2017). It is interesting to note that most of the religious scriptures have prophesied about the arrival of some sort of divinely guided one to be sent by God in the latter days. The Bible and other Jewish scriptures have clearly mentioned the second coming of “Jesus (AS)” and “Elijah (AS)” prophets who will lead them to the ultimate human destiny. The arrival of disasters, epidemics and wars has been foretold in these scriptures as a sign of latter days as well.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1–5).
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:5–6)
Similarly, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) has also mentioned the coming of a “Mahdi” in the latter days.
‘Narrated Abu Huraira, Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in whose hands my soul is, the son of Mary (Jesus) will shortly descend amongst you people (Muslims) as a just ruler and will break the cross and kill the pig and abolish the jizya (a tax taken from the non-Muslims, who are in the protection, of the Muslim government). Then there will be abundance of money and no-body will accept charitable gifts.’
(Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 425)
In the current world situation, the only sect in the Muslim community who claims that the foretold “Prophet Messiah and Mahdi” has arrived is the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. This prophet hood has been extended through the institution of Khilafat (Caliphate) which is believed to be the chosen and guided by Allah Himself as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“Allah had promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.”
The above verse clearly proves that God appoints the caliph Himself and hence, he will be guided by God and will be duty bound to show us humans the right path. Bounded by this duty, the Khalifa of the time, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed (May God be his helper) has warned the world leaders about the destruction the world has been brought to.
“It is my fear that in view of the direction in which things are moving today, the political and economic dynamics of the countries of the world may lead to a world war. It is not only the poorer countries of the world, but also the richer nations that are being affected by this. Therefore, it is the duty of the superpowers to sit down and find a solution to save humanity from the brink of disaster.” (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed, Khalifatul-Masih V (aba), World Crisis and the Pathway to peace)
Therefore, it is for us to understand now that despite clear warnings, what is the course of action we are taking as the human race? Are we on the track to our ultimate destiny? Is the road of globalisation filled with further discomfort? Globalisation is an absolute reality and is a virtue for mankind. However, it is important to understand that without the divine guidance, it is evident that the current globalisation model will lead the world to a deeper trap of destruction. Unfortunately, what seems to be the ultimate solution to the global world problems has been left abandoned by the world today.