Updated: Jan 24
I present here a translation of a sermon of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II r.a. on truthfulness.
The sermon is dated 18th August 1950, and is recorded in the Al Fazl newspaper of 5th September 1950. The relevant portion of his sermon on 'Truthfulness' is from pages 4-7. The original Urdu sermon can be found here:
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II r.a. states:
"... The reality is that this (following) question is a very important question, and we should always keep focussing our attention on this point that by means of Ahmadiyyat, a light of God descended, but what benefit have we gained from this light? For example, there are 5 or 7 main things about which I think that they are indicators of morals. And it is our obligation that we strive to instil these things within us. Of these is one thing which in reality is a sign of a believer, that is, truthfulness.
I see that members of our Jama’at do not fully understand it’s importance. They will speak, albeit with ignorance, heedlessness, or lack of knowledge, and their speech is not 100% truthful. They mix in a measure of falsehood in their talk in order to beautify it. They will exaggerate when mentioning the signs of God the Most High. When mentioning the membership of the Jama’at, they will exaggerate.
When mentioning the wrongs done to them, they will exaggerate. Someone will have slapped them 10 times, yet they will declare 12. Whereas to prove someone as a wrongdoer, what difference does it make to mention 10 or 12 slaps? If someone has slapped another even once without justification, his wrongdoing is established. But they are not satisfied with this and begin to exaggerate. Or they will say that such and such a person beat them so much so that they left them half dead. And they will try to exaggerate in this manner.
I remember, that when I went for the Hajj, because I was young at this time, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I r.a. wished that Abdul Hayy Arab should also accompany me. His desire was that by staying in Egypt, I should complete my Arabic studies, but this desire (of his) could not be fulfilled. Abdul Hayy Sahib Arab was a resident of Iraq and had become an Ahmadi from the Shi’ites. And the Shi’ites have (a habit of) exaggeration (in them) somewhat more than the Sunnis. In Jeddah, we were staying at the residence of Seth AbuBakr Sahib. An Arab merchant came to visit us there, and Abdul Hayy Arab began to do tabligh to him.
… I was reading a book when I suddenly felt as though Abdul Hayy Sahib Arab had become excited and passionate, and the Arab merchant was sitting in great fear. What had happened was that Abdul Hayy Arab Sahib was relating to him the account of (Pundit) Lekhram and was stating that Hadhrat Masih Maoud a.s. had specified a particular year, month, day and time when this person would be killed, and no worldly power would be able to save him. Because all the Aryas (i.e. Hindus of the Arya Samaj sect) knew of this prophecy, the police had surrounded Lekhram’s premises on this day and stopped the entry and exit of people into the premises.
When the prophecied time came, and Lekhram was hidden in his room, and there was no possibility of anyone killing him, suddenly the roof split open, and an angel came down with a sword and split his belly and killed him. The Arab merchant, under the influence of this account, became pale faced and fearful that if he now rejected this account, an angel would descend and split his own belly also.
When I heard this account, I said: Abdul Hayy, you lie even in tabligh? He began to say: Wasn’t there a prophecy? I said there was indeed a prophecy, but God had said that he would be killed within 6 years, and you claim that a specific year, month and day was prophecied. And the (actual) events are that a person went to Lekhram, the doors were open and his wife and children were present, and he inserted his dagger (in Lekhram’s belly) and disappeared. Though the word angel was used, it meant that as an angel is not caught, neither will he be caught.
Then I said that you say that the roof split open and an angel descended, whereas this is a complete lie. You also say that the police had surrounded the premises with a guard, whereas this is also a lie. He began to say that when they would have become aware of the prophecy, would the police not have placed a guard? I said that this is not an issue of ‘would have’. The issue is what actually happened. The point is that even in tabligh, lies are told. In the same way, when they have to inform others about the membership figures of the Jama’at, they will say that we are 10 laakh (i.e. 1 million), or 12 laakh (i.e. 1.2 million) or 15 laakh (i.e. 1.5 million).
When people ask me, I say I do not know. Perhaps they have already conducted a census. Whereas, whether it be 10 or 10 laakh (i.e. 1 million), the real thing to determine is whether there is truthfulness within the Jama’a or not. Does it present true teachings or false ones? If we are ten persons, and God the Most High is supporting us, then this is the proof of our truthfulness. Which additional thing can be proven by 10 laakh (i.e. 1 million members)? Whereas the truth is that even if we are few, but are doing the tabligh of Islam in the whole world, then this will become another clear proof of our truthfulness.
Let us assume that we are 20,000, but we have 4 or 5 mission (house/s) in America, 10 or 20 in West Africa, 5 or 7 in East Africa; in the same way, we have a mission open in Syria, and in Lebanon. And our mission was open in Mauritius, and now a missionary is going there again. …
Thus, there is a fault in the members of our Jama’at that they don’t manifest complete truthfulness, but begin to exaggerate, the result of which is that they become lazy in tabligh. They say that a spider weaves a web and becomes trapped in it’s own web. In the same way, some members of the Jama’at will at first lie by saying that our numbers are 15 laakh (i.e. 1.5 million), and then begin to estimate that if everyone gives 2 rupees, it becomes 30 lakh rupees (i.e. 3 million rupees); in this case, what loss can there be in my not giving alms? Thus, first he himself told a lie, then himself excused his nafs that my there is no loss if I don’t give alms, and thus ended all his responsibilities.
The truth is that though we have never conducted a census, our estimate is that the membership of the Jama’at is about 2 laakh (i.e. 200,000). We don’t see more than this. It is possible that if we include the foreign Jama’ats, this number may reach 3 laakh (i.e. 300,000), and the maximum number beyond which there is no room is 4 laakh (i.e. 400,000). But now, by continuing to exaggerate, when some members of the Jama’at talk of their numbers, they claim to be 25 laakh (2.5 million). Some time ago, someone asked me what the membership figure of the Jama’at was. I gave him my estimate of 2 laakh (i.e. 200,000) in the Indian subcontinent, upon which he said that such and such a missionary gave me a figure of 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million).
I wrote a note to the missionary in question asking him as regards when he had conducted a census of the Jama’at, and if you did so, why didn’t you inform me of the membership figure of 25 laakh (i.2. 2.5 million)? He replied that 25 years from today, it was being said that our membership is 10 laakh (i.e. 1 million). In this time, would the membership figures not have increased by this much, that the Jama’at increased from 10 laakh (i.e. 1 million) to 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million)? Thus, because an error was made 25 years ago, it was assumed that now the Jama’at will have reached 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million).
Or, put it this way, he thought that if truth progresses, why should falsehood not progress? It should also be made to progress. I wrote back to this missionary that this is a complete falsehood. If other people tell lies, a missionary should not tell lies by emulating them. The reality is that nothing else has the power which truth has. It is incumbent on us that we either say that we don’t really know the membership figure of the Jama’at, or give that number which is closest to our estimate.
I have told you that my estimate is about 2 laakh (i.e. 200,000); now if this estimate is correct, and the number of Jama’at members is indeed 2 laakh (i.e. 200,000), keeping this number in mind, the pain which will arise in my heart, will not be the pain which will arise in my heart keeping a figure of 25 laakh in mind. This figure is so large that if our Jama’at actually reaches 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million), it would bring about a very big revolution. The figure of 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million) means that our number is half that of the Sikhs, but because we have greater organisation within us, for this reason, certainly, if our Jama’at reaches 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million), we would be able, by the Grace of Allah, to do that which the Sikhs, despite being 50 laakh (i.e. 5 million), have not been able to do.
But now, because of the lie which is told that we have reached 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million), rather than benefitting from this, two drawbacks arise from it. Firstly, the one who says this, ceases to do tabligh, because he says (to himself), 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million) people are doing tabligh, so if I don’t do tabligh, so what? The second drawback is that such a person becomes lazy in giving alms (chanda), because he thinks to himself that 25 laakh (i.e. 2.5 million) people are giving alms, if I don’t give alms, so what? In a similar way, many other drawbacks arise, from which his faith also declines. The tabligh of Islam and Ahmadiyyat also suffers a loss. Thus, you people should always adhere to truthfulness in your speech, and not even approach falsehood. ..."