Dear readers, we have recently covered some of the non-pakistani-imams that were rushed through Jamia and even though they failed, were made imam’s by the Ahmadi Khalifa. Bashir Ahmad Orchard, previously known as John Bren Orchard (April 26th, 1920 – July 8th, 2002), seems to be their first ever indigenous European Ahmadiyya Missionary, he was born in Torquay, England and thus became the first ever English-Ahmadi-missionary. His brother was a Roman Catholic priest. But to the astonishment of his fellow officers, he began to take instruction in Ahmadiyya. For Bashir Orchard, after the war, there were no prospects, things were bad and rationing of the basic food, Britain was devastated by the german bombing and overall war effort, there was rubble everywhere, things were not looking good for him. Joining Ahmadiyya was a good situation, where he got a super-young desi- woman, employment and comfy life.
He was sent off as a missionary by the 2nd Khalifa, however, he didn’t pass Jamia or any other islamic school, the Khalifa waived all of that and made Bashir Ahmad Orchard a Murrabi nevertheless. He was given an important young Ahmadi woman, in fact, Orchard became a brother-in-law of the Khalifa since he married the only sibling of the Khalifa’s first wife.
His preaching was very unsuccessful, his son even admitted as much, both in Scotland and Guyana. He seems to have been specifically used as the token English-Ahmadi and was marketed as such. He also claimed to be a recipient of divine revelations and true dreams.
His wife and children
He was married to Qanita in 1948 in either Lahore or Rabwah, she died in 2011, Ahmadiyya sources claim that she was 81 at death, which makes her DOB as roughly 1930. She was the granddaughter of Dr. Khalifa Rasheed-ud-din and was the niece of Umme Nasir, first wife of Khalifatul Masih II. They had 5 children in total. 2 daughters and 3 sons. This is interesting, since Dr. Khalifa Rasheed-ud-din only had 2 daughters, one was married off to Mirza Basheer-ud-did Mahmud Ahmad and the other daughter was married to a Shia-Muslim. Bashir Ahmad Orchard seems to have married into that tree. Nasira Rehman is a daughter of his. Abida Rehman is another. The son of Bashir Ahmad Orchard did an interview a few years ago, his son’s name is Nisar Ahmad Orchard. He has another son named Nasir Orchard. Essah Orchard is also interviewed, he is a grandson of Bashir Ahmad Orchard.
His grandchildren arrested
He fought in WW-2 in France, was evacuated from Dunkirk, and was commissioned as an officer for British-India as he fought on the Burma front. By age 24, he was a drunkard, heavy gambler and heavy smoker. He most likely indulged in prostitutes like most British officers as well. In 1945 through Sergeant Abdul Rehman Sahib Dehlvi he was introduced to Ahmadiyya.
Orchard tells us that he visited Qadian during the final stages of the official Burma campaign. By April, the Japanese had been totally beaten in Burma, a few months later, atom bombs were dropped. During his trip to Qadian, he met the Khalifa and saw Qadian in full detail. He then returned to his unit and defeated the Japanese and returned to England on April 21st, 1946.
While in England, he visits the famous Ahmadiyya Fazl Mosque, and meets Jalal ud Din Shams and inquires what it would take to become an Ahmadi murrabi. He is then accepted by the Khalifa and prepares to spend the rest of his life as an Ahmadi missionary.
May 1st, 1947
Orchard arrives in Qadian and is greeted by the Khalifa and given a warm reception. He was given an ahmadi woman and was married.
This event has been described by Maulana Shams:
After his release from the army, when he arrived in England, he stayed for two days only at Bristol with his relatives and so, on the third day, he was at the mosque in London. During his conversation with me he expressed his willingness to live at the mosque and become a Muslim missionary. I explained to him the responsibilities of a missionary and the required qualifications for missionary work. Eventually I promised him to see to his case sympathetically for missionary work and would write to him this matter. He was a little bit upset from my reluctance in accepting his offer readily. After a few days he, however, dedicated his life for the service of Islam unconditionally like other waqifeen. I sent his application to Hazrat Amir-ul-Momineen, with my opinion that he might be a useful missionary. I asked him to come and stay with us and to begin the study of Islam. Hazrat Amir-ul-Momineen graciously accepted his Waqf and Mr. Orchard began to work with other missionaries.
Review Of Religions, June 1947
August 1947–the partition
Orchard claims to have remained in Qadian until the partition, he then recalls a story wherein he was part of a major convoy from Qadian to Lahore. He claims that his future wife was also in this convoy, she was in one of the trucks and he was in another (see 23:32 mark). Although he couldn’t remember, he seems to have spent time in Lahore and Rabwah up until 1949, wherein he was sent to Glasgow, Scotland by the Khalifa. He is mentioned as an Ahmadi who served during WW-2 in the paperwork that was submitted to the boundary commission. He is listed as #105.
1948 in Lahore and Rabwah
He is married into a major Ahmadi family, he is now a brother-in-law with the Khalifa.
He seems to have been stationed at Glasgow, Scotland by the Khalifa. His wife went with him.
1952 – 1966
The Khalifa orders Orchard to go the west Indies and preach Ahmadiyya, his young wife went with him. He went to Guyana to be specific. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat doesn’t seem to have grown much in this area and in these 14 years. Nor has it grown much after.
He returned to Glasgow, Scotland. Even though he was a paid-employee of the Mirza family, he was allowed to sell stamps and thus make money for his own welfare as well as other random expenses. His wife and kids lived in the mission house in Glasgow. Thus, Ahmadiyya INC saved money.
1983, he leaves Scotland for England
He moved to South England and continued working as a missionary, first in Oxford and later to London.
He is on the editorial board of the Review of Religions, see the May 1984 edition. He remained as its editor until at least December of 1990. He doesn’t seem to be very good at giving speeches or leading prayers, the Ahmadiyya jamaat thus uses Orchard in an area wherein he might be of service, editing the english language. Most of his writings are general in nature, he doesn’t have the capacity or knowledge to write about in-depth islamic topics. Its unclear if he edited the Moslem Sunrise, it doesn’t seem so, however, he did have some of his essays published in it.
He performs Hajj. A collection of his writings are transferred
He passes away.
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