He was born on 19 June 1894 in Ludhiana to Hadhrat Master Qader Bakhsh and Basheerun Sahiba of Ludhiana, both of whom in 1892 had the honour of taking Bai’at (initiation) at the hands of the MGA. At birth, he was named Mian Rahim Baksh (or M. Rahim Baksh, see the ROR of January-1924 and March-1924). In the summer of 1924, he accompanied the Khalifa on his tour of the British empire and stayed in the UK as the missionary-in-charge. He returned to India by 1928. In the Oct-1924 edition of the ROR, his name is listed as Maulvi Rahim Bakhsh Dard. It seems that his name was changed by the Khalifa when they were in London. In the November-1924 and January-1925 edition of the ROR, the name Dard appears. His second tour in the UK was from 1933 to 1938. He published the famous life of Ahmad from Pakistan in 1948. He died suddenly in 1955 from a heart attack (see the Al Fazl Daily, 18 December 1955). You can read the full entry about his life herein.
Maulana Dard met MGA at the very young age of about five when he went with his father to the Promised Messiah ’s house – an encounter that he held close to his heart throughout his life. Maulana Dard undertook his primary education in Ludhiana, Lahore and Patiala.
He graduated with a BA in Lahore in 1914 and then an MA followed by a BT. He also completed the ‘Civil Service’ exam in 1919 (although he never entered government service).
Maulana Dard was married twice; once in December 1915 to Sara Begum, daughter of Mian Muhammad Ismail, and then to Maryam Begum (his first cousin) daughter of Hadhrat Mian Abdullah Sanauri in December 1917. On both occasions, he was blessed to have Hudhur perform the Nikah (Islamic marriage pronouncement ceremony). It is relevant to point out that this second marriage occurred due to the wish of the Promised Messiah expressed when Maulana Dard was young and which later was brought to the attention of Maulana Dard ’s father. He had 14 children, yet despite his extremely busy schedule that left almost no time for his family, Maulana Dard knew how to make his presence felt even when he was physically absent, often thousands of miles away. Whilst in London, he used to write to each of his 14 children regularly to keep up their spirits. This shows how conscious he was of his role as a father, husband as well as his role as a servant of the community.
After completing his studies in 1919 at the age of 25 in the holy citadel of Qadian, he devoted his entire life to God and became Waqif-e-Zindagi (i.e. a life devotee) and thus started a journey of one of the most illustrious services rendered in the history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
Just two years later – at the age of just 26 – he held the post of ‘Post Officer’ (1920 – 1922), which may not sound like an important or senior post, but it certainly was, for it was during his period in this office that it was renamed as ‘Private Secretary’. So he had the distinction of being the very first person to hold the title of Private Secretary to a Khalifa.
At birth, he was named Mian Rahim Baksh (or M. Rahim Baksh, see the ROR of January-1924 and March-1924). In the summer of 1924, he accompanied the Khalifa on his tour of the British empire and stayed in the UK as the missionary-in-charge. He returned to India by 1928. In the Oct-1924 edition of the ROR, his name is listed as Maulvi Rahim Bakhsh Dard. It seems that his name was changed by the Khalifa when they were in London. In the November-1924 and January-1925 edition of the ROR, the name Dard appears.
He travels with the Khalifa to London. The historic journey to London took them through many places including Damascus, Palestine and Egypt. They also visited Italy and France and finally reached England on 22 August 1924. The Conference on 23rd, September 1924 – at which Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan read out Hudhur’s speech ‘Ahmadiyyat, the True Islam’. It was during this visit, on the 19th of October, 1924 when Hudhur laid the foundation stone of the Fazl Mosque, the very first Mosque in London (also commonly known as the London Mosque) and appointed Maulana Dard as Missionary In-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community UK. In this day and age where every modern facility is available this does not seem to be a major issue but it was a huge sacrifice to live thousands of miles away from home in a foreign land with meagre resources and without the modern communications we take for granted. Yet he bore this challenge with pride and he devoted his time to preaching, not only in the UK, but across Europe as well. He was phenomenally successful.
During his time, Maulana Dard oversaw the construction of the very first mosque in London that was opened in October 1926, and he had the honour of being appointed as its first Imam. The mosque has since played a critical role in the history of the Ahmadiyya community and indeed the wider world.
More on the name change, we have heard that this is due to an incident that took place many years later in early-1924 whilst on tour with Khalifatul Masih II in Dalhousie. At Dalhousie they received the good news that Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sial (the first Ahmadi missionary in England) had just acquired land for the construction of a mosque. A Jalsa of thanks was held at which Hudhur (Khalifatul Masih II) asked people to prepare and recite poetry. Hudhur was so impressed with Maulana Dard’s poetry that he said that he has turned out to be a hidden gem. The Mirza family always has their mullahs carry out their orders, since they know that they can trust these brainwashed mullahs. Maulana Abdur Raheem Dard is another such mullah.
In 1928, he had already visited Damascus, Constantinople and Baghdad and during his second term he visited Spain, Albania, Holland, Belgium and Germany. All the time he was engaged in preaching to people he met whilst on travel.
One of the key political roles played by Maulana Dard was in the All India Kashmir Committee. The origins of this committee lay in Hudhur’s concern for the plight of the Muslims of Kashmir and by 1931 the situation had deteriorated dramatically and Muslims were facing severe persecution at the hands of a tyrant Maharaja.
Hudhur was moved to bring together leading Muslims of India to help alleviate the suffering of Muslims in Kashmir and the All India Kashmir Committee was formed. At the recommendation of Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Hudhur was elected the first president of the committee and Hudhur appointed Dard sahib its first secretary.
When Hudhur was granted a meeting with the Viceroy of India at Shimla, Maulana Dard was with him. In Shimla he met with political leaders and ministers and they were so impressed with his knowledge and political acumen that this opened doors to further discussions and resulted in great progress in helping the Kashmiri Muslims.
A great attribute of Maulana Dard was that despite the fact the he was regularly meeting and mixing with the highest authorities he never let such matters get to him and always remained humble and clear of the purpose of his mission. Once, Hudhur sent him to Sri Nagar on behalf of the Kashmir Committee to independently assess the situation. The Ahrar (an organisation that was opposed to Muslims) found out about this visit and they alerted the Maharaja of Kashmir to this. The Maharaja sent a full delegation to meet Maulana Dard at the border and they insisted that he stayed at the palace as their official guest. However, Maulana Dard refused and never moved an inch from his mission so that his impartiality could not be called into question. Despite the strenuous attempts by the Maharaja’s representative, he remained firm and stayed in a houseboat instead. Such was his sense of duty and purpose of mind. It was such acts that won him acclaim and respect.
In 1933, Maulana Dard was again appointed to England for a second term as Imam of The London Mosque.
His Khalifa insisted that Ahmadi-Mullahs get involved with politics, in fact, as an employee of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, Dard did whatever he was told, without asking any questions, in typical Punjabee servitude. He is famously credited for convincing Jinnah to return to British-India and to work with Ahmadis and the British in terms of the partition of India after WW-2. Since the queen had promised to free India, since the indian people helped the Brits during WW-2.
Jinnah announced his plan to return to politics from an Ahmadi mosque in the UK
As we all know, Ahmadis were heavily involved in politics since at least 1889. Before that, MGA was favored in British-India, they dropped charged on MGA many times and always offered him a chair when he came to their court. here is a famous incident from the late 1890’s wherein MGA’s biggest critic and old friend wasn’t given a chair…whereas MGA was. It’s obvious, that Ahmadis were always favored by the British and used to shape the politics of the sub-continent.
Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan (1978). Ahmadiyyat: the renaissance of Islam. Tabshir Publications. pp. 242–.
He, therefore, directed Mr A. R. Dard, Imam of the London Mosque, to get in touch with Mr Jinnah and try to persuade … of 9 April 1933: There was a large gathering in the grounds of the mosque in Melrose Road, Wimbledon, where Mr Jinnah, ..
He returned to Qadian.
He moved to Lahore and later Rabwah with the Khalifa during partition.
He famously publishes “Life of Ahmad”, which is the most comprehensive book on the life of MGA.
After having served the community for more than 40 years, Maulana Dard had earned many distinctions. On 7 December 1955 when Maulana Dard suffered a heart attack whilst working in his office, and within a few hours, at 2.30pm, he breathed his last. He was aged 61. On Friday 9th December, 1955 in his Friday Sermon, Khalifatul Masih II reflected on the life and times of Maulana Dard and paid glowing tributes to him in affectionate terms. So strong was the bond between Hudhur and his servant that as he delivered the sermon and recalled the services of Maulana Dard he had tears in his eyes.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________Links and Related Essays
https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/29299/1/10731394.pdf—“Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the Construction of the Ahmadi Identity”
Copland, Ian, “Islam and Political Mobilization in Kashmir, 1931-34”, which was published in an academic journal entitled: “PACIFIC AFFAIRS”, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Summer, 1981), pp. 228-259 (32 pages), Published by: Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia
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