The Pioneer Muslim Missionary to Europe — Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din
by Muhammad Anwar M.A. (Assistant Imam, UK Mission, London)
The Light (Pakistan), 8th/24th December Issue (Sadr-ud-Din Number) (Vol. 61, Nos. 23–24, pp. 9–10)
The Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, died in Lahore, Pakistan, on 15th November 1981, at the age of over 100 years. He was one of the pioneer Muslim missionaries to Europe, doing much valuable work first at the Woking Muslim Mission (Woking, Surrey) during the years 1914–17 and 1919–20, and then in Germany where in the early 1920’s he established the first Islamic Centre and Mosque in that country. In 1951 he succeeded the world-renowned Maulana Muhammad Ali (translator of the Holy Quran into English) as Head of the International Pakistan-based Muslim missionary organisation, the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam of Lahore.
Born in 1881 in Sialkot, the Maulana joined the Ahmadiyya Movement in 1905 at the hand of the Founder himself, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908). A teacher by training, he earned early fame as the Headmaster of the newly-founded Taleem-ul-Islam High School in Qadian [India]. In 1914 he was sent to Woking (England) as Imam of the Woking Muslim Mission founded by the Ahmadiyya Muslim missionary Khwaja Kamal-ud Din. Here, amongst other duties, he edited the Islamic Review, and worked alongside well-known British Muslims of those times such as Lord Headley, gaining many new converts of repute. As Woking was the only Muslim centre in England at that time, its Imam was regarded as the representative of Muslims in that part of the world. In this capacity, at the Government’s request, the Maulana ministered to wounded and dead Muslim soldiers during the First World War. He also succeeded in obtaining a plot for Muslims in Brookwood cemetery.
In 1922, the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement sent the Maulana to Berlin to establish an Islamic mission there. He constructed a beautiful mosque in the Wilmersdorf area of that city (now in West Berlin [now, Berlin]), and started a monthly Moslemische Revue. Among the Muslim converts he gained there were, Dr. Hamid Marcus, a noted philosopher, and the Austrian Baron Umar Ehrenfels. Some years after his return to Lahore in 1925, be supervised the German translation of the Holy Quran.
After his return from Europe, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din held various prominent positions in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman, touring on its behalf to many parts of the [Indian] Sub-continent. He also wrote a number of books on Islam. In 1951, on the death of Maulana Muhammad Ali, he was elected the head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. He will be remembered in particular for his excellent and forceful sermons and speeches, delivered in simple language and an engaging style. A cheerful, informal and physically strong man, Maulana Sadr-ud-Din remained in incredibly good health to a very advanced age. May God admit him in His Mercy!