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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hakim Mohammed Saeed (Founder of HUK )


Hakim Mohammed Saeed was born on 9 January 1920, in Delhi. He was the youngest of the five children of Hakeem Abdul Majeed. His forefathers had migrated from Kashghar, in the Chinese Turkistan, to Peshawar, in the early 17th century. The family stayed in Peshawar for about eighty years and then moved to Multan in southern Punjab.

In 1820, the great grandfather of Hakim Mohammad Said left Multan and headed for Delhi. He was in Panipat when Hakim Mohammed Said's grandfather, Rahim Bux was born. In his youth, Rahim Bux went to Pilibhit where his first son, Hakim Mohammed Said's father, Abdul Majeed, was born in 1883.

Rahim Bux did not stay in Pilibhit for long and moved to Delhi with his family to make it his permanent abode. In the true family tradition, Abdul Majeed first memorized the Holy Qur'an and after he became Hafiz, he learned Persian and calligraphy. During their sojourn in Multan, Hakim Mohammed Said's forefathers had developed interest in medicinal herbs and herbal products. Young Abdul Majeed had this ancestral streak in him. He joined the herbal pharmacy of Hakim Ajmal Khan, the renowned practitioner of Unani - Islamic system of medicine in Delhi.

This association gave Hafiz Abdul Majeed the opportunity to widen his knowledge of medicinal herbs and their properties and their efficacy in various diseases. He read as many books on Tibb (medicine) as he could lay his hands on and, in due course of time, he was ready to start practice as Hakeem and set up his own herbal pharmacy in a small shop in Hauz Qazi. Hafiz Hakeem Abdul Majeed named his pharmacy and clinic, Hamdard Dawakhana.

"Hamdard" means one who shares the pain of others and is willing to mitigate it and this was what Hakeem Abdul Majeed wanted his pharmacy to do. For him Hamdard Dawakhana was not simply a commercial venture, it was an opportunity to serve humanity, to alleviate the sufferings of the people. Hakeem Abdul Majeed was a man of faith and from day one he followed the principle of service to humanity.

His wife, Rabia Begum, shared his views as well his vision. She gave her husband all the support he needed in his efforts and even helped him in preparing medicines from plants and herbs. Soon the Dawakhana started picking up and the need to have bigger premises became imperative. A suitable place was available in Lal Kuan but there was no money to buy it. Rabia Begum also solved this problem. She gave all the money she had been quietly saving from the income of the pharmacy. The premises were acquired and Hamdard Dawakhana moved there.

In 1922, Hakeem Abdul Majeed bought a more spacious place in Lal Kuan and Hamdard began a new phase of its service to humanity. March 28, 1922 was a red-letter day in Hakeem Abdul Majeed's life when the new building of Hamdard was to be inaugurated but alas' he was too ill to be present on the occasion. He died three months later on 22 June 1922.

Hakeem Abdul Majeed had a dream. He wanted to make Hamdard, which was already a household name, a great institution. The responsibility to make this dream come true now devolved upon Rabia Begum, his wife and his sons. Hakim Mohammed Said was just a toddler of two and a half years when his father died. His elder brother, Hakim Abdul Hameed, was 13 years old but even at this young age he took up his father's business and carried it on with singular dedication and hard work under the guidance of his wise and courageous mother.

In the training and character building of Hakim Mohammad Said, his mother Rabia Begum and his elder brother, Hakeem Abdul Hameed played the major role. It was the training of Rabia Begum that made Hakim Mohammed Said the unique person that he ultimately became. She never tolerated any moral shortcoming. She was too strict in this regard. Rabia Begum was a just and fair- minded person and it was because of this that she always had the final word in all family affairs.

Since his childhood, Hakim Mohammed Said possessed extra-ordinary intellect and phenomenal memory. He completed the Nazira reading of the Holy Qur'an at the tender age of 6 and memorized it to become a Hafiz at 9. He never went to a school and had all his early education at home. Master Iqbal Hussain taught him English and Master Mumtaz Hussain, Urdu and Arithmetic. He learned Arabic and Persian from the venerable scholar, Maulana Qazi Sajjad Hussein.

Hakim Mohammed Said loved sports. He played chess, hockey and football, enjoyed wrestling and horse-riding. Cock fighting and pigeon-rearing were his hobby. But very soon all these diversions had to give way to a serious life.
One day towards the end of 1935, his elder brother, Hakeem Abdul Hameed, Said to him: "Mian Said, how long will this playfulness continue?"

"What is that you want me to do, Bhai Jan?" Young Said asked.
"I want you to follow the family tradition. It is time that you should seriously start the study of Tibb", Hakeem Abdul Hameed told him.

Study Tibb! This was not what Mohammed Said wanted to do in life. He wanted to be a journalist. He was inspired by the writings of Maulana Mohammed Ali Johar and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. But when his elder brother, who was now like a father to him, desired that he should study Tibb, Eastern Medicine, and adopt Hikmat as his main concern in life, he left everything behind and got admission in the Tibbia College, Delhi.

He did his BEMS (Bachelor of Eastern Medicine) from Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbi (Medical) College Delhi, in 1940. After graduating from the college, Hakim Mohammed Said began to serve Hamdard. He was also entrusted with the editorship of the medical journal, Hamdard-e-Sehat.

While studying Hikmat, he vowed that he would strictly follow all the norms of decency and professional ethics that are required in practicing this noble art of healing. In this he never faltered. Hakim Mohammed Said was still in the Tibbia College when he started getting practical training in various jobs at the Hamdard Pharmacy under the tutelage of Hakim Abdul Hameed. Even after graduating from the college, this practice continued. He would work in the pharmacy during the day, and in the evening, he would sit in the Matab (the clinic) and treat the patients. Thus he was inducted into all the affairs of Hamdard in a very short time.

The sole object of the two brothers, Hakim Abdul Hameed and Hakim Mohammed Said was now to develop and promote eastern medicine and to transform Hamdard into a great institution of service to humanity. They dedicated their life to this cause and Allah Almighty crowned their selfless dedication and ceaseless efforts with remarkable success.

The year when young Mohammed Said graduated form the Tibbia College was the year when the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent took a decisive step in their march towards freedom and Pakistan. A resolution demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims was adopted at the Lahore session of the All-India Muslim League in March 1940. Inspired by the speeches of Quaid- e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, young Said soon joined the Pakistan Movement and become a member of the Bachcha Muslim League, the youth wing of the party.

When at the culmination of the freedom struggle, Pakistan came into being in 1947 as a sovereign independent Muslim state; Hakim Mohammed Said felt that his sympathies and loyalties should be directed towards the new state. So he decided to say good-bye to India and make Pakistan his new home. The Hijrat (migration) for him meant living his faith.

On 9 January, 1948, Hakim Mohammed Said set out for Karachi, leaving behind his near and dear ones, his beloved mother and more important, Hamdard, in the making of which he had made a significant contribution. Before leaving Delhi, he handed over his considerable property to his elder brother Hakim Abdul Hameed and came to Pakistan almost empty handed. He stinted on food and luxuries for several months, suffered deprivation and disappointment but his courage never faltered. He was used to a life of ease and comfort and here in the new environment, he had to undergo many hardships.

He would spend the day in searching for a suitable place to set up Hamdard and the night in planning for the future. Hakim Mohammed Said was an optimist. His faith in his destiny was unshakable. Whatever the difficulties, he would never give up. He had known quite a number of influential people in Karachi from his Delhi days but his self-respect would not ask for help.

Finally, in 1948, he was able to obtain a small room on Arambagh Road, Karachi. There he laid the foundation of Hamdard, which was his clinic and manufacturing unit for Herbal Medicines. By sheer determination and with the singleness of purpose he turned it into a magnificent institution and a pharmaceutical industry of international fame.

In 1953, he set Hamdard's final course by declaring it a Waqf (trust). His aims were to alleviate human suffering, eradicate evil from society, and help mould it according to the tenets of Islam.

To accomplish all this and restore the lost glory of Tibb, Hakim Mohammed Said made relentless endeavors. He participated in the proceedings of WHO and UNESCO to mould world opinion in favour of Tibb. He represented Pakistan at science conferences and other meetings worldwide and presented research papers in 92 international conferences. Five hundred of his articles have been published on sciences, medicine, history and Islam. To promote the education of medicines, Hakim Mohammed Said established Hamdard Tibbia College in Karachi in 1958, and set up Hamdard Foundation in 1964 to foster Hamdard's philanthropic activities. Hamdard Tibbia (medicinal) College offers five years degree course in Medicine. Hamdard Foundation Pakistan began to serve in the fields of science and research with the cooperation and collaboration of outstanding thinkers and intellectuals in Pakistan and abroad. It was under this Foundation that the movement of Awaz-e-Akhlaq (the call of morality) was launched, as were the forums of Sham-e-Hamdard, Hamdard Shoora, Bazm-e-Naunehal, Naunehal Assembely. Hakim Mohammed Said organized about 30 international conferences in Pakistan. Some of them were:

* The Millenary of Ibn-al-Haitham (1969)
* Al-Beruni International Congress (1973)
* International Congress on Mathematical Sciences (1975)
* International Congress on Seerat (1976)
* International Conference on Islamic Medicine (1986)
* International Quran Congress (1985)
* International Youth Congress (1986)
* International Congress on History and Philosophy of Science (1979).
* International Symposium on Elements in Health & Diseases 1983 and numerous other Conferences.
* Besides these he attended around 100 International Conferences as delegate from Pakistan. He was associated with more then 30 international associations and learned bodies. He also launched two world-class journals, Hamdard Medicus and Hamdard Islamicus. Hamdard-e-Sehat, which was already being published under his editorship since 1940, also appeared from Karachi in 1948. To get the young ones involved in good literature and to inculcate a healthy reading habit among them, he launched a magazine, Hamdard Naunehal; and established a separate division, Naunehal Adab, for producing quality books for children.

Apart from his eminent service in the field of medicine, Hakim Mohammed Said will also be remembered with gratitude for Madinat al-Hikmah (City of Education Science and Culture) which he built in the outskirts of Karachi. It started with Bait-al-Hikmah, which comprised of a big library and a research centre and then expanded into various educational institutions. The foundation stone of Madinat al-Hikmah was laid in 1983. Hamdard University was established here in 1991 with Hakim Mohammed Said as its first chancellor.

Besides Hamdard University, Hamdard Public School, Hamdard College of Eastern Medicine, Hamdard Institute of Management Sciences, Hamdard Institute of Education and Social Sciences, Dr. Hafiz Mohammad Ilyas Institute of Pharmacology and Herbal Sciences, Herbal Garden (where herbal medicinal plants are cultivated and grown) and Hamdard college of science and Commerce were also established at Madinat al-Hikmah. Work is in progress on other faculties of Hamdard University.

A Hamdard Industrial City has also been set up adjacent to Madinat al- Hikmah. Manufacturing facilities of Hamdard pharmaceuticals and other products are to be located here. Besides being the Chancellor of Hamdard University, Hakim Mohammed Said also headed the Pakistan Historical Society and the Institute of Central and West Asian Studies. From 1979 to 1982, he was the President of Pakistan's Advisor on Tibb, with the status of a Federal Minster. In 1993, he was appointed Governor of the province of Sindh. Although his tenure of office as Governor was brief, yet he granted charters to four Universities in the province. In recognition of his service to the nation, he was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1966. In appreciation of his global services, he was presented the Islamic Medicine prize in Kuwait in 1982 and Avicenna Award at Moscow in 1989. Pakistan's highest civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz was conferred on him posthumously in 2000.

To promote research and to propagate knowledge and learning, Hakim Mohammed Said traveled extensively throughout the world. The narration of these tours written especially for children and young people has been published in about 50 volumes of travelogues. Most remarkable of his works is the Sachchi Kahani, which is his diary for one whole year, in 12 volumes, each one for an entire month. The books he has authored number around 200. He has also written innumerable articles and research papers. Some of his books have been translated in other languages also.

He wrote eleven books on Islam in English; thirty three books in Urdu on Islam, education, Pakistan and science; twenty books in English on medicine, health, and Science; twelve books in Urdu on medicine, health and Sciences; twelve travelogues in Urdu; thirty five travelogues for children in Urdu; ten books in Urdu on different topics for youth; fifty seven books other books in Urdu and English for children.

Hakim Mohammed Said's had a multidimensional personality. He was simultaneously a medical expert, a journalist, an author, an educationist, an industrialist and above all a humanist. He possessed a tender heart. The most distinguishing character of his personality was his utmost simplicity and forbearance. He loved Pakistan immensely, and had a deep desire for Islam's grandeur and unity of the Ummah.

When in Karachi, he would sit in his Matab after Fajr prayers every Saturday and Sunday; staying in the clinic until he saw the last patient, even if it took him all day. He would observe fast on the days of sitting in the clinic.
Hakim Mohammed Said held Matab at Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, too, every first week of the month. From time to time, he would also see patients in Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta and Sukkur. At one time, he held Matab regularly in London but then this practice was discontinued due to distance etc. Still, whenever he was on a visit to London, patients would converge to his residence for consultation. He saw and treated millions of patients, rich and poor, in his lifetime but he never charged a single paisa from anyone. He used to provide free medicines to those who could not afford them. Hundreds of students were given scholarships and widows and orphans paid grants on his instructions.

Hakim Mohammed Said was a very disciplined man. He highly valued time. He would sleep for only 6 hours in 24 hours. His day started with the Tahajjud prayers and from that time till early hours of morning he would go through files regarding the official, administrative, and financial affairs of Hamdard. Morning hours were reserved for reading, writing and planning for the future. In the words of Mufti Mohammad Shafi, the great religious scholar, "Hakim Sahib would complete his work under the shadow of the stars". He would make the best use of each and every moment created by the Almighty. It was impossible for him to remain idle. He used to write profoundly and with prolificacy. He would keep on writing even when he traveled. Most of his travelogues have been written while he was on a journey. He would take out pen and paper as soon as he settled down in the plane, and kept writing even in the transit lounge. He personally responded to every letter addressed to him, went through two dozen newspapers every day and marked important passages. Hundreds of files of newspaper clippings marked by him are stored in the Bait al-Hikmah.

Hakim Mohammed Said was truly a cultured and courteous gentleman. Everything about him reflected his impeccable taste. His characteristic attire was white achkan (long coat), white kurta-pajama, white socks and white shoes. For some time, he had started wearing a black Jinnah cap. Be it winter or summer, whether he was home or abroad, this was his usual dress. No one ever heard him talking in a loud voice. Nor did any one hear him utter any unpleasant words. He would reprimand severely his co-workers and staff in writing but never put them to verbal abuse. His mother had told him never to resort to vengeance, and he remained committed to her word of advice all his life.

He respected young and old alike, treated everyone with compassion, and expressed gratitude for even the smallest favors. His love for children, and concern for their education and moral building was profound. He was always anxious about the future of the young generation, and always stressed physical training along with academic development of the children. Never was there a person before him who had so completely identified himself with the children of this country. The last service he did, before meeting his creator, was to be with the children at Naunehal Assembly, the forum he created for them.

Despite being a devout Muslim, he was above religious or any other prejudices. He was broad-minded and had a big heart. He believed in the concepts of Islam as well as human fraternity. He was pained to see rampant corruption and vice around, and he never hesitated to denounce it. Hakim Mohammed Said's sincerity, patriotism, firmness of faith, human compassion, commitment to service, and humane behavior had won the hearts of the people. Everybody respected him. He did not belong to any religious or political group or party. He supported everyone who wanted to serve the nation with sincerity and integrity. He wanted to reform society with radical changes, and used his pen to wage an eternal war against vice and corruption.

Like his public life, Hakim Mohammed Said's personal life was spotless. He had a small family, comprising his wife, Naemat Begum, and a daughter Sadia. He did not believed in accumulation of property or wealth. He never owned any property for himself in Pakistan or elsewhere except one house in which he lived from 1948 till his assassination. He adopted a distinctive dress of white Sherwani, which he occasionally used to wash himself. Naemat Begum was a model of simplicity, self- sacrifice and virtue. All her life, she never asked anything for herself, kept her husband free of domestic worries, and brought up their only daughter lovingly. Her mother's exemplary upbringing and father's tenderness and affection has made Sadia Rashid a reflection of her father's image.

On October 17, 1998, when after the Fajar (early morning) prayers as usual, Hakim Mohammed Said arrived at his Matab, and was alighting from his car he was hit by a volley of bullets and met his martyrdom. Honoring his wish, Hakim Mohammed Said was laid to rest in the courtyard of the mosque of his Madinat al-Hikmah (The city of education, science and culture) whose foundation he had laid but the completion of which, he was not destined to see.
By
Raja Muhammad Israr Azeem
BEES/F08/0173

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