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Hakim Said – Pakistan’s Immortal Herbalist

The 21st death anniversary of the world-acclaimed medical scholar, researcher, and philanthropist of Pakistan – Hakim Muhammad Said – was observed on Thursday. He made enormous contributions in the field of health, science, education, and culture. He was all rolled in one.

Hakim Said

Shaheed Hakim Muhammad Said was a multifaceted personality – a physician, author, editor, book lover, an organizer, an idealist, an innovator, an educationist, and above all, a patriot of the highest order. He made enormous contributions in the field of health, science, education, and culture. He was all rolled in one.

His family reminisced that he hardly ever spent money on furniture, clothes, or on the pre-partition building’s renovation, where he lived, adding that Hakim Sahab thought that such would be a wasteful expenditure. The progressive man would often remind his family members that they should donate money to Hamdard Foundation as it needed more contributions.

The 21st death anniversary of the world-acclaimed medical scholar, researcher, and philanthropist of Pakistan – Shaheed Hakim Muhammad Said – was observed on Thursday. Hakim Said, who also remained the governor of Sindh from 1993 until 1996, was shot dead at Arambagh Road in Karachi on October 17 in 1998.

Bait-al-Hikmah (the Library) is also a constituent part of Madinat-al-Hikmah. It is one of the biggest and best-stocked libraries in Pakistan

Born in 1920 in Delhi, Hakim Said authored several books on religion, Tibb, health, sciences, literature, social & scientific topics, and travelogues. He established the Hamdard Foundation in 1948, and, within few years, the herbal medical products of Hamdard became household names in Pakistan. Hakim Saheb made his Dawa Khana a trust in 1953. Its entire revenue is spent on the promotion of education and all the institutes, like university, college, school, library, research center, run by Hamdard.

The Crown Jewel in his collection of national contributions is the establishment of the Madinat-al-Hikmah complex in Karachi. Apart from research centers, the complex has Hamdard University with institutes as Hamdard College of Medicine and Dentistry, Hamdard Al-Majeed College of Eastern Medicine, Hafiz Muhammad Ilyas Institute of Herbal Sciences, Hamdard Institute of Education & Social Sciences, Hamdard Institute of Management Sciences, Hamdard Institute of Information & Technology, Hamdard School of Law, Faculty of Engineering Science & Technology, Hamdard Public School and Hamdard Village School.

Bait-al-Hikmah (the Library) is also a constituent part of Madinat-al-Hikmah. It is one of the biggest and best-stocked libraries in Pakistan. Hakim Said established a comprehensive network of free Hamdard Clinics (Matabs) across the country, initiated Hamdard Free Mobile Dispensaries, to provide the poor with health facilities at their doorsteps, and set up hospitals of both Eastern and Western Systems of Medicine.

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During his career, he personally attended millions of patients and never charged a penny. His emphasis on garnering knowledge and supporting the younger generation’s intellectual capacity earned him various awards inside and outside Pakistan.

He was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1966, later the Kuwait Prize for Tibb-e-Islami in 1983, and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz posthumously in 2002. Hamdard, the quintessential Eastern Pharmacy, continues its journey of “Sympathizer” under the leadership of Hakim Said’s daughter, Sadia Rashid.

Being the editor of the Hamdard Naunehal – a monthly magazine for children – Hakim Sahab integrated healthy lifestyle choices with fictional writing for children. Naunehal remains one of the most popular Children’s publications in Pakistan.

Due to such rigorous efforts in his 50-year spanned career, Hakim Sahab was able to get alternative medicine recognized from the World Health Organization (WHO)

Hamdard Joshanda is one of the many products available from Hamdard industries that is known for its benefits in cold, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, flu & influenza. Another star product is Rooh Afza. Known as the ‘Lord of the Red’s’ is a staple drink throughout the summer, but in particular, no Ramadan worldwide is complete without Rooh Afza as a complement to dates.

Rooh Afza has won several awards, including the FPCCI Award, Brands Icon of Pakistan Award, Brands of the Year Award, and Consumer’s Choice Award. In 2007, the US food magazine ‘Saveur’ placed Rooh Afza at the tenth position in the world’s 100 most famous brands’ list. Hakim Said’s work in promoting Greco-Arab or what is known as Tibb-i-Unani medicine not only earned him national accolades but was instrumental in the global recognition of Eastern medicine.

Hakim Sahab was the pioneer of Eastern medicinal research in Pakistan. In Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s era, allopathic medicine – what we commonly identify as western medicine – started taking precedence, Hakim Said fervently lobbied for alternative medicines – such as eastern medicine, derived from herbs, not to be sidelined.

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Due to such rigorous efforts in his 50-year spanned career, Hakim Sahab was able to get alternative medicine recognized from the World Health Organization (WHO). Today herbal medicines are back on the shelves of pharmacies across the world.

A beacon of knowledge, a product of determination, and a preacher of cultural values and consistency, the immortal herbalist has left enough lessons for generations to come, and Pakistan will always remember and value his contributions.

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