Hakim Mohammed Said 1920-1998

Life is love, Life is service

Hakim Mohammed Said 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.