A medical researcher, scholar and philanthropist, Hakim Muhammad Saeed was born in January 1920. He was one of Pakistan's most prominent medical researchers in the field of Eastern medicines. He established the
Hakim Muhammad Saeed
A medical researcher, scholar and philanthropist, Hakim Muhammad Saeed was born in January 1920. He was one of Pakistan's most prominent medical researchers in the field of Eastern medicines. He established the Hamdard Foundation in 1948, prior to his settlement in West Pakistan.
In a few years’ time, the herbal medical products of the Hamdard Foundation became household name in Pakistan. Hakim Muhammad Saeed authored and compiled about 200 books in medicines, philosophy, science, health, religion, natural medicine, literary, social, and travelogues.
Hakim Muhammad Saeed was born in New Delhi, in 1920 to an educated and religious Urdu-speaking family. His forefathers and family had been associated with the herbal medicine business, and had established the Hamdard Waqf Laboratories which today has emerged as one of the largest manufacturers of Unani medicines in the world.
Hakim Saeed attended the local school where he learned Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and English and studied the Quran. At the age of 18, he passed the university entrance test and went on to attend the University of Delhi in 1938. In 1942, Hakim Saeed obtained a B.Pharm and BS in medicinal chemistry. After his undergraduate education, he joined Hamdard Waqf Laboratories as a junior researcher and participated in herbal quality control while formulating medicines. In 1945, Hakim Saeed attended the post-graduate course, and obtained M.Pharm in Pharmacy from the same institution.
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Hakim Muhammad Saeed left his hometown with his wife and daughter. The family settled in Karachi. He established Hamdard Laboratories and served as its first director until his death in 1998. In 1952, he travelled to Turkey where he attended the Ankara University and was awarded a PhD in Pharmacy. He then returned to Pakistan to devote his life to medicine research.
Hakim Saeed began practising medicine and continued to research Eastern medicines. Having established the Hamdard Laboratories in 1948, he was one of the driving forces in Pakistan for engaging the research in medical biology and medicines. In 1953, after his doctorate, he joined the Sindh University as the associate professor of Pharmacy and taught courses in organic chemistry.
In 1963, Hakim Saeed resigned from his position due to amid differences with the Federal government. In 1964, he came into public limelight when he gave rogue criticism to Lieutenant-General Vajid Burkie, the Surgeon General of Army Medical Corps and high profile officer leading the Ministry of Health under the government of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. He criticised the General, saying, General Burkie used to say that Eastern medicine and homeopathy were quackery. Hakim Saeed began to write articles organised conferences and lobbied hard for the ban of Eastern medicine, and Ayub Khan had to pass a law legalising Eastern medicine, due to amid fear of his government's bad credibility.
In 1985, Hakim Muhammad Saeed founded Hamdard University, where he served its first Vice-Chancellor and as a professor. But, the crowning activity of his life is the establishment of Madinat-al-Hikmah. It comprises Hamdard University with such 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. This is one of the biggest and best-stocked libraries of Pakistan.
Hakim Saeed wrote, edited or compiled over 200 books and journals in Urdu and English on Islam, Education, Pakistan, Science, Medicine and Health. Besides writing travelogues of countries he visited, he also wrote books especially for youth and children. He also edited some journals such as Hamdard Islamicus, Hamdard Medicus, Journal of Pakistan Historical Society ‘Historicus’, Hamdard Sehat and Hamdard Naunehal. For several years he was also editor of Payami, the Urdu edition of UNESCO'S journal Courier.
Hakim Saeed participated in various international conferences on medicine, science, education and culture and travelled widely to many countries of the world. While in Pakistan he organised numerous international and national conferences on topics of prime importance. He created two widely attended national forums, Hamdard Shura (for leaders of public opinion) and Naunehal Assembly (for children).
He held offices and memberships in dozens of national and international organisations related to education and health care. He launched two journals, Hamdard Medicus and Hamdard Islamicus. Hamdard-e-Sehat was already being published under his editorship since 1940 and also appeared from Karachi in 1948. He launched a magazine for young readers, Hamdard Naunehal, and established a separate division, Naunehal Adab, for producing quality books for children.
Hakim Saeed was an exponent of Eastern medicine who had treated patients from all over the world including Pakistan, Europe, Africa and the Middle East by the time of his death in October 1998. He helped get alternative medicine recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO). After a fifty-year career as a practitioner of Greco-Arab medicine, he was posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan in 2002.
Hakim Muhammad Saeed was murdered on 17 October 1998. Several persons were arrested and subsequently sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court. On 26 April 2014, The Supreme Court upheld the verdict of Sindh High Court (SHC) regarding acquittal of all accused in Hakim Saeed murder case.
An anti-terrorism appellate bench of the SHC had acquitted all nine people accused of murdering Hakim Muhammad Saeed in 2001. The verdict was challenged by the then provincial government.
A Research and Documentation Center named Idara-e-Saeed has been set up. It is a joint venture of Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Pakistan, Hamdard University, and Hamdard Foundation Pakistan. Idara-e-Saeed will project and focus the life and works of Shaheed Hakim Muhammad Saeed, most particularly in the field of science, education and research, medicine and health care. The project is aimed at the collection of Shaheed Hakim Muhammad Saeed's speeches, writings (both published and un-published), personal memorabilia, photographs and artefacts. After the collection of materials related to his life and works, all records will be preserved and displayed in a scientifically arranged and properly managed museum.
Idara-e-Saeed will also initiate research projects leading to the award of post graduate (MPhil and PhD) degrees on the contribution of Hakim Muhammad Saeed to Islam, education, medicine, sciences and culture. Idara-e-Saeed will also patronise publications of literature and books written by different authors on the life of Hakim Muhammad Saeed, his personality, leadership and his endeavours for the propagation and promotion of education and learning. The first MPhil degree on the life and works of Hakim Muhammad Saeed was awarded to Mr. Javed Swati at the Hamdard University convocation in 2002. His topic of research was Education Ideas and Perceptions of Hakim Muhammad Saeed.
Hakim Muhammad Saeed left behind a daughter, Sadia Rashid, who is heading the Hamdard Foundation and the Hamdard Lab, and three granddaughters, Dr. Mahenaz Munir Ahmed, Amena Mian (who is married and settled in the United States with four children), and Fatema-Tuz-Zahra Munir Ahmed, who has joined her mother at Hamdard.
Hakim Muhammad Saeed also served as Governor of Sindh Province from 1993 until 1996.