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“A prominent physician, a Hafiz-i-Quran, an author, a travelogue writer, an organiser and an ideal citizen — Hakim Said was all rolled in one. He was such a simple man that when on seeing his worn out socks I asked him to change them he humbly said: ‘don’t worry; no one can see inside the shoes’,” says Hakim Muhammad Usman who is the Deputy Director Programmes, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan.

Hakim Mohammad Said was born on January 09, 1920, in Delhi and was the fifth and the youngest child of his parents, Hafiz Abdul Majeed and Rabia Begum. He lost his father when he was only two years old; his father was also a hakim and had laid the foundation of Hamdard Dawakhana in 1906. His elder-brother Hakim Abdul Hameed later managed it. At the age of nine he became a Hafiz-i-Quran and learnt Arabic and Persian from Qazi Sajjad Hussain, while Master Mumtaz Hussain taught him Urdu and Hakim Iqbal Hussain English.

Following the footprints of his elders, Said studied ‘Tibb’ and passed its examination from Tibbiya College in 1939. After the completion of his studies, he began to assist his elder brother at the dawakhana. This finally became popular all over India. The brothers made it into a Waqf (Trust) according to their mother’s wish.

Hakim Said was already associated with the Pakistan Movement and so, after consultations with his family, migrated to Karachi in January 1948 to serve the new state. He laid the foundation of a new Dawakhana. Hamdard Pakistan is separate from and not a branch of Hamdard India.

Hakim Saheb also made his dawakhana a trust in 1953. Its entire revenue is spent on the promotion of education and all the institutes, like university, college, school, library, research centre, etc., run by Hamdard.

The establishment of Madina-tul-Hikmat is a great achievement of Hakim Said; he wanted it to be a city of Ilm-o-Hikmat, which includes Bait-ul-Hikmat, Hamdard Library, Hamdard University, Hamdard College, Hamdard Public School, Al-Furqan Youth Centre, Stadium, Hospital and Jama Masjid.

Hakim Said also had a flair for writing and several monthly publications including Hamdard Sehat since 1939, Hamdard Naunehal since 1953, Akhbar-i-Watan since 1955, etc. were published under his editorship. Besides this, he wrote and edited several travelogues and religious books, compiled medicinal books and has a few collections of Maqalat-i-Shaam-i-Hamdard to his name.

Hakim Said was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1966 and the Kuwait Prize for Tibb-i-Islami in 1983; in July 1991 the American Biographical Institute declared him the Personality of 1990. He served the President of Pakistan as adviser on tibb and remained the Governor of Sindh from July 19, 1993 to January 21, 1994.

Hakim Saheb enjoyed good health and never missed light exercises in the morning; swimming and tennis were his favourite sports. On October 17, 1998, at the age of 78, Hakim Saheb was assassinated in Karachi.