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Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin – A 20th century academician of Unani Medicine

We spend oodles of time worshipping people in the media whom we have never met, and often we tend to live without acknowledging the people who spent their entire lives for the betterment of humanity. One such person is Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin who played an indispensable role in strengthening the roots of Unani Medicine in India.


He was an illustrious man of letters and a physician of Unani medicine who translated many Arabic and Persian language Unani medicine textbooks into Urdu, in order to make these books readily accessible and be within reach in the Indian subcontinent.

An archival photograph clicked at Hyderabad in 1920 of Dr. Mohammed Usman Khan & Hakim Molvi Mohd. Kabiruddin
An archival photograph clicked at Hyderabad in 1920 of Dr. Mohammed Usman Khan & Hakim Molvi Mohd. Kabiruddin

Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin was born on 13th April 1894 in Sheikhpura, Bihar.

He completed his primary schooling from Sheikhpura and at the age of 11, in 1905, he was sent to Kanpur by his father, Sheikh Jamaluddin, in order to learn and become an expert of Arabic and Persian.

He was taught these two languages under the punctual and gracious guidance of Maulana Abdulla and Maulana Ahmad Hassan in Kanpur.

Higher Education

Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin further continued his higher education (in English medium) from Canning College (currently known as the University of Lucknow), in 1907 and moved on by joining Takmeel – ul – Tibb College, Lucknow but dropped his course mid-way only to join an Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbia College in New Delhi (founded by Hkm Ajmal Khan in 1882).

He moved on by completing Zibtadah ul Hikma (currently equivalent to a master degree course) from Lahore in a span of 2 years.

Furthermore, he continued his higher education in Arabic and Persian from Madarsa Nomanya, Lahore. (The word madarsa is an Arabic word which means school).

Celebrating the Centenary of “Zinda Tilismath”

Hakeem Kabiruddin had some major achievements and contribution in this field.

He founded an academic institute with hospital, named Faiz- e-Kabir, in Lahore. He also became the Head of Department (HOD) of Tarjuma (tarjuma is an Arabic as well as an urdu word for “translation”) at Tibbia college, New Delhi.

Later on May 16, 1917 he joined as a professor of anatomy at the Tibbia college.

Hakeem Kabiruddin established Dar al Masih in New Delhi in 1921. In the same year he published a Tibbi journal “Risala ul Masih” which continued over a span of seven years until 1928.

Also, in 1926, he designed syllabus for the research centre at the Tibbia college of New Delhi.

The first Indian Doctor (from the family of Hakims) to work at the Charing Cross Hospital

Significant Roles and Recognitions in the Field of Unani Medicine

He was appointed as the member of board for the staff selection for the Govt. Tibbi College & Hospital, Patna Bihar (This College is the first government Tibbi college of India). Currently, the central library of this Government College is named after him as “Hakeem Kabiruddin central library”.

In 1935, he along with other eminent hakeems, Hkm Mohammed Ilyas and Hkm Fazlur Rahman established the Jamia Tibbia darsgaah in Karolbagh. It is currently the Hamdard faculty of the Unani medicine.

From 1935 to 1947, he served the Nizamia Tibbia College in Hyderabad. Hkm Mohammad Kabiruddin was also honoured with the title of ‘Shahanshah-e-Tasnifaat’ (Emperor of Compilations) by Nizam of Hyderabad.

Hakim Molvi Mohammad Kabiruddin
Hakim Molvi Mohammad Kabiruddin

Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin also became the reader at the Ajmal Khan Tibbia college, AMU, Aligarh in the year 1957. He died on January 9th, 1976 at the age of 82.

Preserving Unani Wisdom Through Translation

Additionally, Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin is an author of many books. He has also translated over fifty Unani medical books. His translation works include ‘Tarjama-e-Mujiz al-Qanoon’, ‘Tarjama-e-Kabir’ (Translation of Sharah al-Asbabwa al-Alamat), ‘Tarjama Hummayat-e-Qanoon’, ‘Tarjama wa Sharh Kulliyat-e-Nafisi’, ‘Tarjama Kulliyat-e-Qanoon’, among many others.

Hakim Ajmal Khan, Man behind India’s first Female Midwifery School and Hospital.

Hadn’t he translated the Unani medicine books from Arabic and Persian language to Urdu, we would have lost Hikmat forever.

It is only because of Hakeem Kabiruddin’s hardwork and endless endeavour that this system of traditional medicine is still alive. Not only in India, but in the entire Indian subcontinent.

The efforts of this eminent individual were recognised by the current Indian government. In 2019 they released commemorative stamps to celebrate his unsung legacy in the field of traditional Indian medicine.

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Dr. Zareen Fatima

Dr Zareen is an ambitious general dentist working and residing in UAE. She is able to handle multiple tasks on a daily basis. Alongside her busy work schedule, she is a vivid reader, researcher, writer editor and is currently pursuing Masters in Public Health. In her leisure she brings out the forgotten history in the field of medicine and associated disciplines.