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 had spent their entire life for the betterment of the humanity.
One such person is Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin who had played an indispensible 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 in to Urdu, in order to make these books readily accessible and be within reach in the Indian subcontinent.
Hkm 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.
He 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).
Hakeem Kabiruddin had some major achievements and contribution in this field. He founded an academic institute with hospital, named Faiz- e-Kabir, in Lahore and 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 and 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.
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, which currently is the Hamdard faculty of the Unani medicine.
From 1935 to 1947, he served the Nizamia Tibbia College in Hyderabad. Hkm Mohammad Kabiruddin was honoured with the title of ‘Shahanshah-e-Tasnifaat’ (Emperor of Compilations) by Nizam of Hyderabad.
Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin also became the reader at the Ajmal Khan Tibbia college, AMU, Aligarh in the year 1957 and died on January 9th 1976 at the age of 82.
Hakeem Mohammad Kabiruddin is an author of many books. He has translated over fifty Unani medical books and 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.
Hadn’t he translated the Unani medicine books from Arabic and Persian language in to Urdu, we would have lost Hikmat forever. It is only because of Hakeem Kabiruddin’s hard work 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 and in 2019 they released commemorative stamps to celebrate his unsung legacy in the field of traditional Indian medicine.