(Last Updated on : 11/01/2013)
Unani medicine was introduced in India during the 7th century A.D. but it actually gained significance during the rule of the Mughal Dynasty
. The Mughal rulers especially Akbar
highly patronised its growth and development. Several hospitals, clinics and dispensaries were established during the reign of Akbar. Besides this many notable physicians served in his court who facilitated the expansion of Unani Medicine. The renowned physicians have been mentioned below:
Hakim Shams al-Din Gilani
The Hakim, a native of Persia came to India during the reign of Akbar. His expertise and extraordinary skill helped him to develop a close relationship with the king. He, having studied medicine under Shaykh Muhammad Shahabadi, was bestowed with the title of Hakim al-Mulk. Besides being a physician he was also a teacher, spending time in the company of students. Later he settled in Arabia where he died in 1581.
Hakim Humam was one of the 'nine gems' of Akbar's Court. He worked as a physician solely to the king's harem.
Hakim Abul Fath Gilani
Hakim Abul Fath Gilani, a notable physician of his time attained an esteemed position at Akbar's Court. He had authored few books such as (i) Fattahi (commentary on al-Qanun), (ii) Qyasiya (commentary on Akhtaq-i Nasiri), (iii) Char Bagh, and (iv) Sharh-i Qanuncha.
Once, a Portuguese visitor gifted a tobacco pipe to Akbar. When the king tried to smoke with it he suffered from a severe fit of cough. Hakim Gilani was called for who suggested that the smoke of tobacco should be passed through a small receptacle of cold water. This would enable the smoke to be purified. Hence, when inhaled it would be harmless.
Muzaffar Bin Muhammad al-Husaini al-Shifai
Muzaffar Bin Muhammad al-Husaini al-Shifai is known to one of the best pharmacists during the time of Shah Abbas Safavi of Persia. He is credited with composing a pharmacopoeia, in 1556, that was named after his name, Tibb-i Shifai (means Medicine of Shifai). According to his work, the drugs were arranged in an alphabetical order and the arranging of the subject matter resembled the works of al-Ansari (Ikhtiyarat-i Badie). The book is regarded as significant as it enabled in the foundation of the Pharmacopoeia Persica of Father Angelus a Jesuit priest. He was the first European to study Persian medicine. Abul Fazl mentioned his name in the list of physicians at Akbar's Court.
Hakim Amir Fathullah Shirazi
Hakim Amir Fathullah Shirazi, the son of Shukrullah Shirazi was born and brought up in Shiraz. He studied medicine with Khwaja Jamal al-Din Mansur Shirazi. He took up the teaching profession upon completing his education. His reputation as a physician crossed the borders of Iran and was invited in the court of Ali Adil Shah, the ruler of Bijapur
where he was welcomed with much respect. After the murder of Adil Shah in 1581 A.D. the Hakim left Deccan in 1583 to serve as a physician in the court of Akbar. The emperor conferred upon him with the tiles, of Amin al-Mulk; Add al-Dawalah and Add al-Mulk. He authored few non medical books such as Risala-i Ajabat-i Kashmir, Khulasat al-minhaj, Minhqj al-sadiqin, Tarikh-i Jadid, Tarikh-i alfi and fllah-i Akbar Shah.
Hakim Masih al-Din Abul Fath Gilani
Hakim Masih al-Din Abul Fath Gilani, accompanied by his brothers Humayun and Qarari, arrived in India during the reign of Akbar. He was the son of Abdul Razzaq, a learned man of Gilan and a close associate of the ruler of Gilan. The Hakim was the eldest of the four brothers. He received medical education from his father. In the court of Akbar he achieved the position of a courtier and also rose to the office of Sadr al-Sadur of Akbar. Besides being a physician he was also a good poet and prolific writer. Fattahi and Qayasiya are some of his famous works. He died of diarrhoea at Damtur on his way from Kashmir
to Kabul. He was then buried at Hassan Abdal.
Hakim Ayn al-Mulk Shirazi
Hakim Ayn al-Mulk Shirazi, an Iranian physician was a distinguished physician, surgeon and ophthalmologist. He was married to Faydi's sister. He came to Indian during the reign of Akbar. Persuaded about his medical expertise, the emperor took him on various expeditions. The Hakim also accompanied him in battles. In 1575, he accompanied the Emperor on his visit to the eastern provinces of the empire. Gradually he rose to a high position. In 1595 A.D. he died at Hadhia.
Hakim Najib al-Din Humam
Hakim Najib al-Din Humam, the younger brother of Hakim Abul Fath Gilani arrived in India during the period of Akbar. His original name was Humayun or Humayun Quli but later he changed his name to Humam representing his respect towards the Emperor Akbar's father, Humayun. For his proficiency and expertise the king held him in high esteem. In one of the letters discovered the emperor denoted him as 'the source of learning and wisdom and a man of extraordinary personality among his friends.' Likewise, once while addressing Hakim Abul Fath the Emperor said that one cannot find a second Humam. In 1588 the Hakim was sent as the emissary of Emperor Akbar on a return embassy with expensive gifts to the court of the ruler of Turan, Abdulah Khan Uzbek. This defines his position and rank in the court of Akbar.
Hakim Nur al-Din Qarari
Hakim Nur al-Din Qarari was the youngest brother of Hakim Abul Fath Gilani. In 1574 A.D. he arrived in India with his brothers and gained position in the court of Akbar. Apart from being a skilled physician he was also a good poet. The Hakim is said to have composed excellent verses in Persian under the nom de plume of Qarari. He went to Bengal by the orders of Akbar, where he died in 1596 AD.
Hakim Lutfullah was the younger brother of Hakim Abul Fath Gilani. He left his native place Gilan after his three brothers arrived in India. He entered the court of Akbar on the recommendation of his brother Abul Fath. An expert physician, he is regarded as one of the notable person in Akbar's court.
Hakim Ali Gilani
Hakim Ali Gilani, a nephew of Hakim al-Mulk Shams al-Din Gilani, was born in Gilan. He had learnt medicine from Fathullah Shirazi. A notable physician, he also had good knowledge in most of the art and science subjects of his time. Upon his arrival in India he joined the court of Akbar. His expertise helped him rise to the rank of Haft Sadi. He also held the office of Sadarat of the province of Bihar
and was conferred upon the title of Galen of his time.
Hakim Ali Gilani is credited with penning down new prescriptions. The most famous one was Cedrus deodara or Himalayan Cedar or Devdaru oil for pain in muscles and joints. The oil is still used by Unani physicians. The Hakim died in 1610 A. D.
Hakim Faghfur Lahijani
Hakim Faghfur Lahijani was a native of Lahijan in Gilan. Faghfur acquired knowledge about medicine from his uncle Hakim Taj al-Din, a companion and physician of Sultan Murad Khan, the ruler of Mazandaran. He also gained vast knowledge of Arabian sciences. Besides being an expert physician, he was a distinguished poet known for eloquence. He has been highly acknowledged for his poetic skills by great scholars like Shafai Isfahani. This poet cum physician arrived in India in 1604 AD and entered the court of Akbar. In 1619 AD he joined the court of Parvez, son of Emperor Jahangir
at the instance of Akbar and died soon after.
Hakim Muzaffar Bin Muhammad Al-Hussayni Al-Shafai
Hakim Muzaffar Bin Muhammad Al-Hussayni Al-Shafai, an eminent physician arrived in India during the reign of Akbar. He was a native of Isfahan. He had been named as Sharf al-Din Hussayn by Mulla Abdul Baqi Nahawandi and Hakim Shafai by Shaykh Farid Bhakkari. Besides being an expert physician, he was well-versed in other sciences and humanities. The Hakim was an expert interpreter of pulse. A person with high acumen, he is also known to have mastered the art of writing poetries. He is the author of the famous pharmacopoeia. Hakim Muzaffar Bin Muhammad Al-Hussayni Al-Shafai died in 1628 AD.
Hakim Hadhiq, the elder son of Hakim Humam was born at Fatehpur Sikri
during the days of Akbar. His original name was Kamal al-Din and Hadhiq was his nom de plume. A renowned physician, he took up the profession of his forefathers. However, Hadhiq was better known for his poetry and prose-writing skills. He was visited by several courtiers who came to him for their treatment of diseases. Hakim Hadhiq attained great name and fame for his expertise. He died in 1658 AD.
Hakim Muhammad Nafis Gilani
Hakim Muhammad Nafis Gilani was a native of Lahijan in the Gilan province. During his early age he went to Mashhad to study medicine. After completing his studies he came to India during Akbar's reign. Upon his arrival he entered the service of the famous physician and courtier Hakim Abul Fath Gilani and began working in his clinic. Fath Gilani was highly impressed with his proficiency and diligence and relegated the entire clinic work on him. Hakim Muhammad Nafis attained complete expertise in medicine under the supervision of his patron. After the death of Hakim Abul Fath, he served in the court of Akbar. The Emperor was extremely satisfied with his knowledge and capability that he appointed him as his personal physician. He lived in the court of Khan-i Khanan for more than 25 years.
Hakim Zanbil, the uncle of Hakim Sadra, arrived in India from Shiraz during the days of Akbar and the ministership of Behram Khan. Khwaja Nizam Al-Din Ahmad has called him a close companion of Akbar. His intimacy with the Emperor is reflected from the instance when in 1605 A.D. Akbar left Delhi
on the pretext of hunting and spent the night at the residence of Hakim Zanbil.
Hakim Dawai was one of the 29 famous physicians in the court of Akbar. He is also said to have imparted education to Shah Jahan
. Before coming to India, the Hakim had gone pay a visit to Mecca to perform Hajj pilgrimage. Upon completing his pilgrimage he stayed there for a long time. During his trip in Hijaz, he became friends with a pilgrim, Mirza Aziz. The later persuaded him to come to India. Hakim Dawai was noted for his talents and his in-depth knowledge about medicines.
Hakim Muhammad Baqar
Hakim Muhammad Baqar was a native of Iran. His brother, Mir Baqar Tabrizi was a famous and distinguished physician who served as the personal physician of the Iranian monarch Shah Abbas Safawi. Hakim Muhammad Baqar like his brother was also well-versed in medicine. Besides this he also possessed in-depth knowledge about other sciences and humanities of his time. He was known as a distinguished and celebrated physician of Tabriz.
He came to India during the days of Akbar. Upon arriving in India he entered the court of Abdur Rahim Khan-i Khanan, a great patron of literature and sciences. Khan-i Khanan displayed great honour and respect towards the Hakim. Soon they both developed a close relationship. Hakim Baqar served in his court till the last days of his life.
Hakim Jabrail was the son of Hakim Muhammad Baqar. He studied sciences with the famous Mir Muhammad Baqar Damad in Qazwin and Isfahan that helped him gain knowledge and expertise in the field of medicine. Upon completing his studies, the Hakim began imparting education at Dar al-Irshad in Arbdil by the orders of the Shah of Iran. After some time, he arrived in India and entered the court of Abdur Rahim Khan-i Khanan. He did not stay there for long and later went to Deccan. There he was welcomed with respect and honour by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the ruler of Golcunda. The Hakim lived there upto 1616 A.D.