Life of Hakim Ali Gilani
After his arrival to India Hakim Ali Gilani became the personal physician of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Hakim Ali was a great scholar an established clinician as well as a keen observer. These innate qualities helped him earn the title of Jalinus-e-Zaman (Galen of the time). He is known for penning down Sharh-i Qanun Ali Gilani and Mujarrabat-i Ali Gilani. It is a commentary on Ibn-Sina's al-Qanun in Arabic written in Arabic in 4 volumes. This commentary is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of Unani medical literature. Jahangir has also mentioned this work in his Tuzk.
It is believed that Hakim Ali was the first Unani Hakim who had discovered about the churning movements in the stomach which are required for the digestion process. He had high knowledge about the structure and functioning of human heart, action of the cardiac valves and the entry and exit points of blood in and out of the vessels next to the heart.
He discovered that blood always remained in circulation and that the cardiac muscle is superior to other muscles of the body. He also mentioned that it belonged to the highest grade of vitality and mobility. The book states about his deep knowledge of the intricate structure of the heart muscle as well as other muscles of the body. He was also well aware about the differences in their functions. Apart from his medical achievements, Hakim Ali Gilani is also credited with building two huge water reservoirs. One he constructed in Lahore in 1593 and the other one was built in Agra in 1607. These actions reflect his concern for the public health.
During his service in the court of Akbar he received much love and respect from nobles and courtiers for his great knowledge. With time he rose to the rank of Haft Sadi. In the province of Bihar he also served at the office of Sadarat.
He was conferred the title of Galen. In 1580, he was sent as an ambassador to the court of Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur where he was much appreciated and welcomed with great respect. In 1596 Akbar's poet Faydi had fallen sick and was suffering from asthma, dropsy and haematemesis. The King had called for Hakim Ali Gilani for this treatment. Jahangir described him as 'an incomparable physician who had full knowledge of Arabian sciences.'
Hakim Ali Gilani is credited with penning down several new prescriptions. The most famous one is the use of Jahangir was Cedrus deodara or Himalayan Cedar or Devdaru oil. It was used for curing pain in muscles and joints as well as treatment of nerves with singular results. This oil is still used by Unani physicians.
Hakim Ali Gilani taught many students about medicine. Mir Hashim and Hakim Sadra were his famous students. Wahab was bestowed with the title of Masih al-Zaman. Hakim Ali Gilani died in 1610 A.D.
(Last Updated on : 20-11-2014)
|More Articles in Development of Unani Medicine during Emperor Akbar (6)|