HAMDARD ISLAMICUS

HAMDARD ISLAMICUS, English-language quarterly for Islamic Studies, founded in Pakistan in 1978. It is published by the Hamdard Foundation of Pakistan (est. 1954), patron and supporter of learned bodies, including the Pakistan Historical Society, whose journal it publishes. The Foundation has also published a large number of monographs and research studies, the most recent being a 16-volume commentary on the Koran (Ali, 1990-98) and a biography of the Prophet (Haq, 1997) which won the Government of Pakistan’s prize for the best new book on sira in 1998.

Hamdard Foundation was established by Ḥakim Mo-ḥammad Saʿid, a scion of the celebrated house of Hamdard (Delhi, India). First of all, in 1948, he established Hamdard Pakistan, as a pharmacy of Traditional Eastern Medicine. By 1953 it had developed into the country’s leading pharmacy, at which point Saʿid established a “fifty-year plan” to develop Hamdard Pakistan into a major organization for “building and reviving through philanthropy the Pakistani society and umma, through the agency of the Hamdard Foundation” (D’Silva, p. 4).

It was reportedly while performing hajj in 1982 that Saʿid was inspired with his most ambitious idea to date, namely establishing Madinat al-Ḥekma, a conglomerate of educational institutions. This is presently located in the suburbs of Karachi, and comprises Hamdard Public School and College (est. 1990) and Hamdard University (est. 1991), with faculties of Medicine (Western and Traditional), Education and Management Sciences, and institutes of Pharmacy, Arid Agriculture and Oriental Studies (at Bayt al-Ḥekma Library), as well as a university hospital. It now has three campuses in Karachi, and others in Islamabad, Lahore and Faisalabad.

Hamdard Islamicus aims to serve as a bridge to facilitate dialogue both among Muslims and with other communities. While it emphasizes the Islamic ideals of brotherhood, tolerance and social justice, it strives to maintain the highest levels of academic excellence (Hamdard Islamicus 1/1, 1978). The editor-in-chief of Hamdard Islamicus is Ḥakim Moḥammad Saʿid, who at the outset was assisted by S. Husain M. Jafri (Director, Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi) and the late Bazmi Anṣāri (former associate member of the Encyclopaedia of Islam). Since 1991, Anṣār Zāhed Ḵān (General Secretary and Director of Research, Pakistan Historical Society; and Editor, Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society) has served as Associate Editor, while S. Moḥammad Zamān (Chair, Council of Islamic Ideology, Government of Pakistan) has served as Review Editor. While Hamdard Islamicus started with a five-member advisory board, it has since increased to fourteen members, including international scholars. Since 1997 it has been published in an enlarged format (18.5 x 23.5 cm).

On 17th October 1998, Ḥakim Moḥammad Saʿid was assassinated (Khan, 1999a, b). He is succeeded as Editor-in-Chief of Hamdard Islamicus by his daughter, Sadia Rashid, who has maintained the same objectives and policies as her father.

Bibliography:

Syed Anwar Ali, Qur’an: The Fundamental Law of Human Life, 16 vols., Karachi, 1980-98.

Lily Anne D’Silva, Hakim Mohammed Said: Profile of a Humanitarian, Karachi, n.d.

Endeavour 15, Jan-June 1996.

A. S. Moinul Haq, Muhammad (S.A.S.): Life and Times, Karachi, 1997.

Ansar Zahid Khan, “Shaheed Hakim Mohammed Said, Editor-in-Chief of Hamdard Islamicus,”Hamdard Islamicus 22, Oct-Dec 1999.

Idem, ed., Hakim Said remembered, Karachi, 1999.

Hamdard Islamicus 1/1, 1978.

The following are Hamdard Foundation publications: Hamdard Pakistan: The Organization, Karachi, n.d. Holding the Hand of Humanity: Report of Expenses 1954-1993, Karachi, 1993.

Priorities of Hamdard Pakistan, Karachi, 1999.

(Ansar Zahid Khan)

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