Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf)

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August 13, 2017: Khaleej Times

In 1953, following the legacy of his father, Hafiz Abdul Majeed, who started Hamdard Dawakhana in 1906 in Delhi, Hakim Mohammed Said started Hamdard in Pakistan, from two small rented rooms. Soon he converted Hamdard into a Waqf (Islamic irrevocable trust) in which the profits of Hamdard Pakistan were allocated to the trust, to be used in the development of health, education, and similar nation building and philanthropic fields. Hamdard Foundation Pakistan was created in 1964 to manage these funds. The meaning of Hamdard is 'a companion in pain' and sympathiser in suffering, and its working reflects this. Hamdard's clinics are located in all major cities of Pakistan, and charge no fees. Hamdard's leading products include:

Rooh Afza: It is a recognised refreshing drink of the East and has surpassed the total consumption of other such syrups combined in Pakistan and abroad.

Ispaghol: The second most significant product of Hamdard is Ispaghol, which is a mild laxative, diuretic and soothing for gastric and intestinal issues, and hence provides relief in gastric irritation. Joshina: It contains the extracts of seven renowned herbal ingredients. It is a reliable remedy for cough, cold and bronchitis.

Carmina Plus: It is helpful in gastric disorders such as hyperacidity, anorexia, burning sensation, and vomiting and abdominal cramps. It is known as a quick home remedy for abdominal discomforts.

Safi: This is an effective blood purifying herbal supplement, which has replaced the old purgation therapy. It eliminates the accumulated morbid matter through the intestines, kidneys and skin, thus correcting their functions. 

Sualin: It is made from chosen ingredients of herbs and enriched with efficacy of Toot Siyah, useful for sore throat. Sualin is a remedy for cold, cough and bronchitis.

Hamdard Revand and Miswak Toothpastes: Modern research has proved that Revand Cheeni is an effective antiseptic medicinal herb; hence Hamdard has included Revand because of its quality of assisting oral hygiene and helping shine teeth.

Miswak Peelu Toothpaste is prepared using the teeth-cleaning twig known as Salvadora Persica or Miswak. The frequent use of this toothpaste keeps gums healthy.

Hamdard Naunehal Gripe Water: Hamdard has a complete and natural remedy for stomach related ailments for children. It helps strengthen the child's sensitive intestines and helps improve digestion.

Joshanda: It is an excellent treatment for cough and cold.  The goal of Hamdard is to become a more modern and contemporary brand along with keeping its corporate culture of traditional wisdom intact. In the near future, Hamdard wants to be the most sought-after equal opportunity employer. Since its inception, its mission is to lessen the sufferings of the poor and to eradicate poverty by providing health and educational services. The eyes of its administration are set on automation in order to guarantee efficiency and the hygiene of its products. Hamdard wants to continue growing as an institution promoting progress and innovation in the fields of science and most importantly, philanthropy.

By continuing to work with diligence, keeping this ethos in mind, inevitably the by-product would be progress of society as a whole. The quality of innovation, dedication and commitment from its employees has made Hamdard a name synonymous with trust. If its success is a reflection of the human capital available at its disposal, then there lies a testament for the quality of human capital in Hamdard. The organisation wants to become a preferred employer, as it believes in gender equality.

Hamdard significantly contributes in the exports of Pakistan and for the last many years has been winning the Export Trophy on its beverages every year. It is the first institution to get Unani medicines manufacturer's license on its Greco-Arab (Unani) medicines from DRAP (Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan). By regularly updating its existing products and adding new Greco-Arab medicines, Hamdard has introduced an automated production line that guarantees the hygiene of its products. Currently the organisation is upgrading its production facility to become FDA compliant. And thus soon it will be the first company to export Unani medicines from Pakistan.

One of Hamdard's achievements is the ability to regularly direct a substantial amount of profits towards education, research and other related CSR activities. Taking forward its founder Hakim Said's vision of carrying healthcare to the doorsteps of the poor, Hamdard Free Mobile Dispensaries have increased in number. Now there are a total number of 21 Hamdard Mobile Dispensaries, which operate in most of the major cities of Pakistan, dispensing free medicines and consultations on a daily basis to those who could not otherwise afford it. There is a range of other CSR initiatives that Hamdard takes, as the organisation believes that its efforts should result in the greater good of society, which is a reflection of the principles on which Hamdard was established. Hamdard's other contributions towards betterment of society include its publications

Hamdard Naunehal: A hugely popular Urdu monthly magazine for the younger generation. Hakim Mohammed Said first published it in 1953. 

Hamdard Sehat: A magazine in Urdu that brings the best tips, information and advice on health and fitness, as well as information on the latest Hamdard products. 

Another significant contribution is the establishment of Madinat al-Hikmah - City of Education, Science and Culture - which houses the Hamdard University, the Hamdard Public School and Hamdard Village School. The mission is to provide modern day education, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and a conducive environment to students and staff for their professional and personal development. Hamdard University at Madinat al-Hikmah, on the outskirts of Karachi, is the biggest private university of Pakistan, producing 1,400 graduates annually. As Hamdard believes in research, the university provides contemporary facilities for excellence in research.

Hamdard's Bait al-Hikmah library puts expensive educational books within the reach of students and scholars. Following the wisdom of Shaheed Hakim Mohammed Said and carrying forward his mission, Hamdard is working relentlessly on providing free healthcare services and spreading education, as these two are the main factors that can put the country on the path of progress.

Rooh Afza


Till 2022

Rishika Singh, Sep 15, 2022: The Indian Express’'

One of the manufacturers whose product was being sold on Amazon was Hamdard Laboratory (Waqf), Pakistan. The manufacturer says on its website that Hamdard Pakistan was founded in Karachi “in a two-room rented clinic of Tibb-e-Unani in 1948” by Hakim Mohammed Said, under whose leadership “Hamdard soon became a success story with its respected and well-liked products, especially Rooh Afza syrup and effective herbal medicines”.

The origin of Rooh Afza

Rooh afza is a deep pink-coloured, sweet, concentrated syrup made of fruits, roses, and herbs that is typically added to chilled water or milk, or used to flavour desserts such as phirni and falooda. Its consumption is often associated with Eid gatherings in the subcontinent, where the iftar meal for breaking the fast includes a variety of dishes and often, Rooh Afza.

The formula for the sherbet was invented by Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed, who owned a small clinic that practised Unani, an ancient tradition of Graeco-Arabic medicine that continues to be popular in the Middle East and some South Asian countries. Unani is recognised by the Ministry of AYUSH as one of the “traditional & non-conventional systems of health care and healing which include Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy etc”.

It is said that in 1906, Majeed began a search for something to prevent heat strokes, fatigue, and other health problems caused by the summer heat in North India, and Rooh Afza was created the following year, more as a cooling drink than as a medicine. After Majeed died at the age of 34, his wife Rabea Begum declared Hamdard a trust largely meant to fund charitable activities and research on Unani medicines.

The three Rooh Afzas

After the Partition of India and the creation of East and West Pakistan, Rabea Begum’s elder son Hakim Abdul Hamid stayed in India, while the younger son, Hakim Mohammed Said, moved to West Pakistan. This is why the Hamdard National Foundation owns the rights over the drink in India, while Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) manufactures it in Pakistan.

Earlier in 2019, following reports of the syrup’s shortage in India close to Eid, Hamdard Laboratories Pakistan offered to supply Rooh Afza via the Wagah border if permitted by the Indian government.

In 1971 after Bangladesh was born, a separate Hamdard trust was set up there. All three businesses are run independently of each other by members of the extended family or the friends of the herbalist Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed, The New York Times said in a report published in 2021.

Today, according to the plaintiffs in the case in India, Hamdard India earns more than Rs 200 crore annually from sales of products sold under the Rooh Afza name.

The issue with the listing

Apart from the violation of Hamdard’s rights over Rooh Afza, the listing of Pakistan-manufactured products was found to be lacking the contact details of the manufacturer, meaning a consumer would find it difficult to distinguish between the Indian- and Pakistani-made syrups.

The court also said in a September 5 order that when the option to ‘Visit the Hamdard Store’, was selected in a Pakistan-based product listing, the user was directed to the Hamdard Laboratories India website. This could potentially mislead consumers about the product they might be purchasing, or they might wrongly assume that the Pakistan Hamdard is associated with the Indian Hamdard Laboratories.

The Bench said since Amazon claims to be an intermediary, which is a medium that provides a platform for interactions between people, it has an obligation to disclose the names of sellers and their contact details with the product listings. It directed Amazon to file an affidavit clarifying whether such details are mentioned on the Rooh Afza product listings, invoices and product labels.

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