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Published in the 16-30 Nov 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Hakeem Ayyub

Hakeem Muhammad Ayyub Nadwi, popularly known as "Hakeem Ayyub" or "Dr Ayyub" passed away on 22 October in his native town of Bilaryaganj which is now on the world map because of Jami'atul Falah in whose establishment he played a crucial role and remained a member of its administrative and central bodies to his last day. He was buried next day in his native graveyard after janaza prayers attended by thousands of people. He was about 80 years old at the time of his sad demise.

Hakeem Ayyub hugging Zafarul-Islam Khan during a visit to Bilaryaganj in 2000

Hakeem Ayyub hugging Zafarul-Islam Khan during
a visit to Bilaryaganj in 2000

For over five decades Hakeem Ayyub was perhaps the most popular physician of eastern Uttar Pradesh who took great care of his patients and treated many of them free of cost. He earned a lot but most of his wealth went to charity and good work of the community. His exemplary care and moral character won many non-Muslims to Islam.

He was a Unani physician but dared to experiment boldly with allopathic and herbal medicines and was able to offer treatment for many ailments which even allopathic doctors failed to cure. His clinic in Bilaryaganj was always overcrowded with patients from various parts of eastern UP. Dozens at any time could be seen sleeping on the floors of the clinic as they could not afford hotels or return to their far-flung villages.

In his early life Hakeem Ayyub was attached to Jami'atul Ulama. Later he was attracted by the Jama'at-e Islami for which he suffered whenever the government persecuted the Jama'at. He went to jail in 1975 along with other JIH leaders.

Hakeem Ayyub wrote two books in Urdu, one is Mu'alajaati mushahadaat about his medical experiments and how he innovated treatment using cheap allopathic drugs and how he learnt from hundreds of thousands of patients who visited him with different ailments. In one of his articles he said, "Anyone who does not have the sense to study and observe, is either bereft of brain or insane."

His other book is Ek Fikri Fasad in refutation of a book by Maulana 'Inayatullah Subhani in which the latter rejected Rajm (death by stoning) for married adulterers as a legitimate punishment in Islam. Hakeem Ayyub was opposed to this interpretation and felt strongly to the point that he wrote a book on the subject.

I saw him riding his impressive motorcycle in and around Azamgarh in early 1960s, going from village to village to see patients who could not visit him for one reason or another. Soon he acquired a foreign motor car which was a novelty for Azamgarh where MBBS doctors could not afford even Indian-made vehicles. His worldly success never went to his head. He left behind five sons and two daughters. His wife had died a few years ago. 

Hakeem Ayyub was ever a simple, sincere, faithful and truthful person - the like of whom I used to see in my village during childhood. Such people no longer walk on our Earth and Hakeem Ayyub may have been one of the very last of such selfless and simple souls who blessed our land.

Zafarul-Islam Khan

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