This title is one of the 99 Names of God in Islam.
Hakīm (alternative transcription Hakeem) indicates a “wise man” or “physician”, or in general, a practitioner of herbal medicine, especially of Unani and Islamic medicine, like Hakim Ajmal Khan, Hakim Said, Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, etc.
Some examples of hakīm are:
- In old Abyssinia or Ethiopia, Hakim usually meant a learned person, usually a physician. Hence a Hakim-Bejt was a doctor’s house or hospital.
- In Pakistan and India, Hakim or Hakeem denotes a herbal medicine practitioner, specially of Unani medicine.
- In Turkey, hekim denotes a physician, while hakim can be used for a very wise person or philosopher. (See also the use of the homonymous word hakim for a judge, mentioned below.)
In Arab countries
- In Lebanon, the full title of the Emirs under Ottoman (and a while Egyptian) sovereignty was al-Amir al-Hakim 1516–1842
- In three future Persian Gulf emirates, the first monarchic style was hakim:
- Since 1783 when the conquering Al Khalifah lineage settles on Bahrain to 16 August 1971, its style was Hakim al-Bahrayn “Ruler of Bahrain“, then Amir Dawlat al-Bahrayn “Emir of the State of Bahrain”, since 14 February 2002 Malik al-Bahrayn (King of Bahrain)
- In Kuwait, since its 1752 founding, the ruling Al Sabah dynasty’s style was Hakim al-Kuwayt “Ruler of Kuwait” (from 1871 also Kaymakam, i.e. district administrator, while recognizing the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire (as kazan [district] of Baghdad [from 1875 Basra] vilayet (seats of the governors, styled Wali, in Iraq], till 3 November 1914, then under British protectorate) till the 19 June 1961 independence, after that (still) Amir ad-Dawlat al-Kuwayt “Emir of the State of Kuwait”;
- Since on Muhammad ibn Thani’s 12 September 1868 treaty with the British, effectively establishing Qatar (previously considered to be a dependency of Bahrain) as an independent State (limited to Doha and Wakrah, only later expanded to the entire peninsula), his al-Thani dynasty’s style was Hakim Qatar “Ruler of Qatar” (from 1871 also Kaymakam, i.e. Ottoman district administrator, cfr. above, till 3 November 1916, thereafter under British protectorate), since the 3 September 1971 independence from Britain Amir Dawlat Qatar “Emir of the State of Qatar”.
- In Libya, Hakim was the 1946 – 12 February 1950 style of the “ruler” of the former sultanate of Fezzan during the UN administration (in practice by France, with its own concurrent military governor); the only incumbent, Ahmad Sayf an-Nasr (b. c. 1876 – d. 1954), stayed on as regional wali (governor; in French Chef du territoire “head of the territory”) in the united Libyan kingdom until 24 December 1951, with a French resident at his side, and then, without such French shadow, as first royal governor (until 1954).
- In Yemen till 1902 (changed to Sultan) the rulers of the Quaiti State of Shir and Mukalla, ash-Shihr Wa´l Mukalla, as before the 10 November 1881 merger with the Naqib of Mukalla’s state it has been the princely style of ash-Shihr since independence from the Ottomans in 1866.
- In the Makran region of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in Iran, hakom refers to sardars and khans in the traditional Baluchi government.
- In Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey, hakim denotes a judge.
- In Nepal, a Bada Hakim was in charge of a district of the realm.
- In the Emirate of Bukhara, hakem was the title of a governor.
- In Nigeria, the Sokoto Caliphate is ceremonially governed by hakimai (sing. “hakimi”), chiefs that are answerable to the Sultan of Sokoto and the Emirs of the realm.
- In Uzbekistan the term hokim is used to describe a governor or mayor of a region.
As with many titles, the word also occurs in many personal names, without any noble or political significance.