Hakim (title)


Hakim (title)

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Ḥakīm and Ḥākim are two Arabic titles derived from the same triliteral root Ḥ-K-M “appoint, choose, judge”. Compare the Hebrew title hakham.

Hakīm (حكيم)[edit]

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 KhanHakim SaidHakim Syed Zillur Rahman, etc.

Hakīm or Hakeem (Urduحکیم‎, Hindiहकीम) is also used for practitioner of Eastern medicine,[1] those versed in indigenous system of medicines.[2]

Hakīm was also used more generally during the Islamic Golden Age to refer to polymath scholars who were knowledgeable in religion, medicine, the sciences, and Islamic philosophy.

Some examples of hakīm are:


  • In old Abyssinia or EthiopiaHakim usually meant a learned person, usually a physician. Hence a Hakim-Bejt was a doctor’s house or hospital.
  • In Pakistan and IndiaHakim or Hakeem denotes a herbal medicine practitioner, specially of Unani medicine.
  • In Turkeyhekim 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.)

Hākim (حاكم)[edit]

Hākim (alternative transcription Hakem) means a ruler, governor or judge. As with many titles, it also occurs as a part of the names of many individuals.

In Arab countries[edit]

  • 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 Basravilayet (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.



As with many titles, the word also occurs in many personal names, without any noble or political significance.

See also[edit]