Welcome to HIKAM, the official organ of one of the flagship projects of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
HIKAM is managed by the IMARAH team (Islamic & Malay Medical Manuscripts Research and Information Unit) based at the Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences (KAHS), IIUM Kuantan. IMARAH was formed following the success of ICOMMM2015 (International Conference on Malay Medical Manuscripts). This website complements KALAM UBATAN, the project’s Facebook page, as community engagement tools in disseminating and sharing information, raising awareness, and initiating collaboration on research revolving around Malay medical manuscripts.
HIKAM means words of wisdom. Wisdom does not come without knowledge, and knowledge is build upon layers of time-tested experience called a tradition.
HIKAM draws inspiration from the parable of the Tree of Knowledge, as stated in the Qur’an :
“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.” [Surah Ibrahim: 24-26]
At HIKAM, our focus is on the Malay medical manuscripts. We would like to study these manuscripts, at the very least to understand our own history. Beyond history, we would like to be engaged in current renewed interest in traditional medical practices and partake in the conceptual, philosophical and practical benefits of studying these ancient manuscripts.
Renewed interest in traditional medical traditions is due to unprecedented challenges in healthcare management, rising medical cost, and side-effects associated with modern pharmaceutics. Local wisdom in managing health conditions, use of more locally available drug sources and prospective drug candidates from ancient repertoire are currently trending as WHO pushes for an integrative medicine policy since 2010 (culminating in WHO Strategy for Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2016-2023) in which both traditional and modern medicine are to be evaluated, and perhaps combined, in patient care.
The ancient medical manuscripts have a valuable and core role in this Integrative Medicine initiative. Way before 2010, world’s most advanced institutions have collected ancient medical manuscripts. By late 1990s leading medical schools in the USA, UK, Europe and Turkey have established specific departments and museums and offer core and elective programmes in which studies on ancient medical manuscripts from around the world take centre stage. Several manuscript-related studies have recorded astounding successes.
Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2015, for example, was awarded to a painstaking research on anti-malaria resourced from Chinese ancient medical manuscripts. This prospective benefit, unfortunately, has given rise to bioprospecting and biopiracy. Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TDKL) of India, which records formulation from thousands of Indian ancient texts and matches these to patent-applications in the USA, UK and Europe, is the most successful instance of counter measure against bioprospecting and biopiracy activities.
Malaysia and its neighbours in Southeast Asia have one of the highest biodiversities. Collectively, Southeast Asian nations stand to benefit greatly from studies on ancient Malay medical texts which contain mostly local materia medica, formulated through Malay medical philosophy. Mining the info in these manuscripts would help greatly in the nations’ effort at protecting national heritage and discovery of new drug candidates, in addition to filling in the gap in the past history of the region, in line with the decolonisation, Islamisation and contextualisation project of medical knowledge of IIUM. It would support the implementation of Act 775, which deals with the regulation of Alternative and Contemporary Medicine, by providing local researchers, entrepreneurs and medical practitioners with good resources and ethnopharmacological evidences, and the MyIPO initiative which aims to create Malaysiana/Nusantara database of medical knowledge.
HIKAM supports efforts at preserving national heritage and discovery of new drug candidates.
HIKAM aims increase awareness and reaping the benefits of studying Malay medical manuscripts.