The formation of an International Institute of Islamic Medicine was first proposed by Dr. Bashir Zikria, Past President of Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) in a brief Editorial published in JIMA, 1981 entitled: “An Institute of Islamic Medicine –Dream or Reality?”
He further elaborated its role and function in his article titled “Institute of Islamic Health Sciences” where he suggested that the Institute would encompass a larger role than merely a collection and collation of the “History of Islamic Medicine”
For lack of funding and resources the idea lay dormant for almost a decade. The concept, and how to make this into a reality was presented by Dr. Husain Nagamia in a paper that was accepted for publication in 1989 but not presented to the Membership until the First International and 23rd Annual Convention of IMANA, held in Nerha, Spain in 1990.
Soon thereafter the Executive Council of IMANA unanimously approved a mandate for the creation of IIIM, and the IIIM was voted into existence. A preliminary budget was approved for initial expenditure. Dr. Nagamia was appointed to be the Chairman of the IIIM.
In earnest Dr. Nagamia began promoting the idea of IIIM and started canvassing the North American Muslim Medical community for donations.
This was the seed money for the “IIIM Endowment fund”. This money was properly invested with the principle that “The principle of this IIIM endowment fund was never to be used”. Only a part of the income could be used for recurrent IIIM operational or other IIIM expenses. (The IIIM expenses have been for: Meetings, Conventions, Exhibits, promotional brochures, videos, secretarial expenses, utilities, etc.). IIIM is also a beneficiary of yearly donation of $10,000.00 from Taj Foundation, courtesy of philanthropic IMANA Past President, Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed. Despite yearly expenses totaling $15,000 to $20,000 a year this Endowment fund today stands close to $500,000.00 and is invested in ‘Halal Islamic Funds’. An independent auditor, appointed by IMANA, examines the financials every year prior to submission to the IRS.
The importance of the “History of Islamic Medicine” to the Muslim Ummah as well as the future generation of Muslim Physicians was elaborated by Dr. Nagamia in a Guest Editorial published in the JIMA.
Since its inception in 1990, IIIM has been provided and housed in an office based room provided totally free of charge by Dr. Nagamia in his professional office. (No rent has ever been charged). For the last 35 or more years, this room has served as the HQ for IIIM and has provided the following functions:
- Office or secretariat of IIIM. The office of IIIM has been manned by a part time secretary who works about 10-20 hours a week on a ‘as need basis.’ She does all the correspondence, maintains and updates the IIIM web site www.iiim.org and attends to and answers all calls received by a dedicated IIIM telephone line 813-661-6161. She has coordinated all National and International conferences that have been undertaken by IIM alone or in conjunction with IMANA or IMANA Tampa Bay Chapter. We receive about 8-10 calls and inquiries a week, most of them are related to ‘History of Islamic Medicine’, IIIM Library, Exhibits or the website. She also maintains and catalogues all books in the library.
- The IIIM Library has a collection of about a 1000 books about History of Islamic Medicine or related subjects, collected over the years by Dr Nagamia. These books have been arranged and catalogued, Unfortunately being housed in southern most corner of the United States (Tama, FL) it has not served its intended purpose of dissemination information of ‘History of Islamic Medicine’ to the Muslim Populace.
- The IIIM Web site: www.iiim.org was developed in the early 90’s and has become a world wide reference source for “History of Islamic Medicine’. It is evidenced from the fact: that we get about 100-200 ‘hits’ a week by surfers who are looking for information on this subject Worldwide. This is easily checked by statistics maintained by our Web Host: US Net Consulting.
IIIM has undertaken National and International conferences either independently or in association with IMANA. The International ones that were independently held were in the following countries:
- USA: Two were held in Orlando, and one in Tampa Florida
- Karachi, Pakistan (with co-operation with Hamdard Foundation and under the auspices of the late Hakim Mohammed Said RA, a great Scholar of Islamic Medicine.)
- Dubai, UAE in Co-operation with Dubai Health Care City, Dubai UAE.
- India: Cochi, Kerala in conjunction with Muslim Education Society of Kerala
- Hyderabad, India in conjunction with MESCO of Hyderabad
Each of these conferences had a great turnout and many papers were presented. Most of these papers have been published in JIMA, ISHIM or other periodicals.
In collaboration with IMANA, IIIM took major sections in presentations at some of IMANA Conventions both Nationally and Internationally with presentation of papers about “History of Islamic Medicine”. Most of these have been published in JIMA or ISHIM Journal. Both reputable and Peer reviewed Journals.
Occasional Papers and information booklets have also been published.
Some monographs were published independently by IIIM as individual bulletins. This was for propagation of knowledge of ‘Islamic Medicine’ :
- A synopsis of History of Islamic Medicine
- The great Islamic Physicians
- An in depth and detailed publication of “History of Islamic Medicine” is under preparation for eventual publication.
- The IIIM Travelling Exhibit:
- The Travelling Poster Exhibit was designed and executed by the efforts of Dr. Nagamia. It consists of about 200 posters/pictures and rare collections. The Exhibit has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and has received rave reviews.
- Tampa (3 times) in collaboration with IMANA Tampa Bay Chapter.
- Orlando: In co-operation with APPNA
- Detroit (2 times) in collaboration of Islamic Center of Detroit
- Washington DC in Cooperation with ISNA
- Indianapolis in collaboration with Local Muslim Organization
- Dubai UAE
- Hyderabad India
- Kerala India
- Guy’s Hospital London
- ISHIM: International Society of History of Islamic Medicine
Institution of an essay contest on History of Islamic Medicine: One prize was awarded to an essay submitted by a medical student and deemed exceptional. The prize awarded was of $ 1000.00 sponsored by an IIIM/IMANA benefactor. A new Essay competition was been announced recently, by the Executive committee of 2016. Several entries have been received and are being judged and a prize will be awarded at the Annual Convention of 2016!
A long term plan was made for IIIM. Three fundamental parts, the 3 P’s:
- Permanent Housing.
- Permanent Affiliation with an Islamic University or College.
- Permanent Funding.
PERMANENT HOUSING AND AFFILIATION
It would be a great achievement for IIIM to have a permanent housing preferably in an Academic Institution, medical college campus, or University. The housing should be enough to house a not only a secretariat, but also a Library and an Exhibit or even a Museum of artifacts, manuscripts and books. IIIM Secretariat should have ‘Permanent Staffing. Ideally speaking this should consist of:
- A full time executive director
- A librarian
- An executive secretary
- A research assistant
- An arabic translator, if possible
- Presently the IIIM endowment fund stands at about $500,000.00
- IIIM also owns a life policy donated by Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed with a benefit amount of $100,000.00
- This would make the total monetary assets of IIIM at $600,000.00
- The Value of the books in the library could be valued at about $10,000.00
- The videos, and secretarial hardware computers, telephone etc. has not been assessed but is negligible.
- The Ultimate aim should be to have a total endowment funding of about $5 Million
The question may be raised as to how are we to get this kind of funding? This is where the legacy of IMANA can come in. If it is publicized amongst devoted IMANA members and other Non IMANA benevolent philanthropists and an effort is made to make Members aware of the “Sadqa-e-Jariyah” that can be perpetuated through an endowment to IIIM, there would be a large number of IMANA members who would be willing to bequeath a percentage of their inheritance to this “IIIM endowment fund”. This will no doubt require a full time and dedicated effort by a team of professional fundraisers, but is certainly not out of the domain of achievement.
Many additional details can be given, but time and space does not permit. I had requested a full day for discussion about IIIM to the Board. Finally the Board did meet on Feb 20 th, 2016 specifically to discuss the long-term plan of IIIM. A detailed discussion took place. Dr Khalid Zahir Chairman of the Board summarized the meeting in his minutes and report. (I hope this will be published). So thinking positively IIIM will not only continue its existence, but enlarge its purpose and function over the coming years. Inshallah!
Husain Nagamia MD FRCS,
July 12th, 2016
*Nagamia, Husain “ IIIM the next 50 years” submitted for publication.