Mahomet Allum

Australia's Leading Herbalist-Benefactor?

  • Daud Abdul-Fattah Batchelor Adjunct Fellow, The International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Keywords: Adelaide, Afghan, Australian, Herbalist, Muslim, Mohamet Allum


Mahomet Allum, an Afghan herbalist whose family practised medicine over centuries, arrived in 1891,and spent most of his life in Australia, eventually settling in Adelaide. He endeared himself especially to the poor and labour class, in treating their illnesses efficaciously without payment. He donated effusively to charities, and disseminated Islamic knowledge.

Allum criticised contemporary Australian medical practices – he pioneered campaigning in Australia against inhumane use of live animals for vivisection and pathological testing, and injecting animal serums into humans. He stood on his principles in the ensuing challenge between tradition and modernity, which ended in court with him being convicted for claiming to be a ‘physician’, which witnesses denied. The accounts reviewed suggest Mahomet Allum’s herbalist skill was likely superior to many Western medical outcomes in the 1930s, implying that healing capabilities of traditional Afghan cum Islamic medicine were only equalled in the past century. Allum was a rarity in challenging the prevailing view of European racial superiority. His reported shortcomings were that he lost no opportunity to promote himself, and his critique of ‘Western’ medicine, including vaccinations. Sadly, his wife died from smallpox for which effective vaccination had been discovered and used in Ottoman Turkey before 1700.


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Anonymous Newspaper Articles in Chronological Order
“Lismore Circuit Court. Alleged Perjury,” Casino: Casino and Kyogle Courier, October 26, 1910, 3.
“Allum Annoyed. A Moslem Plaint. Curses the A.U.S.N. Co. Injurious Differentiation,” Brisbane: Truth, April 6, 1913, 6.
“An Appeal by Mahomet Allum,” Adelaide: Advertiser and Register, April 11, 1931, 18.
“A Holy Man Passes By. Fremantle Sees Mahomet Allum, Healer and Philanthropist,” Perth: Mirror, November 5, 1932, 8.
“Taxation Department. On Return Searched By Customs Officials,” Adelaide: Sport, September 20, 1934), 3.
“Benefactor of the Poor. Healer of the Sick,” Adelaide: Sport, November 1, 1934, 3.
“Wonder Man Still Continues His Mission of Mercy,” Adelaide: Sport, November 22, 1934, 4.
“Another Case of Mahomet Allum’s Magnificent Generosity Brought to Light. Humanity’s Benefactor,” Adelaide: The Mail, December 1, 1934, 22.
“Mahomet Allum,” Adelaide: Sport, January 17, 1935), 11.
“Mahomet Allum. Honored in His Own Country. The Man Who Declined To Be a Millionaire – Six Hundred Patients Call Daily,” Perth: Sunday Times, February 10, 1935, 17.
“The Man Who Fights the Doctors. Mahomet Allum. Uncrowned King of Adelaide,” Perth: Sunday Times, September 15, 1935, 20.
“Charge Against Mahomet Allum. Reference in House,” Adelaide: News, November 21, 1935, 11.
“Police Chief’s Evidence in Allum Case. Knows Defendant Well, He Says. ‘A Christian Charitable Gentleman.’ Cure of Boy Related,” Adelaide: News, November 28, 1935, 11.
“Police Court. Mahomet Allum Prosecution. ‘Not Guilty,’” Port Pirie, SA: Recorder, November 28, 1935, 1.
“Senna for Medicine Purchases by Allum. Fiancee Tells,” Adelaide: News, December 3, 1935, 1.
“Mahomet Allum Fined £45. Scathing Remarks of Magistrate ‘Worst case Ever Under My Notice’,” Adelaide: News, January 23, 1936.
“Allum Mahomet. Adelaide’s ‘Uncrowned King,’” Hobart: Voice, April 18, 1936, 8.
“Mahomet Allum in Witness Box,” Adelaide: News, July 5, 1937, 8.
“Adelaide’s ‘Wonder Man.’ Mahomet Allum’s Tombstone,” Hobart: Voice, March 9, 1940, 5.
“Mahomet Allum, 83 Has Baby Daughter,” Perth: Mirror, August 23, 1941, 1.
“A Father at 83! Miracle Man’s,” Brisbane: Truth, August 24, 1941, 19.
Gawler, South Australia: Bunyip, September 5, 1941, 4.
“Mahomet Allum’s Windows Broken,” Adelaide: Advertiser, January 7, 1942, 11.
“Mahomet Allum Loses Health, Jewels,” Perth, Mirror, November 13, 1943, 18.
“Adelaide’s Wonder Man. Mahomet Allum’s baby scoops society,” Hobart: Voice, June 17, 1944, 4.
“Mahomet Cures the Infidels and Fathered a Daughter at 83,” Sydney: Smith’s Weekly, June 15, 1946, 23.
“To Afghanistan To Be Educated,” Perth: Sunday Times, September 15, 1946), 9.
“Offer To Treat the King,” Adelaide: News, October 1, 1951, 2.
“Now He’s Leaving Land of Worry,” Sydney: Truth, June 8, 1952, 3.
“Mahomet Allum’s Wife Thought Dead,” Adelaide: News, March 26, 1954), 3.
“Mahomet Allum is Back in Adelaide,” Broken Hill: Barrier Miner, September 25, 1954), 1.