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the Message Continues ... 5/146


Newsletter for October 2013


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Allama Hilli was born in 648 AH (1250 AD) in the town of Hilla, Iraq. He started to receive religious education at an early age from his father and uncle in Hilla, which was the center of Shiite doctrines in the days of Abbasid Caliphate. His teachers were: al-Qazwini at the observatory at Maraghah in Azerbaijan, Nasir al-Din Tusi in astrology and philosophy, and Maytham al-Bahrani in fiqh.

He was considered the leading mujtahid in Hilla at the age of 28, after the death of his uncle, Muahaqqiq al- Hilli.

He moved to Persia, Iran in 1305 AD. He was known for his wit and wisdom. He had a solid knowledge of Shiite doctrines. He had contributed to the wide spreading of the teachings and philosophy of AhlulBayt (a.s.). He was able to convert the ruler of Persia into Shi’ism which led to the proclamation of Shiite Islam as state religion.
His masterly handling of different problems became famous especially when the ruler of Persia had divorced his beloved wife three times. The ruler had invited other religious scholars belonging to other school of thoughts and who were determined to sabotage Allama Hilli. In the royal court, Allama Hilli showed eloquence and prudence superior to the rest of the scholars present.

His knowledge and wit at a young Age:

Once Muhaqqeq Hilli was taking a class and Allama Hilli, who was 6 or 7 years then, was sitting near him. The child played some prank and Muhaqqeq Hilli got up to reprimand him. Allama Hilli ran and the Muhaqqeq pursued him. When he thought that the teacher was about to get him, he suddenly recited an Ayah from Noble Qur’an where prostration is mandatory. Muhaqqeq Hilli immediately fell into prostration. Allama Hilli got a chance to run. He knew that since he was not of the age when prostration is mandatory, he was able to continue running. After the prostration, the teacher again pursued the student! He again recited another Ayah that required prostration. Now the teacher again prostrated and his anger dissipated and he smiled at the cleverness of his student. He went forward and hugged him and said that the child would reach a stage in learning that the people would forget the teacher!

Meeting with Imam-e-Zamana:

As a student in Hilla, Allama Hilli learned that if any one supplicated for 40 nights of Juma’a in Karbala near the grave of Imam Hussayn (a.s.), he would meet the Imam-e-Zamana. When students got vacations, Allama Hilli rode on his mule from Hilla to Karbala and spent 39 nights of Friday supplicating near the grave of Imam Hussayn (a.s.). On the 40th

completes the supplication, he would be able to meet the Imam. During his journey, a scholarly question came to his mind. There were many Traditions saying that if someone cried with the thought of hardships faced by Imam Hussayn (a.s.), all his sins would be condoned by Allah. He was not able to understand this Tradition; how only crying could get condo nation of sins for a person.

He was riding with this thought in his mind when he came across an Arab riding on a horse. He came near Allama Hilli and started riding side by side and asked him where he was going. Allama Hilli explained and also told the Arab about the question in his mind. The Arab told him about a king who was out hunting, lost his way and reached a small hut in which an old woman lived alone with her sheep. The king was thirsty and the
woman served milk from the sheep. Later, the king complained of hunger. The woman slaughtered her only possession and served the king.

While leaving, the king told her who he was and asked her to meet him whenever she visits the capital. The Arab asked Allama Hilli how much the king should serve the woman to compensate for her services she provided to the king in his time of dire need. Allama Hilli replied that even if the king gave her his entire government it would not be sufficient. The Arab asked again, “Why not ten sheep, fifty sheep or hundred sheep?”

Allama Hilli said that the woman parted with her only possession purely on humanitarian grounds without knowing his status.

The Arab said that the answer to his question lies in that. Imam Hussayn sacrificed every thing he had for the sake of Allah. It would only make sense that in return for his sacrifice, Allah would give everything in his universe for Imam Hussayn. The Arab told Allama Hilli that the answer to his second question was that the Twelfth Imam was in front of him. Allama Hilli got the blessing of meeting the Imam as return for his supplications for 40 nights. Now, when he turned to look, the Imam had already left.


Some 500 works are attributed to him. According to some sources, Allama Hilli wrote some 1,000 works (including short treatises and epistles) on Islamic law, jurisprudence, and theology and Qur’anic commentary. Of these about 60 are still available. Yet, only 8 of these are published. They are regarded by “Imami Shiite as the most authentic expositions of their dogma and practice.” He is known to be the first Shiite Imamia scholar to have used the term “Ijtihad”

One of his most famous theological works is “The Eleventh Chapter” (Al-Bab al-Hadi ‘Ashar, which he composed towards the end of his life as a concise summary of

Shiite doctrines for the learned lay persons. In the year 1928, William McElwee Miller

had translated it in English.

The following books have been translated into Urdu:

(a) Al-fain on logic

(b) Tehzeeb Aal-e-Muhammad on morals

(c) Ahsan ul Aqaid on beliefs

(d) Sharae al-Islam on Jurisprudence

(e) Hidayat ul-Waee on dua

Names of his other famous books are available on line.



Allama Hilli’s role in shaping Shiite Jurisprudence is of great importance. He produced a voluminous legal Corpus. Of this, two of the most important works are “The Disagreement” and “The End”. He also produced a “Summarized Legal Manual” Allama Hilli died in the year 1325 A.D.

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