Biography of Allamah Hilli

The great Sheikh, the supporter of religion and annihilator of the works of the corrupt and the wrongdoers, Jamal al-Din Abu-Mansur Hasan, is the son of Sadid al-Din Yusuf, the son of Zayn al-Din ‘Ali, the son of Muhammad, the son of Mutahhar, known as Allamah Hilli and Allamah ‘ala al-Itlaq.1

Sheikh Amili, in (his book of) Tadhkirat al-Mutabahhirin, says: Sheikh Allamah Jamal al-Din Abu-Mansur, Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Ali ibn Mutahhar Hilli, is a pure learned scholar, most well-versed of all scholars, researcher, trustworthy, jurisprudent, traditionalist, theologian, and a dignified man unrivaled in the rational and transmitted science. His virtues cannot be counted.

He learnt theology and rational science from Muhaqqiq Hilli and Muhaqqiq Tusi and other sciences from other scholars. Muhaqqiq Tusi too learnt jurisprudent (Fiqh) from him.2

Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Dawud, writing about him in his book, says: He was a great Shi’ite scholar of his time, having numerous books and leading Imamiyyah in the rational and transmitted sciences in his time. His honorable father, may his soul rest in peace, was a dignified jurisprudent and lecturer.3

During the life of Allamah Hilli, Sultan Khodabandeh chose Shi’ism as his sect, had coins minted in the name of the twelve Imams and had it circulated in the country in AH 708. It was during the same time that the nation of Islam got rid of the heresy of the tyrant rulers after the Holy Prophet (S), their tyrannical domination over spiritual leadership came to an end, and Muslims attained certain freedoms denied by the Abbasid Caliphs. If the Abbasid Caliphs were content with political domination alone, and had entrusted the spiritual leadership and Imamate to the right ones, so many followers of Ahl al-Bayt had not been killed mercilessly.4

Ibn Hajar says: Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn Mutahhar Hilli, the Shi’ite scholar, was a divine sign in intelligence and cleverness. He wrote a commentary on Ibn Hajib so beautifully that earned him a great reputation during his lifetime. He is the one against whom, ibn Taymiyah wrote a book themed “Rejection of the Heretic (Al-Radd Ala al-Rafidah).”

Ibn Mutahhar was well-known among Muslims for his good temper. Having studied some of ibn Taymiyah’s books, he said: If he could understand what I say, I would respond to him (meaning that he is ignorant).5

Ibn Hajar also says: Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Ali Mutahhar, the well-known Rafidi who led the Imamiyyah Shi’ites in his time, was well-versed in rational science. He wrote a commentary on the book entitled Alfa¨ Mukhtasar authored by ibn Hajib of Mosul and a book on ‘Ali’s virtues. Ibn Taymiah wrote a book in its rejection.

Sheikh Taqi al-Din Sabki too expressed his protest to that book in his poems, ibn Hajar says: After studying ibn Taymiyah’s book, I found out that Sabki’s protest was right.6

Said About Him

Sheikh Khabir Mirza Abdullah Afandi Isfahani says: The honorable Sheikh Jamal al-Din Abu-Mansur Hasan ibn Sadid al-Din, Yusuf ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Mutahhar Hilli, is a great ambitious leader, a practicing scholar, a fully-skilled poet and the most learned of the scholars (Allamah in the full sense of the word). He has reached the peak of knowledge. He is famous for prudence and judiciousness. He is the nephew of Muhaqqiq Hilli and a divine sign on the earth. He has also a great right on the Twelvers in terms of the explication of Shi’ite knowledge and jurisprudence.

He was well-versed in all branches of science on which he authored a book. He was expert in philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, Hadith, fundamental dogmas, and Arabic literature, as well as a capable poet. In the city of Ardabil, I came to some of his poems indicating his poetic talent.7

Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tusi being asked about this great scholar, following his visit to the city of Hillah and its scholars, said: I found a sagacious and expert teacher who will gain superiority over me if he endeavors.8

Sheikh al-Hurr al-Amili says: He is Allamah in the full sense of the word and his reputation has spread all over the world. No Shi’ite scholar has been so far called Allamah ala al-Itlaq.9

Amir Mustafa Tafreshi in his book, Naqd al-Rijal, writes: He is Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Ali ibn Mutahhar, Abu-Mansur Hilli. In his description of Allamah Hilli, he, with apology, writes: I would better not describe him, for my book has no enough room for what he knew of the branches of knowledge, and the virtues he possessed. He is above what people say about his benefaction and virtues. He has left behind over seventy books on fundamental dogmas, secondary precepts of religion, physics and divinities. May Allah illuminate his tomb, and those of his father and his child. May Allah award him with the best rewards.10

The author of the book, Minhaj al-Maqal, writes: Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Mutahhar, Abu-Mansur, Allamah Hilli was born in the city of Hillah and took residence in it. His virtues and benefactions are innumerable.11

Mawla Niam al-Din Qarashi in his book, Niam al-Aqwal, writes: Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Ali Mutahhar Hilli known as Abu-Mansur and Jamal al-Din, may Allah purify his soul, is the chief of the tribe, the Allamah of his time, and a researcher of precision. He is the teacher of the new generations, for all the scholars after him benefited from his knowledge. He is well-known for his superiority and is in no need of description.12

His Teachers

This great spiritual man has left behind many books, from which known and unknown teachers benefited. A large group of scholars have learnt from him as mentioned in the books written by Shi’ite and Sunni scholars.

In the beginning of his study, Allamah Hilli benefited from the classes of his father Sadid al-Din Yusuf and then those of his maternal uncle, Muhaqqiq Hilli and the author of Shara'i al-Islam. In rational sciences, mathematics and other sciences, he was a student of Muhaqqiq Tusi, Kamal al-Din Maytham ibn ‘Ali Bahrani, Jamal al-Din Ahmad ibn Tawus Hasani and his brother, Radi al-Din ibn Tawus. He also learnt from other scholars.13

His grandfather, who was greatly interested in his education, assigned him a teacher during his childhood making him obliged to teach the Holy Qur'an and writing to the young boy. Allamah Hilli learnt the Holy Qur'an and writing from the same teacher.

His Pupils

Ibn Futi in his book, Mu’jam al-Alqab, on Allamah’s nephew, Amid ibn Abd al-Muttalib ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Husayni Hilli, writes: He learnt jurisprudence from his maternal uncles, Mawlana Jamal al-Din Hasan ibn Mutahhar Hilli.14 Also a large group of others like his son, Fakhr al-Muhaqqiqin Muhammad, his nephews, Sayyid Amid al-Din and Sayyid Diya’ al-Din Husayni have narrated Hadiths from him.

Sayyid Taj al-Din Muhammad ibn Qasim ibn Maya, Sheikh Zayn al-Din Abu-al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Tarad Matar Abadi, and sheikh Razi al-Din Abul-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Ahmad Marandi too have quoted him. As evidenced by the documents gathered by sheikh Thani on al-¯ahifah al-Kamilah al-Sajjadiyyah, one of the other persons who has mentioned

Allamah’s name is sheikh Taj al-Din Hasan Sarabashnawi.15

His Works

Writing about his biography in the book, Khulasat al-Aqwal fi Ma’rifat al-Rijal, Allamah Hilli has mentioned the names of the books he has succeeded to complete or has begun to author till AH 693 as more than 64 books. Further he says: most of the books have not been completed but I hope God will bless me to complete them.16

Ibn Kathir says: The Iraqi Shi’ite Abu-Mansur Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn Mutahhar Hilli is the great sheikh of the heretics in Iraq. His many books which amounted to 120 volumes include fifty books on jurisprudence, fundamental dogmas, syntax, philosophy, and heresy. The most famous of these books among theological students is a commentary by ibn Hajib on the principles of Fiqh in the style of al-Mahsul wal-Ahkam. It is extremely useful, for it has many traditions and beautiful justifications.17

His Birth

In Khulasat al-Aqwal, he says: I was born on the 19th of Ramadan in AH 648. I hope God will be Gracious to me to bring my life to an end gracefully.18

Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Dawud in his book writes: He was born in AH 648.19 Quoting Riyad al-Ulama in the book of A’yan al-Shi’ah, it is written that answering the questions of Sayyid al-Muhanna ibn Sinan Madani, Allamah says: My father said that the auspicious birthday of my son, Abu-Mansur Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn Mutahhar took place on the last third part of Friday night, on the 29th of Ramadan, AH 648. Then, he says: It might be 29th and not the 27th.20

Shahid has been quoted as saying that the departure of that honorable person took place on Saturday, 21st of Muharram, AH 726. In Tawdih al-Maqasid by sheikh Baha al-Din Amili, we read: The honorable Allamah Hasan ibn Mutahhar Hilli passed away on the 21st of Muharram, AH 726. May his soul rest in peace.21

Place of Death and Tomb

Allamah Hilli passed away in the city of Hillah Mazidiyah but his pure body was transferred to the holy city of Najaf and buried on the right-side chamber next to the Holy Shrine of Amir al-Mu’minin. His tomb is visited to date by the pilgrims of Amir al-Mu’minin.22

  • 1. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396
  • 2. Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol. 5, pp. 157
  • 3. Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol. 5, pp. 158
  • 4. Tabaqat A’lam al-Shi’ah, 8th century, pp. 52
  • 5. Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 2, pp. 315
  • 6. Lisan al-Mizan, vol. 6, pp. 319
  • 7. Riyad al-Ulama’, vol. 1, pp.358
  • 8. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396-397
  • 9. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396-397
  • 10. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396-397
  • 11. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 397
  • 12. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 397
  • 13. Riyad al-Ulama’, vol. 1, pp. 359
  • 14. Mu’jam al-Alqab, ibn Futi
  • 15. Riyad al-Ulama’, vol. 1, pp. 360
  • 16. Rijal Allamah Hilli, pp. 48
  • 17. al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah, vol. 14, pp. 129
  • 18. Khulasat al-Aqwal, pp. 48
  • 19. Mu’jam Rijal al-Hadith, vol. 5, pp. 157
  • 20. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396
  • 21. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396
  • 22. A’yan al-Shi’ah, vol. 5, pp. 396