Islamic Studies Al-Hilli
Sukidi Mulyadi
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 June 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0032


Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn ʿAli ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hilli, commonly known as al-ʿAllama al-Hilli (d. 1325), was a prominent Shiʿi theologian and jurist who produced work in almost every scholarly discipline in the field of Islamic studies. His works were greatly admired by later Shiʿi scholars, who wrote many commentaries on theological and juristic texts. In particular, his brief treatise titled al-Bab al-Ḥadi ʿAshar (the eleventh chapter), together with its various commentaries, has been taught in the Islamic colleges of Iran as the standard textbook on the authoritative exposition of the scholastic Shiʿi theology.

General Overviews

A general introduction to the life of al-Hilli is found in Jafri 1986, Miller 1928, and Schmidtke 2005. A concise and comprehensive account for the biography of al-Hilli and his Sunni and Shiʿa teachers in English can only be found in Schmidtke 1991 and to a lesser extent in Stewart 1998.

  • al-Hilli, Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn al-Mutahhar. Rijal al-ʿAllama al-Ḥillī. Edited by Muhammad Sadiq Bahr al-ʿUlum. Najaf, Iraq: al-Matbaʿa al-Haydariyya, 1981.

    This book (Biography of the Most Learned Man al-Hilli) contains a brief introduction to the life of al-Hilli, his teachers, and his students.

  • al-Hilli, Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn al-Mutahhar. Kashf al-yaqīn fī faḍaʾil amīr al-muʾminīn. Edited by ʿAli al-Kauthar. Qum, Iran: Majmaʿ Ihya al-Thaqafa al-Islamiyya, 1992.

    In the introduction, the editor, ʿAli al-Kauthar, offers a brief life of al-Hilli, his students, and his teachers.

  • Jafri, S. H. M. “Al-Ḥillī.” In The Encyclopedia of Islam. Vol. 3. Edited by Bernard Lewis, V. L. Menage, Charles H. Pellat, and Joseph Schacht, 390. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1986.

    This is a useful introduction to the life of al-Hilli, his works, and his discursive dialogue with the Sunni theologians at the Ilkhanid.

  • Miller, William McElwee. “Sketch of ʿAllama-al-Ḥillī.” In al-Hilli’s Al-Bab al-Ḥadī ʿAshar: A Treatise on the Principles of Shīʿite Theology. By Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hilli. Commentary by Miqdad al-Fadil al-Hilli. Translated by William McElwee Miller, xi–xiv. London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1928.

    This sketch of al-Hilli serves as an introduction to the English translation of Al-Bab al- Ḥadī ʿAshar into English.

  • Schmidtke, Sabine. The Theology of al-ʿAllama al-Ḥilli (d. 726/1325). Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1991.

    This is by far the most comprehensive account of the intellectual biography of al-Hilli, his teachers, and his students.

  • Schmidtke, Sabine. “Hilli, al-, al-Allama, Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn al-Mutahhar.” In Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Edited by Josef W. Meri, 324–325. London: Routledge, 2005.

    This is an informative introduction to the life of al-Hilli, his studies with the Sunni teachers, and the mention of his works in theology, philosophy, legal methodology, and law.

  • Stewart, Devin J. Islamic Legal Orthodoxy: Twelver Shiite Responses to the Sunni Legal System. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1998.

    A well-integrated analysis of the formation of Shiʿi legal theory and institutions as responses to the Sunni legal orthodoxy. The author traces al-Hilli’s early studies with the Sunni teachers in Baghdad and his enduring influence on the development of Shiʿi legal orthodoxy. On al-Hilli, see pp. 72–78 and 191–193.

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