Ḥusayn al-Ḥillī, the great Imami Jurist of 14th century, was one of the students of Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na’ini and Diya’ al-Din ‘Iraqi. He was the teacher of al-Sayyid Muhammad Taqi al-Hakim, al-Sayyid Muhammad Sa’id al-Hakim, and Sayyid Radi Shirazi.
Born and Family
He was born in 1309/1891 in Najaf. He was from ‘Ifar (an area in Iraq, near Hilla) and one of the members of the tribe Tufayl. His father, ‘Ali b. Husayn al-Hilli, (d. 1344/1965), was a pious scholar who left Hilla when he was a young man and lived in Najaf.
Shaykh Husayn had an older brother called Hassan who was a learned poet; he died due to a disease when he was young. A poetry collection and a book in Arabic morphophonemics called “Kitab fi ilm al-Sarf” have remained from him.
His Scholarly Activities
From childhood, he started learning seminary studies. After learning introductory lessons and the high levels of seminary studies, he started participating in kharij classes of Fiqh and Usul.
His main teacher in kharij classes was Mirza Muhammad Husayn Na’ini. Shaykh Husayn participated in his classes for a long time and was a prominent and close student of him. He, also, participated in the classes of Aqa Diya’ ‘Iraqi for a while.
His Scholarly Characteristics
He was an astute and smooth-tongued teacher who was very knowledgeable about jurisprudential bases. His teaching was scholarly, so profound, and classified. Others describe him as a pious man, good homered, and humble. It is said that he made himself far from headship.
He reached the high levels in jurisprudence (Fiqh) and the principles of jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh) and he became a prominent Mujtahid. For many years he taught and trained many students such as:
- ‘Ali b. Asad Allah Gharawi Tabrizi
- Sayyid ‘Izz al-Din b. ‘Ali Bahr al-‘Ulum
- Sayyid Radi b. Muhammad Husayn Shirazi
- Ja’far b. Baqir Al Mahbuba
- Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Bujnurdi
- Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rasul Jahrumi Shirazi
- Ebrahim b. Safar ‘Ali Mishkini
- Hasan Sa’id Tihrani
- Muhammad Taqi Hakim
- Muhammad Sa’id Hakim
He has several works on Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) and Principle of Jurisprudence (Usul al-fiqh). Some of his jurisprudential works, some of which are concerning new issues, are as follow:
- A manual on akhdh al-ujra ‘alal wajibat
- A manual on ilhaq walad al-shubha bi al-zawj al-da’im
- A manual on hukm bay’ jild al-dabb wa taharatihi wa qabulihi al-tadhkiya
- A manual on ‘amal ahl kull ufuq ‘ala ufuqihim wa hukm al-musafir bi al-ta’ira min bilad ila ukhra
- A manual on mu’amila al-dinar bi azyad minh
- A manual on mu’amila al-yanasib wa l-bayma al-sha’i’a fi hadha l-‘asr
- A manual on al-wad’
- A manual on qa’idat al-farash
- A manual on qa’idat man malak
Also, he compiled an extensive book named “Al-Su’al wa al-jawab” in two volumes which covers a variety of topics including exegesis of Qur’an (Tafsir), jurisprudence (Fiqh]), the principles of jurisprudence (Usul al-fiqh), philology (Al-lugha), and literature. He also wrote gloss notations on some important works as well.
Expositions of his Classes
Some of the students of al-Hilli set down his lessons.
- The most famous exposition of which is the book “Buhuth Fiqhiyya” by ‘Izz al-Din Bahr al-‘Ulum. It is of outcomes of al-Hilli’s lessons concerning new emerged issues such as insurance, lottery, cash bonds, banking, goodwill, construction of new roads and streets, Qa’idat Ilzam, and rights of spouses and its consequences. Taking benefit of new sources, the author has added some points to al-Hilli’s lessons. Also, some parts of the book are compiled by asking question of Shaykh Husayn al-Hilli. For the first time, Buhuth fiqhiyya was published in Najaf in 1384/1964; then, was republished in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran.
- Dalil ‘urwat al-wuthqa by Hasan Sa’id Tehrani is another exposition of al-Hilli’s lessons concerning the issue of Tahara. It was published in Iran and Iraq several times.
Shaykh Husayn al-Hilli passed away on Shawwal 1394/1974 and buried in his teacher’s (ayatollah Hussayn Na’ini) mausoleum in Najaf.