Al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim b. Ahmad al-Hilli

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Al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim b. Ahmad al-Hilli
Personal Information
Full NameAl-Sayyid Ghiyath al-Din 'Abd al-Karim b. Ahmad b. Musa b. Tawus al-Hilli
Religious AffiliationTwelver Shi'a
LineageAl Tawus
Well-Known RelativesAl-Sayyid Ahmad b. Tawus al-Hilli (father), Sayyid b. Tawus (uncle)
Place of BirthKarbala
ResidenceHillah, Baghdad
Studied inBaghdad
Burial PlaceHoly Shrine of Imam Ali (a), Najaf
Scholarly Information
ProfessorsHis father, Sayyid b. Tawus, al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli, ...
StudentsAhmad b. Dawud al-Hilli, 'Abd al-Samad b. Abi l-Jaysh al-Hanbali
WorksFarhat al-ghara
Socio-Political Activities
Niqaba of sadat

Al-Sayyid Ghīyāth al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Aḥmad b. Mūsā b. Ṭāwūs al-Ḥillī (Arabic: سید غیاث الدین عبدالکریم بن أحمد بن موسی بن طاووس الحلي) (b. 648/1250-1 - d. 693/1294) was the Naqib (guardian) of Sadat in the Abbasid period. He was al-Sayyid b. Tawus's nephew (his brother's son), and his lineage goes back to Imam al-Hasan (a).


He was born in Karbala in 648/1250-1 and died in Kadhimiya on Shawwal 16, 693/September 9, 1294. He was famously buried near the Holy Shrine of Imam 'Ali (a). However, according to Tarikh Hillah (history of Hillah), he died in Hillah and was buried near the grave of his uncle Sayyid Radi al-Din b. Tawus.


His lineage goes back to Imam al-Hasan (a). Here is his genealogy from Muhammad b. Ishaq known as Tawus: "Muhammad b. Ishaq b. al-Hasan b. Muhmmad b. Sulayman b. Dawud b. al-Hasan al-Muthanna b. al-Hasan al-Sibt b. 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a)".

His ancestor, Dawud, was Imam al-Sadiq (a)'s rada'i (foster) brother through his mother, Umm Khalid al-Barbariyya, to whom Umm Dawud Supplication is attributed, as is made explicit by Sayyid 'Ali b. Tawus in his Iqbal al-a'mal. He is the nephew of Sayyid Rad al-Din 'Ali b. Musa b. Tawus, the well-known Shiite scholar and the author of numerous books including Iqbal al-a'mal.


'Abd al-Karim spent his teenager-hood in Hillah. After some years, he moved to Baghdad to learn from prominent scholars of Iraq. Until the end of his life, he studied and taught in Baghdad.

Ibn Dawud al-Hilli, a scholar of rijal, wrote about Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim: "we were together since our childhood. He was exemplary in ethics and communications, and I have seen no one like him in intelligence and memory. When he was 11 years old, he memorized the whole Quran within a short period of time".

Al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim learned how to read and write within 40 days when he was just 4 years old, and since then, he did not need any tutors. His house was a place where prominent figures, scholars, and noblemen met and held scholarly meetings. He was a scholar of fiqh (jurisprudence), as well as a poet, a scholar of genealogies, and a man of literature.



  • Ahmad b. Dawud al-Hilli
  • 'Abd al-Samad b. Abi al-Jaysh al-Hanbali
  • 'Ali b. Husayn b. Hammad al-Laythi


One of his children was al-Sayyid Muhammad who was born in Baghdad in 670/1271-2. Another son of his was al-Sayyid 'Ali who was a great scholar. In his permission to al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Karim, Sayyid 'Abd al-Hamid b. Fakhkhar b. Mu'idd gave the permission for the transmission of hadiths to al-Sayyid 'Ali as well and praised him.


An honor of the Tawus Family was that they held the position of Niqaba. "Naqib" refers to a knowledgeable and very pious mujtahid who is in charge of the affairs of all Sadat, such as the adjudication and settlement of their disputes, supervising and helping the poor as well as orphans. In the Abbasid period, the position of Niqaba was the most important position after Caliphate. In the Tawus Family, Niqaba began with Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad, known as "Tawus", and lasted for several generations.

Sayyid 'Ali b. Musa considered Niqaba to be one of his honors, while he turned down offers by the government for ministry and prime ministry.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from سید عبدالکریم بن احمد حلی in Farsi Wikishia.