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Iqbal al-a'mal (book)

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Iqbal al-a'mal
Author Al-Sayyid Radi al-Din 'Ali b. Musa b. Tawus al-Hilli
Original title إقبال الأعمال
Language Arabic
Series 3 volumes
Subject Du'as
Genre Narrative

Iqbāl al-aʿmāl (Arabic: إقبال الأعمال) is an Arabic book of du'as, ziyarat of the Infallibles (a), prayers and practices which have been recommended to perform at specific times of the year. It's full title is, Al-Iqbāl bi-l-aʿmāl al-ḥasanat fī mā yuʿmal marrah fī l-sanah (Arabic: الإقبال بالأعمال الحسنة فيما يعمل مرة في السنة), meaning, "Turning to good actions about practices done once a year". It was written by 'Ali b. Musa b. Tawus al-Hilli (d. 664/1266), one of the most renowned Shi'a scholars of all time.


مسجد جامع خرمشهر.jpg

Al-Sayyid Radi al-Din 'Ali b. Musa b. Tawus al-Hilli (b. 589/1193 – d. 664/1266), a descendant of Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (a), was born in Hillah.[1] He was famous for his asceticism, piety and mysticism, and was an expert in fiqh, literature, and writing poetry.

Sayyid had a great library which he inherited from his grandfather. He himself said that he had either read or been taught each of the books present in this library.

Ibn Tawus wrote almost 50 works, most of which are about du'as and ziyarat.

Date of Writing

Ibn Tawus wrote this book in the year 650/1252 in the holy city of Karbala. He wrote it along with several other books as the supplement to Shaykh al-Tusi's Misbah al-mutahajjid. The names of these books have been mentioned in his introduction to Falah al-sa'il, which is the first volume of the supplements to Misbah al-mutahajjid. Ibn Tawus added some chapters to the book in 655–656/1257-1258.


Iqbal al-a'mal contains du'as, ziyarat, and prayers recommended by the Ahl al-Bayt (a) at specific times during 11 months of the year. Due to the importance of the month of Ramadan, its practices are mentioned in another book called al-Midmar. The two books have also been presented together by the author in a collection.[2]

Iqbal al -a'mal has been divided into 12 chapters, each chapter covering about one month. Each month is also divided into sections and parts, so that practices related to individual days are easily accessible. Ibn Tawus has written this book in the order of the Arabic months; however, he has considered the month of Ramadan to be the beginning of the year. Two reasons he mentions for this are Ramadan's great importance in Islam, and the fact that people of knowledge have set Ramadan as the beginning of their spiritual journeys. After al-Midmar, Iqbal al-a'mal is divided into two parts: the first includes Shawwal, Dhu l-Qa'da and Dhu l-Hijja, and the second deals with the remaining 8 months of the year.

In addition to recommended practices, the author has included points he has deemed important for readers to consider. He has written his personal comments regarding issues such as the position of the awliya' (the friends of Allah), achieving purity of intention in acts of worship, and the secrets behind du'a, prayer and other practices. He also relates and determines the dates of historical events such as Mubahalah, Imam 'Ali (a) giving his ring in prayer, and Ghadir. In regard to the month of Ramadan, he writes about the importance of the month, the philosophy of fasting, hadith which support the idea that it is the first month, and the different types of people who fast. Other issues mentioned in Iqbal al-a'mal are locating the grave of Imam 'Ali (a), the reason for naming Dahw al-Ard, how the earth was created and how the Ka'ba was built.

Ibn Tawus has usually quoted the full reference for hadith or du'as included in this book, but in some cases he has only mentioned the book they were adopted from. He also notes if a du'a is not well-known to be effective in comparison to other du'as.


Like other books of Ibn Tawus al-Hilli, this book is of great value and credit among Shi'a scholars. In writing this book, Ibn Tawus made a great contribution to the world of Islam - to the extent that almost all other books of du'as and ziyarat following Iqbal al-a'mal have been adopted from it. For example,Shaykh 'Abbas al-Qummi took much of the information in his Mafatih al-jinan from this book. In al-Dhari'ah, Agha Buzurg Tihrani claims that all Shi'as and all scholars who later wrote books about du'as and worship have become indebted to Sayyid b. Tawus for writing this book.[3]


  1. A manuscript in the Library of Astan Quds Radawi dating back to 957/1550.
  2. A manuscript in the Library of Astan Quds Radawi dating back to 1074/1637-1638.


  1. Kammunah Husayni, Mawarid al-ithaf, vol. 1, pp. 107 - 108.
  2. Ibn Tawus. al-Iqbal bi l-a'mal, vol. 1, p. 20.
  3. Agha'a, vol. 2, p. 265.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from إقبال الأعمال in Farsi Wikishia.
  • Ibn Tawus, 'Ali b. Musa, Al-Iqbal bi l-a'mal al-hasanah, researched and corrected by Jawad Qayyumi Isfahani, The Office for Islamic Propagation, Qom, 1998.
  • Kammunah Husayni, Abd al-Razzaq, Mawarid al-ithaf fi nuqaba' al-ashraf, Nashr al-Adab, Najaf, 1388/1968, (vol. 1, pp. 107 – 108)
  • Tihrani, Agha Buzurg, Al-Dhari'ah ila tasanif al-Shi'a, Dar al-Adwa, Beirut, 1403/1983.