Al-kisa foundation
Content Development

Ulema Graphic Novel

About this project

Share stories of Ulema that readers can be inspired by, as well as learn to appreciate the work of our great scholars. Target audience is young adults, adults. 

Please review The Life and Times of Great Ulama as your guiding compass as you submit your sample.

Skills Required

Use the research provided to craft stories of scholars that are inspiring, engaging, and motivating. These stories should also connect the reader to the scholar, and show the importance of ʿulemāʾ and ʿilm in our faith. Each scholar will have one main element that will be showcased in their story.

Project Details

Time commitment: 1-5rs/week

Voluntary position

All required software provided

Sample Submission

Guiding Points

Please review The Life and Times of Great Ulama as your guiding compass as you submit your sample.

Allameh Helli

Jamal al-Din Hassan ibn Yusuf, also known as Allameh Helli, was born on the night of the 29th of Ramadan in the thriving city of Hilla in Iraq.  He went to a traditional religious school at a very young age to learn Quran under the guidance of his father. He continued his education diligence and ambition and tater in his life he found the opportunity to learn sciences and philosophy from the best scholars of his time such as the great Khajeh Nasir al-Din al-Tusi. 

After the death of his uncle, Mohaqeq Hali who was in charge of the Shiite authority, the students and scholars of Hilla found him very well-deserving and selected him at the very young age of 28 to took over the religious leadership role of the Shia community. 

Later he was invited by the king of the Ilkhanid dynasty, who was ruling Persia at that time, to visit Iran and he accepted. He exerted so much influence in the court that the king changed official religion of Iran to Shiism. He returned to the city of Hilla after the death of King and stayed there for the rest of his life. Every Friday night he used to go to Karbala for the pilgrimage of Imam Al-Hussain (peace be upon him) and returned the next day. Finally, on the 21st of Muharram at the age of 78, this great scholar and pillar of Islam passed away and got buried in the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). Due to his wealth of knowledge and astonishing work, he is given the title of Allameh, which means the one who knows a lot.

The Sultan and his Conversion to Shia Religion

One day, Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh became very angry with his wife and divorced her three times in one sentence, but he soon regretted those words and desperately sought to undo the divorce. He gathered the best Sunni scholars of his time and asked their opinion on solving this problem. They all said, “There is no choice but for someone other than the Sultan to marry her first. Only after he divorced her you can remarry her.” “This is very distressing for me,” Sultan said, “You guys have disagreements on every issue. But you all have the same ruling in this matter?” Unfortunately for the king, they all said, “Yes.” 

One of sultan’s ministers said in the meantime: “In the city of Hilla, there is a scholar that may be able to solve your problem. Summoning him may help.” The Sunni scholars said: “Allameh has a false religion and his followers are bunch of fools and lack any wisdom. It is not recommended that the Sultan meet such an irrational man.” “Meeting him cannot hurt us,” The sultan said. 

They summoned the Allameh and he came to the king’s court, where the king and his ministers and scholars of the four Sunni sects were present. When he entered the parliament, without any fear or apprehension, he took his shoes and entered the gathering and said loudly: “Al-Salam-u-Alaykum”.  Then he went straight to the Sultan and sat next to him. The Sunni scholars present in the parliament said: “Did we not tell you that the Shiites are light-headed and irrational?” 

“Ask him about his deeds,” said the Sultan. So they said to the Allameh: “Why did you not prostrate to the Sultan and perform the rites and ceremonies?” Allameh said: “The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) was superior to any king and no one prostrated before him, but only said greetings to him. And God Almighty has also said in the Quran [24-61]: “But when you enter houses, give greetings of peace upon each other – a greeting from Allah, blessed and good. Thus does Allah make clear to you the verses [of ordinance] that you may understand.” On the other hand, we all agree that prostration is forbidden to other than the Lord (swt).” They asked him: “Why did you dare to sit next to the Sultan?” He said: “Because there was no other place to sit. And on the other hand the sultan and the non-sultan are equal in islam, aren’t they?” They continued: “Why did you bring your shoes into the parliament? No one in his right mind would do that in the presence of the Sultan.” 

Allama said: “I was afraid that the Hanafis would steal it, just as Abu Hanifa stole the shoes of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).” Suddenly, the Hanafis became very upset and shouted, “That is a lie. Abu Hanifa was born a hundred years after the prophet (pbuh)” Allama said: “Excuse me, I made a mistake. I think the thief of the shoes of the Messenger of God (pbuh) was Shafii. This time the Shafiis got upset and mentioned that Shafi’i was born on the day of Abu Hanifa’s death about two hundred years after the death of the Messenger of God (pbuh). “Maybe it was the Maleki who did that,” Allameh replied. The Malikis, like the Hanafis and Shafiis, protested and denied. Allamah said: “So surely the thief was Ahmad ibn Hanbal.” The Hanbalis got angry and objected and denied that as well. 

At that moment, Allameh turned to the Sultan and said: “O Sultan, did you know that none of the leaders of these four Sunni sects were alive during the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh) or even his companions? Choosing Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafii, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal as the head of the religion is an invalid concept of their making: Even if one of the scholars present in the assembly was better and more knowledgeable than these four on a topic their school of thought does not allow him to issue a ruling against the rulings of one of those four so called leaders.”

Here the Sultan asked the Sunnis: “Is it true that none of the leaders of the four religions were alive at the time of the Messenger of God (pbuh) and his family and companions?” The scholars all said: “Yes, they were not.” Then Allameh said: “But we are Shiites and we follow the Commander of the Faithful (pbuh), who was the dearest to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He was his causin, his son-in-law, and his true successor.” When the sultan realized the legitimacy of the argument, he asked him: “What is the Shiite opinion about the case in hand?” Allameh said: “Has the Sultan committed to the divorce three times in separate assemblies and in the presence of two just people?” The Sultan said: “No.” Allama said: “In that case, the divorce issued by the Sultan is void because it lacks the conditions of validity.”

After this incident, the king became a follower of Ahl-ul-Bait at the hands of Allameh. He sent messages to the preachers and the rulers of the cities and lands under his control to recite sermons in the name of the twelve Imams (pbut) and to mint coins in their name. He also ordered to paint the walls of mosques with the glorious names of the pure Imams (pbut).

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