Typology and critical review of Allameh Tabatabai's definitions of religion

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Theology and Philosophy of Religion, Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute



The definition of religion is the basis on which the solution of theological problems depends. Allameh Tabatabai is one of the most prominent contemporary theologians who has proposed several definitions for religion. Considering the importance of the correct definition of religion in theological discussions on the one hand, and the depth of the theological opinions of Allameh Tabataba'i on the other hand, it is necessary to categorize the various definitions he proposed for religion and to present and examine them in a coherent and comprehensive manner. Therefore, in this article, we have used the descriptive and analytical method and by referring to the works of Allameh Tabatabai, we have collected the definitions of religion, and then we have classified and analyzed them. He has put forward different types of definitions of religion based on the scope of the word religion, the type of attitude towards religion and the belongings of religion. Also, he has proposed and criticized some naturalistic definitions of religion. In the criticism of Allameh Tabatabai's definitions of religion, we point out some things, including the fact that Allameh's general definition of religion includes examples other than religions. His introspective definition of religion is the definition of religiousness, not the definition of religion. Allameh's sociological definition of religion is not comprehensive, and his criticism of the definition of religion as mysticism is also problematic.


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