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Last Updated: 2008/10/12
Summary of question
What are the traits of the “mursal” religion?
What are the traits of the “mursal” religion?
Concise answer

1- The number of “mursal” religions is always in correspondence with the number of messengers sent by Allah (swt).

2- The mursal religion is a result of man’s need towards the message of Allah (swt) to the people.

3- The way of getting acquainted with the mursal religion is through reliable narration and if the mind and intellect ever reaches something regarding religion that also exists in our narrations (meaning that even if there was no narration concerning the issue, our intellects were enough to reach such a conclusion), there are chances that such a narration is an irshadi one (narrations that disclose an issue pertaining to religion, that our minds can find out by themselves, are called irshadi narrations, meaning that they lead us to something that we ourselves know, although we might not be aware of such a thing at the moment).

4- Since the mursal religion is sent to the people through the prophets, it is influenced by that specific prophet’s characteristics (the spiritual ones he possesses) and the characteristics of his people and the time and place that it is revealed in.

Detailed Answer

1- The reality seen in the history of different religions, according to the Quran and history, is good proof that the number of mursal religions is the same as the number of divine prophets sent by Allah (swt). What is meant by messenger here, isn't any messenger, but a messenger who has been sent with a new religion and is responsible for delivering it to the people.[1]

2- The mursal religion is a result of the need of man towards the message of God. It is because of this need that this message has always been renewed throughout history.[2] Therefore, although the origin of the mursal religion is the nafsul-amr religion, and the nafsul-amr religion lacks any situational elements, (meaning that different times, places and situations have no impact and effect on it), nevertheless, the mursal religion that comes from it always takes into consideration the different needs of the generation that it has been sent to, in addition to the time, place and situation that its revelation takes place in, containing both specific elements that pertain to the abovementioned and universal ones. At the same time, there are chances that the mursal religion will contain a portion of the elements of the nafsul-amr religion, and sometimes even all of them.

3- Reliable narration is the way to get acquainted with the nafsul-amr religion. Sometimes, some religious issues that have been narrated are such that even if they hadn’t been narrated, our minds would have been able to figure out that they are part of the mursal religion. In such cases, there are chances that these narrations are irshadi ones (literally, anything that leads us to a certain topic or thing is irshadi, and here means that the narration is leading us to something that we already know). There is also one more possibility, and that being that the mind figures one of the mursal religion’s issues that haven’t been disclosed in narrations. In other words, there is sometimes a small possibility that a religious issue is revealed to a prophet, and he conveys the message to the people of his era, yet, over time, different factors cause that particular issue not to reach us. Of course, the thing that has a small possibility of taking place is for the mind to be able to figure out that something had been revealed upon the prophet, yet different factors caused it not to reach us over time. Yet, it isn't unexpectable for the mind not to be able to figure out that some things are certainly part of religion without the help of narration. Therefore, in addition to reliable narration, this is also one way of getting familiar with the mursal religion’s teachings.

4- Considering that the mursal religion is sent to the people through the prophets, it is influenced by the spiritual degrees of that particular prophet and the characteristics of his people, and the time and place in which it is revealed in. The higher the prophet, the more is his share of the nafsul-amr religion. The more his people are of culture and listening, the more they will make use of the nafsul-amr religion. The more time and space his religion covers and is to cover, the more elements of the nafsul-amr religion it will contain.

For further reading:

1- Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani, Velayat va Diyanat, The Cultural Institute of Khaneye Kherad.

[1] Shahid Motahhari calls it “Tashri’I” prophethood. (see: Shahid Motahhari, Khatm Nobovvat, pg.34)

[2] Ibid.

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