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The Making of the Concept of Modern Law (qānūn) During the Pre-Constitutional Period in Iran (1850-1900)
Abstract by Latifeh Aavani On Session VII-18  (Islamic Law and Jurisprudence)

On Saturday, December 3 at 8:30 am

2022 Annual Meeting

The demand for the rule of law was one of the key characteristics of the Iranian constitutional revolution of 1905-1911. Modern law (qānūn) during this period was perceived as a tool to limit the absolute power of the Qajar monarch and to establish a constitutional state in which all public officials are under the supervision of law. In this paper, I will argue that the demand for the rule of law in Iran emerged decades before the constitutional period in the second half of the 19th century at least in two major contexts. First, it appeared in the treatises written by the Qajar officials and secondly through the Persian press printed outside of Iran particularly in Istanbul, Cairo and London. In the case of the treatises written by the Qajar statemen, modern law is defined as a statecraft in the form of codification. Moreover, these treatises promote legal reform as a central piece of overcoming political and economic decline in Iran by the enactment of codified law to regulate the actions of public officials. My discussion will be primarily based on an analysis of Daftar-i Tanẓīmāt (The Book of Tanẓīmāt) by Mīrzā Malkum Khān (d.1908), and Kitābchah-yi Majlis-i Tanẓīmāt (the Code of Tanẓīmāt Assembly) which is attributed to Farrukh Khān Amīn al-Dawlah (d.1871) . I will then focus on sections form newspapers such as Akhtar (printed in Istanbul), Qānūn (printed in London) and Thurayyā (printed in Cairo) to analyzes the role of press in shaping the necessity of modern law as the basis of reformism. I will demonstrate that Persian press printed outside of Iran depicted Ottoman Tanẓīmāt as a successful model of reformism Iran. I My primary method in this paper is based on the archival research based on my work in the Iranian Parliament archives and the Malik Library archives.
Geographic Area
Sub Area
19th-21st Centuries