The Supplementary Fundamental Law of 7 October 1907

The Fundamental Law of 1906 and the Supplementary Fundamental Law of 1907 provided the foundation for the Persian constitution. The following excerpts come from the latter document.

In the Name of God the Merciful, the Forgiving

The Articles added to complete the Fundamental Laws of the Persian Constitution ratified by the late Shahinshah of blessed memory, Muzaffaru'd-Din Shah Qajar (may God illuminate his resting-place!) are as follows:

General Dispositions

Article 1. The official religion of Persia is Islam, according to the orthodox Jafari doctrine of the Ithna Ashariyya (Church of the Twelve Imams) which faith the Shah of Persia must profess and promote.

Article 2. At no time must any legal enactment of the Sacred National Consultative Assembly, established by the favor and assistance of His Holiness the Imam of the Age (may God hasten his glad Advent!), the favor of His Majesty the Shahinshah of Islam (may God immortalize his reign!), the care of the Proofs of Islam [the mujtahids] (may God multiply the like of them!), and the whole people of the Persian nation, be at variance with the sacred principles of Islam or the laws established by His Holiness the Best of Mankind [the Prophet Muhammad] (on whom and on whose household be the Blessings of God and His Peace).

It is hereby declared that it is for the learned doctors of theology (the ulama)— may God prolong the blessing of their existence!—to determine whether such laws as may be proposed are or are not conformable to the principles of Islam; and it is therefore officially enacted that there shall at all times exist a Committee composed of not less than five mujtahids or other devout theologians, cognizant also of the requirements of the age, [which committee shall be elected] in this manner The ulama and Proofs of Islam shall present to the National Consultative Assembly the names of twenty of the ulama possessing the attributes mentioned above; and the members of the National Consultative Assembly shall, either by unanimous acclamation, or by vote, designate five or more of these, according to the exigencies of the time, and recognize these as Members, so that they may carefully discuss and consider all matters proposed in the Assembly, and reject and repudiate, wholly or in part, any such proposal which is at variance with the Sacred Laws of Islam, so that it shall not obtain the title of legality. In such matters the decision of this Ecclesiastical Committee shall be followed and obeyed, and this article shall continue unchanged until the appearance of His Holiness the Proof of the Age (may God hasten his glad Advent!).

Article 3. The frontiers, provinces, departments and districts of the Persian Empire cannot be altered save in accordance with the Law.

Article 4. The capital of Persia is Teheran.

Article 5. The official colors of the Persian flag are green, white, and red, with the emblem of the Lion and the Sun.

Article 6. The lives and property of foreign subjects residing on Persian soil are guaranteed and protected, save in such contingencies as the laws of the land shall except.

Article 7. The principles of the Constitution cannot be suspended either wholly or in part.

Rights of the Persian Nation

Article 8. The people of the Persian Empire are to enjoy equal rights before the Law.

Article 9. All individuals are protected and safeguarded in respect to their lives, property, homes, and honor, from every kind of interference, and none shall molest them save in such case and in such way as the laws of the land shall determine.

Article 10. No one can be summarily arrested, save flagrante delicto in the commission of some crime or misdemeanor, except on the written authority of the President of the Tribunal of Justice, given in conformity with the Law. Even in such case the accused must immediately, or at latest in the course of the next twenty-four hours, be informed and notified of the nature of his offense.

Article 11. No one can be forcibly removed from the tribunal which is entitled to give judgment on his case to another tribunal.

Article 12. No punishment can be decreed or executed save in conformity with the Law.

Article 13. Every person's house and dwelling is protected and safe-guarded, and no dwelling-place may be entered, save in such case and in such way as the Law has decreed.

Article 14. No Persian can be exiled from the country, or prevented from residing in any part thereof, or compelled to reside in any specified part thereof, save in such cases as the Law may explicitly determine.

Article 15. No property shall be removed from the control of its owner save by legal sanction, and then only after its fair value has been determined and paid.

Article 16. The confiscation of the property or possessions of any person under the title of punishment or retribution is forbidden, save in conformity with the Law.

Article 17. To deprive owners or possessors of the properties or possessions controlled by them on any pretext whatever is forbidden, save in conformity with the Law.

Article 18. The acquisition and study of all sciences, arts and crafts is free, save in the case of such as may be forbidden by the ecclesiastical law.

Article 19. The foundation of schools at the expense of the Government and the Nation, and compulsory instruction, must be regulated by the Ministry of Sciences and Arts, and all schools and colleges must be under the supreme control and supervision of that Ministry.

Article 20. All publications, except heretical books and matters hurtful to the perspicuous religion [of Islam] are free, and are exempt from censorship. If, however, anything should be discovered in them contrary to the Press law, the publisher or writer is liable to punishment according to that law. If the writer be known, and be resident in Persia, then the publisher, printer and distributor shall not be liable to prosecution.

Article 21. Societies (anjumans) and associations (ijtimaat) which are not productive of mischief to Religion or the State, and are not injurious to good order, are free throughout the whole Empire, but members of such associations must not carry arms, and must obey the regulations laid down by the Law on this matter. Assemblies in the public thoroughfares and open spaces must likewise obey the police regulations.

Article 22. Correspondence passing through the post is safeguarded and exempt from seizure or examination, save in such exceptional cases as the Law lays down.

Article 23. It is forbidden to disclose or detain telegraphic correspondence without the express permission of the owner, save in such cases as the Law lays down.

Article 24. Foreign subjects may become naturalized as Persian subjects, but their acceptance or continuance as such, or their deprivation of this status, is in accordance with a separate law.

Article 25. No special authorization is required to proceed against government officials in respect of shortcomings connected with the discharge of their public functions, save in the case of Ministers, in whose case the special laws on this subject must be observed.

Powers of the Realm

Article 26. The powers of the realm are all derived from the people; and the Fundamental Law regulates the employment of those powers.

Article 27. The powers of the Realm are divided into three categories:

First, the legislative power, which is specially concerned with the making or amelioration of laws. This power is derived from His Imperial Majesty, the National Consultative Assembly, and the Senate, of which three sources each has the right to introduce laws, provided that the continuance thereof be dependent on their not being at variance with the standards of the ecclesiastical law, and on their approval by the Members of the two Assemblies, and the Royal ratification. The enacting and approval of laws with the revenue and expenditure of the kingdom are, however specially assigned to the National Consultative Assembly. The explanation and interpretation of the laws are, moreover, amongst the special functions of the above-mentioned Assembly.

Second, the judicial power, by which is meant the determining of rights. This power belongs exclusively to the ecclesiastical tribunals in matters connected with the ecclesiastical law, and to the civil tribunals in matters connected with ordinary law.

Third, the executive power, which appertains to the King — that is to say, the laws and ordinances — is carried out by the Ministers and State officials in the august name of His Imperial Majesty in such manner as the Law defines.

Article 28. The three powers above mentioned shall ever remain distinct and separate from one another.

Article 29. The special interests of each province, department and district shall be arranged and regulated, in accordance with special laws on this subject, by provincial and departmental councils (anjumans).

Rights of the Persian Throne

Article 39. No King can ascend the Throne unless, before his coronation, he appears before the National Consultative Assembly, in the presence of the Members of this Assembly and of the Senate, and of the Cabinet of Ministers, and repeat the following oath:

“I take to witness the Almighty and Most High God, on the glorious Word of God, and by all that is most honored in God's sight, and do hereby swear that I will exert all my efforts to preserve the independence of Persia, safeguard and protect the frontiers of my Kingdom and the rights of my People, observe the Fundamental Laws of the Persian Constitution, rule in accordance with the established laws of Sovereignty, endeavor to promote the Jafari doctrine of the Church of the Twelve Imams, and will in all my deeds and actions consider God Most Glorious as present and watching me. I further ask aid from God, from Whom alone aid is derived, and seek help from the holy spirits of the Saints of Islam to render service to the advancement of Persia.”

W. Morgan Shuster, The Strangling of Persia: A Personal Narrative. Story of the European Diplomacy and Oriental Intrigue That Resulted in the Denationalization of Twelve Million Mohammedans (New York: The Century Co., 1920), Appendix.

SUGGESTED READINGS

‘Abduh, Muhammad. The Theology of Unity. Translated by Ishaq Musa and Kenneth Cragg. New York: Books for Libraries, 1980. Seminal work by one of the luminaries of the modernist movement in Islam.

Afary, Janet. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins of Feminism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. Revisionist account of the Persian Constitutional Revolution, with an emphasis on the processes and effects of popular mobilization.

Alavi, B. “Critical Writings on the Renewal of Iran.” In Qajar Iran: Political Social, and Cultural Change, edited by Edmond Bosworth and Carole Hillenbrand, 243-53. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 1983. Explores the intellectual origins of defensive developmentalism in Persia.

Cole, Juan. Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt's ‘Urabi Movement. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993. Comprehensive study of the social and cultural origins of the ‘Urabi Revolt, along with a comparative analysis of revolution in the region.

Commins, David Dean. Islamic Reform: Politics and Social Change in Late Ottoman Syria. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Wonderfully written account of the development of Islamic modernist currents in Syria.

Davison, Roderic H. Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856-1876. New York: Gordian Press, 1973. Classic analysis of the final two decades of the Tanzimat Period.

Deringil, Selim. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909. London: I. B. Tauris, 1998. Path-breaking study looks at the changing sources for Ottoman legitimacy during the nineteenth century, including new sources of religious legitimation.

Dumont, Paul. “Said Bey — the Everyday Life of an Istanbul Townsman at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.” In The Modern Middle East, edited by Albert Hourani et al., 271-88. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Said Bey's life shows an interesting parallel to that of Wasif Jawhariyyeh.

Fahmy, Khaled. All the Pasha's Men: Mehmed Ali, His Army and the Making of Modern Egypt. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Revisionist work on Mehmet Ali and state formation in Egypt, focusing on the central institution for that effort: the military.

Findley, Carter V. “The Advent of Ideology in the Islamic Middle East.” Studia Islamica 15-16 (1982): 143-69,147-80. While the theoretical underpinnings of this article are a bit old-fashioned, the argument is still convincing today.

Hanioglu, M. Sukru. The Young Turks in Opposition. New York Oxford University Press, 1995. Detailed examination of the conspirators who took power in the Ottoman Empire in 1908 and the evolution of their ideas.

Hourani, Albert. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age: 1798-1939. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Classic account of nahda, salafi, and Westernizing Arab intellectuals and intellectual trends of the long nineteenth century.

Karpat, Kemal H. The Politicization of Islam: Reconstructing Identity, State, Faith, and Community in the Late Ottoman State. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Dense but authoritative account of the transformation of the state and its impact on Islamic beliefs and institutions during last half-century of Ottoman rule.

Keddie, Nikki. An Islamic Response to Imperialism: Political and Religious Writings of Sayyid Jamal al-Din “al-Afghani.” Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Analysis of the thought of Jamal al-Din, along with excerpts from his writings.

Khuri-Makdisi, Ilham. The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. Groundbreaking foray into intellectual history, placing the intellectual life of Beirut, Cairo, and Alexandria within the context of the global spread of ideas.

Kurzman, Charles. Modernist Islam, 1840-1940: A Sourcebook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Good collection of documents from thinkers and activists who sought to make Islam compatible with the ideas of the modern age.

Makdisi, Ussama. The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Marvelous examination of the role played by European imperialism, Ottoman state policies, and local actors in creating religious boundaries and sparking violence in mid-century Lebanon.

Mitchell, Timothy. Colonising Egypt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. Complex but rewarding analysis of the transformation of worldview in Egypt brought about by the combination of imperialism and the “self-colonization” of defensive developmentalism.

Owen, Roger. The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800-1914. London: Methuen, 1993. The gold standard of Middle East political/economic history in the nineteenth century.

Quataert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Concise yet excellent history of the empire after its initial expansion, particularly strong on economic and social history.

Robinson, Ronald. “Non-European Foundations of European Imperialism: Sketch for a Theory of Collaboration.” In Studies in the Theory of Imperialism, edited by Roger Owen and Bob Sutcliffe, 117-42. London: Longman, 1972. Essay not only presents persuasive definition of imperialism, it also analyzes the reasons why imperialism took the various forms it did.

Rogan, Eugene. Frontiers of State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan, 1850-1921. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Excellent study of the application of defensive developmentalist policies in one of the frontier provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Sohrabi, Nader. “Historicizing Revolutions: Constitutional Revolutions in the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and Russia, 1905-1908.” American Journal of Sociology 100 (May 1995): 1383-1447. Thoughtful, theoretical comparison of three turn-of-the-century constitutional revolutions.

Tamari, Salim. “Jerusalem's Ottoman Modernity: The Times and Lives of Wasif Jawhariyyeh.” Jerusalem Quarterly File 9 (2000): 5-34. Wonderful account of a musician and composer whose diary gives contemporary historians of the Middle East access to daily life in Jerusalem over the course of six decades.

Voll, John Obert. Islam: Continuity and Change in the Modern World. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1982. Probably the best overview of Islam throughout the world from the eighteenth century through the present day.

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