Persian Voices: Law and More Law

By what law have the people of Iran died that the government is auctioning away their inheritance?

Dear Merchant,

The government has mistaken our inaction for our death. It is time for the mujtaheds and other knowledgeable persons to arise and save the people of Iran. We propose two simple remedies to save Iran: law and more law. You may well ask, “where will this law come from?” the answer is again simple: the shah should call at once one hundred mujtaheds and other learned persons of the country into a national consultative assembly (majles-i shawra-yi melli); and this assembly should have full authority to formable laws that would initiate social progress.

—Malkum Khan, A Letter from Qazvin, Qanun, No. 6 (July 1890)


Abrahamian, Ervand. Iran between two revolutions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Pr. Qanun No.6 (July 1890) “A Letter from Qazvin” Malkum Khan, p.69.


Editor’s Note: Malkum Khan was one of the foremost proponents of constitutional government, but his old age prevented him from actively participating in revolution. He died in Europe a few days after the outbreak of the civil war in Iran in 1908. During his life-time, he published the newspaper called, Qanun (Law).

سرکار تاجر،
اینها خیلی حق دارند که ما را بکلی مرده بدانند. 
اما حرف در این است که ما این قانون را از کجا تحصیل کنیم ؟
جای حصول قانون در نمره دوم این جریده مجملا مشخص شده
باید لااقل صد نفر ار مجتهدین بزرگ و فضلای نامی و عقلای معروف ایران را 
در پای تخت دولت در یک مجلس شورای ملی جمع کرد و به آنها ماموریت و 
قدرت کامل داد که اولا آن قوانین و آن اصولی که از برای تنظیم ایران لازم است
تعیین و تدوین و رسما اعلام نمایند.