The Sharia-Monarchy Discourse in the Early Qajar Era (1795-1847)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Siite Sects, University of Religion and Denominations

2 Faculty member of the Department of History, University of Tehran

3 Faculty member of the Department of History, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

4 Faculty member, University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran



The far-reaching relation between the institutions of sharia and monarchy continued through the Qajar era gave rise to the interactions between the two institutions. A discourse analysis of the relation in terms of the ‘discourse of power’ and the ‘discourse of compliance’ demonstrates that during the reigns of the first two Qajar kings, the interaction of the clergy with the powerful and the monarchs grew for reasons such as the latter’s acquisition of legitimacy from the former, fondness of the monarchs for religious rituals, and Russo-Persian wars. During the reign of Mohammad Shah, however the relation between the government and religious scholars tended toward hostility and bitterness, ending in aversion and antipathy to the Qajar monarch on the part of the scholars. In this research, we draw on the descriptive-analytic method, adopting a new approach to provide a proper analysis of the discourse between Shiite scholars and the Qajar government from 1795 to 1847. By giving an account of the relation between the two powerful influential institutions of the time, we offer a plausible picture of the political-social milieu of the Qajar era.


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