Chapter

The Law

Mirza Malkum Khan

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 The Law

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Mirza Malkum Khan (Iran, 18331908) was an activist and pamphleteer who, in different periods of his life, alternately served and agitated against the Iranian monarchy. Born in the Armenian town of Julfa, next to Isfahan, Malkum and his father converted to Islam, but retained certain Christian practices. Malkum was educated in France on a government scholarship, and returned to Iran to teach at the country's first modern-style school, the Dar al-Funun (House of Sciences). A decade later, he was exiled for organizing secret societies devoted to freedom and equalitythen hired the following year in the Iranian diplomatic service, rising to the post of ambassador in London. When he was fired in 1889 in a scandal over a proposed Iranian lottery, Malkum devoted himself to a journal called Qanun (The Law), which campaigned on behalf of constitutionalism. This journal, appearing periodically in forty-two issues over a decade, was smuggled into Iran, where its popularity threw the shah into paroxysms of irritation and alarm, according to the British ambassador. The journal inspired the makers of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, yet Malkum played no direct role in that movement, as he had ceased his oppositional activities upon reappointment to diplomatic service, as ambassador to Italy, in 1899. Issue number 10 of Qanun, translated here in its entiretyprobably written entirely by Malkum, including the purported letters to the editordemonstrates Malkum's vivid prose and some of his characteristic themes, including the necessity of conspiracy to promote the rule of Law.1

Chapter.  3029 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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