1st Edition

Islamic Law and Society in Iran A Social History of Qajar Tehran

By Nobuaki Kondo Copyright 2017
    210 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The relationship between Islamic law and society is an important issue in Iran under the Islamic Republic. Although Islamic law was a pivotal element in the traditional Iranian society, no comprehensive research has been made until today. This is because modern reformers emphasized the lack of rule of law in nineteenth-century Iran. However, a legal system did exist, and Islamic law was a substantial part of it.

    This is the first book on the relationship between Islamic law and the Iranian society during the nineteenth century. The author explores the legal aspects of urban society in Iran and provides the social context in which political process occurred and examines how authorities applied law in society, how people utilized the law, and how the law regulated society. Based on rich archival sources including court records and private deeds from Qajar Tehran, this book explores how Islamic law functioned in Iranian society. The judicial system, sharia court, and religious endowments (vaqf) are fully discussed, and the role of ‘ulama as legal experts is highlighted throughout the book. It challenges nationalist and modernist views on nineteenth-century Iran and provides a unique model in terms of the relationship between Islamic law and society, which is rather different from the Ottoman case.

    Providing an understanding of this legal system in Iran and its role in society, this book offers a basis for assessing the motives and results of modern reforms as well as the modernist discourse. This book will be of interest to students of Middle Eastern and Iranian Studies.


    1. Historical Development of Tehran 

    2. Judicial System

    3.Shari‘a Court 

    4. Actual Dispute: Case of Double Vaqf

    5. Attestations and Transactions in Shari‘a Courts

    6. Vaqfs in Tehran

    7. Vaqf and Private Property

    8. Transformation of Vaqfs



    Nobuaki Kondo is a Professor at Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His research interests cover early modern history of Iran and the Persianate societies. His most important publication is Persian Documents (Routledge, 2003).