The Impact of the Modernization Process on Shia Ulama During the Reign of Reza Shah in Iran
Reza Khan (in reign: 1925-1941), who ended the Qajar dynasty, declared himself the new king of Iran as the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty. The establishment of the Republic of Turkey and the Republican revolution realized by Ataturk, following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire after the World War I, affected Reza Shah deeply. He initiated a series of reforms in Iran to establish a strong central state. Since the Constitutional Revolution (1906-7) in Iran, the position of the Shia Ulamas was consolidated. However, the Reza Shah’s reforms aimed at centralization and secularization affected the socio-economic situation of the Shia scholars deeply. These reforms had a diminishing effect on the power of the Ulama. Historically, avoiding a relationship with the political establishment as a protest against those who Ulama believed to hold political power unfairly had a central position in Shia political thought. However, starting from the last period of Qajars, especially during the reign of Reza Shah, political thought of Shia Ulamas changed. The most striking aspect of this change is that, unlike in the previous periods in which Ulamas was passive and away from the political power, they began to become active in politics. This study has examined how the reforms in three areas, namely education, religious charity foundations, and the judicial system in Iran, affected and shaped the clergy's social roles and power. In this study, a qualitative research method is adopted and a case study is conducted. In this context, data from primary and secondary documents and sources were collected and analyzed.
Modernization, Modern State, Iran, Shia Ulama, Political Thought of Shia