Clericalism, Constitutionalism, and Cautiousness: Iran's 1905 Revolution Through the Eyes of Sheikh Fazollah Nuri
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The summer of 1909 was a summer of retribution. The first target was Mohammad Ali Shah, the Qajar king who had forcefully opposed constitutionalism and was responsible for the bombardment of the Majlis the year prior. After being replaced by his young son and forced to cede much of his property to the government, Mohammad Ali Shah was exiled to Russia in September. Another prominent target was Sheikh Fazollah Nuri, a senior cleric and the monarchy's chief ally among the ulama, whose shared opposition to constitutionalism earned him a swift execution in July of the same year.Recounting the sequence of events that ultimately led to Nuri's death is particularly useful for understanding the complexities of how the ulama navigated Iran's Constitutional Revolution and its aftermath. Although Nuri always kept a baseline of ideological consistency, he was someone who saw—and advocated—both sides of the issue. Therefore, he serves as a model case study.