Iran's First Revolution: Shi'ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909Mangol Bayat
In order to understandIran's religious revolution of 1978-1979, it is important to look closely at an earlier revolution in the country, the constitutional revolution of 1905-1909. This revolution, which resulted in the establishment of Iran's first parliamentary democracy, was a seminal event in the country's history. The most thorough and comprehensive history of the revolution to date, Ms. Bayat's book examines the uneasy alliance of clerical, bureaucratic, landowning, and mercantile elements that won the support of the masses for a more democratic government, especially the clerical dissidents that gave the revolution an aura of religious legitimacy. Bayat argues that the recent religious revival in Iran is much less surprising when one sees how constitutionalists at the beginning of the century had to couch their calls for reform in the language of the Koran, claiming that political reforms constituted a return to Islam.