Document Type : Original Article
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Islamic Sciences and Culture Academy, Qom, Iran
PhD Student, Political Thought, Imam Khomeini Research Center
The Shiite political thought experienced new evolutions with the entrance of new concepts and thoughts in the Constitutionalism period. One of those evolutions was the scholars’ effort to explain and describe the conditions and foundations of legitimacy of the right to ‘freedom’ which had little record in the Shiite political thought up to that era. Mirza Muhammad Hussein Naʾini, one of the constitutionalist scholars of that day, attempted to offer a new reading of that concept. Accordingly, the present study uses Skinner’s hermeneutic method to investigate Ayatollah Naʾini’s political thought regarding freedom and answer the following question: “In which practical and ideological ground was Naʾini’s view on freedom formed?” The findings of the study show that the ideological grounds of that thought have been formed by the non-religious texts of the constitutionalist intellectuals on the one hand, and the religious texts of jurists opposing constitutionalism on the other hand. Similarly, its practical ground must be looked for inside the despotism of the Qajar rulers and constitutional revolution. Due to being placed inside such grounds, Naʾini negates despotism in Islam by proposing freedom and conceptual expansion of ḥurriyat (freedom), proving freedom as a divine right of the Muslims from the religious viewpoint. This conceptual reading prepares the round for getting away from inconsistency between freedom and Shariʿa in Naʾini’s political thought.