Mirza Naʾini and the Scope of the Government’s Jurisdiction and Duties

Document Type : Original Article


Associate Professor of General Law, Bou-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran



The question on the government’s duties and the scope of its qualifications is a question posed since long ago by political and legal thinkers. Mirza Naʾini has not spoken on this subject independently; however, we may extract some ordered speeches and precise plan from his intellectual system. Since Naʿini would consider constitutionalism as limiting the power, he would attempt not to define unlimited duties for the government. In his view, the government’s duties are restricted to two basic principles. First, protecting domestic order of the country and prohibiting people from transgressing one another’s rights; and second, protecting the frontiers against strangers. Accordingly, for him, we face a government with limited and minimal duties, a government that has no permission to interfere in all affairs. This approach taken by Naʾini is different from many of his predecessors and descendants. Indeed, we see a deep innovation in projecting the issue of the government’s duties in his thought. This article uses a descriptive-analytical method to answer the following questions: “What are the government’s duties in Naʾini’s thought?” and “What innovations has he offered in this regard?” Considering his speeches, here we try to investigate the idea of the duties and jurisdiction of the government in general in two types of government in the thinking system of this constitutionalist jurist: i.e. wilāyatiyya and tamlikiyya. Besides, we attempt to discuss some of the expressions that Naʾini has employed for explaining this discussion, including ‘truth of sultanate’ as well as concepts such as ‘trust’ and ‘endowment’ for explaining the government’s duties.