EMĀMĪ, Sayyed ḤASAN (b. 1321/1903, d. 1360 Š./1981; Figure 1), emām-e jomʿa (Friday prayer leader) of Tehran (1326-57 Š./1947-78). He was born in Tehran to Sayyed Abu’l-Qāsem, the emām-e jomʿa of Tehran, who had married Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah’s daughter and opposed the Constitutional Revolution of 1906-9 (q.v.). He was dismissed from his office in 1327/1908 by the Constitutionalists, who appointed his brother, Ḥājj Sayyed Moḥammad Emāmzāda, as emām-e jomʿa of Tehran. Sayyed Moḥammad served in this capacity until his death in 1326 Š./1947, whereupon the shah appointed his nephew, Sayyed Ḥasan Emāmī, to the position. The founder of the family, Sayyed Mortażā Ḵātūnābādī, had married the daughter of Mollā Moḥammad-Bāqer Majlesī (d. 1111/1700), the country’s most powerful chief cleric and a prominent scholar of the late Safavid era. The family had held the hereditary office of emām-e jomʿa of Isfahan since the early 12th/18th century and the office of emām-e jomʿa of Tehran from 1236/1820 until the Revolution of 1978-79 (Ḥabībābādī, II, pp. 317-20, V, p. 1703; Bāmdād, Rejāl I, pp. 55-57, III, pp. 218-19, IV, p. 6).

Sayyed Ḥasan, the sixth and last member of the family to serve as emām-e jomʿa of Tehran, studied traditional Islamic sciences in Tehran and continental law in Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon completing his doctorate, he returned to Iran and worked as a judge in the Ministry of Justice (Matīn-Daftarī, p. 66). He also was appointed to the faculty of law at Tehran University. He continued to teach there even after his appointment as emam-e jomʿa up until his retirement (Maḥjūb, pp. 185-86). His book Ḥoqūq-e madanī (Civic Jurisprudence; 6 vols., Tehran, 1335-42 Š./1956-63) is regarded as one of the best Persian works on the subject. In Mordād 1329 Š./August 1950 Emāmī was seriously wounded by a lone would-be assassin named Nabī-Allāh Akbarī (Ṣawlat Qašqāʾī, p. 75). At the height of the struggle for the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, Emāmī was elected from Mahābād to the 17th Majles and became the speaker of the Majles over the opposition of the National Front (Jebha-ye mellī) deputies, who regarded him as a lackey of the royal court (Bozorgmehr, p. 370). He later resigned his post as the speaker of the Majles and never again accepted political office.

During the Pahlavi reign the influence of the office of the emām-e jomʿa office among the ʿolamāʾ was very limited due to its close affiliation with the court. Sayyed Ḥasan Emāmī was regarded as a member of the shah’s inner circle. The shah used Emāmī’s connections with influential bāzārīs and other notables of the traditional classes, as well as with Masonic lodges, to establish relations with them (Dānešjūyān, p. 56; for his membership in the Masons lodge, see Rāʾīn, III, pp. 325-27). As the shah’s contact with these groups diminished, so did Emāmī’s influence. Emāmī left Iran on the eve of the 1979 Revolution and died in exile in 1360 Š./1981.



J. Bozorgmehr, Doktor Moḥammad Moṣaddeq dar dādgāh-e tajdīd-e naẓar-e neẓāmī, Tehran, 1365 Š./1986, p. 370.

Dānešjūyān-e mosalmān-e peyrow-e ḵaṭṭ-e emām, Az ẓohūr tā soqūṭ, Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.

M.-J. Maḥjūb, “Interview"in Foundation for Iranian Studies, The Oral History Collection, Washington, D. C., 1984.

A. Matīn Daftarī, Ḵāṭerāt-e yak naḵost wazīr, ed. B. ʿAqelī, Tehran, 1370 Š./1991, pp. 93, 129, 244.

M.-ʿA. Moʿallem Ḥabībābādī, Makārem al-āṯār, 5 vols., Isfahan, 1337-55 Š./1958-76.

E. Rāʾīn, Farāmūš-kāna wa ferāmāsonerī dar Īrān, 3 vols., Tehran, 1348 Š./ 1969.

M.-N. Ṣawlat Qašqāʾī, Sālhā-ye boḥrān, Houston, Tex., 1988, p. 75.

(Cyrus Mir)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 13, 2011

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