ḤEFẒ AL-ṢEḤḤA, the first Iranian medical journal. This monthly journal was published between Ṣafar 1324/March 1906 and Šawwāl/November of the same year. Contrary to what E. G. Browne has written (Browne, no. 143), the journal had no links to the “Majles-e ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa” (The Society for Maintaining Good Health), and there is no mention of this society in the journal.

The physician ʿAli-Aṣḡar Nafisi, Moʾaddeb-al-Dawla (d. 4 Tir 1328 Š./ 25 June 1949) held the franchise of the journal, while its editor was another physician known as Jalil-al-Aṭebbāʾ. Moʾaddeb-al-Dawla came from a family with a long tradition of practising medicine which stretched back for several generations. He had studied medicine in Belgium and France, and later practiced and taught medicine in Tehran. He was elected as a member of the second parliament (Majles; 1909-11) and founded the ministry of health and welfare (Wezārat-e ṣeḥḥiya wa omur-e ḵayriya). He should therefore be regarded as the first ever health minister in Iran. Moʾaddeb-al-Dawla also served as the guardian of Moḥammad-Reza Pahlavi, while the then Crown Prince was studying at high school in Rolle, Switzerland.

Ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa was published in 28 single-column pages and did not include any pictures. It was published on 15.5 by 21.5 cm paper in the lithograph printing house of Āqā Mirzā ʿAli-Aṣḡar, and was written in attractive nastaʿliq script by Mortażā Najmābādi, who also served as the calligrapher for several other newspapers and journals. Ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa was written in a non-technical language so that it could appeal to a wider audience as well as serve as a journal for specialists. However it seems to have failed in the former objective, since it was soon forced to cease publication (Ṭabāṭabāʾi, p. 243).

The subscription rate for Ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa was 15 qerāns for readers in Tehran, while it was 16 qerāns for subscribers in other cities. Subscribers in Russia paid 4 rubles, while in other parts of Europe it cost 10 francs; in India it was sold for 3 rupees. Individual copies of this journal, which did not include any advertisements, were sold for 30 šāhis.

The complete series of Ḥefẓ al-ṣeḥḥa is available at the Central Library of the University of Tehran, and an incomplete series is held at the Fars Central Library.



L. Bouvar, “La Presse Musulmane: la Presse Persane,” Revue du Monde Musulmane I, 1907, p. 123.

E. G. Browne, The Press and Poetry of Modern Persia Partly Based on the Manuscript Work of Mírzá Muḥammad ʿAlí Khán “Tarbiyat” of Tabríz, Cambridge, 1914.

“Majalla-ye ṭebbi,” Tarbiat 403, 28 Rabiʿ al-Ṯāni 1324/June 1906.

H. L. Rabino, Ṣurat-e jarāyed-e Irān wa jarāyedi ke dar ḵārej az Irān be-zabān-e fārsi ṭabʿ šoda-ast, Rašt, 1911, no. 85.

Moḥammad-Ṣadr Hāšemi, Tāriḵ-e jarāʾed wa majallāt-e Irān, Isfahan, 1948, II, no. 476.

Mortażā Solṭāni, Fehrest-e ruz-nāmahā-ye Fārsi, Tehran University Central Library, Tehran, 1975, no. 76.

Laylā Sudbaḵš, Fehrest-e našri-yāt-e adwāri-e ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazi-e fārs, Shiraz, 1979, no. 361.

Moḥammad-Moḥiṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾi, Tāriḵ-e taḥlili-e maṭbuʿāt-e Irān, Tehran, 1987, pp. 242-43.

(Nasseredin Parvin)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 22, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 2, p. 139