AMĪN-AL-ŻARB, ḤAJJ MOḤAMMAD-ḤOSAYN MAHDAWĪ (1289-1351/1872-1932), Persian businessman and vice-president of the first Maǰles. The only surviving son of Ḥāǰǰ Moḥammad-Ḥasan Amīn-al-Żarb, Moḥammad-Ḥosayn was educated in Tehran and France (Ī. Afšār, “Yādgār-e zendagānī-e Ḥāǰǰ Ḥosayn Amīn-al-żarb,” Yaḡmā 15/5, 1341 Š./1962, żamīma, pp. 18-20) and after his father’s death in 1316/1898, inherited the title Amīn-al-żarb; but he never played much part in the administration of the mint which from 1899 was supervised by English, then Belgian advisers. For almost a decade, however, he managed the business left to him by his father and added to its assets Tehran’s first electricity plant and a small modern brick-making factory, both of which started production in 1322/ 1904 (M. ʿA. Jamālzāda, Ganǰ-e šāyagān, Berlin, 1335/1917, p. 95; A. Ašraf, Mawāneʿ-e tārīḵī-e rošd-e sarmāya-darī dar Īrān, Tehran, 1359 Š./1980, p. 83). Towards the end of 1908 he was declared bankrupt and an examination of his accounts revealed that he owed about β80,000 to the Imperial Bank of Persia and β500,000 to the Banque D’Escompte, which for some time had been extending him credit to finance his imports of Russian cottons (G. P. Churchill, Biographical Notices of Persian Statesmen and Notables, F.O. 881/9748, September, 1909). The bankruptcy of the firm appears to have been caused by the large fine imposed on his father in 1896, calls by the state treasury on the family’s fortune after his father’s death, and the trade depression of 1904-06.

In the late 1890s Moḥammad-Ḥosayn took an active interest in the cause of reform by giving financial as well as moral support to the Anǰoman-e maʿāref founded in 1315/1897-98 to promote modern education, and became a director of the Šerkat-e ṭabʿ-e ketāb, a publishing company established by the Anǰoman (Y. Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā I, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1361 Š./1982, pp. 201-03). He also lent his name and the facilities of his Tehran offices to the Šerkat-e eslāmīya, a firm started in 1899 in Isfahan to encourage the production of domestic cloths (Ḥekmat 18/13, 20 Jomādā I 1317/15 April 1899). In 1918 he was appointed to the High Council of Trade and Commerce, Šūrā-ye ʿĀlī-e Teǰārat, (Maǰalla-ye felāḥat va teǰārat 1/8, 1297 Š./1918), and during the 1920s he headed an informally constituted board of merchants which pressed for economic reform (F.O. 371/7841, trade note no. 30, 28 November 1921). In 1308/1929-30 he was elected first president of the newly established Tehran Chamber of Commerce.

During the Constitutional Revolution Moḥammad-Ḥosayn led a group of merchants sent by the grand vizier ʿAyn-al-dawla to mediate between the court and the people taking bast in the British Legation (Nāẓem-al-eslām Kermānī, Tārīḵ-e bīdārī-e Īrānīān II, Tehran, 1346/1967, pp. 293, 351; Dawlatābādī, Ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā II, p. 75). Later he was elected to the first, seventh, and eight sessions of Maǰles, and served on the committee which drafted the Supplement to the Constitution.


See also Moḏākarāt-e maǰles-e šūrā-ye mellī, Dawra-ye Awwal. Ḥ. Maḥbūbī Ardakānī, Tārīḵ-e moʾassasāt-e tamaddonī-e ǰadīd dar Īrān I, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, pp. 370, 389.

F. Ādamīyat, Īdeʾoložī-e nahżat-e mašrūṭīyat-e Īrān, Tehran, 1355 Š./1976, pp. 359-69.

A. ʿAlawī, in Āyanda 8/9, 1361 Š./1982, pp. 623-24.

(A. Enayat)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: December 15, 1984

Cite this entry:

A. Enayat, “AMĪN-AL-ŻARB, ḤAJJ MOḤAMMAD-ḤOSAYN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/9, pp. 953-954, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).