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The Mantle of the Prophet

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  365 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Drawn from the first-hand accounts of eyewitnesses, Roy Mottahedeh's absorbing tale of Islam and Politics in revolutionary Iran is widely regarded as one of the best records of that turbulent time ever written.

This revised edition includes a new chronology detailing events in Iran from the revolution right up to the present day and Ahmadinejad’s controversial regime. Ther
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Oneworld Publications (first published September 1st 1985)
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Tamer Badawi
أفضل ما قرأت فى حقل الدراسات الإيرانية .. من خلال سرد سيرة أحد المعممين .. يبحث الكتاب عن الجذور الفكرية للعقلية الشيعية المعاصرة فى التاريخ .. دور المنطق و الفلسفة فى تكوين تلك العقلية .. مركزية الفقهاء و علاقتها بالتراتبية الهرمية للمؤسسة الدينية فى إيران .. بدايات تحديث التعليم فى إيران .. التحولات السوسیو-سیاسیة فى إيران المعاصرة .. لمحات مهمة عن علاقةالأدب بالسياسة و المجتمع .. الکتاب منبع هائل للأفكار و المشروعات .. لولا أن ثلة من المترجمين السذج هم من ترجموا الكتاب خاصةً فصوله الأخيرة لك ...more
عبدالرحمن أبوذكري
الكتاب أكثر من رائع، وقد بحثت عن ترجمته طويلاً، حتى أهديت إليّ في طبعة المركز القوميّ للترجمة بمصر. وهي طبعة قد شوّهت الكتاب و أضعفت قيمته. فهي حافلة باﻷخطاء الإملائيّة واللغويّة، وبلا قائمة محتويات، ولا فهارس تحليلية، ولا هوامش -برغم كثرتها في اﻷصل الإنجليزي- ولا أعرف هل طبعة المدار الإسلامي/الكتاب الجديد بنفس السوء أم أن هذه اﻷخطاء قد تمّ تدارُكها.
أما عن الترجمة فأقلّ ما يُمكن أن توصف به أنها خبيثة كمن نُسبت إليه، "الحريري" رضوان السيّد صاحب التصوّر اﻷموي للتاريخ. وبالمناسبة فأنا مصري ولست لب
Matthew Trevithick
The scope of this book is breathtaking and I am in awe of its treatment of its material. This book is - contrary to the cover explanation - hardly about the revolution explicitly, and anyone looking for a 'blow-by-blow' account of those dates should look to dozens of other excellent books on those times. Instead, it is a sweeping and beautiful examination of the development of Persian / Iranian and Shia identity from its earliest days through 1980, covering everything from Islamic jurisprudence ...more
Nov 02, 2014 Yorgos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mottahedeh uses extensively the personal lives and accounts of real Iranians who lived during the critical era that eventually led to 1979. The book manages to show how Iranian history and thought-life of Iranians developed post WWII.
Its great value is the presentation of the emotional life and struggles of an Iranian mullah, who lived the events of post WWII, leading to 1979.

I would love to see a book, with the same philosophy of presenting issues, that would cover the 1980s and 1990s.
Dec 12, 2016 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Definitely a top shelf addition to understanding Iran and the Islamic Revolution.
Alex Yard
This was all right, but it was sort of a stumbling book upon which to begin my investigations on Islam and Middle Eastern Nations.

The book alternates between two threads. One is a comprehensive history of Iran, the other is the memoir of Ali Hashemi, an Iranian mullah (a mullah is sort of the religious/educational equivalent of a priest, but instead of having religious authority, the authority is in the domain of interpreting Islamic text and law.

I read this book primarily because I wanted to un
Dr. Mottahedeh’s book uses the personal narrative of a character (a talabeh and eventually mullah “Seyyed Ali Hashemi”) as a nexus tying together his work on the forces and developments that shaped modern Iran, eventually leading to the revolution of 1979. The book explores a variety of factors contributing to the Islamic Revolution. Though mainly a modern history of Iran, the book incorporates elements from a variety of historical subfields - religious, social, intellectual, political, art hist ...more
Erik Dryden
May 15, 2009 Erik Dryden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. It tells the story of revolutionary Iran through the experiences of Ali Hashemi, a composite character largely based on an acquaintance of the author. Ali is a sayyed and liberal Shiah mullah who feels most comfortable reading books and debating with his friends. He has problems with the Shah and with conservative Muslim ideology.

Mottahedeh uses the story of Ali as a starting point to examining the history and ideas that led to the Is
Jun 27, 2008 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In "Mantle," Ray Mottahedeh portrays a made up Mullah living during the time of the 1978 Revolution. In the course of narrating the Mullah's biography up to its main turning point, the author progresses through a series of topical histories encompassing life and culture in Iran. The narrative is divided into themes such as poetry, medicine, and religious scholarship.

For the most part, the author connects these themes to modern Iranian culture, describing important events and lives, ultimately cr
Feb 10, 2013 Gary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a long book filled with good writing, and if it had been on a topic of more a personal interest to me, it would have received a higher rating. As it was, though, this was a text for a course I recently completed on analysis. This book was intended to be the 'cultural lens' contribution to the overall curriculum. In that respect, it is not bad, but as I stated at the outset, I don't have a great deal of personal interest in Iranian politics and religion, but do understand their overall s ...more
Mark Jensen
May 15, 2007 Mark Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
very interesting although a long, deep read. it reassures my 'love of ambiguity'. When, the flexible persian culture seen by expats living abroad is highlighted by individualism and love for poetry and music, while religion still served the basis for knowledge. Now, the mullah as a client to support the crash between traditional religious life and modernity has disappeared. Ambiguity must survive, gray is good.
Jun 02, 2011 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the more remarkable books I've read. According people in the know (i.e. not me), it is a very thinly veiled biography of one person in particular, though obviously bits of other people's life stories are inserted to prevent identification. As my professors said, Roy Mottadeh had one truly important book inside him, and this is it.
Paul Wick
Feb 22, 2016 Paul Wick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most entertaining history books I have ever read. It gives you a great insight into something of the Iranian national character, and the intersections of the faith and culture in the lead up to what has been called the most (numerically) popular revolution in world history.
Aadil Khwaja
I really enjoyed this as a historical account and as a story about a guy (who is actually a mishmash of numerous people, for everyone's anonymity and protection) who just learns about himself as he grows.
meer damad
Nov 11, 2010 meer damad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رغم شموليته
لكنه لم يعط للامام الخميني ..قائد الثورة ما يستحق من مساحة..

علاوة على ذلك، ينحو التحليل إلى المادية في فهم الأحداث..رغم الافتراض بان " الدين " له دور في إيران ..حتى قبل الثورة الاسلامية..

يبقى..تحليل أمريكي لأحداث اسلامية..وان نُكّه بصيغ الفلسفة بين فينة واخرى

A palimpsest of Iranian thought and history, from the tenth century to the twentieth's Islamic Revolution. The interweaving of past and present-day storylines can become a bit precious at times, but the insights Mottahedeh delivers are breathtaking.
Todd Porter
History on Iran and the Shiah movement in particular. After reading this 400 page book I can sum it up in a sentence. The Iranis in power now are crazy and that region of the world is a scary place.
Nov 27, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book on Iran I have ever read. It explains how Shia religious thinking works, and links that analysis with history.

Absolutely first rate.
Nov 06, 2007 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coursebooks
An interesting format for learning history. Informative, thought-provoking. Pretty well written, recommended.
Jan 10, 2015 Grachev rated it it was amazing
I wish I have read the book before my first trip to Iran. It's a very well written introduction to Islamic background of Iran as a state and the people of Iran,
Jul 08, 2011 Ford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional book. Great insight and a powerful demonstration of the value of understanding Western civilization to understand other cultures.
Xiaojie Johan
Jan 10, 2015 Xiaojie Johan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Great and descriptive book by Professor Mottahedeh. One of the best pieces of historical literature I've ever read. Thanks to Professor Khuri-Makdisi for assigning this book in class!
Lauren Adams
excellent read; super interesting. but it is true that it is hard to differentiate between the fiction and the history.
Shannon Padden
Excellent but heavy reading. The book is a little old (published in the 1970s) but still relevant and informative.
Sep 21, 2015 Merna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative while using a crisp style of writing. Quite vague and unorganized regarding certain topics though.
Aug 18, 2008 Partricks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to learn about Iran/Islam it is necessary to read this. It follows the recent history of Iran and is a partial autobiography of the anonymous auther (who still remains anonymous).
J. Day
J. Day rated it really liked it
Dec 01, 2010
Saleh Mohammed
Saleh Mohammed rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2015
Sheikh Tajamul
Sheikh Tajamul rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2016
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Roy Mottahedeh is Gurney Professor of Islamic History at Harvard University. An internationallly renowned expert, his academic awards include a Guggenheim and a MacArthur Prize Fellowship.
More about Roy Mottahedeh...

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“Iranian high school students learned how to draw microscopes and how to write letter-perfect descriptions of the way in which microscopes worked, but the microscopes in Iranian schools usually remained locked up as property too valuable to be put in students’ hands. The” 0 likes
“introduced school songs, patriotic holidays, and nationalistic themes in textbooks, all of which made an ancient love of Iran into a modern nationalism.” 0 likes
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