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The Reluctant Mullah

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In a moment of idle curiosity, Musa tries on the modest garb of a Muslim woman to experience for himself what it's like to be veiled. While this cause much mirht among his fellow students at the Madrasah, the elders are not amused, viewing Musa's experimentation as a prank too far.

Back at home he must conform to family life and face the prospect of an arranged marriage. Cl
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2010 by Halban
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Moth Smoke by Mohsin HamidThe Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin HamidA Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed HanifKartography by Kamila ShamsieBullets and Train by Adeerus Ghayan
Notable Books by Pakistani Authors
53rd out of 221 books — 191 voters
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Islamic Fiction
5th out of 118 books — 59 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 419)
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Jennifer (JC-S)
May 28, 2012 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by: sagheer afzal
Shelves: librarybooks
‘Knowledge will not always lead you to the truth.’

Musa, a mullah in training, has just been thrown out of the Madrasah of Islamic Britons for dressing up as a Muslim woman. Musa is sent home in disgrace, and it looks like an arranged marriage to his cousin Iram from his parent’s hometown in Pakistan is in his future - or is it? When Musa’s grandfather Dadaji visits from Pakistan, a pact is agreed:

‘There are thirty-three beads on this rosary. I give you one month of days in the pursuit of love. I
Feb 10, 2013 Ida rated it really liked it
This book like the back flap said is indeed a brilliant debut.
It had captured me with the author's writing style infusing familiar Islamic elements and the battle of modern complexity.
I greatly enjoyed the clear line drawn between culture and religion so the book had me hooked like I've never been in a long while from a debut book.

I felt that the author tried to be honest and I totally believed in the realistic portrayal and the distinction between Muslims and Islam in its modern context from th
Mar 10, 2012 okyrhoe rated it really liked it
The Reluctant Mullah is a well-written first novel, with fully-fleshed characters and dialogue that flows naturally, especially during the comedic parts (incidentally I was reminded sometimes of the excellent film East is East with Jimmy Mistri & Om Puri). The tone of the story is evenly balanced between comedy, romance, and a not-boring-or-complex discourse on Islam.
I'm not a religious person, and I don't care to read books, especially fiction, where scripture is quoted throughout the work
Dec 25, 2012 Bilqis rated it really liked it
the 4th star is only because this is the first book I read that actually made laugh out loud.
Don't get me wrong this impression does not last long, you might even shed a few tears at the end.
(I laughed at some of the dialogues at the beginning, I would have rather enjoyed if the whole book was about these silly adventures of the three friends)

Somewhere along the middle I lost interest because the characters were just plain annoying with their sob stories. The Pakistani family depicted in the boo
Sep 17, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
Fact: Nobody likes an arranged marriage.

It's on this basis that the novel The Reluctant Mullah makes its case. In it, Musa has just thirty days to find a wife that he actually likes, or else he's stuck with the one chosen for him. He fears who will be selected for him, as it goes against every romantic bone in his body. Thus, he begins searching on his own. It's not simple, as Muslim tradition makes getting to know any woman a near impossibility. He's aided (and thwarted) by friends more bent o
Jan 06, 2016 T rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and it was an excellent debut - I certainly will be reading more of Sagheer Afzal's future work. "The Reluctant Mullah" is a text that is funny, refreshing and insightful, and is full of extremely memorable characters. This is a complex novel and one that explores culture, religion and personality at length, but for me did not provide tangible answers to the questions it attempted to address. I was left confused as to the moral lessons of characters' decis ...more
Mar 09, 2012 Maria rated it it was amazing
I was desperately trying not to cry at the end of this book ... It's a beautiful piece of work ...
Paul Forbes
Jun 27, 2011 Paul Forbes rated it really liked it
Caroline (my wife) and I met Sagheer Afzal doing book signings of his novel ‘The Reluctant Mullah’ in our local Waterstones. He told us he’d met my work colleague, the award-winning novelist Mushin Hamid and writer of the similar-titled ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and so as I had some credits on my Waterstones card I bought a copy of his debut novel. Here’s the blub from cover:
“The clock is ticking for Musa: he has 30 days to escape from an arranged marriage…”
So the premise sounds simple enou
Martin Clark
Dec 29, 2012 Martin Clark rated it liked it
This is a rather curious book because of a mix of styles. The main thread is the story of Musa and his mixed bag of unconventional pals (troubled siblings, lady-killing guys, audacious women) and their wacky, episodic adventures to find Musa a beautiful, intelligent bride in 30 days, before his gnomic grandfather marries him off to a cousin. It's like a Pakistani version of Friends and even feels like it's written specifically to be adapted as a screenplay.
Wrapped around this story is an examin
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Nov 29, 2012 Babak Fakhamzadeh rated it really liked it
In effect, a bittersweet comedy, and a very enjoyable one.

Afzal is a Pakistani living in the UK and the book effectively deals with the trials and tribulations of second generation Pakistani immigrants. And, as with similar work, the tongue in cheek style, combined with Afzal's intimate familiarity with his subject, the story is not only gripping and funny, but also feels very natural, as well as, at times, awfully sad.

The back cover calls the book "a brilliant debut", which is a bit much. Spe
Jan 31, 2011 Summreen rated it really liked it
A humorous look at the serious issue of arranged marriages and the struggle with tradition, enforced by elders, that British born Pakistani's face when major decisions in life are being made. It captures the detail of being entrapped by tradition very well. The story of the girl in Pakistan did not interest me much i have to admit but the main characters were fruitful and varied with their own struggles and dilemma's in life.

I could not picture the 'macho' male characters that were portraid but
Kate F
Jul 13, 2011 Kate F rated it liked it
This really merits a 3.5 star rating but I can't get the .5 star so 3 it is. I bought this book last Saturday when I was approached by the author in Waterstone's Birmingham - it is not a book I would ordinarily have looked at because I tend to go for non-fiction or 19th century literature by preference but I'm glad I did because I enjoyed it ! It is funny but sad and gives a little insight into the world of arranged marriages without clobbering the reader over the head. Whilst there were too man ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Nov 24, 2012 Tariq Mahmood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bbcd
I found it to be a brilliant story, a unique insight into the British Pakistani culture of today. The characters were almost real like especially the ones representing British Pakistanis. There was a bit too much reference to the Holy Book for a Pakistani (from Pakistan) but I guess that is what most British Pakistanis must feel like. I loved the various one liners in the novel including the sad ending which was pretty apt. I predict one day this novel will be adopted as a movie or a TV drama si ...more
Хасан Жамус
well.. this book was actually fun. Some parts were really hilarious. It's easy and very fast to read.. i hated the ending though
Feb 15, 2011 Lydia rated it liked it
Shelves: february-2011
I think I was expecting a more light hearted, chilled out read. This is more thoughtful, although there are layers. There are funny bits and serious bits alongside each other. I wouldn't recommend it unreservedly. I have, however, been getting more into this kind of Asians-in-Britain genre fiction lately though. I'd like to explore it more. Read this as part of a BookCrossing bookring. I'll be passing it on soon.
I was a reluctant reader of the Reluctant Mullah. Reluctant to keep going, I mean. The idea of the book is great - a young man gets thrown out of Mullah school so he decides to find a bride - before his family finds him one first. Forced humour abounds in this book which really underwhelmed me.
Margaret Pitcher
Jul 02, 2013 Margaret Pitcher rated it really liked it
As Bilqis comments, this book is laugh-out-loud funny in places, especially at the beginning and I was prepared to forgive some of the slightly stereotyped characters, these being a staple of most comic writing, but then, most unexpectedly Afzal turns the whole thing on it's head and you with it.
May 04, 2011 Lottie rated it it was ok
Overall I did find this book enlightening and it did teach me a little about a religion and culture I know little about. However I found the characters in the book a little simplistic and inconsistent.

I certainly came away with a sense of what the author was hoping to portray.
Mar 21, 2013 Fatema rated it did not like it
I thought this would be fun but it was a waste of time..

It's doesn't provide a good image of Muslims and it made me upset. In my opinion, the way Musa and his family lived doesn't reflect a Muslim upbringing (which should have been explained in the story).
Mar 16, 2013 Arousa rated it really liked it
Had to read this book for my book club, I really enjoyed it, it was something different.
Made me laugh on many occasions, great read.
Feb 19, 2013 Syerin added it
baca sampai habis sebab geramm..content sampah!
Dec 28, 2012 Shirley rated it liked it
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