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The House of the Mosque

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,414 ratings  ·  532 reviews
A sweeping, compelling story which brings to life the Iranian Revolution, from an author who experienced it first-hand.

In the house of the mosque, the family of Aqa Jaan has lived for eight centuries. Now it is occupied by three cousins: Aqa Jaan, a merchant and head of the city's bazaar; Alsaberi, the imam of the mosque; and Aqa Shoja, the mosque's muezzin. The house
Paperback, 436 pages
Published March 15th 2010 by Canongate UK (first published 2005)
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Those kinds of novels answers the question that is always asked.

how u are a Muslim and u are afraid of Sharia law?

this doesn't make sense,may be ,but the problem is not in Sharia law,it is in those who define it.

and how their thinking is Deviated.

People’s opinion(especially those Islamic politicians) should never be reflected in the making the laws.

they destroy Islam’s image as a religion of peace and justice.

how could Osama bin laden be following the same religion of Rumi?

in a a male dominated
Jacob Overmark
I liked you a lot, Aqa Jaan.
You were there when it all began, and you trusted that everything would turn out well for all your relatives.
Little did you know how much your world would change, and most of your countrymen were as clueless as you.
From growing political dissatisfaction to political turmoil in only ten years and from one strict ruler to another, only the head dress were different.
You remind me of people I met in Iran. Some who thought that after all the change were for the better
Joe Strong
Dec 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have used the word unique a few times to describe a novel, perhaps I did not know the true meaning of the word. Or perhaps, it was that I had not read The House of the Mosque, nor will I ever read a book of the same calibre, style, or story, I can't imagine.
At first I was sceptical, as any boy would be after being recommended a book by his father, who, frankly, has bad taste. But then I had nothing to read, and this had a vibrant cover...
Immediately I was absolutely absorbed. I was almost
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who liked the book Persepolis and who are interested in Iranian history
Recommended to Jalilah by: Middle East North Africa Lit group
The House of the Mosque was both deeply moving and informative. The many Iranians I have known have all been very secular. It was very interesting reading about the changes in Iran from the perspective of a conservative family, where the woman all wore chadors, had no television in the house and believed going to the cinema was sinful. Although they were so different from my own experiences and beliefs, I ended up both really liking and sympathizing with Aga Jahn and his family. The pacing was ...more
This book begins calmly as a story about a family in a religious city in Iran. Abdolah zooms in on the figure of Aga Djan, who thoughtfully manages both his (larger) family, the mosque and the bazar of his town and is respected by every one. This specific, rather exotic world is outlined in a very sympathetic, sometimes touching way with great attention for human details. But gradually things change: modernity penetrates the country, as a conscious result of the policies of the Shah and his ...more
This book is written with so much affection for the people and the land. In the early chapters, it's often very funny so that when the characters' lives begin to be affected by political and then revolutionary events, it's much more shocking. Much of it is beautifully written. I picked it off the shelf in the bookshop because I liked the title and the cover. There are better ways of choosing books but I couldn't be more delighted that I chose this one. One thing I have to mention though. The ...more
James Souttar
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I ran out of reading material while we were in Italy, and found this in a bookshop that had a collection of English books. I wasn't sure what to make of it to start with: it was written in a very simple language (which may or may not reflect the Dutch original - I don't know) which reminded me of Paulo Coelho's early work (e.g. The Alchemist). But as the story gathered pace, I found myself drawn further and further into it.

The book revolves around the household of Aqa Jan, respected leader of a
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book. The writer weaves the tale of an extended family in a remote town with the political and social events in the world beyond and how each of them is affected. The revolution ursurps into the household and changes peoples minds and their thoughts, breaks up relationships between parents and children, brings out the worst within the community, challenges ancient traditions and changes the perspective of religion. The meek and subservient are empowered by religious leaders, ...more
Karen Triggs
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's Iran in the `60s and `70s. Under the Shah, progressive Tehran ladies have abandoned the chador for loose headscarves which show their hair.

But in a small provincial town near Qom, Iran's centre of Shi'a scholarship, where several generations of carpet merchant Aqa Jaan's family live together in `the house of the mosque' of the book's title, the march of progress is less advanced.

When rakish Uncle Nosrat, a photographer and film-maker, visits Aqa Jaan and the others, bringing with him a
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: islam
“‘Do you know what’s going to happen tonight?’
‘No, what?’
‘Two men are going to land on the moon tonight and you don’t even know it! Maybe it’s not important to you or Alsaberi. But the Americans are going to plant their flag on the moon, and the city’s imam isn’t even aware of it. He didn’t make a single reference to it in his sermon. He should’ve mentioned it tonight, but he doesn’t even know it’s happening. And that’s not good for the mosque. The mosque is where people should hear about things
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it

Recieved this from librarything early reviewers last week - and had to read it straight away.

This is a beautifully written novel, about some of the most turbulent years in Iranian history. The book opens in 1969 at the time of the moon landings ( the back cover says 1950 - I assume that is an error). Immediately we become introduced to the family and servants of Aqa Jaan who have lived in the house of the mosque, and been custodians of the mosque itself for 8 centuries. We follow the fortunes of
Tariq Mahmood
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: iran
Its a wonderful story, written in a simply and flowing manner set in the troubling times just before the Islamic revolution in Iran. By the end of the very moving story I could feel the pain and grief of the protagonist family as their lives are turned upside down. The simple hierarchy of the Iranian social fabric is broken and twisted to fit into the new rigid Islamic regime. Old masters and leaders are replaced by the new ones who were once considered fools and outcasts. Nothing worst than a ...more
Anthony Ferner
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-fiction
This highly readable and engaging semi-autobiographical novel (the author fled Iran for The Netherlands in 1985) tells the story of the Iranian revolution, from the late 1960s onwards. Events are seen from the perspective of one family in the provincial town of Senejan, not far from the religious city of Qom. The attractive central character is Aga Djaan, whose compound includes the mosque - Het huis van de moskee of the title. There he lives with his extended family, including his cousin the ...more
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this so much that I stayed up half the night reading because I couldn't put it down. Iran is a country much in the news but which I know little about. The book follows a family from the 1950s up until just after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini and the effect that changing times have on them. I remember the revolution and the war with Iraq from when I was a young teenager but this bought alive how tumultuous change brutalises ordinary people and how difficult it is to keep one's ...more
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"'Fakhri, there's been a revolution, not just an ordinary transfer of power. And because of that, there's been a radical change in the way people think. We're going to see things we never would have thought possible in ordinary times. Human beings are capable of the most inhuman behaviours. Look around you: everyone's changed. You can hardly recognise them any more."'

Aqa Jaan is a successful carpet merchant in a peaceful town of Senejan, Iran. He lives with a big family in a big house that was
The House of the Mosque starts somehow acceptable; showing signs of magic realism, establishes itself to be a historical novel with skewed fictionalized characters, some of whom are real historical figures. By the time that story reaches 1979 revolution it starts to shift points of views repeatedly and loses the stream of storytelling that was going rather fine before that. characters' actions become unravelled and summarized; and as a reader who rather knows what has went on in those years, I ...more
Dec 02, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: none
I could not engage with this at all, and got rather annoyed with it. I found this way too schematic, dry, simplistic, and most of all: shallow. It's a critique of fundamentalism, which is good but did not go far enough for me. The characters are flat, emotions are sparsely expressed; I cannot retrace people's motivations. Mysticism is weaved into the writing, which does not appeal to me at all. The writing style is just plain boring; there is no beauty in this simple language. Anyone not knowing ...more
Bel Murphy
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Growing up, I remember hearing about the Iran Iraq war on the news. The Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shah and Rafsanjani seemed to be almost mythical people to someone with little understanding of Middle Eastern politics, culture or traditions. This book is based on historical fact and provides a mirror on the experiences of ordinary people during the era. The characters were brought to life with great skill and the fate of several of them reduced me to tears.

The reason for four stars rather than
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ahhhhhhh! This novel was too good to be true. It was a moving walk down history lane. Quite a sad story but really puts its readers into the moment. Thanks Naila for the recommendation :)
The House of the Mosque is home to three brothers and their families and has been in the hands of the family for eight centuries. It’s easy to imagine that very little has changed in all that time. Aqa Jaan is the eldest brother and patriarch of the clan. His brother Imam Alsaberi is the priest at the mosque attached to the house and the final brother, a blind man known to family and townsfolk alike as ‘Muezzin’ is, as his name suggests, the muezzin of the mosque who calls the faithful to ...more
Good book, but I couldn’t seem to get a flow in the reading as some things ended abruptly and a new thing happened without there being an introduction. The story is great and the life of the people and their feelings are very interesting to read about.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
‘There was once a house, an old house which was known as the house of the mosque.’

In the house of the mosque, located in Senejan, Iran, the family of Aqa Jaan has lived for eight centuries. The house is currently occupied by the families of Aqa Jaan, a merchant who is the head of the city’s bazaar; Alsaberi; the imam of the mosque and Aqa Shoja, the mosque’s muezzin. The carpets woven by the family firm are renowned for their beauty, their patterns are drawn from the plumage of birds Aqa Jaan’s
Mariam Ashry
3.5 stars.
Okay, this was a really hard book to grade.
First of all, I thought the first half of the book was quite boring. So boring that I stopped reading the book about 2 years ago. I then decided to finish it.
When it was coming to an end it started to be more interesting with many more exciting events.
I hated the fact that the author kept using wordings like "Allah's judges" without some sort of quotations showing that thats only what they called them and that they aren't really Allah's
Marie Østvold
I have always been interested in Persian history and culture, so this novel caught my interest right away. An intimate story about a family in a small town, and their tradition and everyday life at the bazar and in the mosque. Their relationship to religion, state, old traditions and culture, and to modernity- television, radio, and the landing on the moon. This is unfolds with the characters of Galgal/Zinat, and Sahbal/Nosrat- and my favorite Kazem Kahn, the old poet. Also, it's a macro ...more
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"... there's been a revolution, not just an ordinary transition of power. And because of that, there's been a radical change in the way people think. We're going to see things we never would have thought possible in ordinary times. Human beings are capable of the most inhuman behaviour. Look around you; everyone's changed. You can hardly recognise them any more. I can't tell if they've suddenly dropped their masks or put on new ones."

This book broke my heart. It's such a beautiful depiction of
Kam Thirteen
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and The House of the Mosque was recommended as a somewhat similar narrative - with Iran's recent history and challenges as a backdrop, instead of Afghanistan.

I thought this book was even more beautifully written and an understanding of 70s' and 80s' Iran that not much else can give you cramped in under 365 pages.

The house is chaotic, the characters powerful and the political climate just another example of how grand ideas mixed with
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have a lot of things to say about this book, unfortunately all of them are quite incoherent at the moment.
But I think they all bottle down to this: this book is incredible and everything about it is just beautiful.
This book is divided in two parts, the first part is almost a fairytale, it has an amazing atmosphere and makes you care about the characters.
The second part mainly deals with the revolution and the ascent to power of the ayatollah Khomeini, and how this influences society.
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend reading fiction to understand history. This is the story of a household in Iran and the changes that they went through from when the Shah was in power through the revolution and years of Ayatollah Khomeini. It was horrifying to read the effect of these changes. The Shah was a secular leader who was overthrown by fundamentalist Islamists who imposed strict Sharia law as they interpreted it. The families living in the House of the Mosque (it's a house attached to a mosque) were ...more
Becky Mears
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
what a great book:moving and absorbing. A doorway into a different culture in a turbulent, traumatic time. I remember being aware of the Iranian revolution as a child and seeing scary pictures of Ayatollah Khomeini on the evening news. This book puts those memories into context and you learn abut what was really happening in Iran in the seventies through the lives of a family that you really care about.
Rizky Suleman
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who wants to learns about Iran, Shia and Persian Carpets
this book is so much fun to read. at first chapters this book will make you laugh a lot. for those who have no idea about Iran and Shia this book give a glimpse about their daily life, traditions even politics. the setting of this novel is just on the verge of the Islamic Revolution until the calming periods afterwards. this book teaches about firmness on principles and how important a family is.
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Kader Abdolah is the penname of Hossein Sadjadi Ghaemmaghami Farahani, an Iranian writer who also writes in Dutch. Abdolah has lived in the Netherlands since 1988.

He studied physics at the Arak College of Science and fled the country as a political refugee in 1988. Today he lives in Delft (The Netherlands), writing under a pseudonym made up of the names of two murdered friends. Het huis van de
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