The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran

By Hooman Majd

A Los Angeles Times and Economist top publication of the YearWith a brand new PrefaceThe grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, journalist Hooman Majd is uniquely certified to provide an explanation for modern Iran's complicated and misunderstood tradition to Western readers.The Ayatollah Begs to Differ offers an intimate examine a paradoxical state that's either deeply spiritual and hugely cosmopolitan, authoritarian but expert by means of a background of democratic and reformist traditions. Majd deals an insightful journey of Iranian tradition, introducing attention-grabbing characters from all walks of existence, together with zealous govt officers, difficult lady cab drivers, and open-minded, reformist ayatollahs. it really is an Iran that would shock readers and problem Western stereotypes.In his new preface, Majd discusses the Iranian temper in the course of and after the June 2009 presidential election which trigger the biggest road protests because the revolution that introduced the ayatollahs to energy.

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My grandmother, in the meantime, was once in melancholy. a really spiritual girl who spent virtually each waking minute of the final years of her lifestyles examining the Koran or praying, yet who still led a very social lifestyles, she could not think venturing outdoor with out her veil, espe­ cially as she used to be the spouse of an Ayatollah. She sought her husband's guidance, and he advised her to move approximately her existence: costume modestly, yet obey the legislation, no matter if it intended donning no longer the total veil yet an easy shawl or perhaps a hat as a substitute that would allure much less recognition. Neither of my grandparents was once whatsoever political, yet many different ladies and just about all of the spiritual institution have been vocif­ erously opposed to the Shah in this subject, and within the face of heavy resis­ tance he finally relented, teaching the govt. to stop enforcement of the legislation, although it wasn't formally replaced until eventually his pressured abdication (by the Allies) in desire of his son in 194I. The nonenforcement used to be a kind of acknowledgment that his humans wouldn't hand over their ideals on his command, and my grandfather once more ventured outside, and my grandmother resumed her chador­ donning or heavy-scarf-and-ful-overcoat-wearing behavior. Years later, within the overdue 19 60s, i used to be staying at my grandfather's apartment one summer time on a family members stopover at again domestic. My mom, who had by way of this time spent years within the West, had a specific regimen while she desired to exit. If it was once for a short errand round the nook or in the quick local, she could pull a chador over her head and cross approximately her enterprise. not just was once the local a spiritual H O O guy MA J D one the place the chador was once universal, however the concept of the Ayatollah's daughter prancing in regards to the streets bareheaded was once anathema to either her relations and herself in spite of the fact that, if my mom was once going good outdoor the local, via taxi or by means of deepest automobile, she may move with out the chador or perhaps a scarl. One extremely popular day I have in mind my mom say­ ing see you later to me within the backyard and telling me she will be again in a couple of hours. She was once donning a short-sleeved gown that r m definite I had visible ahead of. I went into the home, and some mins later I observed my mom, who i presumed had already left, in tears. Alarmed, I requested her what used to be unsuitable. "My father idea I should still swap prior to i'm going out:' "Why? " I requested, my preteen brain actually wondered, on the grounds that I knew that my mom worshipped her father and concept him the main intelli­ gent, remarkable guy on the earth. "He says the sleeves are too brief! " My mom dutifuly become a long-sleeved outfit and went out, bareheaded after all, and that i re­ alized for the 1st time how various Iranian tradition used to be from what I had presumed used to be mine. My mother's tears, even my younger brain un­ derstood, weren't simply because she objected to her father's expressing dis­ excitement at her outfit; she might, finally, forget about him, as her siblings looked as if it would do with impunity. No, they have been tears of disgrace: she had, af­ tel' these types of years clear of her kingdom, embarrassed her father, her hero, via presuming that the Western tradition that she had outwardly followed may cause no offense in her condo or in her nation.

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