A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Mullah Faizullah Character Analysis

The village Koran tutor that teaches Mariam to recite the Koran and memorize the daily prayers. Mariam trusts and looks up to Mullah Faizullah. Though he cannot fully comfort her following Nana’s suicide, and though Mariam never sees him again after she leaves for Kabul, for the rest of the novel his teachings serve as a guide for her. She often calls upon what he has taught her as she endures further suffering.

Mullah Faizullah Quotes in A Thousand Splendid Suns

The A Thousand Splendid Suns quotes below are all either spoken by Mullah Faizullah or refer to Mullah Faizullah. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History and Memory in Afghanistan Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of A Thousand Splendid Suns published in 2007.
Part III: Chapter 27 Quotes

The girl was looking back as if waiting for Mariam to pass on some morsel of wisdom, to say something encouraging. But what wisdom did Mariam have to offer? What encouragement? Mariam remembered the day they’d buried Nana and how little comfort she had found when Mullah Faizullah had quoted the Koran for her.

Related Characters: Mariam, Laila, Nana, Mullah Faizullah
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

During her recovery, Laila has had time to ruminate on her own place in the tragedy that has befallen her family, and to ask herself what, if any, responsibility she might have in it. She settles on the fact that if she hadn’t insisted on completing an errand that her father wanted to do, she would have died rather than Babi. For her part, Mariam is quite familiar with such feelings of guilt and responsibility: she too has experienced the painful process of grief mixed up with shame after the death of a family member.

But Mariam’s own experiences do not seem to have made her any wiser, at least from her own perspective. Mariam recognizes that there is little she can say that will make Laila feel better—something she understands having realized how little others, even those she respected and admired like Mullah Faizullah, could comfort her in her own grief. That Mariam does not try to soothe Laila thus stems not from coldness or hardness but from a shared experience and understanding.

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Mullah Faizullah Character Timeline in A Thousand Splendid Suns

The timeline below shows where the character Mullah Faizullah appears in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part I: Chapter 3
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...a few visitors: the village leader Habib Khan, her old friend Bibi jo, and especially Mullah Faizullah , the elderly Koran teacher or akhund. He tutors Mariam in prayer and recitation, and... (full context)
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
...like to go to school—Bibi jo had mentioned that Jalil’s other daughters would be attending. Mullah Faizullah asks Nana, but she says there’s no use. The only skill a girl like Mariam... (full context)
Part I: Chapter 6
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
After Nana’s funeral, Jalil brings Mariam back to the kolba to gather her things. Mullah Faizullah arrives and tries to comfort her with words from the Koran. But Mariam continues to... (full context)
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
The next day, Mullah Faizullah comes to visit Mariam. She admits that she keeps thinking of what Nana said to... (full context)
Part I: Chapter 7
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...go. The wives continue to try to convince her, but she says she’ll live with Mullah Faizullah . Khadija says he’s too old, and Mariam knows she also means he’s too close—they’d... (full context)
Part I: Chapter 10
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...the nights she and Nana would sit outside, or the afternoons reading the Koran with Mullah Faizullah . As the sun goes down, Mariam grows increasingly anxious at Rasheed’s return, and worries... (full context)
Part I: Chapter 12
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...to end Ramadan, before excusing himself to celebrate with his “real” family, as Nana said. Mullah Faizullah would also come and bring sweet treats for Mariam. However, Mariam usually dreaded Eid, since... (full context)
Part I: Chapter 13
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...loneliness of her life seem to fade. She recalls a prayer from the Koran that Mullah Faizullah had taught her, and prays that God not take away this good fortune. (full context)
Part III: Chapter 27
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
...Mariam recalls the day of Nana’s burial and how nothing could comfort her, not even Mullah Faizullah’s prayers. (full context)
Part III: Chapter 35
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Mariam wonders if there’s fighting like this in Herat as well, and if Mullah Faizullah and Bibi jo are still alive and coping. She wonders about Jalil also, hoping he’s... (full context)
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Female Friendship Theme Icon
...is curled up asleep on the floor. Mariam starts telling Laila about Jalil, Nana, and Mullah Faizullah , about her humiliation at Jalil’s house and Nana’s suicide. After she’s explained everything, Laila... (full context)
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Female Friendship Theme Icon
...years awaiting her. Laila has asked her to join them in escaping. She thinks of Mullah Faizullah telling her that it is God’s will for her to tend to any flowers of... (full context)
Part III: Chapter 47
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Shame and Reputation Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...her. That night she’d dreamed of eleven pebbles, arranged vertically; of a young Jalil; of Mullah Faizullah playing with her in the stream; and of Nana calling her to dinner in the... (full context)
Part IV: Chapter 50
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...of a walled one-story house. A middle-aged man opens the door. When Laila asks for Mullah Faizullah’s house, he says that he is his son Hamza. She’s come about Jalil Khan’s daughter,... (full context)
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
Love, Loyalty, and Belonging Theme Icon
...father was incredibly fond of Mariam, and was upset when Jalil sent her away. But Mullah Faizullah lived to an old age, he says. (full context)