Infallible preachers

The mullahs in Pakistan
Mullahs in the corner of Pakistan where I live tend to be brilliant orators. They usually speak extemporaneously for an hour before Friday prayers. Their speeches are peppered with memorized quotes from the Qur’an, from narratives about the Prophet Muhammad, called Hadith, and from folk poetry. The mullahs can be persuasive, humorous, conciliatory, prayerful or bellicose. Frequently they break into song or weep for the sins of their tribe. These gifted preachers hold their audiences spellbound, displaying a masterful use of repartee and the timing of a stand-up comic. They can move listeners from tears to laughter in the time it takes you to fold your turban.

Some mullahs are famous throughout the country thanks to audiocassettes, which sell by the thousands. I’ve collected a number of them over the years.


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