1. Why was the ancient Ghaznavid Empire important to the Lodi clan?
2. What characteristics of cooking and healing are common to Old Fatima’s role in the Lodi compound?
3. The design of the home and courtyard described in Allah’s Orphans is typical of Afghan compounds.
How does this arrangement accommodate Afghan life? Why does a courtyard separate the kitchen house and the firepit from the main house?
4. Morghub Gul questioned Old Fatima and Warrior Lodi about the practice of family birthright.
Discuss the significance of the birthright to the Lodi clan as a whole and to Morghub Gul as a woman.
5. Is midwifery a common practice to Islam; in Afghanistan; in the Middle East?
6. The Afghan children had very few toys, board games or books yet their lives were full of fun, play, joking and storytelling.
The horrors of war took away their homes and happy life. Discuss the changes and disruption that war brings to the innocence of children.
7. Wali Khan calculated the pros and cons of each marriage contract in the Lodi clan. Why is the mehr or bride price of timely interest to present-day Afghan culture?
8. The idea that Amina Gul would marry for any other reason than love and the personal choice of a partner seems foreign to Western culture.
Discuss the feelings you have about arranged marriages and the potential for a lasting marriage or a mismatch.
9. Through Amina’s and Clovis’ comments we learn about the chadri, an Afghan woman’s body veil. Discuss the benefits and restrictions of the chadri. What does the chadri
symbolize to you?
10. Why is the adornment of Afghan and Kuchi women important if they are never seen in public?
11. Discuss the hamam, public bathhouse and its significance to Old Fatima. If the hamam was a place for women to socialize, why was the hamam less important to Yahna than to Fatima? Do public bathhouses exist in Afghanistan today?
12. From the information in Allah’s Orphans what disease do you think is most disabling to Afghan children? Unsanitary food and water supplies increase death rates in children and the risk of infection from what types of organisms?
13. Habiba died of childbed fever.
What simple practice reduces the risk of death to the mother when a child is born? Are the concepts of cleanliness and germs compatible with the will of Allah and the fate of Allah?
14. Is the AIDS virus causing widespread health problems in Afghan society? Why or why not?
15. What are the needs that support Amina and Clovis’ relationship? Are their lives typical of Afghan practices among girls and boys, men and women?
16. Afghan families enjoy fruit, nuts and vegetables in season. The warm climate is excellent for producing apricots, plums and many varieties of grapes, melons, squash, tomatoes
and cucumbers. What Afghan products are exported? What imported products do Afghans use? What has war done to the industry, infrastructure and trade of a war-torn country?
17. Why did Mohammed give Amina Gul a brass signet ring?
18. Compare and contrast the roles of the conscripted Afghan Army infantrymen and the guerrilla fighters of the Mujahedin.
19. How does the role of jinds or evil spirits fit with the basic tenets of the Islamic faith and the Muslim worship of Allah?
20. What is a dervish, what is a whirling dervish; how did the author use Clovis to personalize this aspect of Islam?