Heaven on Earth

A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World

By Sadakat Kadri
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Paperback, 9780374533731, 372pp.)

Publication Date: April 9, 2013

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Ever since 9/11, fears about the shari‘a—Islamic law—have been spreading. A word that originally conveyed nothing more sinister than a direct path to water has become associated not with salvation but with brutality and compulsion. And as the legal historian and human rights lawyer Sadakat Kadri realized when he began writing this book, we are all worse off for not knowing its true meaning.


In Heaven on Earth, Kadri recounts Islam’s thrilling and turbulent history with wit and precision and shows how fourteen hundred years of tradition have been turned upside down in just forty years by hard-line extremists. Traveling through more than half a dozen countries, he explores how the shari‘a is currently perceived—by scholars, critics, and ordinary believers alike.


Heaven on Earth is a brilliantly iconoclastic tour through one of humanity’s great collective intellectual achievements. At a time when the shari‘a is shaping political crises and the lives of more than a billion Muslims worldwide, Kadri clarifies the realities of modern Islam—and helps us anticipate how it is going to look in the future.

About the Author
Sadakat Kadri is a criminal and human rights barrister and the author of "The Trial: A History from Socrates to O.J. Simpson". He has contributed to "The Guardian", "The Times of London", and the "London Review of Books", and he is the winner of the 1998 /Shiva Naipaul Travel Writing Prize. He lives in London.
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